Announcing a Free Leadership Training for PACs and Administrators of Special Education
The Federation for Children with Special Needs, with support from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Mass Focus Academy, CFDA # 84.323A), is offering a 3-day training program for up to 9 school district teams. District teams should consist of a minimum of three parents and a district special education administrator or designee. The teams will learn and apply collaborative leadership skills and develop team action plans for increasing parent involvement in the district.
This program will be held on May 15-17, 2013 at the Holiday Inn in Dedham, MA. This Institute is offered FREE OF CHARGE. Facilitator, materials, and on-site meals will be provided.
For more information and application materials, contact Marilyn Gutierrez (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Federation at 617-236-7210, ext. 351.
Advancing Parent-Professional Leadership in Education (A.P.P.L.E.) in Massachusetts fosters strong and effective parent-professional collaboration which improves results for children under IDEA. Yet, one of the most frequently expressed concerns by parents and professionals focuses on the difficulty of building these collaborative working relationships in special education planning. Such a partnership arises out of:
- a shared goal for the child
- mutual trust
- cultural competence
- effective communication and problem-solving skills, and
- a clear vision with high expectations for student achievement
Once learned, these attitudes and skills must be continually improved through practice in the context of school environments, early intervention programs, and post-secondary or employment settings.
The A.P.P.L.E. Project has research data from its federally funded APPLE Project, collected by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at U. Mass, showing that districts that participate in the Institute have improved parent leadership and increased parent-professional mutual respect. The APPLE in Massachusetts project is offering collaborative school-system teams training that will allow parents of children receiving special education services to learn skills that will help them become full and effective partners with their schools.
ICI research results show that six to eight months after the Institute parents who considered themselves as active PAC members increased to 93% compared to 75% of the control group. And considering themselves as leaders were 73% compared to 39% of the control group. As for reaching out to non-pac parents, 87% felt they were compared to 62% of the control group.
From a PAC parent participant: I continue to use the lessons learned at the October 2007 APPLE project. It gave the incentive to continue my involvement with the PAC and even to step up to chair the board….. I felt if I didn't do something the PAC would just die away. It has been very rocky but we got through the fall and…. we are moving ahead. There is much to do. I just want you to know that I'm glad I participated in the project and hope that it continues to give other parents what it gave me.
From another PAC parent participant: What I found valuable is it is a great opportunity for PACs to spend significant time thinking about what obstacles they need to overcome. It is equally important to then have assistance in creating an action plan to aid in the resolution of their particular challenges. The apple institute provides a chance for PACs to have dialog with their administrators in a controlled environment where people can speak freely.
SPED administrators when asked about the impact of the Institute on SPED-PAC relationships told ICI interviewers there was more open communication between SPED administrators and PAC parents, and they gained a better understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities, resulting in more realistic expectations.
The Project will:
- Hold a Parent Leadership Institute in May 2013 for up to 6-9 school districts. It will include opportunities to learn and apply collaborative leadership skills in real settings to prepare parents to assume collaborative leadership roles as members of local and State education policy forums such as local and state advisory councils, special education advisory councils, and other groups designed to improve educational results for students.
- Following school districts’ efforts to implement their action plans with Federation support.
For more information about the A.P.P.L.E. Project, contact Marilyn Gutierrez at the Federation for Children with Special Needs (617-236-7210 x351).