The Brandywine Special Needs PTA hosted our first 2005 meeting on October 20th. Over eighty people attended. In addition to celebrating our organizations 1st Birthday, we had Brian Touchette and LouAnn Vari from the state Department of Education (DOE) give great presentations on how to have a good IEP meeting.
In his IEP Overview presentation, Brian Touchette urged parents to be prepared for IEP meetings and to meet regularly with teachers. Brian noted that an IEP meeting should be a creative discussion that doesnt just focus on setting future goals and objectives but also describes how the child is presently performing and how future progress will be measured. Brian also talked about reading literacy and legislation regarding student testing and how it will affect kids, including Delaware’s High School Diploma Requirements. Brain Also shared some Documents on the IEP Process.
LouAnn Vari continued the IEP discussion with information about Facilitated IEP Meetings and the Special education Program for Amicable Resolution of Conflict (SPARC). LouAnn also presented information about the State Performance Plan (SPP). This is a new reporting requirement that the state DOE must fulfill for the federal government. LouAnn mentioned several of the 20 indicators set forth by the federal DOE that each state needs to address. These indicators include Disproportionality by Race, Student Assessment, Inclusion, Secondary Transition and General Supervision. LouAnn strongly encourages parents to participate in the SPP. To learn more and comment on these measures, parents can begin by visting http://webconference.doe.k12.de.us/wb. For additional information on the SPP or on joining subcommittees at DOE, contact LouAnn Vari.
Two special recognition awards were presented to parent leaders, Debra Heffernan and Alex Rittberg. They were acknowledged and honored for their tireless dedication in creating our PTA and for their leadership in the past year. The creation of our PTA started with an idea and a conversation between Debra and Alex. We are thankful for the commitment both of them have given to us and to our children.
A special Birthday Celebration presentation regarding the success of our organization was presented at the meetings conclusion. Special recognition was given to our School Board Liaisons, Debra Heffernan and Olivia Johnson Harris. The PowerPoint also captured the relationship we developed with the district.
The evening was topped off with cake, balloons and party bags. Special thanks to the Parent Information Center of Delaware (PIC) who gave us post-it notes, pens, brochures and a workshop schedule. We strongly encourage everyone to attend these workshops on IDEA 2004, Advocate or Adversary, Getting Ready for the Real World etc. For details on what these workshops are and how you can schedule one for your group, visit PICs
Thanks to all eighty people who attended this meeting. In addition to our dedicated parents, we had 6 fabulous teachers including Suzanne Hammerer, Sue Schmidt, Lori Weniger, Ailene Ickes, Donna Amis and Gary Berg. Energetic School Board co-liaison Olivia Johnson Harris also attended the meeting. Special thanks to our districts Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tammy Davis and Special Services Director Ann Hilkert. They are great resources and were able to provide on the spot answers and clarifications during the Q&A portion of the meeting. We are very appreciative to our teachers and District staff for their willingness to participate in our PTA meetings. Together, through education and collaboration, we can do this for our children and students.
As you can tell from the length of this overview, we covered a lot of information at our meeting. We strongly encourage you to spread the news of our PTA. We had a lot of new parents who attended this meeting. We believe our children can only be more successful if we work and become educated together. There are a lot of individuals mentioned in this overview. Not one person, however, can single handedly enhance outcomes for our children. We, a community based on dedication, dignity and collaboration working together, are the answer to helping our children and students with disabilities. We CAN do this!