Parent Advisory Meeting Notes, October 12, 2015

The Special Education Department’s leadership team welcomed 67 parents and community partners to the first Parent Advisory meeting of the year. Parents were greeted at the door and encouraged to network and visit with each other the first 30 minutes of the meeting. Channel 10/11 News was present and reported on the importance of the parents – school partnership – especially when planning for students with unique learning needs

Parents introduced themselves and the schools they represent.
Many thanks to Lanny Boswell for attending to represent the Board of Education.

The meeting began with a warm and genuine welcome from the Director of Special Education, Dr. Jenny Fundus. She shared a summary of the department’s vision and goals. Following the welcome, Dr. Cara Lucas-Richt, the Early Childhood Director for Lincoln Public Schools, spoke about the services offered to children Birth to age 5. The Assistant Director and each Supervisor described their areas of responsibility, and encouraged parents to contact them if there were concerns regarding special education services for their child. The presentations fulfilled the purpose of engaging parents by informing them about the department, and allowing them to match faces to names, increasing the likelihood that parents will reach out to the leadership team if needed.

Dr. Jenny Fundus- Director
6300 students with disabilities are served within their home schools unless they have a significant behavioral issue.
Don D. Sherrill Educational Center serves students in grades preschool through 8th grade and the Yankee Hill program serves students from grades 9-12.
• Budget
• Contracts (in/out)
• AP/Coordinator meetings
• Deaf & Hard of Hearing (HI) Program
• Office Coordination
• Overall compliance (district, state, federal)
• Parent Concerns
• Rule 19
• Special Education Leadership
• Staffing
• Summer School

Dr. Cara Lucas-Richt- Director of Early Childhood Education
Serving over 1500 children age’s birth to 5.
• Training for staff on Routines Based Interviews (RBI) designed to make services family centered.
• Working on PBIS which is designed for early childhood students.
• Parents are welcome to be a part of the Early Childhood Advisory Committee.

Mary Ells- Assistant Director
• Alternate Assessment
• District Curriculum Committee-Lead- reading, math, writing, science, etc.
• District Resource Program
• District-wide Assessment and Data Collection
• Homebound Services- for children recovering from serious illness
• IEP (Monitor, Plan, Implement)
• Improving Learning for Children with Disabilities, Results Driven Accountability
• NDE Grant Coordination
• PLCs and Data Teams
• Special Education Assistive Technology Committee- serving over 430 students

Cindy Brunken- Supervisor
• Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion Management
• Nebraska BIRSST Chair
• IEP (Monitor, Plan, Implement)-Lead
• MDT (Monitor, Plan, Implement)
• Mentor Program for New Coordinators
• Special Education English Language Learners
• Speech/Language Pathologists Program
• VIP/Athletic Committee

Scott Eckman- Supervisor
• PBiS Coordinator/Staff
• PBiS Implementation- helping schools provide multi-systems of support to build a strong positive culture in our buildings
• Child Guidance
• Critical Incident Reports/MANDT/TCI/Handle with Care Training
• Rule 18 Schools
• Special Education Transportation
• Surrogate Parents
• Visual Impairments/Orientation & Mobility Program

Mary Phillips- Supervisor
• Community Experiences
• Medicaid Administrative Time Study
• Medicaid in Public Schools
• Non-Public Special Education Program- supervises the non-public team that serves students with disabilities in the non-public schools
• Occupational Therapy Program
• Parent Advisory/Parent Engagement
• Physical Therapy Program
• 18-21 Transition Program (VOICE Program)
• Special Education Website
• Summer School- served over 1500 students last summer

Jill Timmons- Supervisor
• MDT (Monitor, Plan, Implement)
• Professional Development & New Teachers Orientation
• School Psychologists
• Summer Assessment Planning

Brian Foley- Coordinator VOICE- Vocational Opportunities in Community
• For 18-21 year old students
• Part of the transition after high school
• 10 sites across the city where students learn vocational and transition skills

There were several community partners also attending, and they were asked to share information regarding community supports:

• Mike Chittenden, Executive Director, The Arc of Nebraska
• Cathy Martinez, Autism Family Network
• Jennifer Meints, Autisms Community Agency
• Jed Sorenson, Windsong Equitherapy Program

Finally, parents were asked to complete a Needs Assessment to solicit feedback to be used to identify future agenda items for the Quarterly Parent Advisory Meetings. Based on this feedback, Parent Advisory Meetings will focus on the following topics:

November: Curriculum & Instruction Supports for Students with Special Needs
February: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Multi Tiered Systems of Supports
March: Summer Services & Community Resources

The Needs Assessment narrative comments also provided some good feedback which will be incorporated into future meetings.

The meeting ended on time, however parents continued to network for an additional 40 minutes after the meeting ended.

Next meeting November 30th, Lincoln Public Schools District Office, Board Room 100.