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Archived Information

Special Education

Parent Involvement

Massachusetts State Improvement Grant/PROJECT FOCUS

The following new and ongoing initiatives, funded through the Massachusetts State Improvement Grant/PROJECT FOCUS, highlights the collaborative efforts of ESE, The Department of Public Health, and the Federation for Children with Special Needs to bring information to parents that will ensure their full involvement in special education services.

New Initiatives:

  • Disseminated copies of its publication, Literacy Resource Guide for Families and Educators, to each local education district.

  • Developed and implemented a 2-day intensive training for parents and professionals - Planning a Life- Making the Most out of High School.

  • Built a network of parents from across the state interested in transition topics. Currently there are 100 parents in the network.

  • Updated the IEP workshop, An IEP For My Child, to include the measurable annual goals. This information was created in a collaborative effort between the ESE and the Federation for Children with Special Needs. The presentation was translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

  • Collaborated with the Early Intervention Training Center and each time the Early Intervention Training Center presented, Continuing the Journey, the Federation for Children with Special Needs presented, Turning 3: Moving to Special Education from Early Intervention, training curriculum.

Ongoing Initiatives:

  • Presented the parent friendly workshop on diverse learning styles and access to the general curriculum. The workshop included discussion and examples of modifications of content, delivery of instruction and performance criteria that allow students with disabilities to more fully participate and experience success in the general curriculum.

  • Continued to work closely with PAL, the Parent Professional Advocacy League and sister project of the Federation, to provide information and support to families of students with emotional and behavioral issues. The Federation worked closely with Parents Place and Parent Education Resource Center (PERC) which is also a project of the Federation. Parents Place specializes in outreach to traditionally under-served families and schools, in an effort to create safe family friendly schools. The collaborative efforts of all three projects have led to a deeper level of information being shared, which will lead to assuring FAPE to all students.

  • Presented a training workshop for parents, students and professionals on the topic of MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) and the MCAS Alternative Assessment. The Federation has worked to provide training and technical assistance to schools, agencies and parents regarding effective communication.

  • Offered a 7- day intensive classroom experience designed to cultivate leadership among parents of children with special needs. In addition to the classroom experience participants engage in a 48- hour internship that involves helping other parents to better understand their child's educational rights.

  • Has worked to expand and strengthen cooperative and/ or collaborative relationships with relevant community-based, statewide, and national organizations to help ensure that the needs of children with disabilities and their families are effectively met particularly those in under-served areas of the state.

Parent Conference Co-sponsorship

Using discretionary funds, ESE co-sponsored the Federation Annual Conference - Visions of Community. ESE made available scholarship money for parent's to participate in the conference, and co-presented a workshop with Federation staff.

Projected Activities, Timelines, and Resources

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was awarded a three-year; USDE funded State Improvement Grant (SIG) - Project FOCUS Academy (PFA). The Project FOCUS Academy is designed to develop professional development programs to help students with disabilities build sound career goals and learn skills to ensure successful post-secondary outcomes. A very strong component of the SIG is its partnership with the Federation for Children with Special Needs and U/MASS-Boston/Institute for Community Inclusion. Participating high school leadership teams are required to have parents as members. Parents, agency and higher education personnel working with students with disabilities are invited to be members of the study groups for the content area courses (Transition - Research-Based Practices for Successful Post-school Outcomes, School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).). For each content area there will be a Family Participation unit, including a module and resources. This year's activities includes the development of the three content area Family Participation units.



Last Updated: April 1, 2005
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