Thursday, September 29, 2011

Advocating Success

Sometimes you can change a system without a law. Congratulations to Liz Bixby as her persistance really made a difference.

Hi there! I talked to you a long time ago...and figured I better get back to you! I have twin boys that are 8 years old now. They go to Farmingdale Elementary which is Pleasant Plains, IL just outside of Springfield.

My boys had gone to pre-k there at ages 3 and 4 and I was told to put them on to K but wanted to hold them back. Was told there wasn't a way to do pre-k for another year, but could do K 2 years-said no way. So we did private pre-k for a year before returning. Was the best thing ever. Funny thing was those 3 years I had been talking off and on to Mr. Yates about K and how I wanted the boys in the same class. He would always beat around the bush, finally got it out that their policy was seperation. I said well that may work for some but not for my boys, they will be starting next year so be ready for them in the same class. I then got ahold of the NOMOTC and some things from you guys there at twins law and took a huge packet in. Had another sit down 6 months before they would start-with a note from the ped's doc, preschool teacher, etc stating how they should be together and went to work on them. I told both sides of the story. How for some children they shouldn't be in the same classroom. But for my children they do not fit that typing, actually it would be harmful if they were not in the same class.

After my informative meeting and him having time to read things over he called me back in and he had a change of heart. He just had to convince all the higher ups. So he made up a board of twin moms, teachers (one being a twin mom) and officials to monitor twins and we made up a schedule of by 3rd (I think) grade they would be in separate classes but have the same lunch, recess, gym, etc to get ready for middle school when they would be having a couple different classes. The boys were in the same class for K and 1. At the end of 1st I started to wonder how much longer it would last with them in the same class. Blake had wanted to separate but Cullen hadn't. I told them they had to agree. So this year (2nd) they are in separate and seem to be really enjoying it. They come home and enjoy each other's company alot more. When they were in the same class they just had to know that each other were there and ok. Now they see each other at lunch, recess, bus, etc. and that seems to be ok.

I have a few friends that have entered the school after me and have thanked me lots for changing it. I also have friends who come to me all the time for advice on how to deal with their schools. In fact I have one friend who is writing about all this on her thesis. How parents should have a say, which is all I said, we know our kids best, why can't we say what is best?!

Anyway, I just want to say thank you! And let you know Pleasant Plains and New Berlin (where I work at the moment) both small towns by Springfield, allow the parents to have the say.

Liz Bixby