Read the Divorce Case Study:  Planning for Angela, and respond with your thoughts on questions that follow the study.

1.  What are your options for involving all stake holders in the process?
2.  What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
3.  What exactly will you do?
 


Comments

Melissa Wilton
05/30/2011 17:49

1. It is a great thing that both of Angela’s parents are so concerned with her future and have been actively advocating for her. She seems to have a strong support system. Often with ADD, it is hard for the student to find a potential career that they can not only focus on but enjoy, especially as young as 16. In this case, I think it is crucial to keep Angela’s preference in mind. That being said, I would think it important to find out just what Angela is passionate about; what is it that she enjoys doing that might be a possible career path? Sure, gainful employment is the ultimate goal, but perhaps there is something other than the two options presented that would make for a more fulfilling career. I would encourage Angela and her parents to explore all of their options, and possibly take a career test. They could all be a part of this exploration, and might possibly find options that would be pleasing to everyone. If that wasn’t something they wanted to do, and preferred instead to stick with what they have already been doing, I would encourage the three of them to work on networking. It seems that the father has friends that are supportive of his daughter’s needs; perhaps some of his other friends or their friends know of someone who could offer Angela an internship in an office. Angela’s mom may also know of someone who could help.
2. In this case, it appears that both parents are encouraging and supportive. There is the possibility that each parent is serving their own interests rather than their daughters, but I think that is done unintentionally; they just want what’s best for her. I think that the father’s idea, while good in the short term, may not evolve into a rewarding career for Angela. As she has already expressed interest in her previous office job, and considering that people with ADD find it difficult to focus in situations that don’t hold their interest, I think that it would be wise to listen to Angela’s preferences. A good education will always be more valuable than a job that may or may not last.
3. In order to honor Angela’s interests as well as her parents, I would schedule a meeting with all three family members. I would prepare a list of resources intended to help Angela find out what her passion is, what fields her skills would work in, and how to learn to utilize those skills. I would help them find a career test for Angela and encourage her to always be open with her parents concerning her wishes. I would suggest that they have weekly update meetings to discuss where they are in the process. Finally, I would encourage them to come to me at any time for help or support. It is Angela’s future that we are discussing here; I’m sure that with the proper support and resources her parents would be willing to compromise in order to help her have the best life possible.

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shannon dehuff
06/01/2011 19:12

1. In dealing with difficult family situations when there is a child involved in transition, it is imperative to first gather all educational as well as vocational data in order to present that during a meeting. It appears in this situation that although both of Angelas parents want what they think is best for her, thier ideas are very different. It doesn't appear however that either of them have considered what Angela herself wants. There are several options for involving all stake holders which could include, to name a few, vocational testing at local colleges to see which careers might suit her best, there is functional academic testing such as the Wiat and baseline CBM's that could be administered to find out what exactly her shortcomings are and how we could strengthen those areas. Sometimes we find providing both parents and student with a balance of options makes everyone happy and allows for the best social, academic, emotional and vocational growth. Iwould first meet with Angela and mom, then Angela and dad, then I would meet with Angela individually to see what her thoughts are. It would be extremely important in this situation to make Angela's interests and capabilities paramount. It seems that neither parent has confidence in her ability to succeed as an individual. Dad wants her under the vocational shelter and mom wants her under the educational umbrella, but neither of them are realizing there needs to be balance.
2. The pros to this approach as a case manager would be that I can gather as much information in a non confrontational way before the meeting. I can address each parents needs, as well as hear Angela's thoughts before I bring the information to the team. The cons to this approach are that it might possibly lead to a tug of war in which each side has a strongly valid argument and it will become difficult to create a final plan.
3. As case manager, I would gather educational information from her instructors: is she succeeding? What are her strengths/weaknesses. I would do baseline testing and assessments to gather hard data. I would contact my transition partners and find out what vocational options are available for Angela. After gathering all data, I would set up a meeting in which I would invite as many professional members of the team as possible. I would have administrative LEA's present, Vocational professionals, both parents, regualr education teachers, and a work experience coordinator present. I would create goals and objectives that would meet both education and vocation needs. There needs to be balance in this situation, espescially since Angela is not yet 18. Iwould sugggest to parents that Angela continue on in school to meet her social and emotional needs but also possibly enroll in a work experience program and find a part time job of her choice after school and on weekends. This job experience would translate to educational credits which could be applied to the overall graduation requirement. Once all credits have been earned, either through work experience or daily curriculum outcomes, Angela would then have more time to eventually get out into the work force as her educational goals will have been met. This provides a smoother transition for a child who is trying to exit education and enter vocation and it also keeps both parents happy.

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Natasha Ferrel
06/05/2011 10:33


1. Angela has a variety of educational options available to her. Her parents and teachers could determine that Angela might benefit most if she remained in school and continued on with the vocational program as originally outlined. However, through the collaboration of teaching professionals and Angela’s family, they might also determine an alternative option. This second option would allow Angela to attend general education classes, computer courses, home economics, and continue her reading literacy. Another viable option might involve her emphasizing vocational strengths over academic skills. In this respect, those looking out for Angela’s best interests could feel that developing the ability to function out in the work world takes priority over all else. The last option represents a combination of the available possibilities and ultimately the best option for Angela. This possibility would allow Angela to attend general education classes in the morning while taking advantage of a more vocationally orientated work program in the afternoon.

2/3. If Angela were to attend general education classes in the morning while also enrolling in a work-program in the afternoon, she would receive several benefits. First, she would further her education, including computer skills, and reading abilities. This is important for any sixteen-year-old student, soon to be a valuable, contributing member of society. And secondly, through real world work experience Angela will develop applicable skills as well as progressively increasing her self-esteem and confidence. Maintaining a positive outlook will have a reflection on how she performs and interacts with others on a daily basis. For adolescents sixteen years of age, this is particularly important not only for them, but also for their family members and the friends they chose to form relationships with. And finally, this option also adequately satisfies the wants and needs of each of Angela’s estranged parents. If they believe in the new program then they will be more likely to support Angela in her endeavors.


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Michele Walsh
06/05/2011 13:33

Due to the volatile and potentially emotional discussion from the varying viewpoints, I might start by using technology initially to get stakeholders positions clarified in a controlled manner by using email and ask them to list their top three results/outcome goals. My replies to each individual would be used to validate that the person was both heard and included. I would also use the email replies to disseminate to all parties the engagement rules for the meeting so they would have the same foundation and so facilitation could always use that to reign in discussion and keeps some order with emphasis on productive communication. Ultimately, I would need to know from my administrator if legally there are any issues about who is invited to attend as well. Through all the communications, I would be very direct, professional and constantly restate the goal providing the opportunities that are in the best interest of the student for strong foundation and transition in her young adult life.

It sounds like Angela is invested in gaining more work experience and has felt positive and satisfied by that initial experience. I would need her current supervisory and teacher feed back about her experience performance and standing in classes as well. The father sounds invested in work experience too, but I see a red flag about the “friend” with the clothing store as it is unknown if the “friend” is a relationship trigger for the mom and that is where the resistance may be coming from in her response. To dispel this, I would reframe the potential employment opportunity as an example of a potential resource but focus on work possibilities, not that specific one. It sounds like the mom is focused on creating a stronger academic base and practical skill set for her daughter. I would try to take the strengths perspective of all of these factors to build a plan with partial opportunity for each to be included. If the parties would agree to a part-time school day with mom’s top three areas addressed, a part-time work experience similar to the one Angela had and liked before, and the top three skills she will need if after turning 18 she chooses to work for dad’s “friend” incorporated into the school/work experiences, we would have a plan.

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Katie Bergin
06/05/2011 19:16

1. What are your options for involving all stake holders in the process?
Legally, the parents need to be involved in the decision making process. At first, I would focus on Angela and her parents. Perhaps, I could interview Angela and ask her some questions about her future and her interests. Then each parent can view the video separately. That way the focus can be on Angela rather than the parents arguing. Angela is also legally suppose to be a part of the decision making. If Angela is interested in working part-time, she can express that and whether or not she would like to work for her dad's friend. If she does seem interested in working, she can balance work and school as part of her transition plan. It should be put into her transition plan so that it is manageable for Angela and not overwhelming. Once Angela's preferences are expressed, there should be efforts made to have everyone present at the meetings. If there are still issues between, the parts, the counselor can be brought in to come up with a solution that is legal and accommodates everyone's needs.
2. What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
The pros are that everyone involved loves Angela and wants to be apart of the process. The cons are insuring that the parents do not focus on their differences rather than Angela's future. Other cons can be related to legal issues and making sure that everyone that needs to be involved is involved.
3. What exactly will you do?
I will try my best to get all parties in the same room eventually to address Angela's needs. I will work to build a partnership with each side and try to bring them together. I will remained focused on Angela and be her advocate to keep her as the center of the discussion.

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Amanda McBride
06/05/2011 19:42

1. What are your options for involving all stakeholders in this process?
I think that both parents have Angela's best interst in mind.However, have they thought to stop and listen to what she wants despite their feelings and hostility towards one another? In this situation it is going to be difficult, but would be best to sit down with Angela first and determine what is truly important to her. Then, possibly meet with both of the parents separately (Mom first since she does have sole custody) and discuss Angela's wishes. Once everyone has become aware of such then a meeting with all involved can take place. The most important thing here is to keep in mind that a transition plan should be put in place and implemented for Angela to achieve her own goals and happiness.
2. What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
Pros-Both parents love Angela and appear to be active in her education. In sitting down with all involved (separately) first, everybody involved gets to express their desires and in the end Angela's best interests should be achieved.
Cons-The parents need to listen to Angela's needs and desires instead of one anothers. In turn, the parents need to not make this a competition, but rather be involved when need be. Placing all of the stakeholders in one room at once may only become an unproductive meeting and therefore more hurtful to Angela.
3. What exactly will I do?
I am solely here for Angela as an educator and her best interests are all I care about. I will first sit down with her and determine her desires and then meet with each parent individually. I will then ask if all involved are willing to sit down to meet and determine a plan. As I already mentioned, the parent's individual feelings towards one another are irrelevant and I want to make sure that Angela is all that we focus on.

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Mark Rincon
06/05/2011 20:54

1. After reading the case study, it is refreshing to see that both Angela’s parents are involved within her life. Although, it is a very tricky situation since both parents are not on speaking terms. First, I would contact each parent asking them what preference they have for and how I communicate with them. Second, I would ask parents what information or resources that they would find the most helpful in the process. Third, I would ask if the parents would like to meet a school counselor and myself in a separate meeting.

2. The pros and cons for asking the parents what preference they have for and how I communicate with them is to make sure that I document all of my conversations with the parent in my own professional journal. In addition, the possibility of one parent not interacting or responding to my request could result from this idea.

Parents may have had a bad experience with a previous educator or professional and feel that we are constantly probing. I want to make sure that parents have a clear idea that I am here to help their student and any questions such as what information that they may find helpful will only benefit them. Some parents are more than willing to interact with an educator and professional and appreciate the information provided to them about tools and resources.

Ideas that involve outside parties such as a school counselor could make the parent uneasy because they do not like to be outnumbered at a meeting. Or parents may find that a teacher may not have all the answers and would look forward to a meeting with a counselor as beneficial.

3. In the situation with Angela and her parents, I would make sure that I communicate with the parents and establish a preference for communication such as via e-mail. E-mail conversations are stored and provide a great resource to review if conversations seize to exist between the parents. Next, I would encourage the parents to meet with a school counselor and see if the counselor would be able to get the parents to agree on a consensus with planning work experiences and maintaining a healthy social life. Myself as an educator is to make sure that parents and reformers are thinking of Angela with the best interests in mind.

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06/06/2011 09:11

1. What are your options for involving all stake holders in the process?
Initially, I would send an email to everyone that is important in Angela's success, such as, Angela, each of her parents, teachers, advocates, and other professionals to discuss the options for her first year in the vocational program. In the email I would propose the following options and ask for other recommendations from everyone. The options could be a program only at school including general education and functional academic classes, or general education classes half day and work study the rest of the day, or functional academic classes half day and work study the rest of the day. After receiving input and other ideas, I would schedule a meeting to finalize Angela's program. Although Angela is 16 years old, I would listen carefully to her desires for her program. I believe as much as possible it is best to incorporate Angela's desires and her parent’s desires into the development of her program. By compromising, I believe it is possible to have all parties satisfied with the final school program that Angela will participate.
2. What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
The pros are that all parties would participate and compromise and the best program would we developed for Angela. The cons are that there is the possibility of conflict and lack of flexibility among Angela's parents and then as the organizer of her program, I would need to make a final decision on her schedule that possibly would disappoint her parents. I think the important issue to remember is that this is Angela's first year in the program and that lots will be learned by her which can be incorporated into the following semester and year of the program to better meet her needs as a student.
3. What exactly will you do?
I believe my first priority is to respect Angela desires. Due to her age, it is critical to incorporate her parent’s desires for her into the decision. I will request input by everyone interested in Angela's program by email and then schedule a meeting for everyone interested to attend to finalize her program. All those who are interested can participate in emails and are welcome to attend the meeting. The focus is on developing the best program for Angela. In this manner my goal would be to avoid conflict between the parents and remember that respecting Angela's preferences is critical in her program development and enjoyment as a student.

Reply
06/06/2011 14:06

1. What are your options for involving all stake holders in the process?
Initially, I would send an email to everyone that is important in Angela's success, such as, Angela, each of her parents, teachers, advocates, and other professionals to discuss the options for her first year vocational program. In the email I would propose the following options and ask for other recommendations from everyone. The options could be a program only at school including general education and functional academic classes, or general education classes half day and work study the rest of the day, or functional academic classes half day and work study the rest of the day. After receiving input and other ideas, I would schedule a meeting to finalize Angela's schedule. Although Angela is 16 years old, I would listen carefully to her desires for her program. I believe as much as possible it is best to incorporate Angela's desires and her parent’s desires into the development of her program. By compromising, I believe it is possible to have all parties satisfied with the final school program that Angela participates.
2. What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
The pros are that all parties would participate and compromise and the best program would we developed for Angela. The cons are that there is the possibility of conflict and lack of flexibility among Angela's parents and then as the organizer of her program, I would need to make a final decision on her schedule. I think the important issue to remember is that this is Angela's first year in the program and that lots will be learned by her which can be incorporated into the following semester and year of the program to better meet her needs as a student.
3. What exactly will you do?
I believe my first priority is to Angela. Due to her age, it is critical to incorporate her parent’s desires for her into the decision. I will request input by everyone interested in Angela's program by email and then schedule a meeting for everyone interested to attend to finalize her schedule. All those who are interested in participating are welcome to attend. The focus is on developing the best program for Angela. In this manner my goal would be to avoid conflict between the parents and remember that respecting Angela's preferences is critical in her program development and enjoyment as a student.

Reply
06/06/2011 19:59

1. What are your options for involving all stake holders in the process?
Initially, I would send an email to everyone that is important in Angela's success, such as, Angela, each of her parents, teachers, advocates, and other professionals to discuss the options for her first year vocational program. In the email I would propose the following options and ask for other recommendations from everyone. The options could be a program only at school including general education and functional academic classes, or general education classes half day and work study the rest of the day, or functional academic classes half day and work study the rest of the day. After receiving input and other ideas, I would schedule a meeting to finalize Angela's schedule. Although Angela is 16 years old, I would listen carefully to her desires for her program. I believe as much as possible it is best to incorporate Angela's desires and her parent’s desires into the development of her program. By compromising, I believe it is possible to have all parties satisfied with the final school program that Angela participates.
2. What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
The pros are that all parties would participate and compromise and the best program would we developed for Angela. The cons are that there is the possibility of conflict and lack of flexibility among Angela's parents and then as the organizer of her program, I would need to make a final decision on her schedule. I think the important issue to remember is that this is Angela's first year in the program and that lots will be learned by her which can be incorporated into the following semester and year of the program to better meet her needs as a student.
3. What exactly will you do?
I believe my first priority is to Angela. Due to her age, it is critical to incorporate her parent’s desires for her into the decision. I will request input by everyone interested in Angela's program by email and then schedule a meeting for everyone interested to attend to finalize her schedule. All those who are interested in participating are welcome to attend. The focus is on developing the best program for Angela. In this manner my goal would be to avoid conflict between the parents and remember that respecting Angela's preferences is critical in her program development and enjoyment as a student.

Reply
Brenda Watts da Silveira
06/06/2011 20:14

1. What are your options for involving all stake holders in the process?
Initially, I would send an email to everyone that is important in Angela's success, such as, Angela, each of her parents, teachers, advocates, and other professionals to discuss the options for her first year vocational program. In the email I would propose the following options and ask for other recommendations from everyone. The options could be a program only at school including general education and functional academic classes, or general education classes half day and work study the rest of the day, or functional academic classes half day and work study the rest of the day. After receiving input and other ideas, I would schedule a meeting to finalize Angela's schedule. Although Angela is 16 years old, I would listen carefully to her desires for her program. I believe as much as possible it is best to incorporate Angela's desires and her parent’s desires into the development of her program. By compromising, I believe it is possible to have all parties satisfied with the final school program that Angela participates.
2. What are the pros and cons of each possibility?
The pros are that all parties would participate and compromise and the best program would we developed for Angela. The cons are that there is the possibility of conflict and lack of flexibility among Angela's parents and then as the organizer of her program, I would need to make a final decision on her schedule. I think the important issue to remember is that this is Angela's first year in the program and that lots will be learned by her which can be incorporated into the following semester and year of the program to better meet her needs as a student.
3. What exactly will you do?
I believe my first priority is to Angela. Due to her age, it is critical to incorporate her parent’s desires for her into the decision. I will request input by everyone interested in Angela's program by email and then schedule a meeting for everyone interested to attend to finalize her schedule. All those who are interested in participating are welcome to attend. The focus is on developing the best program for Angela. In this manner my goal would be to avoid conflict between the parents and remember that respecting Angela's preferences is critical in her program development and enjoyment as a student.

Reply
Toby Wiedenmayer
06/13/2011 13:17

Loved all your comments on this topic, enhanced further in our class discussion. Some of your ideas were both innovative and right on target. Holding separate meetings is a possibility, as is videotaping Angela to allow her to voice her thoughts about her future in a non-threatening way. Allowing all parties to know that there are many ways for a compromise is also important. It is clear that you are all interested in making sure that all parties are stakeholders in the process, while still being concerned that Angela's voice is heard. This is a key component, and something that is recognized by the law as crucial. As a special educator, you are serving so many roles: professional, mediator, support, teacher. Each of these roles helps support Angela. You are her advocate, almost as much as her parents are.

Thanks again for the responses.

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Ralph A. Vinci
06/20/2011 13:56

1. What are your options for involving all stakeholders in the process?
At this point, I feel it is necessary to get input from each of the parents separately, to come up with a plan of action as to Angela's future goals. Knowing that each parent are on opposite sides of the spectrum, I would formulate a plan as to allow for Angela to reach AND sustain her employment goals. Being that Angela is near the age of eighteen, she must be included in any of this discussion. Asking what and where her interests lie, must be considered in any conversation for her future.

2. What are pros and cons of each?
The pros of engaging each of the parents separately is that each will feel they have had an equal voice in making decisions for their daughter. In addition, Angela herself will have input as to her very own future. The cons of this arrangement, is that there may still be hostility between the parents and seek to put daughter Angela in the middle of personal marital issues.

3. What exactly will you do?
Having separate meetings with each parent, Angela, school staff such as counselors, administrators and ourselves as teachers to come up with a “workable” plan that suits Angela's best interests. The plan that is decided upon, must be able to be supported by Angela's desires, abilities and interests.

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