Dear BUILD Parents, WE NEED YOUR HELP! This is a call to action. We need to ensure that our group can continue to fulfill our mission of helping parents and students with disabilities and learning differences, especially during these chaotic and turbulent times. WHAT IS HAPPENING? The school district is proposing a change to Policy 1131, which governs the requirements for Parent (soon to be called "Partner") Organizations, including BUILD. The policy committee will be reviewing changes to this policy on Tuesday at 7 PM. While these proposed policy/regulation changes would apply to several local groups such as FLITE and T&E Care, it targets BUILD in several distinct ways. The proposed policy and regulation changes will severely limit BUILD's ability to support our families. Here are just a few examples of what this change will mean for our organization. If this policy passes, BUILD will no longer be able to:
Speak publicly to the School Board as an organization on critical policy, education or financial matters: (Some areas have been assessments, student discipline, literacy, outsourcing of aides, etc.)
Attend Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan meetings alongside parents who are seeking support to understand the complex IEP process, so they will more fully understand options to support their child.
Share information and resources directly with teachers and staff without first getting approvals from admin. Many T/E professionals have attended our events and given positive praise for teacher resources. Some of those include Sarah Ward's Executive Function presentation, Earl Oremus's Literacy Primer, PBIDA's learning differences simulation, Ross Greene's Lives in the Balance, and PATTAN/ Pam Kastner's LTRS training.
WHAT ELSE IS AT STAKE: BUILD has benefitted from our status as a "Class B" parent group under current district policy and regulations by being able to meet regularly with district administration and communicate parent concerns directly to administrators. This status also provides us with access to district facilities to host speakers and parent meetings. And it's given us access to district resources for distributing promotional materials. We have also used our platform to educate our school board members about our BUILD students' needs.
WHO WE SERVE:
For more than two decades, BUILD has been a parent-led, all-volunteer group in T/E that has supported a diverse group of students and families (see below) who need help ensuring they receive equitable and appropriate access to instruction.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Students with disabilities often experience systemic, implicit, and explicit discrimination and underperform academically compared to their peers (the "achievement gap"). BUILD guides families through the district's complex practices so that they can ensure the best educational outcomes.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit our children the hardest, as many students have struggled to learn in a virtual environment. Many have not gotten the support they need to access their education during the school closure. And some are still not receiving services and support outlined in their IEPs, GIEP's, and 504's.
Navigating the maze of special education can be complicated and intimidating. That has never been truer than right now. Many of us are being asked to revise our IEPs and 504 plans and consider compensatory education services to help our children make up for the skills they've lost due to COVID school closures.
While no one is blaming the district for these difficulties, it's a difficult and challenging time for many of us. As BUILD leaders, we believe that this is precisely the time that parents need us most. We know how important it is for BUILD to be able to share your feedback with the district collectively, and we want to make sure that during this incredibly challenging time, we continue to have a voice.
In closing, we are uncertain about the proposed policy's intent, and we question why the school board has chosen to make these changes during the pandemic. We know its effect would severely restrict BUILD's ability to communicate with and support families of children with all types of disabilities and learning differences. But we also want to assure you that regardless of the outcome at this policy meeting, we are committed to supporting our community as best we can.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU: Your voice is essential! Tomorrow the school board is voting on this policy that will suppress parents' collective voices and limit BUILD's support to our families.
If BUILD has helped you, the School Board needs to hear from you! We urge you to email your story about how BUILD has supported your family to the board before 6:00 PM on Tuesday, October 6th. Sharing your personal story is essential to let our elected school board members understand the importance and value of BUILD in our community.
Comments must reference Policy/Regulation 1131: Parent Organizations.
You must also include your name and township of residence (Tredyffrin or Easttown)
To have your comments read at the Policy Committee meeting, you need to submit them while it is taking place. The new, exacting School Board for public comment are below: When prompted at the beginning of the meeting, Public Comment/questions will be accepted during A 10-minute timeframe by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments/questions must include your name and township of residence in the email.
Please include the Policy/Regulation or topic in the email subject line. "Policy/Regulation 1131: Parent Organizations"
Public comments/questions that do not include a topic in the email subject line will be read at the end of the meeting, as time permits.
Public comment on the proposed revisions of the agenda items will be read during the discussion of the applicable Policy/Regulation.
Public comment for non-agenda Policy/Regulation items will be read after all agenda items are closed.
We respectfully request one submission per person per topic. Comments are limited to 3 minutes.
Before 7 PM, the link to view the live meeting will be posted at www.tesd.net
Thank you for your continuing support, Wendy Brooks, Maggie Gaines, Kate Mayer & Jamie Lynch