Thursday, December 17, 2009

Highlights from my visit with SEPTAP & a link for Parent Union

I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking Dec. 8th to parents who
attended the regular meeting of SEPTAP. SEPTAP, which stands for Special
Education PTA of Portland, formed last school year.

It was a privilege for me to be invited to this meeting. I felt as
though it was a very productive meeting with parents who are advocates
for their children.

We spoke about several topics and had time for Q & A.

Some of the more newsy items included:

* Integration. The district is working to integrate the services
provided “special education.” Instead of being seen as a silo within the
district, the goal is that we now are part of what happens in the larger
picture. As such, the name of our department is being changed to
“Integrated Student Support,” also known as ISS. Our department is a
combination of Student Services and Special Education, including 504,
health services, and Early Childhood Evaluation.

Work is still being done on the change. The website, for instance, has
not been changed and still refers to our program with old terminology.
Stay tuned.

* TOSA. A TOSA, which stands for Teacher on Special Assignment, is the
first contact at the district level for parents. Parents need to start
with the staff within the school who are closest to their student. A
TOSA will be able to provide assistance after a parent has worked with
the teachers/specialist and the administrator within their child’s

* Stimulus spending. With money from the Economic Recovery Act of 2009, ISS has been able to maintain staff positions that would’ve otherwise
been cut.

Other projects were shared that were supported by stimulus funds.
I encouraged parents to call their program administrator or our office
if they have an issue that doesn’t get resolved through the building

I’d like to mention another parent group that formed this year, The
Parent Union. Here is a link to its website:
Here is a link to SEPTAP’s blog:

I look forward to participating with both Parent Union and SEPTAP.

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