Dover Family School Alliance
When you examine the diverse roles that the 100+ paraprofessionals working in the Dover School District have – anywhere from a literacy specialist working with kindergarteners to a one-on-one student support for a high schooler – you can begin to see the investment needed to successfully educate every student, every day in our district.
This diversity makes ongoing professional development of these employees no easy task. However, twice each year, Dover Public Schools invests in day-long training sessions to ensure that these employees have access to ongoing learning opportunities. This event offered more than a dozen sessions, ranging from intelligence/information processing, latest trends in working with students with ADHD, to applications of Math in Focus.
The November event was attended by more than 60 individuals, with more planning to attend the next training day on March 14th, 2014.
DFSA was pleased to help with the content development for this important day, as well as secure volunteer instructors. Holly Goodell, MS, CCC-SLP is a Speech and Language Pathologist at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and led the popular training “What we Need to Know about Concussions & Head Injuries: Warning Signs and Return to School Options.”
We commend the Dover School District for its ongoing professional development investments and are pleased to help district administration ensure that all children have access to knowledgable and prepared paraprofessionals.
On October 1, 2013 in Concord, the NH Department of Education and PIC cosponsored the fifth annual Parent Involvement in Education Awards. This event celebrated the efforts of educators, parents, and family-school partnership teams from around the state that displayed creativity, innovation, and/or commitment at the community, school, district, or state level. Our very own DFSA was honored as a Parent Involvement in Education Awardee and noted for its accomplishments in the areas of communicating effectively, welcoming all families, and collaborating as a community. Not bad for a group that was founded just a year ago.
This award is an honor and much appreciated by all of us involved with the DFSA. As a parent, however, what struck me most is that – finally – the importance of collaboration between schools and parents is being recognized and celebrated. We all know that navigating the diverse world of special education and IEPs isn’t easy. For every child identified with a special need, there are parents and a team of educators, each with his or her own challenges, priorities, and perspectives. With so many dynamics at play, it stands to reason that clear, frequent, and transparent communication is essential. And, while we all know this to be true, the reality is that genuine collaboration isn’t always as easy as it seems. George Bernard Shaw must have been talking about IEP meetings when he said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Parents and teachers may believe that they’re on the same page, but until something goes wrong (at the detriment of our kids) these misunderstandings are often never realized.
The simplest solution is often the one right in front of us, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to execute. We know that constructive collaboration amongst the people involved in the education and well-being of any child, but one with special needs in particular, is essential. Actually initiating that change is the real challenge, but when it happens, it benefits everyone. So, to those of you who go the extra mile and work to foster true collaboration between schools and parents, THANK YOU. This award is every bit as much for you as it is for us, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the years to come!
We need your input in the State of New Hampshire Parent Involvement Survey
Dover School District seeks your input and opinions about parent involvement in special education. Your response to the New Hampshire Parent Involvement Survey will help the district improve special education services for your child and other children across the state. A survey was mailed to you on March 20th. Please take time to complete and return in the postage-paid envelope or complete it online.
To use the online system, use the ID number and password provided in the parent packet you received via mail. Your username is the seven digit number at the bottom of your survey. Your password is nhsurvey13.
The online survey link is: http://state.measinc.com/NH