An overwhelming number of respondents to a Deerfield Patch said that Elementary District 109 should restore resource periods at and middle schools.
Of the 84 people who responded, 78 – or 92 percent - wanted to see specific times of the day set aside for special needs students to get assistance on concepts that can be applied to their schoolwork. Only 6 – or 8 percent – favored keeping the district’s program as it is.
All eight comments - seven on the site and one on the Facebook page - supported the needs of special education students.
“Our kids need this very important assistance and our teachers need support to accomplish it! The bottom line is obviously $ and we certainly pay enough in taxes for this purpose to accomplish these needs,” said Ter Bel-Epstein.
One comment, left anonymously, said the time was critical in academic success.
“I went through the entire Deerfield Special Education program and I would not have been successful in getting into a Big 10 University had i not had a set aside room at a designated time in Middle School. Period. It’s an absolute joke that kids will not have the same opportunities that I did and i feel awful for them,” the respondent said.
Barbara Morrow posted this comment on the Facebook site: “Special Needs student need every consideration possible! Take care of our children! Restore the resource period and teach our kids as much as possible!”
Katie Bittner, who has organized meetings on this issue, was emphatic. “The teachers are not even given the opportunity to finalize decisions about services that kids require and are entitled to. There is one person in charge who dictates what the child will receive and it is based solely on what is already in place at the school. SORRY, that is not what IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law that sets out services for special needs children) mandates.”
So, too, was Mark Bittner: “Instead of much needed resource periods, the district places special education kids into foreign language classes - which are not required by the state at this level - instead of providing services to bring a child up to grade level in Reading and Writing. There is no assistance or support in foreign language classes, so the burden and stress this places on a special needs child is overwhelming. Further pushing this child into a regular classroom stresses the whole system as regular education teachers do not have the proper training or resources to assist them. They need this resource period for reinforcement.”
The issue has been contentious in District 109, drawing dozens of to board meetings and forums who have expressed concern not having a specified place during the school day for children with special needs to get the help they need.
say the lack of specific resource periods has had an adverse impact on students, teachers and parents and included restoring it as part of its counter-proposal to the board during Wednesday’s bargaining session.
The administration counters that while there have been challenges implementing this new program, they will be worked out.