What is a Parent Mentor?
Parent Mentors are moms and dads of one or more children with special learning and/or physical needs. They work within the school system by building bridges between home and school. The parent mentor initiative is spear headed by the Department of Education for Exceptional Students, both locally and at the state level. More information on parent mentors can be found at www.parentmentors.org
Questions and Answers
Q: I am new to Walton County, who do I contact first if I have an IEP from another county?
A: The first stop is your child's school. They will contact the Special Education Instructional Specialist (SEIS) for your school to schedule an IEP. You can still enroll your child prior to this meeting being held. Be sure to bring all documents on your child's former IEP to the school for his/her file.
Q: What does IEP mean?
A: IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan, specifically written for your child with goals and objectives that will be implemented during the current school year.
Q: I have questions about my child's IEP or performance, who can I talk to?
A: Your first step is to meet with your child's teacher and share your concerns. It may be necessary to speak with your SEIS if you have IEP concerns. Finally, you can request an IEP Team meeting and invite one of the Directors for Exceptional Students to attend to discuss solutions to your questions. For a disciplinary problem, talk to your child's teacher first. If necessary, schedule a meeting with your school principal. They will contact the appropriate staff if further action is required.
Q: I don't understand "teacher speak" and all the acronyms used at my meetings.
A: That can certainly be confusing, especially if your child is new to special education. Here is a basic list of common acronyms to help you:
Q: How can I be involved in my child's school?
- IDEA 2004 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004
- IEP - Individualized Educational Plan
- DEES - Department of Education for Exceptional Students
- FBA - Functional Behavioral Analysis
- BIP - Behavior Intervention Plan
- DD - Developmentally Disabled or Developmentally Delayed
- ESY - Extended School Year
- FAPE - Free Appropriate Public Education
- OHI - Other Health Impaired
- RESA - Regional Educational Service Agency
- GLRS - Georgia Learning Resources System
- SLD - Specific Learning Disability
- LRE - Least Restrictive Environment
- SLP - Speech/Language Pathologist
- OT- Occupational Therapy
- PT- Physcial Therapy
- LEA- Local Education Agency
- SEIS - Special Education Instructional Specialist
- PLOP - Present Level of Performance
- POI- Pyramid of Intervention
A: Research has proven that parent involvement raises their child's test scores and overall school experience. Here are some ways you can get involved and be part of your school's parent network:
There are many other ways for you to get involved in your child's school. The main thing is BE THERE... the schools need you and so does your child.
- Volunteer your time to your child's teacher, regardless of the grade level.
- Join the PTO and actively participate in PTO sponsored events.
- Be a Room Parent (Elementary)
- Be a Club Co-Sponsor (Middle and High School)
- Become a Substitute Teacher for WCPS
- Get to know the other parents in your child's class.
- Attend school functions with your child (extra-curricular activities!)
- Join your schools C.A.F.E. (Circle of Adults Focusing on Education)
- Become a member of the Parents Advisory Council (PAC) to represent your school.
Q: I am new to Walton County and don't know which school my child will be attending.
A: Call our Transportation Department at (770) 207-8653. Give them your street address and they will let you know which school you need to register your child to attend.
Q: Are there any support groups for parents who have children with disabilities in Walton County? How can I find out?
A: Visit our useful links website to find information that may help you in this area. Here are a couple of resources you can also check:Q: I want more information about the Parent and Educator Partnership program, where do I find more information?
A: GADOE Parent and Family Engagement