Lake Travis particular training program transfer makes considerations for households
Four days before school starts this fall, the Lake Travis School District announced that students were in itsThe G3 special education program at Rough Hollow Elementary School would move to Lakeway Elementary due to overcrowding, raising questions and frustrations for some parents.
G3, which stands for Get Ready, Get Set, Go, was founded in 2017 to provide a structured environment for students with communication and behavioral needs, including students with the autism spectrum, said Stefani Allen, assistant director of curriculum and instruction .
The move from Rough Hollow to Lakeway Elementary came just a year after the program was split across three campuses. This means that some of the G3 Students visit their third campus in as many years. When the G3 program began, it was at West Cypress Hills Elementary before it was split between that campus, Rough Hollow, and Lake Travis Elementary last year.
“This is difficult for children”
Allen said the district had decided to move G3 students from Rough Hollow to Lakeway in response to the overcrowding of Rough Hollow due to the district’s rapid growth. Nine students moved to the Lakeway campus, with additional students enrolling for the program for the first time this year.
“We don’t want the classrooms to be overcrowded or overcrowded. It’s not effective for any student, ”she said. “We have done everything in our power to make this transition as smooth as possible. We had district staff there, we still have district staff working in the classroom to help the students and teachers while they are still in transition. “
Parents of children moved to Lakeway Elementary this year said they were frustrated that the move was announced four days before school started, and some wondered why the district was unable to address the overcrowding problem in Rough Hollow Anticipate early enough to find another solution.
Lindsay Peck, whose son is in third grade on the G3 program, said just because it is legal for the district to move programs to new campuses doesn’t mean this is right for the students. If the district had given students and parents more warnings and the opportunity to tour the new campus and get more information, she might have felt differently about the move, she said.
“You keep telling us it’s the numbers, it’s the numbers, and what we hear is your kids are taking up too much space,” Peck said. “They’re still kids making friends, they’re still kids enjoying fellowship, and letting them run away a few days before school starts isn’t okay.”
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Amaya Mendenhall, her son Parker is a fourth grader on the G3 program, said he participated in the district’s special education programs for six years and was deployed to five different locations during that time, including three in the last three years at G3.
She said that it can be difficult for children with autism to adapt to new environments and people each year, especially when the change in plans is so little announced. Mendenhall said her son only spends part of his day in the G3 program, so postponing the program means he will have to adjust to new teachers and colleagues for the remainder of his study time.
“When you do things like that, you don’t consider how it will negatively affect my son and actually stop his development,” she said. “I’m just curious how the school board and the school principal and all that would feel if your child, who is not in the spectrum, had to look for a new peer group every year, had to go to a new campus every year. It’s tough for kids who aren’t in the spectrum, it’s difficult. I think all parents would say whether they are autistic or not, that’s not something they would be okay with. “
Mendenhall she said initially didn’t send her son to school this year because she felt she didn’t have enough information about the new campus to be comfortable with it. She said this week he started familiarizing himself with the new room as part of a probationary period.
Allen said the program was postponed four days before school started because the district had no clear picture of Rough Hollow’s enrollment until late summer when students continued to enroll. She said this was exacerbated by the uncertainties about enrollment caused by the pandemic.
“We didn’t know how many children would return to school and who would enroll, so there were a number of factors that caused this,” she said. “We knew the timing wasn’t ideal because it was just before school started, but we had a problem with space. And Lakeway Elementary had the space to house the G3 program. “
Allen said the district was considering several options to reduce overcrowding, including reallocating more of the student body or introducing portable devices, but it is unable to arrange another solution at such short notice.
“It was really a tough decision that we didn’t take lightly,” she said. “But I think it was in the best interests of all students.”
Parents share staffing concerns
The move is the latest concern about the program, and even parents of students unaffected by the recent change say they are also concerned about the staffing and implementation of the program.
“The first few years of the program got off to a great start,” said Andres Londoño, whose two sons are on the G3 program at Lake Travis Elementary. “And slowly we’ve seen a lot of degradation in the program, communication and transparency on the part of the administration, and that’s creating a lot of confusion.”
Londoño’s eldest son,Fenix was part of the program when it was first introduced to about five children at West Cypress Hill Elementary. He and his wife Lindsay were pleased that staff from the Central Texas Autism Center were trained and worked with parents to refine the applied behavior analysis.
However, as the program has grown, they have seen previous employees leave the district and say there are less cooperation with parents.
And after they make some initial progress, their children have behavior problems again. They said they are concerned because new hires and substitutes in the program don’t have that much experience of specialty education or training. This has affected their children’s ability to spend more time studying in their G3 and general classes.
“It is a highly structured and highly specialized program with people who have never worked in schools or in such programs and who are not receiving any training,” said Lindsay Londoño. “And that leads to behaviors in school that cause them to miss minutes in their inclusion classroom.”
The Londoños have raised their concerns to the district but would like the program to be improved with a clear mission and a parenting connection that can work with staff to address community concerns.
“We want basic communication about the G3 program, including the expectations of the people who work in G3, so that it is clear and implemented in all G3 locations,” said Andres Londoño. “Because at this point we have a wide range of training and skills in different locations, and that makes it very difficult to establish a real program, especially when you’re pulling kids from campus to campus.”
Everyone acknowledged that the G3 program had seen staff turnover and recent bottlenecks even before the pandemic. However, she said this was part of a trend affecting many districts both inside and outside special education.
“We haven’t been able to find as many teachers as we’d like,” she said. “And this is exactly where the special department intervenes and intervenes and ensures that our children are well looked after.”
She said all teachers in the G3 program are certified teachers and the district provides ongoing training in crisis intervention and G3 staff applied behavior analysis and continues to work with the Central Texas Autism Center.
“These trainings are ongoing and really based on student needs, if we find a particular behavior or academic goal that one of our students needs, then we will offer more support to those teachers.”
Allen also said the district is working on a job description to hire a parent council “especially for families with special needs” as soon as possible.
“We are really very focused on the classroom and doing the kids in the classroom well to make sure they learn and the program continues to grow and empower,” she said. “But we encourage parents to reach out to us and let us know if they are concerned so that we can address them specifically.”