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Parnell by Mind Map: Parnell

1. Parent

1.1. As Parnell's parent, I would be concerned for Parnell because of the family's particular circumstances. Recently coming to Canada would have been a huge adjustment for any child, let alone a child like Parnell who did not have the opportunity to attend school frequently in our home country. Having school staff show concern and be informing us of how far Parnell lags behind his peers would be extremely overwhelming. As a parent, I would be very concerned for my child and I would want to take whatever the necessary steps were to help them be successful.

1.2. After being informed by the teacher that Parnell is able to understand and grasp material when he is being worked with one-on-one, I would be proposing to the school that we do in fact push for an IEP. It appears as though the grade 5 whole-class environment may be too overwhelming for Parnell given that he in unable to read. This would be an extreme barrier for him and would explain why he is acting out in class, not following instructions, and is becoming confused - he cannot understand the material or what is being asked of him because he lacks the basic ability to read. No wonder he can't follow instructions or stay on task, he can't read the instructions or complete the work. An IEP is a must for Parnell and as the parents, I would be heavily pushing for one so that he can get the accommodations and modifications he needs (because we have seen that with assistance, he can be successful).

1.3. As a parent, I understand that school budget issues as out of the control of the teacher so the reading program is not an option. Because my child is so far behind the rest of his similar-aged classmates, I would be willing to propose that, with the assistance of the school, I find a private tutoring company that can give Parnell the one-on-one support that he needs. Even if I can get Parnell to a tutor once a week for reading, I think it would make a huge difference in his academic success at school. This, alongside an IEP, would also probably help him become more included in the grade 5 classroom as he would be better able to participate to the full extent of his abilities, improving his academics and social life (as he would be better able to integrate and interact with his peers).

2. Deconstructing the Case & Connection to Course Concepts

2.1. Specialized reading program within the school is not an option

2.2. Parnell is a student who has recently moved to Canada. He is in a grade 5/6 split class but appears to be performing about 3 grade levels below what he should be. His main issue academically is that he struggles to read.

2.3. High media attention due to advocacy group's claim that a neighbour school "dumped" coloured children in special education

2.4. Investigation agreed that the number of students placed in special education was disproportionate to school population

2.5. Course Concepts

2.5.1. Differentiated Instruction

2.5.2. Identification Testing would likely demonstrate that Parnell meets the criteria to be diagnosed with a learning disability. Woolfolk et al. (2016) notes that a learning disability is a disorder which may interfere with the acquisition and use of oral language, reading, written language and/or math (p.133) Parnell might also be diagnosed with working memory deficits.

2.5.3. IEP/IPRC Parnell would benefit from one on one support would be beneficial to outline goals, expectations and needs for Parnell (Woolfolk et al., 2016, p.63)

2.5.4. UDL Parnell and other students would benefit from clear expectations and learning goals

3. Teacher

3.1. As Parnell's teacher this issue directly affects me and the decisions I make going forward in instructing Parnell in the classroom. I am responsible for ensuring his learning, however, as it seems that he needs additional assistance and I am at a crossroads of how I can provide him with the necessary accommodations he needs. It also needs to be determined whether I am capable of providing Parnell with the support he needs within the limits of the classroom so that he may meet expectations or if alternative accommodations are needed.

3.2. I might be feeling a lot of external pressure in regards to Parnell's case as it seems there are many outside views being taken into consideration including the advocacy group and the investigation results. I may be uneasy about how to move forward out of fear of the backlash I may get if I were to suggest referring Parnell to an IPRC. Additionally, there may be conflict of emotions as I also want the best for Parnell and it may be that an IPRC and additional support is what will help Parnell.

3.3. In this situation where the decision on whether to have Parnell referred to the IPRC and receive an identification is high profile, I would propose meeting with the principle, resource teacher and Parnell's parents to discuss future steps. It may be that he is behind due to lacking prior education not necessarily a specific exceptionality. I would maybe suggest looking into alternative options to helping Parnell move up towards his grade level. Through discussions with his parents, I would look into options that require Parnell to do some extra work outside the classroom with one-on-one assistance such as having his parents work with him on his reading, or look into a tutor. I would discuss with them how we have noticed that with one-on-one support he does appear to pick up the material, however, at the moment, without and IEP or official identification, the resources such as an EA are not available enough for him. As well, budgeting limits make an in-school reading program not viable. Only after thorough discussion with all parties, I would suggest that working on creating an IEP for Parnell is a good idea so that accommodations are made for him in class. I would also discuss getting him some outside tutoring so that he could get that one-on-one work unless they are interested in having him tested official identification, in which case he might them be able to receive more one-on-one accommodation in school.

3.4. As the teacher, I also need to keep a close eye on Parnell's social development and the way he is adapting to his new life here. I understand that it may be overwhelming for him to leave his old lifestyle and friends. Therefore, I will present Parnell with opportunities to get to know other students within the classroom and to collaborate with others. I will also be sure to encourage my students to use empathy and to treat others as they would like to be treated. Doing so will help to ensure that Parnell is not being bullied. I will also use techniques to promote inclusion within my class.

4. Student

4.1. As Parnell has recently moved to Canada, he is likely experiencing a lot of changes compared to what he was used to. As the case states, Parnell acknowledged that prior to moving he had rarely attended school. Therefore, the transition to a structured school system with mandatory attendance 5 days a week is likely overwhelming for him.

4.2. Parnell is probably also experiencing confusion regarding the expectations of him in school. The expectation for him to read words and comprehend them may be a new concept for him.

4.3. Due to moving to a new place, it is likely that Parnell misses his friends and old lifestyle. He may have trouble adjusting and be stressed and anxious as a result of the move. Parnell may also be suffering socially, potentially experiencing isolation and disconnect from other students at his new school. This may be due to cultural differences or different interests compared to peers. Parnell's self-esteem may be limited as a result and his may be at risk of being bullied.

4.4. Parnell does well when reading with someone one on one. However, when he does not have this guidance he gets overwhelmed and confused which leads to his struggle to read. Parnell takes reading home each night but his parents do not understand the expectations and therefore are unable to help him.

4.5. Because Parnell is not used to the structure of school and the expectations, he would struggle with tasks that are self-directed and require metacognition. Therefore, he would be better set up for success with teacher directed tasks and modelling done by the teacher.

5. Principal

5.1. As per the Ontario Principals Council, I am responsible, as a principal, for developing, supporting, and promoting exemplary leadership for student success in my respective school. Thus, I hold a unique responsibility pertaining to Parnell’s education. As the principal, I am in charge of monitoring Parnell’s educative development, and asserting leadership in providing resources and support relative to Parnell and those involved in his struggle(s).

5.2. As the principal, I am likely feeling much pressure from respective parents and teachers to approve a timely, productive solution to this issue, as well as pressure to source and provide the appropriate resources and support. Additionally, I am likely feeling stressed, as the decisions that are made regarding this scenario are under the public microscope, and will greatly reflect the reputation of the school, school board, general community, and my individual ability to perform adequately and justly in a leadership position. In situations like this, the parent ultimately makes the final decision of what they believe is best for their child. Further, in this scenario, the parents have the ability to make a final decision that could reflect very poorly on the latter individuals and organizations involved. However, with this pressure and stress present, I am also likely to feel motivated in finding the best resources and support available, so I can organize a solution that is in the best interests of the student.

5.3. My response as a principal would first begin with setting up an initial conference with the parents and involved teachers to ensure I am grasping the fullness of the issue. In doing this, I am ensuring that all relevant perspectives are being considered, and no important details are being left out. During this initial meeting, I would document the main points discussed and reference them while researching resources and supports that might be helpful. After I have gathered and exhausted all relevant resources, I would hold a follow up conference (with the same people) presenting the most viable options for this case, and facilitate a discussion with the intention of coming to an agreed upon decision.

5.4. Considering the situation, I think it would be best to propose options that will not permanently affect this students’ educative future. Due to the fact that Parnell is a recent immigrant to Canada, it is very likely that much of his struggles are the product of the process of adjusting to new cultures, routines, languages, and trying to find balance in his life. Considering this, I think it would be unjust and premature to label Parnell with a learning disability that will affect his long-term educative experiences. However, with this being said, I think it would appropriate to suggest/implement an IEP related to language, routine, and cultural-social struggles. Additionally, I think it would be beneficial to assign Parnell an EA. Whether this EA is certified and on payroll, or simply a consistent and willing volunteer from the public, I think one-on-one attention is critical, as it has proven to be beneficial for Parnell’s learning. Finally, I would suggest some local tutoring locations that specialize in helping immigrant students. This way, Parnell is receiving special education-based attention both in school, and out of school. In suggesting these options, it is thought that Parnell is being given opportunities that offer him the most direct and accessible routes toward success.

5.5. My final plan of action or proposed solution would likely be a combination of the latter three options. Although they each present themself, and could be used as an individual step toward progress, I believe that implementing all three in conjunction would offer Parnell the best opportunity to succeed. Implementing an IEP as well as an EA would allow Parnell to work on the skills that are holding him back, as well as doing so in a way that keeps him on track and focused. Suggesting tutoring options would allow Parnell to extend his learning outside of the classroom, offering him more one-on-one support outside of school hours in an attempt to accelerate his learning, and bring him to the expected standard for students his age.