What I Wish I Knew - High School

SERG Parent Feedback - Transitioning to HIgh School
The following recommendations were shared by a parent panel at the January 2019 SERG meeting. These suggestions are offered as a resource, not as an endorsement.

Preparing for the IEP Meeting

  • Visit York HS at every opportunity. Take pictures or videos of certain spaces to help your student recognize key locations.
  • Consider having your student take a class during summer session before Freshman year. Even if it’s an art class, the building is quieter, and your student can get oriented.
  • Walk through the whole schedule multiple times.
  • In preparation for the IEP meeting, think about every situation that could be a challenge (social interaction, navigation) and ask the team about their plan to be proactive. Worried about what lunchtime would look like for my student.
  • You will receive a questionnaire that asks you to start thinking about your student’s life at age 22. Think about it carefully and use general ideas to craft your student’s HS experience but accept that your student is going to grow in HS. You can always make changes.
  • Be prepared to see many people in the room for these transition meetings. Bring an advocate or support person if you think you may get overwhelmed.
  • If your student is going to need any support, like an aide, be prepared to ask for it.
  • Review curriculum to give input on appropriate academic placement.
  • Observe classes to help select the right elective.

The First 4-6 Weeks

  • Keep close tabs on your student in these first few weeks. If there is a change in behavior, it could be because of something stressful at school. Review the curriculum to determine if it is still the right fit.
  • The team is very big at York with many people scattered around the building. They have more students in their case load. Don’t assume they see each other to talk about your student’s progress. You will likely need to work very closely with the Case Manager to get progress updates or drive changes.
  • The Case Manager may or may not be your student’s teacher, which is different from elementary and middle school.
  • Communications are limited. Aides, for example, do not write in the agenda.You may need to request lots of information, if your student struggles with written communication.
  • Confirm that the electives your student is placed in have academic goals that align with your student’s academic level.
  • Get your student involved in extra-curricular activities. York has a myriad of clubs and activities to join.

In Hindsight…

  • “I should have brought another person to the IEP meetings. There is so much to think about and I thought I would remember it all. I didn’t remember, and it was a disservice to my student.”
  • Find out how to connect your student with the LEADERS program and Best Buddies program. Those programs help our students build a peer-driven social network.
  • “I should have been more assertive about getting an academic change implemented. I thought it would happen, but it took several weeks.”
  • “I would have had a stronger plan for lunch to make sure she had a spot and a back-up plan.”
  • “You may find that York is not the right place for your student. It’s a very personal decision for you and your child. And, that’s OK.”
  • “I need to stay connected to my kid’s friends. They told me about things that were happening that I wouldn’t have known any other way.”

Submitted by Elena Cutri