Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Web resource of the

Wrightslaw is a website dedicated to providing parents, educators, and advocates with reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.  Wrightslaw offers information about key topics around exceptional children, such as Twice Expectional, IEPs, evaluations, and how to write an effective letter.   The founders of Wrightslaw, Pete and Pam Wright, are both tireless advocates--Pete is an attorney and professor who argued a successful special education case before the Supreme Court and was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 8.  Pam is a psychotherapist and writer.
The current issue of the Wrightslaw e-newsletter, The Special Ed Advocate, focuses on how to help struggling readers.  You can subscribe to the newsletter HERE.

I also recommend their training seminars and books for parents.  You can see information about all of this on their website.  Their training seminars are delivered all over the country and are invaluable to all parents and advocates, even if you already have some experience.  From Emotions to Advocacy and All About IEPs are a great books for parents.  We also have these books in our resource library here at Cooperative Extension if you want to take a look.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DPS needs volunteer test proctors

Durham Public Schools is on the hunt for volunteers to serve as test proctors as the end-of-year testing period gets underway.  Testing has already begun at many schools and next week is a really big one.  Volunteer test proctors are needed to monitor the students during tests.  Proctors are provided guidelines to follow and typically serve with a staff person as two adults are needed.  Staff cannot cover the need, so community volunteers are needed.  It is an easy volunteer job and much appreciated by the schools.  You do not have to have a child in school to be a proctor.

To volunteer to serve as a test proctor contact Sheila Miglarese, volunteer services coordinator, at  or 919-560-2156.
To learn more about volunteering at DPS or to register as a volunteer, visit 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Science and Nature Camp Free for Free & Reduced Lunch Students

This one week science and nature camp, iWalk the Eno 2012, for rising 6th graders (current 5th graders) is FREE for kids getting free and reduced lunch in Durham and Orange Counties.  Partial scholarships are available and it is $150 for all others, still a good deal.  There are two options:
June 18 - 22, 2012 OR
June 25 - 29, 2012
Sponsored by the Eno River Association, it looks like a lot of fun...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

FREE Workshops for Children's Mental Health Day

There are some really great (and free!) workshops offered throughout Durham tomorrow as part of Children's Mental Health Day tomorrow, May 9th.  They are open to anyone and include topics from teen depression and the effects of trauma on children to Yoga. 

Most are short, but I highly recommend the nationally recognized Stewards of Children Training at 2:00.  It is for anyone who cares about protecting children and teens from child sexual abuse and it is very eye opening--I realized that I didn't know nearly enough.  The statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be affected in their young lives.  In light of the Penn State situation and others, it seems obvious that many of us simply don't know.  Thinking we're aware is not enough.  Take this training and find out what you don't know.  It is also a training that can be offered locally to schools,  workplaces, organizations, churches, etc. who want to host a training.  I would be happy to put you in touch with our local organizers if you are interested in that opportunity. 

Check out the link for more information including the times and locations of all of the workshops.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DPS Support for Spanish Speaking Families

In recent months, we have seen a lot more engagement of Latino parents with DPS leadership.  This Thursday, May 3rd, at the Durham CAN Spring Assembly Meeting, DPS Superintendent and school board members will be present to hear from Durham CAN delegates and the group's Latino Parent Council.  The Latino Parent Council recently met with the superintendent to talk about the needs of Latino parents and make a few requests for support, including additional translation services, translation of key IEP components,  supporting LPFAST (Latino Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training) for parents in DPS, and other important items.  LPFAST developed out of the Strengthening Families Coalition at Cooperative Extension.  It is good to see this training valued and used by parents--some of the parents in the Council are LPFAST grads.  If you hope to go Thursday, the meeting takes place at First Presbyterian Church at 7:00PM.

We have also noticed DPS working to reach out in more creative ways with Spanish speaking families in our schools.  DPS recently announced a partnership with LaMega Radio Station (1310AM) for a monthly talk show where DPS officials share important information in Spanish.   Throughout the show parents can call in, text and email questions.  Tune in on first Wednesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. to listen to the broadcasts.  It will be interesting to hear what parents think.

We will let you know what happens at the Durham CAN meeting.  Please share your thoughts if you have a chance to attend and even if you don't.