Missouri’s only special education PTA gets started in Columbia

Link to video and news article

COLUMBIA – Columbia will be the only city with a special education parent teacher association in Missouri.

Como SEPTA will organize relations between parents and Columbia Public Schools, including programs that get services from CPS, like home schools and state schools.

The organization says it will bring families going through similar experiences together to share tips from their experiences.

Columbia Public Schools estimates 1,740 students will qualify for special services in the upcoming school year, according to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Como SEPTA’s first organizational meeting on July 26 needed at least 10 people to officially create the organization.

President Michelle Ribaudo said she was nervous about the turn out, but was happily surprised when nearly three times the necessary number became members.

Ribaudo said her first born is on the autism spectrum and the learning curve was difficult. She said Como SEPTA will be a resource to help parents not feel like she did.

“A lot of times you feel alone when you start out in the special needs process,” Ribaudo said. “There’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of evaluations and it can feel overwhelming and isolating.”

New member Gretchen Roberts said, “It’s interesting to get perspectives from parents who have various different kids, with various different capacities of needs and understand the different things they’re going through in their school.”

Roberts’ son has a variety of disabilities. He is blind, non-verbal and uses a wheelchair. He attends Missouri’s school for the disabled, Delmar Cobble.

Along with creating a community to share ideas, Ribaudo said, Como SEPTA’s first priority is education. Educating parents about rights and responsibilities and getting a parent to parent advocacy program going are top priority.

“They’re going to be able to help give us an extra help with our voice when we’re trying to advocate for our child and their needs in school,” Roberts said.

She said she hopes to understand what are some things she should be fighting for at her son’s school and to better understand the school system in regards to special needs.

Ribaudo said it’s not just parents of children with disabilities who are encouraged to come to Como SEPTA meetings. She said anyone interested in helping out is welcome.

Como SEPTA’s officers are meeting this week to set a calendar for future meetings.

National PTA Back-to-School Week–SAVE THE DATE!

PTA Leaders,

Back-to-school is practically a holiday for PTAs around the country–and this year we’re celebrating in a BIG way! Mark your calendars because we’ve designated Sept. 17-21 as National PTA Back-to-School Week.

Each day of the week we will highlight and share tips and resources for the amazing people who support our children’s learning and success. And we’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Office Depot to make all of this happen!

Monday, September 17 – PTA Leaders
Tuesday, September 18 – Parents
WednesdaySeptember 19 – Students
Thursday, September 20 – Teachers
Friday, September 21 – Office Depot Day

Back-to-School Week will feature a comprehensive webpage with a wide variety of resources, announcements on grant recipients and new grant opportunities, classroom surprises–and so much more!

Be sure to visit PTA.org and use and follow #PTABacktoSchool as we rev up plans and promotions. I’ve also attached three “Save the Date” graphics that you can use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help spread the word.

We want you to celebrate with us! Together, we can make the 2018 National PTA Back-to-School Week and 2018-2019 school year a huge success for PTA leaders, parents, teachers and students. Enjoy the rest of your summer and get ready for an exciting back-to-school season.

Jim Accomando
National PTA President

Field Services Department Introductions

Welcome to the new 2018-19 school year!

The Missouri PTA Field Service Department has completed our Regional Director (RD) assignments for the 2018-2020 Missouri PTA (MOPTA) term.  Each RD will be reaching out to their assigned councils and units to do a quick introduction and to also assure that Elected Officer names and contact information has been submitted to MOPTA.  Unit/council officer information is extremely important for us to ensure that everyone is getting valuable up-to-date information, resources and event happenings that will help keep our PTA members informed, engaged and empowered to advocate for all children.  

The following individuals will be available to answer any questions or assist your unit/council directly when needed: (all RD’s can be reached through the email of rd@mopta.org)

FOOTHILLS Region (RD position open)
Sarah Day

GATEWAY Region (Two (2) RD positions open)
Pat Higginbotham
Camille Teason

HERITAGE Region (Four (4) RD positions open)
Mary Flatt

MARK TWAIN Region (RD position open)
Carla Wiese

MERAMEC Region (RD position open)
Carla Wiese

OZARK Region (Three (3) RD positions open)
Mandy Mitchell

PONY EXPRESS Region (Three (3) RD positions open)
Tara Miller
Lori Prussman – St. Joseph Council & Units
Susan Rupert

THREE TRAILS Region (Two (2) RD positions open)
Charolette Gantt – Grandview Council & Units, Hickman Mills Council & Units,
Katherine Sartain – Blue Springs Council & Units,
Amy Blakemore – Lee’s Summit Council & Units,
Christine Kent – Independence Council & Units, Belton Council & Units, Raymore-Peculiar Council & Units, Raytown Council & Units
Paula McKinney

If you would, please, share your council/unit calendar with your RD,

we would love to come and visit during a meeting or event to get to know everyone a little more and see what great work you are all doing.  We should all be looking for ways to “Toot” our PTA horns about the exciting programs and services that PTA provides.

Thank you everyone for your continued dedication and “volunteer” work that you bring to our PTA mission:  To make every child’s reality a potential by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.  And if you ever need me, contact me anytime (day or night), Christine Kent – Missouri PTA VP of Field Services and Proud RD “team” member at fieldservices@mopta.org.