My Kid May Be ADD But You're SOL

I’m trying to put the school calendar items on my iPod date book and I’m having a dickens of a time.  For one thing, I’m not smart enough to figure out how schools do things now. For instance, I have no idea when or how my kids go to lunch - it’s so complicated that halfway through the guidance counselor’s description of A days, Lunch B, Period 5 1/2 . . . that I turned to my kids and said, “Do you have any idea what she’s talking about? Because I’m lost.”  They gave me reassuring nods and winked at Mrs. Persson, who rolled her eyes to signal Oh, these elderly parents . . . 

But the biggest problem I’m having with the school calendar is the abbreviations. The school year is full of them and I can’t find an answer key to tell me what an LTM is, why there are so many EMDs and whether my kids have to pack a lunch for a PDD. 

According to the Palm Beach County School District calendar, there are a bunch of days that are N or I, T&I or NT, there are lots of LSs at the HS and the PDDs are coming out the wazoo. They even go beyond the English language and they use symbols of a sanskrit type. Three days in April have a pencil on them and a lot of days in the summer have a picture of a clock. I can only imagine that in April there are some standardized tests that will be handed out, and in the summer months the kids are encouraged to stay on a good schedule.

The abbreviation-itis doesn’t surprise me. Educators have always loved to throw letters around like a food fight on alphabet soup day. 

I think they do it to make all of us non-teachers feel bad about the fact that we didn’t major in education. Sure, we all looked down on them in college, but that’s no reason to trick us with code languages now that we’ve turned our kids over to them as per the agreement.  

When my son was in second grade, I was asked if I wanted him to have an IEP for ADD ASAP. I checked “yes,” thinking it stood for Illustrated Exam Papers.  So for half of a school year he was mislabeled a fidgety slow learner and we got checks from the New Jersey Department of Education and free lunch. It wasn’t until he told me that for the previous four months, he had been having picture-drawing sessions with the school psychologist that I realized an error had been made.

“Didn’t you ask to see his IEP?” one of the other moms asked me.

“Phef!” I snorted. “Heck yeah I did! But the DEA had it in R&D. QT. S . . . L . . .” I learned that if I spoke in letters people would assume something academic was going on and they would think I was smart, too.

The worst offenders in schools are the people who aren’t actually teachers, but hold other good jobs, like guidance counselors, social workers and other helpful types. One of my kids’ counselors had this after her name: LPC, MFCC, EdS, MSW, CSAC, CAC, BCFE. Every time her name appeared, this alphabet vomit trailed behind. Maybe I’m just jealous because I’m not a licensed anything, but I just don’t see the need to advertise every class you took as if it’s a juris doctorate. They’ve got to know that the common man like me has no clue as to what those letters stand for. Plus, it opens the door to lots of misinterpretation. Especially when there’s an MF stuck in there.

As for the school calendar, until I can figure out what’s what, I’m going to send my kids to school every week day from now until the end of June with a No. 2 pencil, a sack lunch, sunscreen, an umbrella, a calculator and a clock, just to play it safe.