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Steven A. Greenburg, Education Law
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Santa Cruz Special Education Law for Parents Blog

Ho w To Build A Productive Relationship With Your Child’s Teacher

Concerned about the lack of progress in the working relationship between you your child’s teachers? There’s a lot at stake in your contact with the special education department at your child’s school such as:

  • Daily repoire with the teachers and paraprofessionals
  • Progress in IEP planning and execution
  • Receptiveness to advocacy and accessibility of services

What types of goals are effective for a child with special needs?

Achieving goals is critical for any child, whether they excel at school or need some extra help. Effective goal-setting along with adequate support from teachers and other educational workers can help a child find success, so it is important for parents to play an active role in helping set goals for their child.

While help from parents is beneficial for all children, it can be particularly critical for children with special needs. Oftentimes, parents are the most vocal -- or only -- advocate for these students. If you have a child with special educational needs, then it can be helpful to know how you can assist with effective goal-setting.

A message for parents of children with disabilities

The recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Free Appropriate Public Education just sent a welcome message for parents of children with disabilities: Your child must be given the opportunity to make significant progress in their learning environment—and not be passed along from year to year without real improvement.

But many parents are still trying to find their way around the school, the available programs and their children’s needs. Here’s a primer to get you started if you’re one of those parents.

What should be in an IEP plan?

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, then you are likely well aware of how important support tools and resources can be. This is particularly true when it comes to your child's education.

One critical tool that can be available is an Individual Education Program plan, which is a plan outlining goals and services for a child with special needs. If your child is eligible for an IEP plan, then you will want to understand what this plan should include and how you can ensure it meets your child's needs.

To reduce suspension rates, some schools take questionable action

No parent wants their children to suffer at school. We want them to be inspired and interested, meet friends and try new things. Unfortunately, many kids do not have this experience; they instead face an environment where they struggle and are more likely to receive discipline than praise.

California in particular has been focused on reducing suspension and expulsion rates in schools, and recent reports note there has been success. In fact, according to this KQED article, suspensions are down 50 percent and expulsions are down 40 percent. However, the approaches some schools have taken to achieve this may not be solving the actual problem of protecting kids from the consequences of overly harsh punishments.

Addressing racial disparity in special education programs

Every parent should be able to expect their children will receive a quality education and the services afforded to them by law. Unfortunately, the education system in this country is lacking in many ways, and students are the ones who pay the price.

This is particularly evident when it comes to special-needs students and the racial disparity that exists between white and nonwhite students. According to statistics, nonwhite students with special needs are far less likely to earn a traditional diploma than white students are.

What are expellable offenses for students with disabilities?

When it comes to suspension and expulsion, parents often wonder what their child’s rights are and what they aren’t. This is especially true for parents of students with disabilities.

To be prepared for any possible punishments a school may try to bestow upon your child, it would be handy to know what is and isn’t an expellable offense.

When special education services aren’t properly tailored to needs

It is critical for students with disabilities to get special education services tailored to their specific needs. When the support they get isn’t properly tailored, it could cause serious problems.

For one, it could result in them not getting enough support and dealing with classes that are too difficult.

Paraprofessionals and the special education teacher shortage

Teacher shortages can have major impacts on students. One shortage school districts in many different parts of the country have been experiencing recently is a shortage of special education teachers. In the midst of this shortage, states and school districts have been turning to a range of tactics to combat it.

A recent Education Dive article focuses on one of these tactics. This tactic involves encouraging paraprofessionals who have been working in a school district to transition to becoming teachers in high-demand fields, including special education.

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