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Author: Thetis Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 413  
Subject: Middle School Update Date: 7/11/2011 5:18 PM
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Well, another year has gone by. The trip out west last summer went extremely well. Hera loved the train and has always been a good camper. We spent time in No. Utah, Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier NP with stops in between.

This year in school was one of progress. As usual, things started off a little rough. She got in a fight (that she started) but the administration intervened and she escaped with a warning. After that she really tightened up and decided she wanted good grades. This made all the difference. During the winter, she won a city-wide history competition for her project on Bessie Smith. This was a real accomplishment as it was judged by the local university. She finished the year with a 3.7 average and was awarded a prize for math. She is in summer school taking accelerated math so she can take Algebra I next year (8th grade). This is important because she needs it to qualify for admission into the Governor's school (highly competitive) specializing in the Arts for high school. If she gets in it will be fantastic. Going from being non-verbal in a self-contained class to a top ranked HS... well if she does Ms. Thetis has to write her book.

On the downside, over the years she has benefited from many supporters in the school administration - she is kind of famous "downtown". But the prinicpal and special ed administrator at her school are leaving. The new principal doesn't "get" it so we are anticipating problems. In addition, the director of special ed for the city is also leaving. He intervened early on in our favor and has followed Hera's progress. He was our ulitimate recourse if things went bad. Haven't needed him lately, but it was good to know he was there if we did.

Ms. Thetis is working on a project with the school system and VCU to develop a social skills training program for kids with ASD (they got a big grant). They are going to pilot it at Hera's middle school. This IMO is very important. If ASD kids have to live in the real world they need to know how to react to social cues and make friends - real friends who like and appreciate them for who they are. Otherwise, they are caretakers. This is Hera's biggest single problem. She desperately wants friends but is clueless how it works. If we could get her straight there she will be a long way to success. More on this as things develop.

Regards. Thetis.
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