Parents of children with special disabilities may struggle to find the resources needed to help their children maximize their potential.
The Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership is an alliance of parents and professionals working together to improve outcomes for students with disabilities by improving communication and collaboration between families, educators and the community. Its goal is to connect parents with the special programs and resources available to them.
Over the past 15 years, the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership has become a model for families and schools working together to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Today, the Partnership has grown to include over 100 parent mentors who partner with special education directors in over 90 school districts across the state to embed family engagement into school and district initiatives.
The Partnership includes parent mentors, who are parents of children with disabilities hired by school districts to support family engagement, as well as special education directors and other administrators, teachers, and support personnel within the district.
Parent mentors are parents who support other parents by providing information and resources to help their children with Individual Education Plans (IEP) or 504 plans succeed in school and transition from school to adult life. The mentors work to increase parent participation in IEP meetings, provide information related to improving reading and math, and help parents locate needed services and supports.
Mentors also work with teachers, staff, and administrators to integrate family engagement into school and district activities and to build a culture in which family engagement is expected and valued. Across the state, mentors have had an important role in projects that address improving reading and math achievement, increasing graduation rate, decreasing dropout rate, and improving post-school outcomes.
Parent mentors also work to support integration of students with disabilities into the community. They often work with community partners to increase vocational training and job opportunities as well as recreational options for students. Parent Mentors work with private and public organizations to improve graduation rates of students with disabilities through implementing research-based programs designed to keep students in school and working toward a general education diploma.
On Tuesday, September 19th, there will be an open house at the Eli Whitney Complex, 2 Laura Ave, (Off of Island Expressway) Professional Learning Center, Savannah, GA 31404, presented by Savannah Chatham County Public Schools Department of Specialized Instruction for parents who want to learn more about the services offered by the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership program.
Chatham County Parent Mentor, Julie Hardeman, has issued a special invitation to Latino parents to participate in this event. “We want to make sure that all families in our school system are served by this program and we don't want the language barrier to keep Hispanic parents from engaging their kids in our services,” she said. “This presentation will give families general information about the 504 plans. Come learn information that will assist families in becoming an effective member of their student’s educational team.”
Registration for the event is at 9:30am and the conference will last from 10:00am till noon., 10-12 PM Presentation. RSVP (912) 395-1329 or email Juliet.Hardeman@sccpss.com Space is limited
To learn if surrounding school districts have parent mentors, visit their website, www.parentmentors.org. Click on Find a Mentor tab.