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Re:Special Education PTO

8 years 4 months ago #157649 by MIDad
Replied by MIDad on topic Re:Special Education PTO
I don't object to a group doing special things to benefit parents of kids with special needs; I know firsthand the value of such groups, though not affiliated with the schools in my area. I was responding to your statement that your SEPTA disassociated with the PTA because you got tired of paying dues and "getting nothing in return". THAT's the part I find objectionable, and I think the PTA would find hard to defend.

Many of the ideas you list below would be useful to all parents, to help them understand the challenges other parents face. I'd strongly prefer to have the PTA put on some of those programs, keep the parents of kids with special needs strongly involved and feeling welcome and included. Add the SEPTA if needed, but let it be a "yes and", not a "but".
8 years 4 months ago #157653 by nbzero
Replied by nbzero on topic Re:Special Education PTO
I also find the idea of paying dues and getting nothing in return objectionable. That's why the group left PTA to become a SEPTO. There is no defense.

I suppose they could have pressured local PTAs to try to do more for parents. But they decided to make it happen themselves. I am not sure what you mean by the "yes and" not a "but" stuff. I simply believe that every parent who belongs to a special education support group should also be actively involved in their school PTO or PTA. Typically, they are very different groups. One does not replace the other.
8 years 3 weeks ago #158556 by MrsDewy55
Replied by MrsDewy55 on topic Re:Special Education PTO
Perhaps work with your current PTO to develop a SEPTO division or committee whose focus is to provide the things you mentioned and/or provide for SpEd teachers, etc. You don't want to compete with each other and there is no reason the two can't work together under one umbrella. Many parents for SE students also have other children who aren't SE...Those parents then are driven by two PTO's . I say combine, work together! No sense recreating the wheel!
8 years 1 week ago #158682 by Mkomperda
Replied by Mkomperda on topic Re:Special Education PTO
We have been dealing with this in our school district. We have 2 schools that are PTOs and 3 schools are PTAs. We started a special education "committee" to encompass all schools. Some are interested in SEPTA feeling the formalization is the way to be recognized and to make changes. The strange thing is our group's mission statement is about INCLUSION. Unfortunately, it has divided parents. We have less people working toward a common goal- Inclusion and education for our children. Currently, we provide all parents support meetings and educational opportunity, provide support to teachers. Check out our web site www.rainetwork.weebly.com or our facebook page RAIN.
6 years 11 months ago #162086 by Peggy L.
Replied by Peggy L. on topic Re:Special Education PTO
I would love to hear anyone's ideas about how to start up a SEPTO not associated with a particular district. My daughter attends and intermediate school district, funded by several school districts, that offers special education services. We just had a goal meeting to start a PTO and I am curious about other experiences. Thanks!
6 years 10 months ago #162109 by nbzero
Replied by nbzero on topic Re:Special Education PTO
I know a Special Education PTO in CT like that. It's in a school for students with IEPs that is funded by area school districts who send students there. The school is considered a "cooperative school district." It has grades K through 8 and an early childhood program for children as young as 3 years old. This SEPTO does a great job supporting the school and the parents. Getting parents to participate despite the wide range of student ages and the large geographic area hasn't been a problem for them. But their leaders are very good at promoting SEPTO activities, which I'm sure makes a difference.

The group was started years ago by the school administration. Two years ago, the school parents decided to reboot as an independent group run by its members instead of the school administration. The school administration fully supported this move and the SEPTO was created. The group is composed of parents as well as the school administrators, teachers and staff so nobody is left out.

What does it take to start a SEPTO like that? Just like any PTO, you need a motivated group of volunteers, some leaders, bylaws, a checking account and lots more than a single post can explain. Click around the PTO Today web site and you will find some good ideas. It's easier than you might expect, especially if your volunteers are willing to share the work.
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