Parent-District Board Meeting Minutes

“DCSEAC is an advisory committee who believes in a positive, collaborative and troubleshooting relationship with the district to best support all families with children receiving special education programming.  Advisory board members should leave personal agendas at the door and advise in a manner that best supports all children with different abilities. In doing so we appreciate respectful discourse, the use of Person First language and discretion around confidential topics.” 

January 8th, 2020 – Start of Meeting: 6:35pm

Attendees

  • Parent Board Members:
    • Jeni Cassidy
    • Kerrianne Tompkins
    • Melina Depase
    • Tricia Zabelin
    • Robin Evans
    • Scott Sarver
    • John Sukie
    • Brittney Zellmer
    • Aleia Mastrioanni
    • Caryn Becker
  • Janis Debaca – Developmental Pathways
  • David Ray – BOE President
  • Christina Cianico-Schor – BOE Board Member
  • Lynette Steinhoff Personalized Learning Director
  • Nancy Ingalls – Personalized Learning Officer
  • Marlena Gross-Taylor – Chief Academic Officer
  • Carrie Stevenson – Executive Director of Schools
  • Lisa Graham – Personalized Learning Director – Early Education
  • Jen Iversen – DCSD Parent

Welcome of New Members: Caryn Becker, Aleia Mastroianni, Brittney Zellmer

District Updates
Marlena Gross-Taylor: Strategic Planning Equitable Use Of Resources; Encouraged us all to watch if we did not see BOE presentation (1/7/20). Want to make sure principals are involved and teachers are trained; Significant amount of kids are in inclusion programs; need to make sure we allocate the proper amount of funds to support equitable use of resources. There are Piloted programs to support kids on IEPs; we need to ensure all our kids have access to curriculum, as well as making sure we are supporting our teachers as well.

Nancy: Classified Ed staff have additional training days this year. Professional development in November had 988 registrations. In addition to updating things like CPR, instruction offered in Mental Health, ABA 101, Significant Support Needs, how students are assessed, anchoring in reading, behavior 101, SPED basics, disabilities/categories. Everyone had take-aways to use in the classroom right away. Next one is coming up in Feb.

Conference being offered by district: Building Compassionate Learning Communities: March 27th Keynote Speaker, March 28th, Sessions, social emotional learning,inclusion. Being held at Thunderridge HS. Open to staff and families, free of charge.

Advocacy is the topic of the next Parent Engagement Session. Waiting for speakers to confirm dates. Look for dates to come; The 4th and last topic for the year is Progress Monitoring.

Support Group Updates – Melina
All dates for the remainder of 2020 are on the DCSEAC website
ALL of our support group meetings are at the Lone Tree Library with exception of the October meeting for LEAN on Me
Next meetings:
SSN Tuesday, Jan 14 – Studio Meeting Room
Lean On Me, Tuesday, Jan 21 – Studio Meeting Room – Tricia
Stronger Together, Thursday, Jan 9 – Event Hall Meeting Room

Unified Update – John
Unified tab on DCSEAC website coming
Red Shirt Rookies starting in 2 feeders in the fall – Rock Canyon and Douglas County This is for Elementary Schools, hoping this becomes an expectation; talked with Nancy and Derek Chaney, DCSD Athletics/Activities Director, about funding for an elementary coordinator; we have these programs in some feeders. Kerrianne: how do you get your Elementary School to participate? Principal should be the go-to person. A teacher needs to be the sponsor.
Bowling starting in high schools in the fall; CHSSA: Sponsoring Unified Bowling!
Jan 14th: Legend HS will be recognized as a banner school, presentation 10:15-11. A Bronco will be in attendance.

Treasurer Update – Jeni

Balance $2727.55; New requirement from The Foundation (DCEF): reimbursement over $600 will require 2 signatures.
We do have in our bylaws a balance min $250 will be kept so that we can maintain dues

Website Update – Melina for Marci $96.00 bill for annual website dues; pages for 3 presentations coming up on our main page. Agenda and minutes will now be posted on our website starting with 1/8/20 meeting.

Healing Our Youth – Kerri
Tuesday, January 14th 5:30-9:00 at Cresthill Middle School We need 75, only have 29.
If you are attending, please register at healingouryouth.org
Need things for the table: Scott working on a flyer; Nancy will print out and bring them to the event. Kerri – tablecloth, candy, sign up sheet
What should be our representation? Sarah, Nancy, possibly Lynnette. DCSEAC board will sign up for slots for representation.

College Nights – Scott
In! and Bridge – Tuesday, January 28th 7:00-8:30pm at Cresthill Middle School All is confirmed thus far; Janis will talk wil Scott about more presenters;
Mild/Mod – Monday, February 3rd 7:00-8:30pm at Cresthill Middle School. This date is still on.

Shining Star – Kerri
Dates? Marci: has Kara passed on info from last year? Newsletter last year, what this year? Social media, district Newsletter, ask schools to share in newsletters, per Nancy. She will look at what was written last year. Marci is a little unsure. Kerri will reach to Kara to see if she could help a bit. Waiting to see what we can get for donations to figure out how many baskets. Planning to be along the same timeline of last year. How we nominate may change.
What is needed from the board? Dates for district newsletter; last year went out in FEB. Dir. Ray asked about getting schools to get out the word; Principal notes that district sends out will request that it is shared with Community.

7:15pm – DCSEAC moving forward – Melina
“Top 5 Topics” from Special Education Focus Group 9/30/19: SPED task force created survey, Hanover reported survey results. After several meetings of community members and staff, a smaller group of parents volunteered for a “focus” group. Generated topics in 3 areas: Feedback, know more about, What outcomes do you want to see. Post-its were transcribed. SEAC looked for repeated topics. This is where our list came from.
Melina suggested that inclusion and consistency get absorbed into the first 3 categories to be more concise…there may be overlap. District will provide feedback to help our Parent board to move forward. See below – Advisory Topics Google Doc attached

Autism

  • (Required) Professional development (to include all EA’s and Gen Ed Teachers) Jeni Tricia
  • programming for students who have autism
    -BCBAs available for each feeder (Tricia)
    Jen Iversen suggested asking to add Identification; Autism is a disability identification; they still need to qualify for IEP services, but need to qualify, and the evaluation process can take a long time? Is this the issue? Dir Schor asked how this fits into the question or topic we are addressing.
    *Bringing Awareness to the varying aspects of Autism (Spectrum) and ways to assist in understanding the educational identification process.

Can schools identify children? Nancy says yes. Jen Iversen brought to the discussion that some children who have more mild autism may not be easily identified until later because of social changes and demands as well as executive functioning skills needed to be successful.

Medicaid funds were also brought up. How one child’s funding can be used by a principal on whatever he or she wants.

Principals

  • District sped staff can suggest and make recommendations, but the district sped staff cannot enforce. Sped staff suggest different things that need to happen, but the principal does not have to follow these recommendations. The AP of Special Ed and principal have the control and don’t have the knowledge or expertise in these areas.(Melina) Need more robust communication, what are steps to resolve conflict (Carrie) Power imbalance when it comes to this…need a policy to protect parents and principals. (Aleia) Staff Development opportunities for Principals (Schor) Can tell when a parent’s experience is bad and the program is not so great, it is specific schools, need to look at the principals. There is a consistency that they see in their support groups; problems are at specific schools (Robin and Melina) Need to give principals the tools to be well-informed, they are not taught in their programs (Lynnette). Misinformation out there…need to front-load parents and teachers-this can be an action item (Scott). Applies to all students; action plan initiative: teachers, leaders, parents, making sure everyone knows the process and provide the professional development. As far as an action item: establish this process and have the tools. (Marlena)
    How can we as a group help the principals (Melina asked Nancy)? Inclusion is a good example…goes back to the building leader should be doing? What are the expectations? Can we showcase those doing it well? Professional development plan needs to hit all stakeholders. Should we move this up? (Marlena) Pieces of why does it work well and create a document. (Schor) Document of what are the characteristics of a great programs? How professional development can match this. (Carrie)
  • How to better educate principals about special education
  • Principals are responsible for all of the sped personnel in their building, but yet how many principals truly understand special education? If it is not broken, there is no need to go searching.
  • Communication with principals from district sped team
    -Accountability of principals in regards to special ed Highlight a school? Shining Star not just for staff? (Janis)

Communication

  • Communication to parents from the district
  • Communication within the district sped and district gen ed
  • Effective communication between a sped coordinator and the principals in their assigned feeders
  • Having front loaded parent education/communication prior to 1st IEP meeting
  • Build trust with parents
  • Parent engagement session – more of education/training session (Melina)
    How, and what is the best way….multi-tiered. (Marlena) Social media was brought up (several people) Consistency is important too…not all have internet access at home. (Lynnette)

Consistency Agreed to absorb these topics into the first 3
Inclusion/Culture Agreed to absorb these topics into the first 3

Minutes on topics also recorded on Advisory Topics Document

Next parent board meeting: Friday, February 7th 12:15-1:45pm at Lone Tree Library – Event Hall
Next parent/district board meeting: Wednesday, March 4th 6:30-8:00pm at Lone Tree Elem School

Meeting adjourned at 8:10pm