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Helping Parents and Educators through the Special Education Maze Millersville University, Millersville, PA February 2007 Dr. Anne Papalia Berardi Dr. Elba.

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Presentation on theme: "Helping Parents and Educators through the Special Education Maze Millersville University, Millersville, PA February 2007 Dr. Anne Papalia Berardi Dr. Elba."— Presentation transcript:

1 Helping Parents and Educators through the Special Education Maze Millersville University, Millersville, PA February 2007 Dr. Anne Papalia Berardi Dr. Elba I. Rohena Presented at: Leadership for Equity and Excellence: Transforming Education, National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems, Washington DC., February 2007

2 Agenda IIntroductions/Goals IIQuestions for Discussion IIIFamilies/Students Voices IVAnnual Plans for Families Participation

3 Goals The participants will: Share their own experiences about families and IEP development. Share their own experiences about families and IEP development. Connect these experiences with the interviews discussed during the presentation. Connect these experiences with the interviews discussed during the presentation. Comment and provide their own insights on annual plans prepared by special education teacher candidates from Millersville University. Comment and provide their own insights on annual plans prepared by special education teacher candidates from Millersville University.

4 Questions to Ponder Is families’ and students’ participation in the special education process an issue? Is families’ and students’ participation in the special education process an issue? Are these issues related to the process itself, the school system, the classroom teacher and or the families? Are these issues related to the process itself, the school system, the classroom teacher and or the families? Would you share your ideas/thoughts/experiences in facilitating this process? Would you share your ideas/thoughts/experiences in facilitating this process?

5 Non Mainstream Families  Ethnic, language, and religious  Socioeconomic and educational  Family Structure  Others * Tend to participate less often than mainstream families (Turnbull & Turnbull, 2001)

6 Barriers to Parents Participation  Logistical Barriers * transportation * location * scheduling * child care  Psychological, Attitudinal and Cultural Barriers (Chun & Tess, 2003; Harry, Klingner & Hart, 2005)

7 Families and Students Voices Family #1 –Pre scheduled meeting time, place and date. –Lack of listening to the mother’s input. –Pre determined services and goals. –Low expectations for her son’s academic goals.

8 Family #1 “It was a formality that I had to be a part of to make the school feel good about what they were doing… or not doing”.

9 Families and Students Voices Family #2 –Limited appointment times. –Predetermined educational goals and objectives. –Rushed in and out of meetings –Limited discussions about placement of child.

10 Family #2 “The district did not view gifted students as individuals, they treated them like their giftedness could be developed through cookie cutter planning, the meeting left me feeling frustrated and questioning whether my daughter was benefiting from the placement”.

11 Families and Students Voices Family #3 –Professionals involved (6) are not encouraging and did not welcome parental input to educational decisions. –The constant reference to the child’s labels puts a negative connotation on the entire meeting. –Professionals insinuate that they have very little time and need to close the meeting as soon as possible.

12 Family #3 “The mother feels that the school is trying to “push out” her son. She feel her son is missing out in very important learning opportunities by attending voc tech all day. Mom feels that each meeting she attends results in more information being held from her”.

13 Families and Students Voices Student –Goals in his IEP were not set very high. –Services he was receiving were slowing him down and made him feel stupid.

14 Student “If you knew someone that was just beginning the special education process and their own IEP, what would you tell them?” The student responded by saying, “GET OUT, Learn how to interpret what you are learning and how you need to study and you will be fine.”

15 Annual Plans for IEPs Teachers’ Input Offer weekly parent teacher conferences. Offer weekly parent teacher conferences. Keep it informal. Keep it informal. Open house night at the beginning of the year. Open house night at the beginning of the year.

16 Teachers’ Input Early contacts are helpful and well as comfortable seating as simple ways to reach out and help them see that they are welcome. Early contacts are helpful and well as comfortable seating as simple ways to reach out and help them see that they are welcome. Having an outline agenda is a strong strategy. Having an outline agenda is a strong strategy.

17 Teachers’ Input Communication journal is a great idea, but time consuming for parents and teachers. Communication journal is a great idea, but time consuming for parents and teachers. Be aware that some parents might have problems writing in English. Be aware that some parents might have problems writing in English. Activities would be helpful, although in many occasions those types of activities just don’t take place. Activities would be helpful, although in many occasions those types of activities just don’t take place.

18 Teachers’ Input Activities, like some listed are easier to do and obtain parental/guardian response to in a more middle-class district, unlike the district that he currently teaches in. Activities, like some listed are easier to do and obtain parental/guardian response to in a more middle-class district, unlike the district that he currently teaches in. Who will attend? Parents…Principal… Good luck getting all! Who will attend? Parents…Principal… Good luck getting all!

19 Final Comments What are the issues? What are the issues? How can we fix it? How can we fix it?

20 Parent’s Checklist To ensure the special education process is meeting all of your child’s needs.

21 Before the IEP meeting  Did I meet with my child’s teacher to go over his/her progress in the classroom?  Have I observed my child in his/her classroom?  Is the time and place of the meeting convenient for me?  Did I contact a local parent support or activist group?  Do I need a  Babysitter?  Translator?  Transportation?

22 During the IEP Meeting Have introductions been made? Do I know who everyone is and what their position on the team is? Have introductions been made? Do I know who everyone is and what their position on the team is? Have I been made aware of the procedural safeguards? Have I been made aware of the procedural safeguards? Does everyone seem to be working towards improving my child’s education? Does everyone seem to be working towards improving my child’s education? Do all teachers/administrators seem prepared? Do all teachers/administrators seem prepared? –Are all necessary data, information, and assessment results present? Did I ask when I was unsure of educational language or jargon? Did I ask when I was unsure of educational language or jargon? Is my opinion asked for and valued? Is my opinion asked for and valued? Did I: Did I: –Express what services I want for my child? –Express what placement I want for my child? –Express any other concerns, opinion, or thoughts about my child relating to the IEP process?

23 After the IEP Meeting Did I document when, where, and what was discussed at the meeting? Did I document when, where, and what was discussed at the meeting? Have I stayed in contact with the teacher? Have I stayed in contact with the teacher? Asked for or received updates on my child’s progress towards his IEP goals? Asked for or received updates on my child’s progress towards his IEP goals? Monitored my child’s assessment, school work, and progress at home? Monitored my child’s assessment, school work, and progress at home? Asked any questions of teachers or administrators Asked any questions of teachers or administrators

24 Teacher’s Checklist To ensure that the IEP process is meeting all of your student’s educational needs.

25 Before the IEP Meeting Have I set up a contact system with the parents to inform them of their child’s progress on his/her goals Have I set up a contact system with the parents to inform them of their child’s progress on his/her goals Have I gathered information on the student: assessments, observations, etc.? Have I gathered information on the student: assessments, observations, etc.? Have I researched the family’s cultural background? Have I researched the family’s cultural background? Have I set up transportation assistance, translators, and/or child care if necessary? Have I set up transportation assistance, translators, and/or child care if necessary? Have I asked the parents if they would like to talk to other parents about the IEP/special education process? Have I asked the parents if they would like to talk to other parents about the IEP/special education process? Have I provided information on parent support groups and national organizations? Have I provided information on parent support groups and national organizations?

26 During the IEP Meeting Have I provided refreshments and snacks for everyone? Have I provided refreshments and snacks for everyone? Have I introduced the parents and thanked them for coming? Have I introduced the parents and thanked them for coming? Has everyone introduced themselves and said why they are attending the meeting? Has everyone introduced themselves and said why they are attending the meeting? Have I started the meeting with a list of the child’s strengths and abilities? Have I started the meeting with a list of the child’s strengths and abilities? Have I explained any and all educational jargon? Have I explained any and all educational jargon? Have I stuck to the topic at hand, not discussing things that have nothing to do with the student or the parents? Have I stuck to the topic at hand, not discussing things that have nothing to do with the student or the parents? If the meeting is going long, have I mentioned taking a short break. If the meeting is going long, have I mentioned taking a short break. Are the assessment results and data on the student’s progress present at the meeting and made clear to the parents? Are the assessment results and data on the student’s progress present at the meeting and made clear to the parents?

27 After the IEP Meeting Have I made a follow up call or to the parents to ask if they have any questions and to make sure they were able to express their feelings appropriately? Have I made a follow up call or to the parents to ask if they have any questions and to make sure they were able to express their feelings appropriately? Have meeting participants ed you thoughts and reflections on the meeting and its outcome? Have meeting participants ed you thoughts and reflections on the meeting and its outcome? Have I continued to monitor the student’s progress towards the IEP goals? Have I continued to monitor the student’s progress towards the IEP goals? Have I documented all necessary data/information about the IEP meeting? Have I documented all necessary data/information about the IEP meeting?


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