In the work I’ve done with the district this year and from discussions with Unit 4 parents one of the underlying topics has been that of transparency on the administrative level. Meaning, parents want to know what administrators, and teachers… staff… faculty… are doing, have in place, and better yet are willing to do when it comes to some of the common issues both students and parents face.

One such topic has been that of dyslexia. I’ve heard varying accounts from Unit 4 parents on what their children have experienced after struggling and being diagnosed with dyslexia. After the last seminar I attended that was at the Urbana Free Library I realize that there is so much more that needs to be addressed rather than a diagnosis and creating a 504 plan.

  1. The emotional turmoil a child can experience needs to be acknowledged by those in the school. And even at the administrative level when it comes to resources and work that can be done from the perspective of the school.
  2. Once a 504 plan is established who is responsible for the diligent follow-up needed to ensure that a 504 plan is being adhered to at the school level?
  3. What support is available for parents who are side-by-side with their students experiencing similar struggles as their students?
  4. And 4, and somewhat most importantly, for a parent who has never dealt with a learning disability who is there to walk them through the process of attaining in-school resources and external resources?

One of the suggestions I made to the superintendent and her executive team was to create parent seminars to not only provide first hand recommendations and instructions from Unit 4 administrators but also to allow parents to provide feedback on different issues. The superintendent has asked that one of the organizers of the Unit 4 Parent Advocacy Committee begin working with me on parent seminars.

Work on the first seminar will hopefully begin in the next week or two. The topic is dyslexia. Experts from the school district as well as those from the community will provide feedback during initial discussions on how best to design this specific seminar.

I encourage readers to offer suggestions on what they would like to see offered with this first seminar as well as additional seminars. Obvious topics besides dyslexia are bullying, mental health, literacy, and the gifted program. I would love to share your ideas with the superintendent, her executive team, as well as all others who potentially could be involved in planning the parent seminars.

I think it takes the voices of parents to ensure that progress is made in a way that benefits students, families, and schools.

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