Critics of OPRF's TEAM program have gone too far

Opinion

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I am the parent of one current student in the [OPRF High School] TEAM program and one graduate of the program. My third child is in the LD program. I am also a school social worker in a neighboring district. I have learned to look at the special education program at the high school as both an insider and an outsider. The balance between the two is sometimes difficult.

No school program anywhere is perfect. Each program is influenced by money, personalities and the community in which the program exists. The staff at OPRF has been extremely responsive to my concerns, requests and comments. We have not always agreed, and there has been at least one meeting from which both the administrator and I left in tears. Administrators and teachers at OPRF have always come back to me with suggestions and ideas to help me to do what I see as necessary for my child within the framework of their program.

The current, ongoing controversey, which has been led by chronically unhappy families, has been public and sometimes ugly. My experience in dealing with Ms. Cada and Ms. Paplaczyk does not match the experience described by these families. I am puzzled, and frankly I am angry that these families have again taken their concerns to the public.

I read the recommendations that were made by the team that did the evaluation last year, and one idea has stuck with me. One of the observations was that the high school had been too quick to jump to make changes requested by parents. This certainly doesn't match the accusations made by these two families.

As I have said in the past, I think that some changes could be made. I would never request more academics, but I might like to see more work with self-help skills.

I continue to maintain that these [critical] families have a basic problem in accepting the limitations of their children. They need to learn to love the children they have been given and say good-bye to the children they wish they were given.

Peggy Vicars
Oak Park

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