No Other Options Were Presented.

Dylan has failed algebra.

He didn’t get an ‘E’ exactly – but because it’s a high school class, and will be the first grade on his transcript for college, they recommend that he take it again if he’s not getting at least a ‘B.’

And Dylan is not getting at least a ‘B.’

The packet he completed that so impressed me – the night he stayed up late and worked diligently into the wee hours – was rewarded with excruciating red pen marks everywhere. He not only got wrong answers, but he didn’t appear to understand even a smidgeon of the material.

Back in January, he was able to pull himself out of this mess with a few tutoring sessions. Obviously, that was insufficient in this case.

So at his IEP meeting, it was recommended that, for 8th grade, Dylan should take “double period” algebra – meaning not one, but two 48-minute periods per school day for the entire year. He would be required to give up one of his favorite classes – the electives (either chorus or engineering) in order to spend more time on a subject he detests.

We didn’t think this would go over well with Dylan, so we asked for other options.

And, for the third year in a row, they recommended “resource room.” This is essentially a special-ed-only option for kids who need a tad more help in getting their work completed. Dylan would still be required to give up one elective, but at least he wouldn’t have to sit in algebra for two full periods.

Most interesting of all, the resource room teacher just happens to be the same person who teaches “double period” algebra. So, should Dylan require a bit of extra help with algebra, he would have an algebra teacher right there who could answer his questions.

No other options were presented. This year, we have tried everything we could try to help Dylan organize himself – and he didn’t do any of the things we suggested. He refused the technological accommodations, the extra time at lunch with teachers, the voice recorder to keep track of assignments, and the free notes from his teachers.

So for 8th grade, where there will be no leniency, Dylan is out of choices.

We called Dylan into the IEP meeting and told him he had two options: double period algebra, or single period algebra with resource room.

He said, “Anything but double period algebra! I want to spend the least amount of time as possible in algebra.”

Then he had to choose which elective to delete: chorus or engineering?

We gave him the option of, at the end of the first quarter, evaluating how resource room worked for him. And, if it isn’t helping him, he will be allowed to transfer out of resource room and into a different class at the end of the first quarter.

He can transfer into chorus mid-year – but he can’t transfer into engineering because so much is taught in engineering during first quarter. So Dylan, who has the voice of an angel, dropped chorus from his schedule.

And now he is ready for 8th grade.


  1. Kirsten says:

    Thanks, Glenn! Dylan has been using a tutor since January – and we hope to have him back next year. I don’t know how anyone gets algebra with 30+ kids in the classroom. I appreciate the tip!

  2. Glenn Sheay says:

    Math tutoring sessions have really helped my high school daughter. We use Huntington Learning Center.

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