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Carrie Holmes Chairs PTA Diversity Conference

Chairman Carrie Holmes Provides an Overview of the March 2, 2017 Diversity Conference
“Diversity in the Classroom”

“If you’re not Inclusive you are NOT Diverse.”

FCPS has 189,000 students. Out of that population special ed. consists of 23,000 or 13%.

What is a Disability?
A Disability is defined as a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term disability can refer to individual functionality, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment mental illness, and various types of chronic disease. Jane Winant discussed the various forms of disability. Students with disabilities in our school system fall into two separate categories:

Cat A students are usually part of the general ed population. They have milder disabilities that are widely occurring in the population ("high incidence") and are able to access the general ed curriculum although they may require accommodations to do so. Approximately 250 students are in Cat A at Annandale this year.

Cat B students at Annandale receive instruction in self-contained classrooms. They have more severe disabilities and complex communication challenges that are less common in the broader population ("low incidence") and that can prevent them from accessing the general ed curriculum. Annandale is a Cat B cluster site for students with severe autism and intellectual disabilities. As a cluster site, it serves students from outside the Annandale zone. Approximately 50 students are in Cat B at Annandale this year.

It does not matter what kind of disability a student has, what does matters is that every student has the opportunity to succeed and that they have access to the resources required for success.

The Department of Education guest speakers: Leticia Braga and Carmen Sanchez offered information on how to navigate through the Department of Education website: Building the Legacy; IDEA 2004. Their slide presentation is available for further resources.

The Top 5 takeaways:
1. Language barriers - helping parents become more aware of their child behaviors at an earlier stage.
2. Adding a Dyslexia Specialist in schools.
3. Resources /Social barriers - understanding where to find the resources and partnering with the school social worker to create the necessary plans to ensure your child’s success.
4. Parent engagement must be 100%.
5. Transition to life after High School needs to start sooner rather than later.

Thank you for attending - A special thank you to Mr. Thomas and Jane Winant for their support.

Carrie Holmes
Diversity Chair FCCPTA

One attendee noted "Very informative evening at FCCPTA's Diversity Conference under Carrie Holmes leadership...Great event and Congrats to Carrie and FCCPTA!"