Selling Our House For A School We're Not Attending (The Final Kindergarten Decision)

This post is one of the more difficult posts I've written. Not because the news is going to knock the earth off it's axis, but because I feel like there isn't a good way to write it without sounding like I'm ungrateful for the people who have taught Kinsley up to this point. I also feel like I've been complaining about her school situations since before preschool started. The truth is, I know everyone involved in special education has a hard job. I know that there is never a perfect solution that will adequately meet all the needs and desires of both the parents and the special education team, but I still deeply feel like there is a beautiful middle ground that we just haven't been able to get to yet, and my hopes and dreams are that at some point we can feel like we've gotten to that place. 


I loved Kinsley's preschool experience the first year that she was in there. I felt like she'd overcome a ton of social anxiety, made awesome PT progression, and made some academic progress that seemed promising. Heading into her second year though, it seemed like academic progress had become stagnate, she wasn't being provided opportunities to use her walker in the classroom, and all of a sudden she was having fits about going to school which isn't something we'd experienced the year before. I felt like everyday I was going into school and having to fight for something for her. And towards the end of the school year her teacher told me, "it's the near the end of the year and she only knows two letters, she seems like she's incapable of learning..." That moment lit a fire in Derek and I to 1) prove them wrong, and 2) make sure that they had nothing to do with her education moving forward. It was as though they'd checked out on her for basically an entire year. A year we can never get back. We got to work and now just a few months after that "incapable of learning" comment, she knows about 22/26 letters, talks up a storm, and is using her walker with very little assistance.

Our only options with the current school district were to put her into a random classroom 5 miles away from our home, with no guarantee that Kyle would get a variance into that school, or she could do a third year of preschool, but it was only 2 days a week instead of the 5 she was getting, and the district would take away all of her special education services, so no PT/OT/Speech, etc... Neither option felt right to us and so we moved to plan B. 

We applied to the lottery for a special autism charter school 20 miles south of where we were living. We'd heard amazing things about it and decided to throw her name in and see what happens. And she got in. The problem was that it was 20 miles away from our house, and so there was no way I could get Kyle to his school, and Kinsley to her school each morning. We tried getting Kyle into any of the surrounding schools, but had no luck, and so our only option to make it work was to sell our house, rent in the same town as Kinsley's new school, and then have Kyle go to whatever our zoned public school was. So that's what we did. 

One of the things that we really liked about the autism charter school was that even though Kinsley does not have autism, the teachers are all specialized in dealing with special needs, and so we thought it would be a great option to have her in an environment where she would be challenged to excel, and have more inclusion opportunities with gen-ed peers. Another thing I really liked was that they had full day kindergarten and Derek and I thought that would be really amazing for her as well. 

So we put our house on the market, got an offer, and then all the things with Kinsley's new school started going south. The state cut funding on the full day kindergarten so only the gen-ed class would be full day, and then functional skills (kids with more involved disabilities) class would be full day, but the in-between class for kids that aren't quite gen-ed, but not quite functional skills, was going to be half day. That was the first blow. 

The second blow was that Kinsley went in for an evaluation and they wanted to stick her in the functional skills class the second they saw her walker, despite the fact that her IEP from her previous district said that she should be placed in the middle of the road class. So while it would have been great to have full day, I wasn't going to put her in a class that wasn't going to be challenging enough for her. The school year hadn't even started, and I was already having to fight to get her where she needed to be. I couldn't think about the new school without the next thought that floated through my mind being, "you'll go here for two weeks and then homeschool her". I knew deep down that it wasn't the right fit. 

But right as all of this was happening, our house was under contract, and there was no way to back out of the sale without losing thousands of dollars, and so our only option was to just stick it out, and just wait to see what would happen. 

Even though the house we were moving to was in the same school district as our old house, there are tons and tons of different elementary schools in the district, so whatever Kinsley's school assignment was going to be in our old house, we knew it wasn't going to be that same school in the new house. I had no intention of sending her to school in our district, but I just had this feeling that I needed to call them and tell them we were moving to see what our new school placement was going to be, and so I did, and they said we'd get a letter in the mail in a few weeks telling us the new assignment. 

Backing up for just a second. We're renting a house on the east side of our new town, but when we go to buy a house again, we'd buy on the west side. Knowing that, as soon as our house went on the market, we applied for Kyle to get a variance for the school on the west side of town because 1) it was 100 feet away from Kinsley's autism charter school, so it would make school mornings really easy to have them in schools right next to each other instead of 5-6 miles apart from each other. 2) we wouldn't want him to have to go to a new school on the east side of town this year for second grade, and then switch schools again when we bought a house on the west side when he's in third grade. So if his variance got approved he'd go to the school on the west side for second grade, and then get to stay there when we bought a house again when he's in third grade. By doing this we felt like we were limiting a certain amount of trauma for him. 

Last week we got a letter from our school district in the mail, and it said that if Kinsley did Kindergarten with the district in the fall, she would be zoned for the exact school on the west side that we already had a variance in for Kyle. This also meant that Kyle's variance got approved, and he was able to go to the exact school that we had been trying to get him into in the first place. The second I opened that letter and read the school name, I instantly felt peace. I knew that it was the right decision for both of our kids.

There have been so many negative feelings with this entire kindergarten situation for next year, and when I opened that letter I knew that it was a message from God saying, "I see you, I hear you, and this is the path you need to take." It felt like an entire year of tears, worry, and fear were melted away in 60 seconds. 

When we were in the middle of all of this, it really shook me. I constantly felt myself questioning, where is God? Why is it this hard? What is the point of doing all the small and simple things if He is no where to be found. To be entirely honest, I felt like this entire last year had really shook me in a hard way and like we'd somehow been abandoned to figure out this mess on our own. 

The reality is this neighborhood on the west side of town has been on our radar since we moved to Utah almost two years ago since it's 10 minutes from Derek's job. Subsequently, this school has been on our radar as well since it's always been on our mind to possibly move there/go there. It's also the French Immersion school for our district, which means Kyle will get to learn French, and Derek speaks fluent French, so it's an added bonus.

Ultimately I really believe that Heavenly Father knew where Kinsley needed to be for Kindegarten the entire time. But since we were living 20 miles north, there is no way Kinsley ever would have been assigned for that school. So we had to apply to the lottery for the autism charter school to get us to move down here. Once we were down here, it allowed the opportunity for her to be placed in the school we'd had our eyes on the entire time, since it's the only school in our town that offers the "social communication kindergarten class" that the district wanted her to attend. 

We've seen the school, we've seen the teacher, and for the first time I can think about Kinsley's school situation without getting a lump in my throat and making homeschool plans. There is no way to describe any of this situation, except for that it is all from God. A blessing beyond measure after what felt like an eternity without direction. We're grateful and know that this is what is best for both of our children, and can't wait to see what's in store for them this year. 

5 comments

  1. Oh miracles do happen! It is crazy to feel abandoned, and finally give it all to a loving Heavenly Father, and then have it all work out. I'm so sorry for the crazy ups and downs this has given you. But I love how this story turned out. And thanks for showing that fighting for your kids doesn't mean loud fights. It's about doing what you feel is best for your kid.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words! It was definitely a roller coaster, but we're so pleased with how everything has turned around so far!

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  2. Thank you sharing your story and for your example! I'm trying to remember that in my life too right now. God really is there but sometimes it feels like He isn't. I'm so glad things worked out.

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    1. Yes! It's so hard in those moments where you feel like you're walking alone trying to figure it out, but He's definitely still there!

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