Monday, May 17, 2010

Parent group to be postponed

Woodstock District 200 will not move forward at this time with a Parent Advisory Council for parents of students in Special Education. I was hoping for an April or May first meeting, but the Special Education Department has decided (unilaterally, I might add) to delay until Fall. And you know what that means...

In March I proposed that the Special Education Department survey parents to learn if they were interested in a parent advisory council or a parent support group (or both). There was cooperation in designing the questionnaire for the survey. Survey forms were to be distributed to all parents of students in Special Education.

How many were distributed? There are approximately 1,000 students in Special Education in District 200. It is unknown how many survey forms actually reached parents, but only 61 surveys were returned.

Fifty-four (54) want one or both group; 7 were not interested. I saw the survey forms on a table at Clay Street Academy, and they were not handed out to the parents of one student, whose annual review I attended.

How about at other schools? I heard that teachers responded that parents weren't interested. Now I, for one, do not believe that. I do believe the person who told me that. I just don't believe the information she was apparently given. Parents are interested.

However, I can tell you what parents are not interested in. They are not interested in being "talked at." They are not interested in being lectured. They are not interested in being told that the teachers (the "experts") know more about their children than they do. Parents are not interested in meetings that drag on and on and do not allow interaction or participation.

There is a parent advisory council at a school in Huntley with 30-40 active parents. When they are expected to sit and listen to teachers and administrators talk "at" them, they get frustrated. Fortunately, there are enough of them (parents) to make a loud noise and try to wrest control back from the "organization."

Woodstock parents, if you want to get started now, let me know. Forward this article to all the parents of Woodstock special education students you know. We can go ahead and organize now and gain the benefit of a support group over the summer and prepare to establish a parent advisory council for the Fall.

Want to get started? Email

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