A few weeks ago I had the fantastic experience of traveling to Wyoming to be part of a weekend of parent training. Over 100 parents, teachers, state leaders, and trained advocates traveled to Casper to meet and learn from experts and each other about:
best practices for teaching and supporting students with disabilities,
problem-solving techniques to build better parent-school teams, and
how to advocate for children to your full potential.
Terri Dawson, Executive Director of the Wyoming Parent Information Center and her highly qualified team of parent advocates led the training, and it was just terrific!
My role (and goals) as part of this important weekend were to:
train parents on how quality Response to Intervention (RTI), as part of LD identification and instructional support for any struggling student, can be beneficial for identifying learning gaps and assuring that intensive, targeted intervention is provided to our kids; and,
talk about standards-based IEPs and how the shift to CCSS is creating a new opportunity for parents: working with the school team to ensure that instructional support and services outlined in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) support students’ ability to achieve Common Core state math and reading standards.
Guess what? We covered that and so much more! At the end of the session, I opened up the floor to any question, and the discussion that followed was energizing, frustrating, concerning, and motivating all at once. Why? Because the everyday, real-life challenges, dilemmas, problems, and opportunities that families and schools face came forward. Flooding the ballroom were descriptions of good IEP meetings, challenging IEP meetings, and the difficult truths about what may or may not happen even with a well-written IEP. I got to meet Julie and Linda and Abra and John—parents and teachers who want each child to receive a quality education alongside their peers in Wyoming public schools. I learned so much and left wishing we could bottle up the good will and energy that existed in the room on behalf of students with disabilities. Thank you PIC friends!