I don’t typically talk about my job on my blog. I suppose it may have to do with me trying to keep my business life and personal life completely separate. At work, I am a focused, driven, no-nonsense professional who gets her work done. At home and in my personal life, I am a silly, fun-loving, love-to-laugh kind of person that does not take many things too seriously and knows that life usually has a way of working itself out. This is my secret to being successful and sane in maintaining my work-life balance. It’s the best way to live.
Still, I’ve got a lot to say about education and special education so a new categorical space for musings is born.
I am a social worker for the NYC Department of Education. Instead of being housed in a public school (like 95% of us) I am at a local, district office serving several neighborhoods in my community. The children I work with primarily attend private and parochial schools and range in age from 5 – 21 years old. In addition, a quarter of our year is spent on preschool cases we receive of children aging out and preparing for their academic careers in Kindergarten and beyond. This is called the “Turning Five Process”.
The reason that private and parochial schools are entitled to services by the NYC Department of Education is because their tax dollars continue to go to public schools, even though their children don’t. As a result, they remain qualified for special education intervention and support services. The process begins like so: the social worker meets with the parents for the initial intake interview. Next, a school psychologist conducts a full psycho-educational evaluation on the child. Then, a team member will conduct a classroom observation on how the student functions in their environment. Finally, the team convenes with the parent and the school teacher in order to discuss the results of all the evaluations and make a recommendation for services, if warranted. That last part is the IEP meeting (or CSE review meeting). That’s pretty much the whole thing summed up in a nutshell. Multiply this by a million x 10³³ and you’ve got our office. 😉
As crazy as it gets this time of year, I love working with and advocating for our Turning Five cases. These little pre-schoolers are so smart, so cute and so capable of accomplishing great things in their little lives. It’s the best feeling to end a meeting where all parties are satisfied and agree with the educational plan put in place. Of course, not all meetings end this way and there is always the possibility that someone, somewhere will disagree. But, when it works, it works and that is a nice take away.