Q&A: Community Schools & Special Education

In case you missed it: here's my Facebook Live Q&A hosted by Sherwood parent leader Khristy Kartsakalis. We talked about community schools, state funding for high-poverty schools, family engagement, new curricula, school and central office staffing, supporting new teachers, diversity in teacher recruitment and more.

And here are a few highlights from my Facebook Live Q&A on SPECIAL EDUCATION hosted by special education advocate Julie Reiley. Video below.

- ONLINE LEARNING: "This is a whole new world for us.... We’re all going to have to pack our patience. And we’re all going to have to move forward with a little bit of grace.”

- ADVOCATING FOR YOUR CHILD: "If special education needs aren’t met, speak up proactively and advocate....We want to make sure our parents are aware not only of opportunities available to their students, but also they are ability to advocate for their students."

- STAFFING: “MCPS needs to take a victory lap to celebrate the opportunities that we have available while at the same time making sure we have those opportunities available to all students who need them and making sure they are adequately staffed....IDEA makes clear that a school systemt's obligation is not dependent on the staffing that the school system has available."

- OMBUDSMAN: “MCPS has a real need for a true Ombudsman... to serve directly our special education students and their families so when a student is moving through the masses, identifying the learning challenges of the student, that support staff are available to help that student and identify roadblocks or stumbling blocks or disagreements or misunderstandings between the family and the school system...addressed by somebody who really has no stake in the outcome and can share so that students and families are very aware of every available resource and every available recourse if they feel like their students' needs aren’t being met.

- TRANSPARENCY: "There's a germane need in our school system to transparently and comprehensively communicate to all families in whatever method best reaches those families about the full array of services and educational opportunities that are available in MCPS, and that MCPS is required to provide....I think the Board of Education needs to take a more active role in seeing that MCPS - and requiring MCPS - to communicate and share data openly and transparently and in and partnership with every one of our 208 schools to ensure that the essential information that our students and families need is available to every family in a way that they can fully access it. MCPS Needs to set a secret shopper going to each one of our communities to engage our customers, our families and our students."

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