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Make it Pretty
Posted on February 19, 2021, by GAPMP
Julie Hardeman in Chatham County finds a creative and fun way to tackle a tough topic. She created an information guide about the NOW and COMP waivers. This is posted on her Facebook page and other social media outlets.
Why did you choose Smore to make your Waiver Info Guide?
I chose Smore after receiving weekly news letters from my youngest daughter’s school. The principal used it to share information with families and the electronic platform allowed her to attached files, links, etc….It was a great tool for connecting parents with information from the school.
What restrictions does your district have, if any for using free software? And how did you navigate using the software?
I first signed up for the free flyer. It gave me opportunities to learn how to use the platform. I added my parent workshop distribution list of emails to Smore and the flyers went directly to the parents. The free version did not allow attaching links, files etc… so I sent my sped director a copy of my student’s high school flyer to show her the range of options it offered. She loved it and purchased an annual subscription for me.
What else do you use this platform for?
I have used the Smore flyer to organize and share information about a variety of services and supports that are of interest for our families of students with special needs. I have one on the Community-based waivers (NOW COMP) because I get many requests & questions about state supports. The flyer allowed me to organize all the information, links, flyers in one place makes it more user friendly for our families. I have created Smore flyers on a variety of topics for families of SWD. My district was already using Smore so it was already vetted by my district. I would recommend parent mentors who are interested in adding this tool to their toolbox take an example ( or take the waiver Smore) to their sped director and walk them through the process of reviewing the information as mentors would do with a parent. It is a great tool to use to inform and share information with many groups.
The platform also provided analytical info so you will be able to measure the reach of the flyer into your parent groups.
I collect and post the data on my quarterly contacts for the GA PMP. I also roll up my quarterly data to my sped director. She uses it as evidence of family engagement for the CLIP (Comprehensive Local Improvement Plan) as well as other internal reports for our district.
Our district also uses Peachjar which is another electronic flyer. Peachjar posts on all of our individual school websites as well as goes straight to parents emails. The distribution can be set for all schools, all staff or a combination of different grades. This has been a great tool as I can share and track distribution of flyers about workshops, information and community resources. I partner with the district’s communication department with this platform.
What other tech tips do you have for mentors?
My advice for mentors considering this type of technology is to start small, get feedback and be able to show how it not only helps inform our families of SWD but also gives mentors/special education a reliable and professional platform to contribute to a district’s overall family engagement initiatives.