Cole started high school a few weeks ago. 

He left the nest of a fully inclusive K-8 charter school and ended up in a public, LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) High School.  

After months of extensive research and touring, lotteries and worry, the school he ended up in was actually the school LAUSD recommended for him. 

Our home school was deemed inappropriate for him (besides being completely inaccessible, there are some basic safety issues, like gang violence on campus). 

Thankfully, the school district agreed and made a recommendation of a school that was not our radar because it’s a neighborhood public high school, meaning unless we lived in their neighborhood, and could produce identification evidencing this, it was off limits, unless LAUSD makes a specific recommendation for your child. 

Bottom line, he’s in a much smaller public school. 

Only 1,200 kids as opposed to the 4,000 plus in some of the charters we got into.  The bonus, because it’s not in our neighborhood (it’s about thirty minutes from our home), LAUSD sends a bus to pick up Cole at 6:10 am each morning and returns him by 5:00 pm each evening. 

While it sounds like long day, Cole is thrilled that it means that no parent shall set foot on his sacred turf. 

I’ve come to understand that very few teenagers want their parents hanging around or dropping off.

The fully inclusive charter school he had been attending was an amazing, unique school.   Their charter was inclusion so all of the supports (i.e. speech, P/T, O/T and tech support) were essentially built into his education.  He was one hundred percent included in all of his classes and never pulled out for any services. 

There was no such thing as a special day or special education classroom. 

He had a full time one to one paraprofessional supporting both his access to the school and curriculum as well as tending to his personal needs. 

LAUSD, as we’ve been informed, does not do inclusion at the high school level. 

They do mainstreaming.  Sink or swim. 

There are countless hoops to jump through and protocols to follow and it’s often hard to navigate the sea that is LAUSD. 

That said, the high school staff itself has been amazing. 

They’ve welcomed Cole with open arms and seem bent on making his time there successful and happy.  And he is happy. 

He seems to really like the school and is slowly making some new friends.  He adores his teachers.  His schedule is such that he has two classes in general education, where he’s supported, adaptive phys. ed., and the balance of his classes under the special education umbrella. 

We can revisit the course load next semester if he’s doing well in the general education classes, he can add one more.  

It feels doable this semester and he’s getting support from his special education teacher for the other classes as well so he’s not coming home bogged down with hours upon hours of homework, yet.

It’s just the third week but thus we’re all breathing a little easier outside the bubble of our beloved inclusive charter. 

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