Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Every child's Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activitie

By Edwin A. McCabe

I am, and want to be, the person I believe I can be.

I want you to see me, as I want to see myself, for what I can do, and not for what I cannot.

I do not want to be treated as “disabled;” I do not want my needs to be seen as “special;” I am who I am; they are what they are.

I do not want to be identified-labeled-by my appearance, or by my condition.

I have mastered, or will master, the challenges of my life; and will meet them my way.

I am a full-fledged resident of the city or town where I live; I am a proud citizen of the state and of the country in which I was born or to which I have come; and I am entitled to all of the rights and privileges, and subject to all of the obligations, that such residence and citizenship entail.

I want, like you, to have my voice heard when I choose to speak.

I want my words, like yours, to be considered for the thoughts that they convey, and for no other reason.

I want to be judged by my accomplishments, by whatever the value of my contributions to my society, however humble they may be, however difficult they may be for others to discern or understand or appreciate.

I am tested, to be sure, by the condition of my body; or my mind, or both, and the quirks and oddities of my appearance, and the movements that come, and go, with my condition.

I realize that my mobility and grace of movement, my quickness of mind, may exist only in the realm of my spirit, but there they nourish and sustain me, just as yours do you.

I know and understand my mountaintops. They are not the same as yours; they are not the heights of Everest; they may be no higher than the curb of the sidewalk in front of my house.

I see my life’s goals, and the obstacles to achieving them, as clearly as you see yours, and I am, just as you are, excited by the thought of reaching my goals, at times frustrated by my inability readily to surmount the obstacles that keep me from doing so, and thrilled if and when, at last, I am able to accomplish what I have set out to do.

I am your neighbor, and if you will let me be, I may be your friend.

I welcome your presence, your company, and your assistance (when I ask for it), and I welcome your patience and your understanding, when you are naturally moved to give them to me.

I do not ask for your charity or your sympathy, because I want and need neither.

I love, I am loving, and I hope to be well-loved.

Just as you do, and are, and hope to be.

I understand, and accept, the inevitability that our differences will be noticed. I hope that, one day, our similarities will be as well.

And then we will celebrate, you and I, each in our own way…

Each other.


Including children and youth with:

* Uncertain housing
* A temporary address
* No permanent physical address

The federal McKinney-Vento Act guarantees school enrollment for anyone who, due to a lack of housing, does not have a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence, such as a child or youth who lives:

* In an emergency or transitional shelter
* In a motel, hotel, or campground
* In a car, park, public bus or train station, or abandoned building
* Doubled up with relatives or friends
* In these conditions and is a migratory child or youth

Where can a child or youth without a fixed, regular, and adequate residence attend school?

* The school the child or youth attended before becoming homeless or was last enrolled (school or origin)
* The school in the attendance area where the child or youth is currently living

How can delays be avoided when enrolling a student experiencing homelessness in school?

* Enroll the student immediately
* Contact the previous school and ask that the records be sent electronically or shared over the phone
* Contact the principal, school counselor, or local homeless education liaison with any concerns
* Contact the local homeless education liaison to support unaccompanied youth when enrolling in school.

Children and youth living in these settings meet criteria for the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness and have special education rights.

Where can I get more help?........ P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, 877-455-3412,

Age of majority may signal a change in rights

Parenthood may be forever, but most moms and dads learn there are changes when a child reaches the age of majority.

The law provides for the transfer of educational rights at age 18 for students with disabilities who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and are not under guardianship.

The law requires the following:

* At least one year before a student turns 18, the student’s IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed of the rights that will transfer to him or her on reaching age 18.
* Special education notices will then be provided to the student. They will continue to be provided to the parent(s) as well.
* All other rights given to parents transfer to the student, including students who are in correctional institutions.
* If the school receives notice that the student is under guardianship, no rights transfer to the student at age 18 and the IEP need not include a statement regarding the transfer of rights.
* The school must notify both the student and parent of the transfer of rights.
* The student or the school district may invite the parent to attend the IEP meetings as an individual with knowledge regarding the child.

* If a student is still claimed as a dependent on the parent’s income tax form, then the parent continues to have legal access to the student’s educational records.

Most youth with disabilities will not be under a guardianship, either because they do not qualify or because the parent has decided against it. Yet, a young adult may not feel comfortable making decisions on his or her own.

While not written into the law, there are best practices regarding majority rights that families may wish to consider as their child grows up.

First, it is wise for a parent to include the child in the IEP process while the child is young – as early as possible. That way, he or she will have a history of involvement and experience in making education decisions by the age of majority. In addition, federal law requires a student to be invited to any IEP meeting in which transition (post high school) services or needs are discussed, age 14 or younger.

Second, a student reaching the age of majority may want to maintain parent involvement in the IEP process. In that case, the student can write a letter stating that his or her parent should continue to participate in all IEP meetings and be involved in all education decision making and that the letter be inserted in his or her permanent file. Most schools are happy to do so.


Frequently Asked Question in Special Education

Q. What can I do to help my child have a successful year?

A. Parent involvement is the most important ingredient to your child’s success at school. Get to know each and everyone of your child’s teachers and let them know how they can contact you if they need to. Ask them how you can help. If your child is receiving special education services either through an IEP or a 504 plan, become as knowledgeable as possible about the process and your rights. The laws that govern special education can be very confusing and the language difficult to understand but we can help. Be sure to ask lots of questions and don’t forget to ask your child what he or she needs and if solutions are working. Try to observe any patterns or persistent types of behaviors and make a note of them for your meetings or conversations with teachers or your pediatrician. If your child is not receiving any special education services but you have concerns about whether he or she should, be sure to ask for a conference with his teachers or counselor ahead of time. Feel free to call us if you just want to do some research to learn more about suspected problems. Remember, get involved and stay involved. Develop good relationships with school personnel, as well as other parents at your child’s school and in your community. Find opportunities to participate in your child’s school activities and projects. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer, even if it can’t be much. By getting to know your child’s teachers, you have an ideal opportunity to help them get to know your child – from the expert’s point of view – YOURS!



Teacher Debbie Moon’s first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different color hair than the other family members. One child suggested that he was adopted. A little girl said, “I know all about adoptions because I was adopted.” “What does it mean to be adopted?” asked another child. “It means,” said the little girl, “that you grew in your mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.”


Kid’s Quotes

“Stop talking on the phone and talk to me.” Erin-9, “Sometimes can you play with me instead of saying ‘no’?” Frank-10, “Don’t scream at me because I am small and I am not perfect.” Jessica, “Encourage me.” Billy-9

Partners in Policymaking

The 2008 Class is under way! Topics covered in this program include the history of the disability movement, self advocacy, independent living, supported employment, inclusive community building, natural supports, legislative advocacy, assistive technology, communication and team building and much more! Program participants will attend and participate in 8 two-day sessions between September and May in Richmond, VA. Expenses for training, lodging, meals, and travel are provided through the program.

For an application or for more information please call 1-800-846-4464 or email or the Parent Teacher Resource Center, 925-5785 or


Do you know a child with vision, hearing, speech and language difficulties or developmental delays? We will check to see if your child is developing on target.

Who: Children birth through 4 years of age

Where: Northern Shores Elementary

When: Saturday, April 28, 2007

Time: 9:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

Cost: FREE

If you have any concerns regarding your 2 to 4 year old and cannot attend, please contact your local elementary school. Contact The Children’s Center if you have concerns regarding any child under 2 years old.

Please call 538-2523 if you need transportation.


Report Cards Distributed April 18


Suffolk Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies.

Kevin L. Alston, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services

100 N. Main Street

P.O. box 1549

Suffolk, VA 23434

Phone: (757) 925-6750


Suffolk Public Schools Non-Profit Organization

Parent Teacher Resource Center US Postage Paid

Special Education Paid Permit # 18

121 Forest Glen Drive Suffolk, VA 23434

Suffolk, VA 23434

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