This year we hosted the first ever Special Education Parent Resource Night at our school. It ended up being a great success with many resources given to parents to help their children at home. The theme of the event was “Putting the Pieces Together” with emphasize on how it takes a team of people to help a child achieve their best.
The evening was structured around mini-sessions and parent could pick the three sessions they would like to attend. The mini-sessions were conducted by myself, our special education teachers, paraprofessionals, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and Counselor. The card below was sent to each parent, along with an invitation, for them to use to RSVP to the event.
Each parent was also sent a reminder in the mail, as well as a reminder phone call.
The purpose of each session was to give parents take home resources they could use with their children immediately. Depending on the session we provided a number of different learning tools. For example, in the session titled “Making Math Fun”, we provided foam dice, cards, and dominoes and then handouts of different games parents can play with their child that practice various math skills. We had a wonderful donation from Educational Insights of magnetic letters that paired with the session “Building Young Readers”. Parents were given the letters, a baking sheet, and different activities that can be used on the baking sheet to learn letters and make words.
As parents checked in, they were given a schedule of the sessions they would attend with a bag that contained the following:
- Special Education Parent Binder
- A book on their child’s current independent reading level with a card of Lexile and Fountas and Pinnell levels
- Magnet of all their child’s passwords for different computer enrichment programs
- Dry erase board and marker and a pen
They were also given a schedule of the different mini-sessions they would be attending.
After they received their bag and schedule, they had a chance to pick out two books for their child and one book for themselves. This way we were able to promote a “family” of readers. I also provided information on our ongoing “Reading is Sweet” incentive program.
I was pretty excited when I found puzzle piece ribbon at Walmart and knew I needed to find a why to use it. So, I attached the balloon to an anchor and hung a sign to label each area of the table.
We provided light refreshments from Chik-Fil-A and a couple of veggie trays. When all parents had a chance to get a bite to eat, I reviewed the contents of the notebooks. Anyone who has experience with special education, knows how much paperwork is given to parents. I wanted to provide them an organized notebook to store all the paperwork they collect over the years. Dividers were labeled as follows: Current IEP, Progress Reports, Evaluation Reports, Past IEP’s, and Notes. They were also given a pre-meeting and meeting notes templates to use.
After we reviewed the notebooks, parents split up to begin their mini-sessions. Each session had between 2 to 7 parents at one time, which created a nice intimate setting that made parents comfortable to ask questions. We had a total of 19 families attend and provided childcare for the children.
I loved the feeling of teamwork that was accomplished by the end of the night between parents and the school. My goal has always been to create a special education program that is collaborative in nature and hosting a special education parent resource night is definitely something I would continue to do in the future to continue positive relationships with parents that ultimately benefits the students.
As I mentioned above, Educational Insights graciously donated boxes of magnetic letters to our event. Enter below to win a FREE set of Magnetic Letters from Educational Insights (a 24.99 value).