Tag Archives: Parent Workshop

Understanding your child’s IEP

The Kingston Special Education Parent Group will host a forum geared toward new parents/caregivers in the Special Education system or anyone needing a refresher regarding the IEP on Tuesday December 13, 2016.

iep-forum-december-2016

A second forum on January 10, 2017 will be a very informative lesson on how to read and interpret the test and assessment results. Learn what all those numbers mean so you can make informed decisions and make the data work for your child!

These forums are open to all Ulster County parents and caregivers.

Cybersafety Presentation – December 1, 2016

Check out this presentation at UCCC tomorrow evening.

The Ulster County Safe Harbour program will host “Internet Awareness: Tools for Keeping Youth Safe in Cyberspace”  on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at UCCC’s  Quimby Auditorium from 6-8:30pm .  

According to a study titled, “2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying,” 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying versus 2013 when 27% of youth witnessed cruel behavior online. Additionally, an increase in cases of suicide have been attributed to sexts gone viral.  

While 79% of youth have never used the Internet or social media to reinvent themselves, one in three youth feel more accepted on social media than they do in real life.  Traffickers utilize social media sites such as Facebook to groom and lure youth into trafficking situations via tactics such as fraud (promises of a romantic relationships or lucrative employment offers) and coercion (threats to the life of the survivor and their family).  Thorn, an agency that studies technology’s role in sex trafficking, found that 70 percent of their surveyed child sex trafficking survivors were, at some point, sold online.

cybersafety-flyer

Contact Jackie Arsenuk at (845) 340-3927 or ulster.safeharbour@gmail.com with any questions.

Understanding Students with Autism Workshop

The Understanding Students with Autism Workshop on Tuesday January 10, 2017 is open to parents who are interested in learning more about autism.  Registration is required and the workshop costs $55.00.

Understanding Students with
Autism Spectrum Disorders
 
New York State Education Department approved coursework training in autism
 
   
 
 
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
4:00 – 7:00 ~ Registration: $55.00

Center for Spectrum Services
70 Kukuk Lane
Kingston, NY 12401
(845) 647-6464
presented by Cheryl N. Engel
 
This course will provide an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders and effective treatment practices. A review of diagnostic categories, etiology, and current research will establish the foundation for this course. Key factors that impact individuals within an educational setting will be discussed (e.g. communication, social skills, executive functioning, sensory, and behavioral characteristics) and support strategies and evidence based teaching methodologies will be presented.  Participants will be introduced to functional behavior assessments and how they are used to develop positive behavioral support plans.

 
This Training is appropriate for:
*  Certified administrators newly assigned to special education position
*  Those applying for special education certification through the individual transcript
*  Those applying for a special education certificate through the SED TEACH system
* Parents, professionals or anyone else interested in
learning more about autism

 
Click Here For More Information and Register Online

       

To print and mail in or fax your registration, please click here.
 
Questions about registration, please contact:
Michelle Thomas at (845) 336-2616 ext. 110  mthomas@centerforspectrumservices.org

Cybersafety Presentation

Parents – Mark your calendars to attend the presentation “Internet Awareness:  Tools for Keeping Youth Safe in Cyberspace” on Thursday December 1, 2016 from 6-8:30pm at UCCC’s Quimby Auditorium.

 

The event is hosted by the Safe Harbour Program.  Contact Jackie Arsenuk at (845) 340-3927 or ulster.safeharbour@gmail.com with any questions.

Ulster County Community Forum on the Opioid and Heroin Crisis

From the Kingston City School District website:

Parents and educators are encouraged to attend a countywide community event focused on the local opioid and heroin crisis. The event will be held at the Ulster BOCES Conference Center in New Paltz on Thursday, April 28 from 6-8 PM.

The event will introduce parents and educators to the realities of the local epidemic and provide tools necessary to help prevent abuse, recognize its signs, understand the consequences (from both the health and legal perspectives), get help, and find support to cope with an abuse problem or loss of a loved one.

Why Parents Need to Attend:
Deaths caused by opioid drugs, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and heroin, are on a rapid rise across the nation. Locally, the epidemic is hitting hard in Ulster County, leaving families and communities devastated by the loss of loved ones and questioning, “How can this happen here?”
It’s important to understand that most addictions begin in the home. Those sleeping pills and pain killers that were prescribed for legitimate reasons and those over-the-counter cold drugs that seem to be sitting harmlessly on medicine cabinet shelves often open the gates to a heroin addiction.
And the abuse can start early, at age 12 or 13 for some children, as reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, although locally the data suggests highest risk is between ages 18-23.
“The more parents know, the more they can protect their children,” advises Wallkill Central School District Superintendent Kevin Castle. “We want to be proactive and make parents aware of the dangers and signs now so they can discuss this with their children and equip them with the tools needed to make appropriate decisions as young adults.”
About the Event:
A panel of experts from across the county will share information and answer questions. Representatives from various community organizations and agencies will be set up at tables throughout the room with additional resources.
The event is being coordinated by the Ulster County Interagency Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention, which includes representatives from the Ulster County School Superintendents Council; the Ulster County Police Chiefs Association; the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health; the Ulster County Prevention Council; the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office; and the Greater New Paltz Community Partnership.
Ulster BOCES is located at 175 Route 32 North, New Paltz, New York.

 

Note to members of the KHS PA:  the monthly meeting scheduled for Thursday April 28, 2016 is canceled so that parents may attend the Opioid and Heroin Crisis forum.

Spackenkill Town Hall meeting with Commissioner John King – October 10, 2013

I wasn’t writing Jolyn’s Education Corner yet when the Spackenkill Town Hall meeting with New York State Commissioner of Education John King took place on October 10, 2013.  However I believe that information regarding this meeting is relevant now that John King is being considered for confirmation as the U.S. Secretary of Education.

I learned of the Town Hall Meeting on Common Core to be held at Spackenkill High School from a friend on facebook on October 3, 2013.  I readjusted my family’s schedule so I could attend because I was very concerned about Common Core and wanted to hear what Mr. King had to say and have the opportunity to ask a question or make a statement about my Common Core concerns.

I invited other local parents to attend and talked with friends about what questions to ask Mr. King in preparation for the meeting.  On October 10, I made the 45 minute drive to Spackenkill High School with another parent from the Kingston City School District arriving early in hopes of being able to sign up to speak at the end of the meeting.

The Town Hall meeting began and it quickly became apparent that it really was just a “ra ra” session to sell Common Core to the parents.

We got lots of “education” about Common Core and how wonderful it was and then questions that had been written on index cards when we arrived were addressed to Mr. King in groups but the answers were very generic and if the audience had any concerns or further questions about the “answers”, there was no opportunity to delve into the issues.

Here is the full video of the Town Hall Meeting as well as an edited version highlighting the frustration felt by the parents at the meeting.

If you are not able to watch the entire video, I have noted times for different segments:

0:0 Introductions by New York State PTA President Lana Ajemian
5:27 Welcome by Regent Lester Young
7:00 Commissioner King presents on Common Core
18:50 “Teaching is the CORE” promotional video about Common Core in the classroom
26:30 New York State 2013 Teacher of the Year Greg Ahlquist speaks
32:35 Question & Answers begin with PTA members reading pre-written questions for Commissioner King to answer
1:22:50 (the video notes that approximately 10 minutes of Q&A lost due to battery failure)
1:23:16 Audience statements  (I spoke at 1:43:04 and was the final speaker of the night)

Thirty minutes were supposed to be allocated for statements from the audience at the end of the meeting.  Fifteen (15) people should have been able to make statements (2 minutes each) but Commissioner King responded to several statements and time was not used efficiently so only seven (7) attendees ended up being able to speak.  If you listen to the end of the full-length video you will hear the frustration from the many parents who wanted to speak and did not get the opportunity.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the NYS PTA announced the next day that the remaining four Town Hall meetings were canceled.  I posted the following on facebook on October 12, 2013 in response to this announcement:

I am very sad that the New York PTA decided to cancel the remaining 4 Common Core Town Hall meetings based on Commissioner King’s conclusion that the ‘outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend’.

I was in attendance at the Spackenkill Town Hall meeting and came to a very different conclusion regarding the meeting. I wrote the following comments yesterday morning before the PTA decided to cancel the forum but had not posted them. I found it very constructive to learn that there were so many parents and teachers who are VERY concerned about different aspects of Common Core and am sad and concerned that many parents at Spackenkill and those around the state who were planning to attend the other forums will not have the opportunity to voice those concerns.

****

I appreciate that the New York State PTA recognized the many concerned parents and teachers with regards to Common Core and is hosting these Town Hall meetings. However I was disappointed with how the meeting last night, October 10, turned out and I have a couple suggestions that I hope you will consider for the remaining Town Hall meetings.

It very much felt like Commissioner King was a politician trying to ‘sell’ the audience on Common Core and not there to truly answer the questions being asked. Hopefully at the next forum, the questions can be answered directly as I am sure there were specific reasons why each decision has been made and each action taken with regards to the implementation and roll out of the Common Core Standards and supporting programs/materials. Also since the state department of education has now had the opportunity to present their ‘case for Common Core’ and answer a number of questions, perhaps the initial presentation time and question time can be shortened at the next forum (assuming the video from the Spackenkill forum is available for all to review) allowing more time for the audience statements.

Please consider asking all who are signed up to make statements to line up at the beginning of the statement time and then just approach the mic as their name is called so that time is not taken waiting for each speaker to struggle out of their seat after their name is called. Also please only allow the number of speakers who will actually be able to give statements to sign up and if something does occur to take time away from statements that is not the fault of the audience, like Commissioner King stopped the speakers to rebut the comment regarding the Montessori program, please extend the statement time so that the speakers do get the allotted time to make statements.
****

I have included the text of an article from the Poughkeepsie Journal about the Town Hall meeting below as well as various responses to cancellation of the Common Core forums for your reference.

The story didn’t end for me with the cancellation of the remaining four Town Hall Meetings however.  Commissioner King announced that the reason he would not continue with the meetings was because the forums were “co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to ‘dominate’ the questions and manipulate the forum“.  Those of us who spoke at the Town Hall meeting did not appreciate being spoken of in such a way, particularly since it wasn’t true.  We managed to find each other, thanks to the wonders of social media, and put out a statement clarifying that we were NOT a ‘special interest group’ and our only possible special interest was our kids who were being harmed by Common Core.

Unfortunately communication with Commissioner King never got any better as you can read from the reactions when his resignation was announced in December 2014.

*****

Responses to cancellation of the remaining Town Hall Meetings:

Poughkeepsie Journal report on the Spackenkill Town Hall meeting (no longer available online)

Commissioner King addresses big, critical crowd on Common Core

Oct. 10, 2013 10:56 PM

Written by Craig Wolf Poughkeepsie Journal

State Education Commissioner John King faced a critical and often loud crowd Thursday evening as he defended the state’s Common Core curriculum initiative that all students, educators and parents are coping with and that has become increasingly controversial.

King was sponsored by the state PTA, which has been collaborating with King to spread the word statewide and answer questions.

The Spackenkill High School auditorium filled with a capacity crowd.

King said, “The Common Core is about college and career readiness.” He said a quarter of students entering high school don’t finish.

“The Common Core is not about assessment, although assessment must be a part of the work that we do,” King said.

The session was at Spackenkill High School in the Town of Poughkeepsie.

Participants filed questions in advance. At times, the audience grew loud and boisterous as parents and teachers complained about the new system.

Common Core is a set of standards adopted by many states to raise the education level in all grades. A key goal is to help students learn to think and reason more. The standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The standards come with a tougher set of tests.

One question that brought loud applause was, how can I protect my children’s data from vendors?

King said there is encryption and there are rules protecting such data.

Another prefiled question was, how can I help my children with homework when I don’t understand it? That was greeted with laughter and applause. King said there are portals on the Internet for the state Education Department that can help.

Some attendees held signs saying, “Students are more than a test score.”

Another prefiled question was, how will we know the Common Core is working overall?

King said we will need to ask, in five years, “Are employers still saying, we can’t find the workforce that we need?” If not, they will say, “We will take the work to other states or move overseas.”

One questioner asked how New York will attract good teachers when the career has been made less attractive by Common Core.

King cited progress made in Massachusetts when they raised standards beginning 20 years ago,”t took time to do that,” King said.

On the tougher tests, King said, “Let’s be clear: We don’t use student performance as the sole measure of student performance,” or of teacher or administrator performance.

Another theme from the audience was a feeling that so much emphasis is being placed on math and English that “other subjects like math and science have gone by the wayside.”

King said the other subjects are important, too, noting that research has found that students do better on English when they have a rich background of knowledge. “They have to build a rich background of knowledge,” he said.

The crowd grew boisterous after several public statements critical of Common Core.
One man pointed out that King’s children go to private Montessori schools.
King said those schools also have Common Core standards. He also said his kids are not fair game.

 

Transitioning to Life After High School

Parents/Caregivers of Middle School and High School students with an IEP or 504 plan: these forums on graduation requirements and transitioning are for you!

The first, Pathways To Graduation, on February 16th is very critical for you to learn the options that lead to a diploma or a certificate.

Kingston Transition Planning Parent Series 2016

Forum details:

Kingston City School District in collaboration with the Kingston Special Education Parent Group cordially invite you to attend a series of free information sessions on important topics affecting students who are planning for their transition to life after high school.

Held in the High School AUDION (Room 517) from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Session 1: Tuesday, February 16th (Snow Date: Wednesday, February 17th)  Pathways to Graduation
This presentation will offer parents an overview on the requirements that need to be met in order to graduate with a diploma as well as a review of the different types of diploma options available for students with disabilities. An introduction to a new exiting credential of work readiness will also be shared.

Session 2: Tuesday, March 15th (Snow Date: Wednesday, March 16th)  Understanding the NYS Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential
This presentation is especially recommended for parents of children with an IEP in 8th grade or higher, to learn about the requirements for an important exiting credential that students can earn upon exit from school which recognizes a student’s preparation skills and demonstration of knowledge and experience needed for entrylevel
employment opportunities. The Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential which is awarded only to students that have taken the NYS Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) will also be reviewed. (*Please note this session is not applicable to students with a 504 Plan.)

Session 3: Tuesday, April 12th (Snow Date: Wednesday, April 13) Preparing for the Transition to College
This presentation is designed to assist parents of young adults with an IEP or 504 Plan in understanding the differences that can be expected as students move from high school to a college setting. Topics include: laws which govern services at the college level; the process to access academic accommodations, disability documentation requirements; the changing role of parents; and tips on what students can do now to gain the
necessary skills needed for a successful college experience.

Session 4: Tuesday, May 17th  Transition Planning for Families – Preparing for Life after High School
This presentation will provide parents with information on the school to post-school transition planning process.  Families are essential partners with the school district and collaboration with the Committee on Special Education (CSE) team is extremely important to fully understand considerations for successful career development and transition to adulthood. The workshop will help parents to think about: your child today, your child in the future and the support required to help your child achieve his/her long-term goals.

Parent meeting with Commissioner Elia

Commissioner Elia came to Ulster County on Tuesday December 8, 2015 and I was one of the three parents from the Kingston City School District invited to attend the parent meeting with her.  The meeting was arranged through BOCES and I know there were parents from both Ulster and Dutchess counties.  Not sure if Orange county was represented or not.

Commissioner Elia seemed to be a very nice lady and was definitely more successful at creating rapport with the parents than our previous commissioner, John King. Commissioner Elia spoke for more than half of the hour scheduled for our meeting with her and we didn’t actually start at 1:15pm so only 5 parents had opportunity to ask any questions.  I wasn’t one of those who asked a question this time around (I did get to address Commissioner King when he visited Spackenkill back in 2013).
Commissioner Elia took time to introduce herself and give her background in education.  She then gave a history of Common Core and explained how a lot of people categorize everything as “Common Core”.  She said that when talking about Common Core, we should just be talking about the standards and that there are four “buckets” of things people have issues with:
  • standards
  • curriculum
  • assessments
  • evaluation system

She also noted that we have had standards since 1647 and that the evaluation system has been changed four (4) times since Common Core was introduced.

Commissioner Elia is right that all of the above items/issues get lumped under “Common Core”.  In fact she missed including excessive data collection.  However I disagree with her that the standards are the only part that should be appropriately referred to as “Common Core”.  Each piece of this package is intricately woven together and can not function/succeed without the other pieces so it is indeed appropriate to refer to the package in its entirety as Common Core.

Commissioner Elia talked about the state department of education AimHighNY survey on the Common Core State Standards and reported that 71% of the 10,500 respondents were supportive of the standards.  I thought it was interesting though that she then proceeded to state that comments included statements that someone liked a standard but it should be in a different grade, for example it should be in grade 1 but it is in kindergarten.  My question is: how can the standard be liked/considered good if it is in the wrong grade?  The standard identifies what the children are supposed to know at the particular grade so if the standard is in the wrong grade then the standard is wrong/bad.  This is how some people defend the developmentally inappropriate Common Core State Standards – “they are okay if you just do them a little differently”.  The standards were written so that all states across the country would be teaching students the same things in the same grades and therefore students could move from state to state without missing out on pieces of their education.  If states can just move standards from one grade to another, we no longer have COMMON Core.
Commissioner Elia didn’t talk about it but I want to make sure everyone knows about another important survey.   New York Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) conducted a survey on the Common Core State Standards for one week and received about 12,000 responses.  You can click to read full details about the survey but the key points are:
  • 70 percent oppose the Common Core standards
  • Over 80 percent of respondents indicated that they believe ELA and Math standards in grades K-3 are developmentally inappropriate for many students
  • 91 percent say that the Common Core exams in grades 3-8 are flawed
  • 54 percent indicated that high schools should use the previous NYS Regents exams rather than new exams aligned to the Common Core standards
  • 96 percent say that test scores should not be linked to principal or teacher evaluations
  • 86.5 percent say that the state should abandon the Common Core standards and return to the New York’s former standards until educators can create better ones
The first parent/teacher who spoke was from Ellenville and felt that students spend too many days taking the state tests.  One of the parent’s comments was that perhaps a fixed 90 minute testing time is not appropriate and that perhaps students who were engaged in taking the test should be allowed to finish their test if they desired to do so, even if it took longer than the ‘allowed’ testing period.  I interpreted the comment to be a suggestion that the testing time should not be so regimented.  Apparently Commissioner Elia interpreted it differently because she asked the audience to raise hands if we thought students should be allowed to take longer than 90 minutes to finish their test.
Dr. Robin Jacobowitz, parent and board of education member from Kingston, was in attendance at the parent meeting with me and shared the “Time on Test” report in response to the suggestion to allow children to spend even more time on the standardized tests. Her concern was that even more than the current 4 days of lost instruction time could be lost but Dr. Jacobowitz’s comment was after the hand vote was taken by Commissioner Elia.
I was surprised when Rev. Childs reported at the KCSD Board of Education meeting on December 9 that Commissioner Elia said the department was considering allowing students to take longer than 90 minutes on their tests because Commissioner Elia didn’t tell us the idea was already under consideration when the idea was proposed in the parent meeting.
Concerns regarding testing and special education were mentioned by most if not all of the parents who spoke.
This quote from a parent, who I believe was from Red Hook, summed up the parent comments pretty well – “Someone owes these kids an apology for what they have been through.  It’s really not fair.”

Announcement for KHS parents/guardians

Kingston Alderwoman Nina Dawson, Ward 4, is hosting a Community meeting with County Executive Mike Hein tonight Thursday January 28, 2016 6pm at Riverview Baptist Church.

County Executive Mike Hein will present his vision to continue the goal of an “inclusive community” in Kingston.  He will discuss the Ulster County Midtown Linear Park project.

Community meeting with Mike Hein

 The KHS Parents Association encourages KHS parents/guardians to attend the community meeting with County Executive Mike Hein in lieu of the KHS PA meeting previously scheduled for Thursday January 28, 2016.

KHS members – Submit any KHS PA agenda items to KHS PA President Jolyn Safron in preparation for the next KHS PA monthly meeting on February 25, 2016.

All KHS parents/guardians – Please respond to Jolyn Safron if you are interested in attending a KHS PA meeting on any of the following topics:

  • School avoidance/School refusal
  • Course offerings available to KHS students at BOCES and/or SUNY Ulster
  • Presentation for parents regarding student driver safety
  • How to live with your teen without losing your mind
  • Signs and symptoms of depression

Presentations will be scheduled as part of upcoming KHS PA monthly meetings if there is sufficient interest in a topic.

Keeping youth out of the Juvinile Justice System – December 3, 2015

The Kingston High School Parents Association (KHS PA) invites KHS parents, Kingston Middle School parents and community members to attend a workshop titled “STSJP and One80 programs: Keeping youth out of the Juvenile Justice System by engaging in pro-social activities

Date:  Thursday December 3, 2015  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location:  Kingston Library Community Room (second floor)

Presenter:  Ms. Dana Katz, Family of Woodstock

The workshop will be followed by a short KHS PA meeting from 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

If your student has ever done something wrong and been excessively punished or just been in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’, this workshop is for you. If you are concerned about an excessively punitive culture and would like to see more restorative justice, this workshop is for you. If you are concerned that your student might make a bad choice in the future and be faced with some scary consequences, this workshop is for you. If you care about the kids here in Kingston, this workshop is for you.

KHS PA Dec 3 flyer

Hope to see you at the workshop on December 3, 2015.