PMs Present at Jan. SAP meeting
Posted on January 28, 2022, by GAPMP
Over the years, parent mentors have been among those selected to participate in the Georgia State Advisory Panel
At the January 13, 2022 scheduled meeting, SAP member Rebecca Best, who has served as Grady County’s Parent Mentor for the last 11 years, was invited to share with the group about her work.
Best commented, “The theme of our presentation to our peers at SAP was relationships, communication and that we help connect all the dots.
I hoped that the State Advisory Panel understood that there is much effort put into building the relationships between parents and schools. I also hope that they see our efforts are helping to make resources and information available. I truly feel that some of the parents that I help would not know of these resources or know what steps to take for the future.”
Best shared with the SAP group that one of her earliest relationship-building began with was with a dog trainer, Kim Rosencrantz. “She had a therapy dog named Buster. I would help the parents and she would take the children and they would work with Buster. This was the beginning of many beautiful relationships that continue 11 years later.” she said.
Best also gave the group an idea of how relationship informs the work she does in Grady County by describing how she works with one of her families:
“Jonathan is senior this year. Jonathan attended the GROW Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Summer Work program last June. He really enjoyed it. Beginning in September, he was not happy with his schedule. I only discovered this because of my conversation with Mom. I looked into it and discovered he had other options. I coordinated for him to speak with our Work Based Learning director. He qualified and we helped him complete the application. He is now working every day during 4th block. He is gaining work experience and he loves the paycheck. Jonathan is a GVRA client and has participated in many activities that they offer. He is interested in attending Warm Springs. He is currently completing the application and he wants to attend the 2-week trial in June. Jonathan will also be participating in Project Search next year. We have already completed this application and he will have an interview in February for Project Search. Jonathan will also be attending the field trip by High School/High Tech. We will tour SRTC and have a discussion with a contractor. Jonathan and his mother came to my office in December where I gave support while they applied for Social Security. She wanted me there in case they had questions about the IEP. This is just one example but it shows when you have extra communication and a relationship you can offer many options.”
Edith Abakare (Parent Mentor for Atlanta Public Schools) also spoke to the group briefly about the value of relationships in working to engage families in school and impact the post school outcomes of the families which they work with.
“I think this was helpful. It really helped the members of SAP understand all the things parent mentors do in their districts,” Best said.
The Georgia Department of Education website describes the scope of the SAP this way: The SAP advises the Divisions on the unmet needs related to the education of children with disabilities within the State and provides feedback on any rules or regulations proposed by the State regarding special education. The SAP is a critical partner in the development of Georgia’s State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). The Panel also advises the Divisions on the improvement activities that need to be developed and implemented in order to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
The SAP emerged from guiding legislation passed in 2004, specifically, IDEA, SEC. 612 State Eligibility and Section 1412(a) (21)which as written, “established and maintains an advisory panel for the purpose of providing policy guidance with respect to special education and related services for children with disabilities in the state. “
The stated duties of SAP include:
- To advise the State Education Agency (SEA) of unmet needs within the State in the education of children with disabilities;
- To comment publicly on any rules or regulations proposed by the State regarding the education of children with disabilities;
- To advise the SEA in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the Secretary under section 618 of the Act;
- To advise the SEA in developing corrective action plans to address findings identified in Federal monitoring reports under Part B of the Act;
- To advise the SEA in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities;
- To review and comment on completed due process hearing findings;
- To serve as a Stakeholder Committee as outlined in the Georgia Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process.