Looking Back and Moving Forward

By Executive Director of Special Education, Dr. Tamara Jackson

As the Director of Special Education for the past 12 years I have had the honor and privilege of watching our students progress from Foundations, (our Special Education preschool program for students ages three to five) to become juniors and seniors in high school. I have recently attended several Individual Education Plan Meetings (IEPs) where these same preschool students are now participating in and advocating for themselves in their IEP meetings.  

The students’ educational and developmental progress is a testament to the hard work, dedication and collaboration of the parents, special education staff, and general education teachers.

Both our general education and special education staff ensure that the students receive their accommodations as listed in the IEP.  At the beginning of each school year the general education teachers are given the “IEP at a Glance.” The IEP at a glance contains: the student’s IEP Goals and Objectives, a list of the accommodations and/or modifications for classroom participation and assessments, and, the special education services the student receives.  Our teachers advocate for their students and work hard to ensure that the students are receiving their accommodations as listed on the IEP, supporting their success in the least restrictive environment.

We believe that strong schools and families make for strong students.  We understand that the parent’s role in guiding a child’s academic, physical, and social-emotional needs can sometimes be a daunting task so we offer support via parenting classes and a Mental Health presentations. The parenting classes are led by Leda Siskind, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). There are two-six week sessions, one for parents of elementary students and one for parents of secondary students. We also hold a Mental Health Night where community therapists (such as Roy Kim, Leda Siskind, and Brian Morrison) focus on ways to mitigate the stressors of attending a high achieving school district. Both of these offerings will again be repeated this school year, so please check the Special Education website for dates, times and locations.