Parent Connections, Collaborations, and Resources
Parent partnerships are an important part of the support that we provide for all students. We value parent voice in Special Education, School Counseling, and School Health Services. Receive information about upcoming meetings and information - click here to sign up to Student Services LISTSERV.
District Outreach to Parents of Students Served by Special Education
Working Together: The District & Parent Collaboration GroupEvery aspect of a child's educational process is about true partnership between parents and educators. In the Special Education process parents are part of the team in developing each student's Individual Education Plan (IEP). We work together in formal and informal ways to support the academic and social success of each child.In addition to the involvement that parents have in their individual child's special education plan, we value collaboration with parents on ways we can work more effectively as an organization to support all children. The Parent and District Special Education Collaboration Group provides an on-going venue to learn together and help our school community to continually improve in our supports for students with disabilities.
WLWV Parent and District SPED Collaboration Group Focus:
- To provide input to the district in establishing priorities and goals for West Linn-Wilsonville Schools in supporting students with disabilities
To be key communicators in developing deeper understanding around complex issues in special education
To support collaboration in the special education process between parents and district educators
To support the awareness of resources available to parents to support their children through the special education process and in positive community inclusion
Opportunities for Parents of Children with Autism
Columbia Regional Program offers training events for families both virtually and in person. Please visit https://www.crporegon.org/domain/100 to see upcoming events!
Student Involvement in the IEP Process
In thinking about the importance of student participation in the IEP, we have been inspired by an article from Teaching Exceptional Children called Why Is This Cake On Fire?. The authors (Jamie Van Dycke, James Martin, and David Lovett) compare the IEP meeting to a birthday party.
Imagine how a child would feel if they heard the adults around them preparing for a birthday party, and then going to the party without inviting the child. When the child eventually gets invited to attend their birthday party as a teenager, they may be confused and even frustrated. (The article title suggests that a child who has never been to a birthday party may wonder why there are burning candles on top of the cake…)
The authors imagine the child responding, “Why would I want to become involved now? If these birthday parties were supposed to by my birthday parties, why wasn’t I invited all along? Why didn’t I have a chance to select themes that interest me? Why didn’t I get to help decide whom to invite?”
The grown-ups reply, “We thought that you were not old enough to help.”
And the child replies, “Now I am so old that I do not know how to help with any of it; you have been doing it for me for all these years. Just keep doing it without me.”
Of course, this is an absurd situation - no one would plan and host a birthday party and then decide not to invite the birthday boy or girl. However, the comparison to the IEP meeting can be helpful.
The law requires students to be involved in their IEP process starting at age 16. But we believe it is critical for students to engage in the IEP at a much younger age. According to the authors, “by the time students become teenagers, they may have decided that IEP meetings are not important at all since no one has invited them or included them in the planning phase."
If the IEP is to be truly individualized around each student, we need to maximize opportunities for students to communicate their unique preferences, interests, needs and strengths. The IEP meeting is a great opportunity to do that.
The starting assumption is that all students should be present for at least some of their IEP meeting. Ideally, students would take a leadership role in the meeting as well, facilitating introductions, sharing examples of work they are proud of, highlighting growth they have made, providing input about goals, and giving feedback about what accommodations help them access the classroom instruction.
Students can begin providing input about their goals and accommodations as early as Kindergarten. Of course the method and format of student input may vary based on the individualized needs of the student.
As one primary school student in WLWV told his IEP team, “If I’m not at this meeting, how will I know what my goals are? If I don’t know what my goals are, how will I meet them?”
Please feel free to contact your case manager if you have questions about how to support your child’s involvement in their IEP process.
The authors of Why Is This Cake On Fire? provide the following list of questions that teachers and parents should ask:
- Do we encourage students to become involved in their IEP meetings?
- Does this involvement begin at an early age?
- Do we allow students to help decide whom to invite to their IEP meetings?
- Do we give students opportunities to be responsible for the goals in their IEPs?
- Do students know that the IEP meetings are for them and that the intent of the IEP process is to design a plan that will help them be successful in school and in life?
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District has identified Increasing Student Voice as one of the 3 main Focus Areas for our Special Education department. Two of our goals in this area are:
- IEP’s are developed collaboratively with students, creating true ownership of learning for each student and increasing the success of each student in reaching challenging goals and aspirations.
- Every IEP meeting includes meaningful participation by the student.
Procedural Safeguards - Parents Rights Booklets - available in multiple languagesParent Rights at a Glance - a one-page overview of the Procedural Safeguards bookletUn Vistazo a los Derechos de los Padres - Parent Rights at a Glance in Spanish
County and Regional Programs
- Columbia Regional Program - Support services for Hearing Impairment, Vision Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury and Autism
- Clackamas County Education Service District (ESD) - Early Intervention (Birth to age 3) and Early Childhood Special Education (Ages 3-5)
- Clackamas County Behavioral Health Services and Mental Health
- Clackamas County Crisis Mental Health Clinic - (503) 655-8585 - formerly known as Riverstone or Centerstone
State Programs and Resources
- Oregon Department of Education (ODE) - Special Education
- Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Clackamas County Vocational Rehabilitation - resource to help people with disabilities prepare for employment
- Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities - "Planning My Way to Work" resource available in English, Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese
- Dyslexia Resources - How WLWV supports all students to become successful readers
- Clackamas County Resources for Teens - This list was created by an outside agency. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District does not endorse or promote the individual providers on this list.
- Family and Community Together (FACT) - a helpful resource for parents of children experiencing disabilities
- Northwest Down Syndrome Association (NWDSA) - Sponsor of All Born (In) Conference
- All Born (In) Conference - Cross Disability Conference in Portland sponsored by the NWDSA
- Parent Center Hub - Center for Parent Information & Resources
- Think Inclusive - Advocacy for Inclusive Schools
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) - a leading international organization on special education issues - providing advocacy, resources and professional development
- National Center for Homeless Education
- West Linn-Wilsonville Homeless Student Information
- "Why Is This Cake On Fire?" - article about the importance of student participation in the IEP process
- Paperless Opt-Out Agreement - WLWV Student Services sends special education paperwork electronically. If you prefer to receive paper copies of special education paperwork, use this link.
- Complaint and Grievance Procedures