Friday, January 31, 2014

what "IPRC" really means (because you always wondered, right?)

This past Tuesday we went to Jonathan's IPRC (Identification, Placement and Review Committee) meeting at the school.  This yearly meeting is a chance for staff and parents to assess a special needs student's current strengths and weaknesses and ensure that the type of services he's getting are appropriate and should be continued into the coming year.  In Jonathan's case, his placement category is "regular classroom with resource assistance":  in other words, he is part of a mainstream class and receives extra support (mainly from the awesome "Mr. O") to help him achieve his personal learning goals.

The meeting was scheduled for right after morning bell time, so we waited in the main lobby while the kids came in from the yard and headed off to their classrooms for the day.  Jonathan, his cheeks rosy red, came in with Mr. O.  He spied Mrs. MacFarlane, the student support teacher who visits him two mornings a week, and greeted her with smiles and exclamations.  (She told us later that seeing Jonathan just makes her day.)  He hailed Mr. Yan, his backup E.A., with a smile and a high-five.  After suddenly realizing, to his surprise, that Mom and Dad were in the lobby, Jonathan eventually headed off up the stairs to his classroom, ready to begin his day.

I couldn't help remembering Jonathan's first day of school back in 2007, when he screamed and cried as I took him into his class, and we wondered if he would spend the whole morning in that state.  (He didn't.)  Now, six and a half years later, he struts into the schoolyard like he owns the place, saying "Scuse me!"  "Sorry!"  as he elbows through the crowd.  Smaller kids who might have looked askance at him at first (I once heard a little boy say to another, "He's bigger than me and he can't even talk") now call out to him by name as he enters the school yard.  Some of his girl classmates take a special interest in greeting him and ensuring that he heads in the right direction at bell time.  Boys will do yellow-blue-red with him to be friendly.

Seems to me that IPRC really means something more like "In a Place that Reflects Community."  Rideau Public School is a place where Jonathan is comfortable, where he has friends, where he belongs.