Seattle Special Education PTSA Recruits Board Members

The Seattle Special Education PTSA is recruiting new board members—parents (and students) ready to join the fight for equitable education. The mission of the board: to advance public awareness and advocacy done by the organization during the COVID shutdowns and continue to advance them.

Applications are due April 24.

“Over the past two years, the council has really started a great job. . . reaching out to teachers and administrators so they know what the needs are and where they are not being met,” says Cherylynne Crowther, Co-Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of its Nominating Committee.

Among the successes listed in the PTSA’s 2020-2021 annual report are the organization’s support for the vote of ‘no confidence’ in Seattle schools in 2021, testimony before the state legislature and several education events. parents/public.

Advocacy for 8,000 students with disabilities

The Seattle Special Education PTSA advocates for the district’s more than 8,000 students with disabilities and their families.

Currently, the organization focuses its advocacy work in three main areas:

  • the inclusion of special education students in the educational opportunities offered to mainstream students,
  • literacy pedagogy
  • pushing Seattle schools to examine the use of seclusion and restraint on students with disabilities.

The latter, says Crowther, “is a long-standing issue and it’s time to set some rules.”

Board role

The role of the PTSA Special Education Board is to guide the organization in setting goals as well as deciding which advocacy areas the organization will focus on from year to year. The PTSA tracks issues and concerns facing students with disabilities and advocates for change. It also connects parents to resources and provides information to parents and teachers on effective teaching/learning strategies. Monitoring the universal issues of students with disabilities and their parents is a big part of the job.

“We see parents who exhibit the same issues over and over again,” says Crowther. “Our job is to gather these numbers and bring them to the school board and the media so they better understand how the education system is not designed for children with disabilities.”

Lessons from COVID

Crowther says COVID hasn’t created new problems for children with disabilities and their parents, “it’s just exacerbated problems that have always been there.” But the pandemic has also allowed parents, the district and the public to “see the magnitude” of the special education challenges that need to be addressed. (To see The district has failed to offer special education during the pandemic.)

She cited her own family’s experience as an example. Crowther’s daughter is on advanced training, her son is disabled

“Watching the difference in how high school has adapted during COVID to my daughter compared to my son who has a disability was horrifying,” she says.

Strike while the iron is hot

Crowther hopes that the educational equity concerns and failures faced by students with disabilities and highlighted by COVID in the media and myriad public forums since 2020 will inspire new parents to join Seattle Special Education PTSA and to be part of the fight for inclusion and better outcomes.

“Part of the struggle is that many parents don’t know we exist,” she says. “They don’t know that we have a lot to offer them in terms of information and advocacy.

Benefits of Joining the PTSA for Special Education

According to Crowther, the benefits of being a board member are substantial. Volunteer members (primarily parents of students with disabilities) learn about the disability community, education strategies that work, the latest research in special education, and ways to improve the education of their children. Council members make connections that can help them advocate for their own students while improving outcomes for students with disabilities district-wide.

All applications are welcome, especially volunteers from the BIPOC community. Positions currently open for nominations include co-president, co-vice-president, co-secretary and co-treasurer. To find out more, send an email to [email protected] or text 206-651-5017.

To complete an application form Click here. Applications are open until Sunday April 24 at midnight.

Comments are closed.