A school district is hiring teachers to help parents of special needs students, building bridges to ease concerns, fill communication gaps, and build strong community.
The Killeen Independent School District has hired two parent educators, longtime teachers Jsanean Mark and Erin Mills. They are helping parents navigate the procedures of special education programs. Not only do they set up appointments and answer calls from parents, they operate the new special education parent resource room.
The resource room is home to a library of resources and also is a meeting space. The district conducted a special education audit, which revealed that parents needed help understanding how special education services work.
“I encourage parents to take advantage of this support service,” said Jan Peronto, KISD executive director for special education. “Our parent educators are there to help families navigate through special education policies, procedures and laws.”
The teachers conduct monthly classes for parents, and many questions have to do with children’s individual education plans.
“The ARD (admission, review and dismissal) process can be intimidating,” Mark said. “Parents have a voice and we want to hear from them.”