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I want to buy a franchise


26 replies to this topic

#1
Darth Ender

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I have been in education, in someone or another, for almost twenty years.  The last ten or so being in school leadership.  I am getting frustrated and burnt out.  I have always wanted to build my own Montessori school, but my skill set isn't in building a coalition of parents with tons of money to go and do their own thing.  So want to buy a Montessori pre-k daycare and grow it out and add grade levels each year eventually becoming a PK-6.

 

I am currently going through the process of getting a small business loan and I have been in communication the last few weeks with a Montessori franchise.  The advantages of a franchise is they take care of a lot of stuff from security to payroll to architects to lease negotiation...all the stuff...again...I don't have the skills for.  

 

Anyways, anyone start their own business or franchise?  Any advice?


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#2
Tank

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I am an s-corp technically... but I didn't have to get loans or anything. It's just a tax shelter.



#3
Darth Ender

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I am an s-corp technically... but I didn't have to get loans or anything. It's just a tax shelter.

I am looking at a 700k-900k loan.  

 

Basically I have to put up everything as collateral.  Go big or go home.  


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#4
Destiny Skywalker

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Can you move to Seattle? I need something like this in my life.

Not much experience in the small business department other than my dad owning his own optometry practice, and I will say it is hell. Hire someone to man the front desk and handle billing, that crap is the worst. A franchise would seem to be the better deal as long as you are ok with aligning to standards (I know some people who absolutely chafe at that). Does your wife work? Not saying to hire her (totally don't do that). Just wondering how much flexibility you have as well as a financial backup (generally can't have both).

The only other experience I have is with our son's after school program, which is at a brand new STEM preschool. I love the owner, love the program, love the staff... but I gotta admit I'm not sure her business plan was solvent. She is not charging nearly enough (although I'm not going to complain about that), and she has mentioned operating in the red, as well as looking to become a nonprofit because then she can pay herself a salary. I think part of it is she wants to stay small and isn't necessarily in it to get rich, just make enough to be comfortable. She has years of childcare experience and pays her staff $15/hour (and they are absolutely worth it, which I can't say for most of the aftercare programs and summer camps my kids have gone to over the years).

#5
Darth Krawlie

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Lyras in a Montessori school and we LOVE it. Thats all I have to contribute. Good luck!
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#6
Ms. Spam

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Some things about franchise:

 

My experiences are totally from working in food while I went to college and beyond.

 

Yes, they do help with a lot of stuff but costs come with that and they'll be unwavering in where and how they want the money and payments. Read the contracts carefully. Is there additional fees you could end up paying for in the future? I used to work for Taco Bell Corporate in Georgia. And then restaurants started pushing franchises and my store was bought out by an Indian who had a degree in Nuclear Physics but came to America for a better life for his kids instead of working in a nuclear plant in some province of India. He griped when he had to pay to redo signage because Taco Bell was going through a revamp of their menu. He griped when he had to pay their vendors for food supplies and couldn't buy cheaper locally (we had to use Taco Bells supplier for a lot of stuff and it was outrageous what they charged for some things simply because they came prechopped. A bag of lettuce was $20 when I could have bought five heads of lettuce from a local supplier and chopped it for like $3.00 counting labor back in the 90s. He sold the franchise when they wanted him to pay to remodel the whole store to the new Taco Bell stuff you see now and had to use their contractors and couldn't chose his own through a bidding process.

 

I think you're just buying yourself a job for at least whatever the years of the contract with the franchise is. So while you're making money you're still paying money out to keep on working in an 'industry' you want to be in. 

 

I am in conference period now but I would recommend going to Facebook or something and seeing about what others experiences are with Montessori franchises. See what they liked and what they didn't like. No one I know has gone this route and I have a lot of principal and lead teachers who are just burnt out. A good friend of mine who got burned out went into grant writing for schools to help them pay for better things and promoting STEAM instead of doing what burned her out. Me, I went to a charter school and love the hell out of it.



#7
Darth Ender

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Can you move to Seattle? I need something like this in my life.

Not much experience in the small business department other than my dad owning his own optometry practice, and I will say it is hell. Hire someone to man the front desk and handle billing, that crap is the worst. A franchise would seem to be the better deal as long as you are ok with aligning to standards (I know some people who absolutely chafe at that). Does your wife work? Not saying to hire her (totally don't do that). Just wondering how much flexibility you have as well as a financial backup (generally can't have both).

The only other experience I have is with our son's after school program, which is at a brand new STEM preschool. I love the owner, love the program, love the staff... but I gotta admit I'm not sure her business plan was solvent. She is not charging nearly enough (although I'm not going to complain about that), and she has mentioned operating in the red, as well as looking to become a nonprofit because then she can pay herself a salary. I think part of it is she wants to stay small and isn't necessarily in it to get rich, just make enough to be comfortable. She has years of childcare experience and pays her staff $15/hour (and they are absolutely worth it, which I can't say for most of the aftercare programs and summer camps my kids have gone to over the years).

 

Good advice.  Do you know if it is a franchise or her just going it alone.  I thought about doing my own thing, and I feel I would be successful for day-to-day operations and longitudinal planning, but I would struggle with similar issues that it seems your PK is struggling with.   

 

This franchise is a STEM based Montessori program.  The owner said 30% capacity is the break even point and everything else is profit IF you follow their business model.  The fail rate of daycares is less than 4% and Denver population is booming, specifically young professionals...so the numbers are there.  My knowledge of PK education (this program starts at birth)  and as I said, I know next to nothing about the logistics of the program (architects, contractors, payroll, etc) so I am going to follow their plan to nth degree.  I agree with you, one of my emphasis is around compensation to attract strong staff.   

 

Lyras in a Montessori school and we LOVE it. Thats all I have to contribute. Good luck!

 

Yes!  I love the emphasis Montessori puts on whole child education, social emotional health, and community building.  These are all areas students today so desperately need due to the impacts on social media or whatever.  

Some things about franchise:

 

My experiences are totally from working in food while I went to college and beyond.

 

Yes, they do help with a lot of stuff but costs come with that and they'll be unwavering in where and how they want the money and payments. Read the contracts carefully. Is there additional fees you could end up paying for in the future? I used to work for Taco Bell Corporate in Georgia. And then restaurants started pushing franchises and my store was bought out by an Indian who had a degree in Nuclear Physics but came to America for a better life for his kids instead of working in a nuclear plant in some province of India. He griped when he had to pay to redo signage because Taco Bell was going through a revamp of their menu. He griped when he had to pay their vendors for food supplies and couldn't buy cheaper locally (we had to use Taco Bells supplier for a lot of stuff and it was outrageous what they charged for some things simply because they came prechopped. A bag of lettuce was $20 when I could have bought five heads of lettuce from a local supplier and chopped it for like $3.00 counting labor back in the 90s. He sold the franchise when they wanted him to pay to remodel the whole store to the new Taco Bell stuff you see now and had to use their contractors and couldn't chose his own through a bidding process.

 

I think you're just buying yourself a job for at least whatever the years of the contract with the franchise is. So while you're making money you're still paying money out to keep on working in an 'industry' you want to be in. 

 

I am in conference period now but I would recommend going to Facebook or something and seeing about what others experiences are with Montessori franchises. See what they liked and what they didn't like. No one I know has gone this route and I have a lot of principal and lead teachers who are just burnt out. A good friend of mine who got burned out went into grant writing for schools to help them pay for better things and promoting STEAM instead of doing what burned her out. Me, I went to a charter school and love the hell out of it.

Great advice!  The contract fee for the franchise is 61K up front (this covers a lot of start up costs) and 6% of total revenue.  One of the things I like about this franchise is that after I am approved, they give me $1500 to visit any of their others franchises.  They do have vendors that go along with the programming, but at the end of the day, the owner can still go somewhere else for those things.   

 

Yes, after PK the K-6 will be a charter program.  This will allow me continued flexibility, but limits my ability to compensate staff of what they deserve.  



#8
Destiny Skywalker

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She is going it alone. I think part of it is know your market. You know what you pay for daycare already, so you can be competitive without underselling yourself like my lady is. Aftercare at another competing facility (but much larger) is $700/month for aftercare only, and more fancy facilities but crap teachers. She is charging us $275/month and raising it to $375 next year.

#9
D-Ray Kenobi

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If I were to win the lottery, one of my first investments would be to franchise an Alamo Drafthouse theater in my town.

They have such a fantastic culture and business ethos.  Their brand name is beloved in film circles and they do so much cool stuff in the cities they're in.  Problem is, franchising it and running it would take a big investment and it would probably lose money for the first year until it could get roots in with the locals over the big box corporate theaters.

So yeah, waiting on that lottery windfall.



#10
Darth Ender

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She is going it alone. I think part of it is know your market. You know what you pay for daycare already, so you can be competitive without underselling yourself like my lady is. Aftercare at another competing facility (but much larger) is $700/month for aftercare only, and more fancy facilities but crap teachers. She is charging us $275/month and raising it to $375 next year.

Wow!  $275 a month is a steal!  I was paying $400/week when my youngest was born.  When my second came along it was more economical just to have a nanny (and she does light housework!). 

 

You are right about knowing your market,  Part of the cost is $5000 for market research and a location search.  For me at least, I think I know the area but I don't want to fall into the "I think I know but don't category" so I am willing to pay that fee to professionals.  I know dick about commercial real estate market, renovations, etc.  But awesome advice, thank you!

 

 

If I were to win the lottery, one of my first investments would be to franchise an Alamo Drafthouse theater in my town.

They have such a fantastic culture and business ethos.  Their brand name is beloved in film circles and they do so much cool stuff in the cities they're in.  Problem is, franchising it and running it would take a big investment and it would probably lose money for the first year until it could get roots in with the locals over the big box corporate theaters.

So yeah, waiting on that lottery windfall.

There is an Alamo down the street from me and I love it!  It is easily the best movie theatre chain ever.  I love the show older movies; I saw Christmas Vacation there last month.  Yeah, I could see that you would have to have millions already to buy a franchise.  



#11
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Montessori is the only type of school I'd consider for Noah. I went to a Montessori preschool, and we all loved it. 

We technically own our own business, but it's a one man service company, so not nearly the same. And it's not profitable. My husband probably has ADD, and I just don't ever see him being able to be profitable without help. And we can't afford help. 

So good luck to you!



#12
Ms. Spam

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If I were to win the lottery, one of my first investments would be to franchise an Alamo Drafthouse theater in my town.

They have such a fantastic culture and business ethos.  Their brand name is beloved in film circles and they do so much cool stuff in the cities they're in.  Problem is, franchising it and running it would take a big investment and it would probably lose money for the first year until it could get roots in with the locals over the big box corporate theaters.

So yeah, waiting on that lottery windfall.

My parents adore Alamo Drafthouse.



#13
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I have done a little research. Is it the Pinnacle Montessori? 

 

Also do they help you with advertising and getting students or working out getting voucher style payments to get money?

 

I think grant writing for STEM is what I may go into towards retirement. I love the hell out of teaching but politics, families who are crappy human beings to their kids and dumb bureaucracy kill me. 



#14
Destiny Skywalker

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I think grant writing for STEM is what I may go into towards retirement. I love the hell out of teaching but politics, families who are crappy human beings to their kids and dumb bureaucracy kill me. 

Some days I worry my kids' teachers hate us, but I've met a few burnouts and it's awful. The bureaucracy is total crap and I feel sorry for the teachers on that. Our public school district is so broken, though. I am fighting with them on adding an official diagnosis to my son's IEP. I just want it acknowledged that there is an actual cause to his struggles, not just that he's an a-hole like the paraeducators seem to assume. The special services department is like, can't we wait until his official review at the end of the year? The first semester isn't even over, jerks, no, you need to amend it.

I really need to get him into my daughter's private school. The teachers are so much happier, and with a few exceptions, they weed out bad teachers fast.

#15
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The special services department is probably beyond capacity and limited budget. In public school that's the department that gets the cuts the fastest and more people who are hired are just breathing bodies and not going to have the temperament to handle kids with special needs. I love public but I was fortunate enough to go to school back in the day where a lot of stuff wasn't emerging and I got a good education and was relatively middle ground (not a genius but not dumb so a good shove them into mainstream learning).

 

I think the reason my charter school works for me is most of these kids had to test to get into this charter school and we have a waiting list so all of these are kids who want to be here and learn and parents who are relatively supportive. Although we super struggle with PTA because it's also working class and who's parents have the energy to be there at school on off days helping run bake sales and programs to raise money?

 

Going private has it's added bonuses. 

 

I will pass on a story of me and my early childhood education program in College. I wasn't sure what I wanted to teach. In fact teaching was a fall back because by the time I realized I wouldn't have the money or wanted to borrow the money to go to law school I had to pick something and teaching was a way to give back and impact the community. So my adviser told me sub in different types of classes and see what fit me best.

 

One of the ones I subbed for was a special needs class as my mom has a masters in learning disorder teaching before drinking caused her to retire. So here I am working with some kids at a table with some fake money teaching them how to give change and calculate change. There was a group of us and this girl came to the class that day and she was sitting their smiling as I worked with two autism spectrum kids on how to give change. I was reaching across the table to give a fake 10 dollar bill to one to pay for a candy bar and asking what change I would get back for a $0.79 candy bar and this girl just reaches across the table and guides my arm to her mouth and then CHOMP. She bit hard into the soft skin between my thumb and finger and I let her do it! I didn't lose my cool but she let go of my arm and just smiled. Then I was like okay and moved on to helping my other students learn about change. Later we were doing a snack time and I was with some downs syndrome kids helping them open their lunches and napkins and stuff and I'm reaching across the table and she's there... with that big goofy grin. I was like nah, she won't bite. But sure as the sun rises she leaned in and bit the soft underside of my arm as I opened an applesauce package for a student and put a spoon it it and reached over to hand it to the other kid. I got bit two more times and finally went to the lead teacher of that classroom who was working with other more dire special needs class. WTF i said. I've been bitten 4 times today. And her answer was that they used to hang a sign on her that said I BITE but the mother objected. So the person I was subbing for just learned to be careful around her. She also told me she hoped that I had my tet shot. She was definitely a burn out. But this biter was the fourth kid from a special needs mom who kept having kids and this one was the most functioning of the kids. Her brothers in the classroom were all older and wearing diapers and one had to communicate through a special board where he'd put his pick in a hole on the board to indicate what he wanted or needed. I was like nope. Not going to specialize in that.



#16
Darth Ender

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Montessori is the only type of school I'd consider for Noah. I went to a Montessori preschool, and we all loved it. 

We technically own our own business, but it's a one man service company, so not nearly the same. And it's not profitable. My husband probably has ADD, and I just don't ever see him being able to be profitable without help. And we can't afford help. 

So good luck to you!

Thank you!  

 

I have done a little research. Is it the Pinnacle Montessori? 

 

Also do they help you with advertising and getting students or working out getting voucher style payments to get money?

 

I think grant writing for STEM is what I may go into towards retirement. I love the hell out of teaching but politics, families who are crappy human beings to their kids and dumb bureaucracy kill me. 

No.  Montessori Kids Universe.  Yes, they do advertising and such.  I agree with your last sentence 100%.  My school is HUGE...a PK-8 with 1200 students most with highly impacted backgrounds.  My job is a beast and it is literally killing me.  I was threatened by an adult gang member at Thanksgiving, 

 

 

I think grant writing for STEM is what I may go into towards retirement. I love the hell out of teaching but politics, families who are crappy human beings to their kids and dumb bureaucracy kill me. 

Some days I worry my kids' teachers hate us, but I've met a few burnouts and it's awful. The bureaucracy is total crap and I feel sorry for the teachers on that. Our public school district is so broken, though. I am fighting with them on adding an official diagnosis to my son's IEP. I just want it acknowledged that there is an actual cause to his struggles, not just that he's an a-hole like the paraeducators seem to assume. The special services department is like, can't we wait until his official review at the end of the year? The first semester isn't even over, jerks, no, you need to amend it.

I really need to get him into my daughter's private school. The teachers are so much happier, and with a few exceptions, they weed out bad teachers fast.

 

An diagnosis can only come from a physician, not an IEP.  Are you wanting to add a secondary disability like OHI?  Would it cause a change in services or accommodations?  Honestly, and this may seem terrible, but is probably a mindset thing with the paras.  I fight this **** on a daily.  Many adults in the building, even some teachers, struggle with the idea that all behaviors have a function and sometimes that function is not a choice and the CHILD is still developing skills.  Trust me, even when I show them the paperwork and explain the function some adults just don't ****ing get it.  

 

I would bet the SPED staff is probably packed full of evaluations and reevaluations.  So unless you are actually wanting to change services, I would let it go and wait for his annual.  SPED staff are the most over-worked, under-appreciated, and under-paid people in all of education.  If people are just being dicks, talk to the principal.  Be specific and name names.  But be super cool and supportive.  

 

The special services department is probably beyond capacity and limited budget. In public school that's the department that gets the cuts the fastest and more people who are hired are just breathing bodies and not going to have the temperament to handle kids with special needs. I love public but I was fortunate enough to go to school back in the day where a lot of stuff wasn't emerging and I got a good education and was relatively middle ground (not a genius but not dumb so a good shove them into mainstream learning).

 

I think the reason my charter school works for me is most of these kids had to test to get into this charter school and we have a waiting list so all of these are kids who want to be here and learn and parents who are relatively supportive. Although we super struggle with PTA because it's also working class and who's parents have the energy to be there at school on off days helping run bake sales and programs to raise money?

 

Going private has it's added bonuses. 

 

I will pass on a story of me and my early childhood education program in College. I wasn't sure what I wanted to teach. In fact teaching was a fall back because by the time I realized I wouldn't have the money or wanted to borrow the money to go to law school I had to pick something and teaching was a way to give back and impact the community. So my adviser told me sub in different types of classes and see what fit me best.

 

One of the ones I subbed for was a special needs class as my mom has a masters in learning disorder teaching before drinking caused her to retire. So here I am working with some kids at a table with some fake money teaching them how to give change and calculate change. There was a group of us and this girl came to the class that day and she was sitting their smiling as I worked with two autism spectrum kids on how to give change. I was reaching across the table to give a fake 10 dollar bill to one to pay for a candy bar and asking what change I would get back for a $0.79 candy bar and this girl just reaches across the table and guides my arm to her mouth and then CHOMP. She bit hard into the soft skin between my thumb and finger and I let her do it! I didn't lose my cool but she let go of my arm and just smiled. Then I was like okay and moved on to helping my other students learn about change. Later we were doing a snack time and I was with some downs syndrome kids helping them open their lunches and napkins and stuff and I'm reaching across the table and she's there... with that big goofy grin. I was like nah, she won't bite. But sure as the sun rises she leaned in and bit the soft underside of my arm as I opened an applesauce package for a student and put a spoon it it and reached over to hand it to the other kid. I got bit two more times and finally went to the lead teacher of that classroom who was working with other more dire special needs class. WTF i said. I've been bitten 4 times today. And her answer was that they used to hang a sign on her that said I BITE but the mother objected. So the person I was subbing for just learned to be careful around her. She also told me she hoped that I had my tet shot. She was definitely a burn out. But this biter was the fourth kid from a special needs mom who kept having kids and this one was the most functioning of the kids. Her brothers in the classroom were all older and wearing diapers and one had to communicate through a special board where he'd put his pick in a hole on the board to indicate what he wanted or needed. I was like nope. Not going to specialize in that.

Yeah, we have a K-5 autism center at my school.  You have to be a special breed to do that.  I generally support in there 2-3 times a week and I honestly could not do it.  Those teachers are amazing.  



#17
Destiny Skywalker

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I'm pretty sure the paraeducators are just low-paid people they got for cheap who have zero training in actual special education. I know our public school district basically hires anyone with a pulse to be a para or a sub. One day I got a nasty phone call from one of the paras because my son, with his poor executive functioning skills, spit up (poor kid still has reflux), and thought wiping it on the paraeducators jacket was a good way to get rid of it. She called me up furious. I let the principal know that her attitude was unacceptable. Was it a bad decision? Absolutely. Was her attitude as a paraeducator and as a grown ass woman inappropriate? Yep. I really do like his teacher so I made it clear that this was in no way her fault.

I don't think it would necessarily change his services but basically we have a really halfass IEP because we knew something was up and that he needed to be in this developmental Kindergarten program (7 kids in his class, 1 teacher and 2 dedicated paraeducators). But I this was April and our appointment with neurodevelopmental at the Children's hospital wasnt until September. Once we figured out it was ADHD causing his fine and gross motor delays as well as behavioral issues, I thought it should be added. (Side note: people really like to throw autism around as the hot new diagnosis. We got put in a bad position by a really bad evaluation our daycare used to railroad us. I'm glad we fought for him but it literally took 10 months because they threw the "A word" out there instead of properly realizing it was ADHD.) Basically he got what we needed out of it (into the DK program, busing, OT for the motor delays) but it's not great quality otherwise. And yes, if I hear another word about his "choices", I'm going to scream. The kid is lacking in skills, especially when he is overwhelmed. Not choices.

PreK through 8? Is that private or public? That is a big school, my daughter's school is a similar set up but only about 1000 kids. They have 3 principals, 2 assistant principals, and a superintendent to oversee all of them. (But probably lacking on the adult gang members since it's a religious school.)

#18
Ms. Spam

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Jesus. My school is K-8 with a headstart program and just has 458 kids total. My kids have me through 4th and 5th grade because we are that small. I get my fourth graders in the morning and fifth graders in the afternoon. They do Language Arts (re: spelling, grammar, reading comprehension, writing) with the other teacher and I'm responsible for science, math, social studies, history and geography. We get a kind of break in the middle where they either go to art, music or pe or recess. Which is usually when I am posting here because I'm not ready to grade or enter any information in the computer.  My fourth grade class is 24 students and my fifth grade class is 23. I had to get certification in science and math and social studies for lower grades but I like this a lot more.

 

Yes, I think any Autism or ADHD diagnosis gets thrown around more than it needs to. But I think I have posted my feelings on that. I feel kids develop at their own pace and people want labels to explain why their kids behave a certain way. I'm a weirdo. 

 

If it gives you an idea of how badly people who work in the special needs classes as "helpers" is for salary ours makes $18,450 for one school year. it takes a very special person to do that work daily AND make less than minimum wage.



#19
Destiny Skywalker

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E definitely has ADHD. It was nice to finally have something to explain why he's so smart and sociable but falling behind in certain skills. If anything, our problem was there was a reluctance to diagnose a 4/5-year old with ADHD. People were much more comfortable suggesting autism, and I think its because you can't medicate autism and people would rather not medicate kids. My husband was also diagnosed with ADHD as a kid, so it wasn't much of a surprise that one of our kids would have it. The real issue is that my son has all 3 areas where my husband only had 2. (I would say he's still inattentive but outgrew/manages the hyperactivity.) We are going to have to try meds, 3 medical professionals have all told us we are already doing everything we can (parenting, therapy, etc). So hopefully once we go that route he can focus and start developing those missing skills.

#20
Darth Ender

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I'm pretty sure the paraeducators are just low-paid people they got for cheap who have zero training in actual special education. I know our public school district basically hires anyone with a pulse to be a para or a sub. One day I got a nasty phone call from one of the paras because my son, with his poor executive functioning skills, spit up (poor kid still has reflux), and thought wiping it on the paraeducators jacket was a good way to get rid of it. She called me up furious. I let the principal know that her attitude was unacceptable. Was it a bad decision? Absolutely. Was her attitude as a paraeducator and as a grown ass woman inappropriate? Yep. I really do like his teacher so I made it clear that this was in no way her fault.

I don't think it would necessarily change his services but basically we have a really halfass IEP because we knew something was up and that he needed to be in this developmental Kindergarten program (7 kids in his class, 1 teacher and 2 dedicated paraeducators). But I this was April and our appointment with neurodevelopmental at the Children's hospital wasnt until September. Once we figured out it was ADHD causing his fine and gross motor delays as well as behavioral issues, I thought it should be added. (Side note: people really like to throw autism around as the hot new diagnosis. We got put in a bad position by a really bad evaluation our daycare used to railroad us. I'm glad we fought for him but it literally took 10 months because they threw the "A word" out there instead of properly realizing it was ADHD.) Basically he got what we needed out of it (into the DK program, busing, OT for the motor delays) but it's not great quality otherwise. And yes, if I hear another word about his "choices", I'm going to scream. The kid is lacking in skills, especially when he is overwhelmed. Not choices.

PreK through 8? Is that private or public? That is a big school, my daughter's school is a similar set up but only about 1000 kids. They have 3 principals, 2 assistant principals, and a superintendent to oversee all of them. (But probably lacking on the adult gang members since it's a religious school.)

You are right.  With paras, we have to often hire whomever applies.  Pay is low and you have to put up with a lot of BS.  Our paras are not allowed to make phone calls home.  Don't get me wrong...we have some AWESOME paras, but it is a tough position to fill.  You did the right thing, but the principal probably knows.  I had a para position that took me a year and a half to fill.  Sometimes you have to weigh whether or not the person is worth firing with the possibility of not filling the job.  

 

If the IEP goals and accommodations are based on autism when he actually has ADHD...yeah...those should be different due to the root cause being different.  I would wait till the medication kicks in and have teachers track certain behaviors for six weeks then so the meeting.  But even if your son has autism, that is still no excuse for the para to act ****ty.  A good acronym for finding the function of the behavior is EATS:

 

Escape

Attention

Treat (reward)

SENSORY!!!!!!!  Just because a sound/light/fabric etc isn't affecting you, doesn't mean it is not impacting a 5 year-old with a learning difference.  

 

We are a public school.  Wow!  Our admin team is just one principal and two assistant principals.  It looks like your school is VERY top heavy and could spare some money for a few extra paras.  If it is a public school, that is dictated by the district.  If it is a private school....that is another matter unless the school doesn't have deans and coaches.  

Jesus. My school is K-8 with a headstart program and just has 458 kids total. My kids have me through 4th and 5th grade because we are that small. I get my fourth graders in the morning and fifth graders in the afternoon. They do Language Arts (re: spelling, grammar, reading comprehension, writing) with the other teacher and I'm responsible for science, math, social studies, history and geography. We get a kind of break in the middle where they either go to art, music or pe or recess. Which is usually when I am posting here because I'm not ready to grade or enter any information in the computer.  My fourth grade class is 24 students and my fifth grade class is 23. I had to get certification in science and math and social studies for lower grades but I like this a lot more.

 

Yes, I think any Autism or ADHD diagnosis gets thrown around more than it needs to. But I think I have posted my feelings on that. I feel kids develop at their own pace and people want labels to explain why their kids behave a certain way. I'm a weirdo. 

 

If it gives you an idea of how badly people who work in the special needs classes as "helpers" is for salary ours makes $18,450 for one school year. it takes a very special person to do that work daily AND make less than minimum wage.

 

Wow...we have five teachers at each grade level except 6-8 have four.  

E definitely has ADHD. It was nice to finally have something to explain why he's so smart and sociable but falling behind in certain skills. If anything, our problem was there was a reluctance to diagnose a 4/5-year old with ADHD. People were much more comfortable suggesting autism, and I think its because you can't medicate autism and people would rather not medicate kids. My husband was also diagnosed with ADHD as a kid, so it wasn't much of a surprise that one of our kids would have it. The real issue is that my son has all 3 areas where my husband only had 2. (I would say he's still inattentive but outgrew/manages the hyperactivity.) We are going to have to try meds, 3 medical professionals have all told us we are already doing everything we can (parenting, therapy, etc). So hopefully once we go that route he can focus and start developing those missing skills.

I don't understand the whole not medicating thing when ADHD is caused by blood flow issues in the brain.  Also, even with other supports, the child is still living with the anxiety that goes along with ADHD, they can just do a better job managing it.  Many drugs, particularly amphetamines treat ADHD.  This is one of the reasons why substance abuse rates are so high of students with ADHD that do not receive medication.  



#21
Destiny Skywalker

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They don't have Deans and it is a private school. There is a Pre-K through 2 principal, 3-5 principal, and 6-8 principal. Teachers and some principals coach sports teams and Robotics teams. Elementary shares an assistant principal, and middle school has their own. It might seem top-heavy but they run a pretty efficient place and tuition is cheaper than all the other local private schools. But no paraeducators, officially. They do have a support team and an extra teacher's aide (who I think is really a para in disguise) in each K-2 classroom, though.

Most people have no idea what the heck ADHD medication actually does, they think you're just doping your kid up. Admittedly, my husband hated being medicated because he said it made him fuzzy. (Personally I think it was because it made him lose his "edge" in soccer. He was a really gifted, precise athlete who just seems super attuned to his body. Aging is killing him because he feels it way more than I do.) We will see what happens when we get there next month, I'm just hoping no adverse reactions. We had a hell of a time finding a psychiatrist who would work with a kid under age 6.

Fortunately, he's not autistic. But some ADHD behaviors can look like autism. I think we mistook hyperactivity for sensory issues. We did sensory therapy and it wasn't working, and I think that was why. But he does get overwhelmed with busy, noisy environments, but I think that's that place where ADHD and sensory mix.

Thank you for the tips on tracking behaviors after he starts on the medication.

#22
Ms. Spam

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Usually they end up hiring teachers aids because it's easier to fill that position as generally speaking you just have to have a high school diploma and be able to drive and have nothing on their records so they can open the pool of applicants up. But in the end they get screwed paywise. Teachers aids in my school district get about $16,000 in yearly salary. But most are pretty loving and have a gusto to help.

 

EATS is fantastic and I actually have some sensory stuff in my classroom. I have a treasure chest in the classroom and generally they can chose from it as a reward. I try to buy things throughout the year that they want and stock it.

 

Medicating does make you feel different. I know it's hard to decide these things. My sister is bipolar and she feels really strange on her meds. She doesn't connect and basically lives in a middle world where we get less tears and anger and the manic stage is just mumbling.  I am not dismissing your diagnosis for E. You know what is best for your kiddo and you're the parent. So I totally respect your needs. Each case is so different. I think for a group of educators we have to push past a kind of not quite taking things on face value because so many parents are their kids best friends and not their parents being a good advocate.



#23
Cerina

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About every third healthcare and/or educational professional Luke sees suggests that he might be autistic. He has some mad ignoring skills and a general disdain for following directions given by strangers.

I just got an email today from his school asking to move his IEP meeting from May to next month because as of last week, the end of the 2nd 9-weeks, he's met all of his speech goals for the year. I'm not sure what that means for his enrollment in the early childhood program. He may not qualify any longer.
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#24
Destiny Skywalker

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About every third healthcare and/or educational professional Luke sees suggests that he might be autistic. He has some mad ignoring skills and a general disdain for following directions given by strangers.

Go get a real evaluation. Seriously, after seeing the diagnosis criteria for ADHD in preschoolers, I wanted to plaster it all over the walls of his preschool. So much pain could've been avoided if they knew what the real signs are.
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#25
Cerina

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We're switching pediatricians now. I seriously dislike their old one, and this last visit was my final straw. 

Trevor took both boys in about a week after the accident earlier this month both as a follow-up to the accident and to get Luke's yearly check-up. The pediatrician questioned Trevor about literally every single bruise and scab on Luke. She refused to believe Trevor when he said he didn't know about all of them because Luke is 3 and every time we turn around he's falling or bumping into something or smacking himself in the head with something. He doesn't have excessive bruising or anything. He's just like every other little kid I know whose covered in faint bruises and the occasional scrape. The she flat out refused to continue examining Noah because she said Luke was too distracting when literally all he was doing was climbing up onto the exam table to sit next to Noah. They're just terrible. 

So we're switching their insurance so we can see someone closer and hopefully better. I have a mountain of stuff I'd like to bring up again with someone who will actually take the time to listen. 


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