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Cornell School Board - It’s important parents understand special ed

It’s important parents understand special ed It’s important parents understand special ed

Kinnley Seidlitz (right) explained April 22, what the Cornell Elementary Student Council is all about, at the regular board of education meeting. Seidlitz spoke first, as the president, followed by vice president Jimmy Leschensky and secretary Lucy Gormley, along with other representatives. Photo by Ginna Young

By Ginna Young

Special education staff at Cornell School are working on a new parent guide, to help parents understand the process on how an IEP is determined and the steps following the assessment. Kari Koenig, special education director, discussed what they’re working on April 22, at the board of education meeting.

Koenig noted that some parents don’t comprehend that if their child needs help with speech only, that is considered special education.

“We felt, as a team, we wanted to give our parents a little bit more information, so that they can be involved,” said Koenig.

Through the guide, there is a letter that introduces the process and what special education is, along with a timeline of how the evaluations happen. It explains how to prepare for the meeting, explain what things to bring, like notes with concerns and questions.

A sample IEP is also included. “Our goal is really to just allow parents to have more access and understand the process, so it doesn’t feel so confusing for them,” said Koenig. “It does get overwhelming.”

Craig Braaten, middle/high school principal, also reported that a gas pump to benefit the school is in the works at Mega Holiday gas station, located by the grocery store on Bridge Street. For every gallon pumped, the school receives 2 cents.

“We see these all over the place,” said Braaten. As part of the reorganizational meeting, it was agreed to keep board positions the same: Lyle Briggs, president; Jamie Close, vice president; Stephanie Seidlitz, treasurer; Eileen Sikora, secretary.

Members also accepted the resignation of part-time PE/health teacher Amanda Gudis; and special ed paraprofessional Allana Theesen.

Working with staff and students of the Cornell School District, has been a pleasure, wrote Gudis. This is not goodbye, but see you later.

I have so enjoyed the time spent with the students that I was paired with, wrote Theesen. Watching their growth and development over the last few months, has been a joy.

They also approved the hire of art teacher Kelleen Lo-Menzo.