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IEP states "no substitute teachers" ... and that's the situation we're in


EmilyM

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Is there any good way of handling maternity leave when an IEP states "no substitute teachers?"

It's one of those years in my grade where both teachers, myself include, are in the family way. Student was placed in my colleague's class, but medical stuff and family stuff went down, and so now she is off for most of the year for her maternity leave. She was promptly replaced with a long-term sub, but Parent was pretty upset about the situation. Because the other teacher and myself work closely together, there is an unofficial view of a team of teachers being there for all the kids. Now that I'll be eventually going on maternity leave, parent isn't happy again because, tragically true, it's throwing off and upsetting the kid again.

Now, it's important to note this is a virtual school, so while you might think most of the school work is done with the parent anyway and the substitute thing shouldn't matter all that much, the kid still very much needs the stability.  A teacher taking a day off at our school tends to be a lot less of a hassle than at your usual school, so the situation of the IEP statement never really was an issue, but the long-term situation of a new sub is pretty similar. 

Is there a real way to have all this balance with the statement of the IEP?

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To give further info on this, the IEP was written in a traditional in-person school with the plan to have a buddy teacher ready, or the opportunity to stay home and complete Google Classroom that day.

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If I saw this on an IEP, I would think the school's obligation would be to provide instructional material to the family and they would homeschool during any teacher absences.  (I'm shocked it got into an IEP given that teachers can get pregnant or have an accident that could leave them out of the picture for a long while.)

It does make sense in a co-teacher situation where the odds of both teachers being out would be slim.  My thought is to follow the IEP.  That's the school's obligation or they will get into hot water with the state.  Notify the parent to not send their child to school until your coworker is back from leave.  (Let the sp ed director talk to the school's solicitor about the implications of following this clause in the IEP.  It's really at this level IMO.)

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19 minutes ago, JSD24 said:

If I saw this on an IEP, I would think the school's obligation would be to provide instructional material to the family and they would homeschool during any teacher absences.  (I'm shocked it got into an IEP given that teachers can get pregnant or have an accident that could leave them out of the picture for a long while.)

It does make sense in a co-teacher situation where the odds of both teachers being out would be slim.  My thought is to follow the IEP.  That's the school's obligation or they will get into hot water with the state.  Notify the parent to not send their child to school until your coworker is back from leave.  (Let the sp ed director talk to the school's solicitor about the implications of following this clause in the IEP.  It's really at this level IMO.)

We're in the weird situation of an online school where the student is already at home with the teachers. But the student meets daily with the teachers for mini lessons and communicates with them. So we really can't say "stay home". It's going to be several months of overlap, so that's a lot of time to miss. 

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Could the school possibly bring in the next sub for a good few weeks/month before you leave so there's a time to acclimate? It doesn't really fit the verbage of the IEP as it sounds here but it might satisfy the parent. 

Would either you or the teacher be willing (if allowed) to work during the summer/break so the student could pause school for now and resume it with a familiar teacher? (And I know that all depends on your willingness and I respect that).

I do think there needs to be a meeting with the parent to hash out the situation that some degree and look at options. I'm thinking it wasn't the best accommodation to pop into an IEP, though I agree it makes sense in milder situations.

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13 hours ago, EmilyM said:

We're in the weird situation of an online school where the student is already at home with the teachers. But the student meets daily with the teachers for mini lessons and communicates with them. So we really can't say "stay home". It's going to be several months of overlap, so that's a lot of time to miss. 

Mini lessons with the teacher are OK.  If they are with a sub, you are not following the IEP and this opens the school up to a due process suit.  Subs cannot instruct this student or they are not following the IEP.  With the IEP, the school & family agreed to this.  It is a binding contract that the school should be following.  If you want to find balance, you need to redo that part of the IEP.

When my sons were in 3rd grade, their teacher was on maternity leave.  They started the year with a sub.  Their teacher was due to come back for the last few weeks of school but the parents advocated that she not come back to her classroom so the sub they had from Sept - May could finish the year with her class.  If this was the situation, this child would miss a full year of instruction.  My twins also had an English teacher in 7th who went on sabbatical for 1/2 the year where they had a sub.  Long Term subs aren't like a daily sub, maybe the IEP should have covered this happening.

It's a situation where you are between a rock & a hard place.  Do your job & teach this student so they can learn which violates the IEP or follow the IEP & don't provide instruction for a months long maternity leave and that verges on educational neglect.  Teachers are not paid enough to make this decision themself.  It really requires admin to figure this out.

Do you know the backstory on why this is in the IEP?  Did a sub contradict what the teacher said which resulted in a shutdown of the student?  Knowing this might help the IEP team come up with something appropriate to the situation.

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On 10/27/2023 at 11:52 PM, JSD24 said:

It's a situation where you are between a rock & a hard place.  Do your job & teach this student so they can learn which violates the IEP or follow the IEP & don't provide instruction for a months long maternity leave and that verges on educational neglect.  Teachers are not paid enough to make this decision themself.  It really requires admin to figure this out.

Do you know the backstory on why this is in the IEP?  Did a sub contradict what the teacher said which resulted in a shutdown of the student?  Knowing this might help the IEP team come up with something appropriate to the situation.

Either way, the other teacher and I get to go on maternity leave, but it does put the school in a weird situation if this isn't altered soon. Since this was a move from another school, we are still in the time frame to create the new IEP for this school, but this parent seems to have this as the hill to die on. 

From what I know, the child struggles immensely with change and while that is being worked on, they want as much stability as possible for the child. I guess some documentation was brought in which led the previous school to allow the child to avoid the classroom in times of a sub. 

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The school might need to assign a teacher from another grade to work with this student.  If the wording says 'sub', they can hire a temporary teacher or a guest teacher - so long as they aren't a sub - so they technically are following the IEP.  (The IEP was definitely not written with a baby boom in mind.)

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