The Williamsport School District eliminated the Learning Support pullout classrooms beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. Parents and these children's doctors who have children in these classrooms will agree that the Learning Support classroom is a much needed service to these kids. These children are now forced to learn in an inclusion classroom setting (where the LS teacher co-teaches with the regular ed teacher) for many children this simply does not work, they can not keep up. Many of these children work below grade level and simply can not handle the material presented to them.
If you speak with many of the teachers in the district, they will agree with this sad situation not meeting the needs of their students, however it is as much out of their control is at is the concerned parents of these kids.
These kids who work years behind their grade level are also forced to participate in the PSSA testing each year, this test is based at grade level and is very humiliating to a child who can not understand the material presented to them.
Having no pullout class available for Learning Support forces these children who can not handle the inclusion class to attend class in the Emotional Support classroom. Emotional Support is designed for children who have severe behavioral issues not necessarily learning and reading disabilities. Now the kids who are in need of the small classroom setting are subjected to violent language and behaviors in the classroom from their peers every day.
The school district has also done away with school choice and makes the kids attend their neighborhood school. It does not matter to them if the child in question would benefit from having a certain teacher or a certain principal. The child must attend their neighborhood school period. The district will humor you with an IEP meeting to humor your request having no intention of doing what is best for that particular student. Many of these kids do not handle changes well and loose valuable education time when they are already behind in their studies when a simple chosen placement would greatly benefit them.
The district needs to concern itself much more with the needs of their learning support kids and much less about the needs of their budgets. Not every child fits into a mold.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom