In the case of Anabela Vicenti, supporting her may mean holding her back. Anabela is a second grader at La Paz Elementary School, who a few months ago was placed into special services in the school and received an IEP (individualized education plan). Before La Paz, she attended Sandia Elementary School where she was classified as a non-reader at the end of kindergarten because she did not know all of her letters and sounds. She was recommended for educational testing and possibly retention but did not receive either.
Her mother Magda, her father Gaspar and her grandfather Arturo, supports her at home and in school she mainly interacts with Connie York the teacher in the resource room. One of the biggest issues in this case study is the lack of communication and relationships between the parents, teachers and Anabela. Sandia Elementary School seems to have created a lack of trust among the family because it did not Anabela the attention that she was in desperate need of.
Both of Anabela’s teachers at Sandia noted that she was in need of the resource room and an IEP and the school never followed up on that. The lack of trust created by this school seems to have set the family back in terms of communication with the new school. When Magda sense there is a problem, she goes directly to the principal and bypasses both Connie York and Anabela’s teacher Jean Harfleur. She seems to have a lack of trust in the teachers to be able to handle these situations, and in a sense she is right.
Anabela’s lead teacher in the typical classroom, Ms. Harfleur, admitted to not really having any kind of relationship with her because she is either always in the resource room or with an aid in the classroom. For a teacher to admit that is kind of astonishing. It is understandable that the child is not always in her classroom, but she needs to have some kind of relationship with the child before she makes judgments about why her mom is not showing up to the IEP meetings.
If there was communication between the lead teacher and Anabela’s family, they might be able to see the extent to which the family is struggling with health issues. They may be able to create an alternate time for IEP meetings or maybe have them in Anabela’s home. Communication is key especially when working with a child with a disability. The families and teachers should both be aware of the goals for the child and celebrate them together when the child accomplishes them. The level of communication between the two teachers seems to be very strong.
They seem to spend a lot of time communicating with each other on what seems to be best for Anabela, but they never seem to relay this to the parents. The topic of retention is brought up a lot between the two teachers but never really mention to the parents because of the way they reacted to the idea at Sandia. The teachers need to stress to the parents the importance of possibly holding Anabela back because if they blind side the parent with this idea, the level of trust between the parents and the school is going to drop significantly.
Beyond the Bakesale makes a lot of suggestions on how to better communicate with families. For example, calling home and giving a weekly or monthly update on the student or sending home flyers about what is being accomplished in the classroom that week. They could even use a teacher like Jessica Lander as an example. Texting parents a small update daily or every few days to have them help continue the education at home is a great idea. This way parents are always informed and can help the child learn or refresh the day’s lessons at home through conversation or homework help.
Another major issue in this case study is the fact that Anabela is babied at home and in school leaving her to never really accomplish much on her own. Anabela talks about how she does not like to read on her own because its not as much fun as reading with her mom. Her mom also follows this comment up with the fact that she babies Anabela in the home, letting Anabela depend on her mother for everything and spoiling her. Reports have been sent home by Anabela’s teachers saying she depends on them too much and Magda’s response to that is she has a disability.
She is babied by the other girls in her classroom and because of that does not have very many true friends. It is difficult for her to be left on her own to do the work because of some of her delays, but Magda needs to understand that her child is never going to do as well as she can if her mother is always there to take care of her. Overall, Anabela’s family and her teachers need to find a way to make sure they are all on the same page with her development and how her IEP is being handled. Her mom thinks she is doing enough to encourage Anabela when at home, but she really isn’t.
There are factors that make it difficult for Magda and the rest of Anabela’s family to be fully involved, but there needs to be more of an effort with homework help put in by her father and her mother needs to encourage her to do things on her own and without the help of anyone else. The other biggest issue with communication is Magda not being willing to talk to the teachers about issues with Anabela first. The teachers are the ones in the classroom with her everyday and the principal is not.
By skipping over them, Magda is losing out on some of the information about the situation. The teachers also need to stress to Magda that they are willing to help her with situations and create trust between everyone. If a parent does not trust the teacher they are not going to see them as helpful for their child. As stated earlier, the teachers need to make sure they are putting more effort in communicating with the family and making sure that the IEP meetings are at a time that is accessible for all parties to be able to attend.
It is easy to understand why the teachers are so frustrated because the parents have not been making enough of an effort to attend all of the meetings, but they still need to find a way to communicate with them. If the teachers are more aware about the home life of their student, they may be more understanding as to why the parents are not always able to attend the meetings but surprising parents with the idea of retention if it has not been brought up in any meetings before is going to cause them a lot of stress.
This lack of communication is kind of the fault of both the parents and the teachers. If neither party steps up and takes leadership in this situation by organizing other ways to communicate, the child is going to continue to suffer. This lack of trust and communication is ultimately going to hurt Anabela more than anyone else. Parent’s play a big role in their child’s education by continuing what the teacher starts in school in the home and this is happening a little in the case of Anabela, but not enough.
The teachers are not clearly communicating with the family about what is going on and the family is not committed enough to go into the school and ask for help from the teachers. Anabela’s schooling experience would have been much different if she had never attended Sandia. There she was forgotten about and not given the attention she deserved. Her disabilities do not seem to be something that is going to hold her back forever, but if she had received the intervention she so rightly deserved at a younger age, this lack of trust in the schools may not have been such an issue.
I feel like a lot of the issues that she is having stem from her family not fully understanding just how great this new school is. They seem to be stuck on the idea that their child is not getting everything she needs because of an issue with the school, but in reality, the school is doing pretty well. The parents and teachers need to make sure they are on the same page about this student, or her educational experience is going to continue to suffer.