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Preparing to face the school board was not something I took lightly. I am not the best public speaker. Saving Sensi's autism program was so important to me that I did it. I prepared myself with a fresh haircut and a new blouse. I wanted to feel confident standing in front of everyone. I practiced my talking points, and felt that I was comfortable with them.
It was good another parent talked to one of the school board administrators and got the scoop on how it works. I had an idea of what to expect. Knowing I would be standing up in front of the school board and an audience of parents and teachers was something I needed to prepare for. Knowing I would be standing at a podium with a light display telling me how long I had to talk helped; green went on when you started speaking, a yellow warning light next, then when it turned red you may finish your sentence then stop speaking. I would only have 3 minutes to talk, it made it seem not as bad as previous public speaking I have done.
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The news was that the children currently enrolled in the autism program could stay there, except area E. That is my neighborhood, the one with the problematic special education program that I have mentioned before. I told the administrator it was an unacceptable offer. I wanted to know why our children from area E would be excluded from this plan? He did not have an answer. We gathered after this news and decided that we would still stand up and respectfully state our grievances.
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I had volunteered to cover the second part of our talking points list about what makes the autism program so special. I finished my list and seeing that the light was still green, I added my own ad lib about Sensi's progress from being reluctantly verbal to being the narrator of the winter show. I must say that it was gratifying to see that the stories we told the school board moved them emotionally. I am even more gratified to say that they sent us a letter saying that the current students will be grandfathered in to the program and it will stay in its current location and format for now.
There are still some issues to be ironed out with the school district for children in special education, and we will continue to work on those concerns. For now I will say thank you to all of you who listened and cared.
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