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.


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.


MOPTA: Help Wanted

Applications are now being accepted for the Bookkeeper for Missouri PTA.  This is a part-time, hourly position that records the financial transactions, processes accounts receivable/payable, processes payroll and prepares financial statements for the Board and annual review of the state PTA office located in Columbia, MO.  Strong communication, organizational and computer skills required as well as the ability to relate to a diversity of individuals and operate as a team player.  Microsoft Office (Word & Excel), and accounting/bookkeeping (Quick Books) experience are required.  Work hours are primarily Mondaythrough Friday 5 hours per week.

Send resume and letter summarizing experience via email to president-elect@mopta.org


Park Hill High School PTA to Host “Shifting the Paradigm” Event

The American Association of University Women published findings of a survey in a report titled, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment in School conducted in the 2010-2011 school year. The survey questioned 1,965 public school students in grades 7-12 about sexual harassment in all its forms; bullying, teasing and touching. The survey found that about 48% of the students experienced some form of sexual harassment at school. You may think once a child graduates from high school there’s less cause for alarm, but that’s unfortunately not true.

The statistics for sexual assaults on college campuses are worse than those of high school. On a positive note, college campus sexual assaults are garnering more and more media attention, consider recent headlines from Michigan State University, but we need to empower our students before they reach the college campus. It’s time to “shift the paradigm” and view sexual assault through a new lens. Which is what Shifting the Paradigm, hopes to accomplish. A day long workshop being held at the Kaufman Foundation on Saturday, April 21st from 9 to 3pm.

Workshop attendees will be broken into three groups; teen boys, teen girls and parents and school staff. Workshop presenters include the following from the YWCA; Carrie Turner, Training and Outreach Coordinator; Karla Hanlan, Sexual Violence Victim Advocate; Wendy Hickman MSW LCSW Sexual and Domestic Violence therapist, Dr. Brad Kincheloe, 20+ year principal at Park Hill High School and Barrye L. Price, Major General, US Army, ret. These presenters will discuss and answer questions on topics like supporting survivors, recognizing rape culture, online abuse, alcohol and consent, and masculinity. These discussions will be a powerful tool for supporting people through these tough conversations, and can be a road map for open and honest communication between kids and parents and students and school staff. To round out the day, we will have a shortened version of a full length self-defense class. This is truly going to be an instructive day! We’d like to invite you to gather a group of students, parents and staff to attend what promises to be an informative and worthwhile workshop.  At $5 per person, it’s certainly an economical event!

Thank you.

Respectfully,

Bonnie Cannon

President, Park Hill High School PTA

WORKSHOP DETAILS

WHERE: The Kaufman Foundation: 4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MO 64110

WHEN: April 21st. Registration opens at 8:30am, Program begins at 9am and ends at 3pm.

COST: $5. Must be paid in advance and includes a light breakfast and boxed lunch.

REGISTER AT: Registration will open in March. Stay tuned for updates on the site information. * Registration is limited to 200

DEADLINE TO REGISTER: April 17, 2017. Walk-ups will not be admitted due to limited seating and pre-ordering of food.

Click here to download this letter to share.


May is National Foster Care Month!

Dear PTA Family,
 
May is National Foster Care Month!  It may seem like just another “Awareness” month that clogs your social media feed but it’s important to bring to light a topic that seems almost taboo in our society.  Fostercare is also known as “Alternative Care.”  It is best known as the function of removing a child from those they trust most and everything they’ve known in order to return them to safety and wellness.  It is not something we care to dwell on, and that’s ok.  But today, I ask you to take time out and ponder the other side of parenting.  The side we wish didn’t exist, but we know it does.

Fostering is near and dear to my heart.  My husband and I have fostered 10 children, 3 of which we adopted last year.  Our bio children have been exposed to behaviors and stories that I would never wish them to experience.  Our foster children have tested us, doubted us, and even loved us… sometimes in ways that may not make sense to us because that is not how we were taught to love.

Fostering is an enigmatic, exhausting labyrinth and I’ve questioned my sanity more times than I care to share.  During this whirlwind of Wonderland-esque escapades, I’ve lost my place and even felt as if I could only muster strength enough to give up.

Yet, here I am, 4 years after signing my foster parent contract, begging all of you to spend 5 minutes reading this email and sharing this infographic.

I acknowledge, your time is valuable and precious and spending it learning about this system, these families, and these children is a wonderful use of such a precious gift.
Thanks for reading, pondering, and sharing National #FosterCareMonth!
 
-Kristina Wilmoth
Wife, Mom, Advocate
Missouri PTA Public Relations Chair
 
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