November 30, 2021 | Shasta Hensley, KDE & Rhonda Logsdon, KY-SPIN

[00:00:00] Rhonda Logsdon: Welcome everybody. We are so grateful to have you all with us today for the “Family-School Partnerships: Growing Capacity, Community, and Communication”. It’s my great honor. I love- it’s like one of my favorite things when I get, uh, to present and do this with Shasta. Um, and- and...

[00:00:00] Rhonda Logsdon: Welcome everybody. We are so grateful to have you all with us today for the “Family-School Partnerships: Growing Capacity, Community, and Communication”. It’s my great honor. I love- it’s like one of my favorite things when I get, uh, to present and do this with Shasta. Um, and- and so I just am so excited. We saved the best for last. Um, (laughs) Shasta is rounding out and helping us with our, um, uh, the sort of our end celebration of the month, which, uh, for Family Engagement Celebration.

[00:00:41] Um, just to kinda, uh, cover a couple of housekeeping things first. If you give us grace, (laughs) if you hear background noise, you may hear, there may be a dog or two bark. Um, and it’s probably gonna be on my end. If you would just give us grace. Um, and any technical [00:01:00] issues, we- there’s a bunch of us on here to help troubleshoot. If you see a questions box or chat, you can use either one of those. Some people see one not the other, and we’re monitoring that. Um, and also too, you’ll see there should be a handout, uh, section too for our today’s PowerPoint. If you don’t see that, don’t worry. Or if you don’t have enough time to download it, no worries because we are gonna send that in a follow-up email along with all of the other handouts from the other, um, Family Engagement Celebration. It’ll go out later today or in the morning to y’all, so no worries on that.

[00:01:39] Um, I’m Rhonda Logsdon with Kentucky SPIN. Um, first and foremost, I’m a sister. Three of my siblings have disabilities from the seen to the unseen, and everybody’s probably tired of hearing me say it, but they are smarter than I can wish to be.

[00:01:55] Um, and I also foster adopted the greatest [00:02:00] gift of my life. Shasta?

[00:02:03] Shasta Hensley: Hey everybody. Uh, I’m Shasta Hensley and I work with the Kentucky Department of Education. I am a, um, Exceptional Children Consultant in the office of Special Education Early Learning. And like Rhonda, I am also a parent, uh, an adoptive parent as well, so we are kindred spirits for well- uh, uh, for sure. And, um, I would just like to echo what Rhonda had started with, that it’s always exciting, um, to collaborate and work with, you know, just Kentucky SPIN in general. Um, such, you know, great work that’s- that’s done, uh, by Kentucky SPIN and we value our partnership with SPIN so very much.

[00:02:42] Rhonda Logsdon: Yes. And one that just keeps growing and we still, and, uh, we joke all the time, we- we get one another and more stuff than we can handle. But wouldn’t that be, uh, isn’t that an amazing problem to have, right? (laughs)

[00:02:56] Shasta Hensley: Absolutely.

[00:02:56] Rhonda Logsdon: I just get so excited cause I know the [00:03:00] more we partner, um, the better it is for our babies, regardless if they’re older, like mine’s over six foot tall now. So, um, we’re gonna go over, these are some of the session topics that we’re gonna go over today: Growing Our Capacity for Partnership, Growing Your Community, which is so important, and Growing Partnership Through Communication. Um, and as we step through this, you’ll see that there’s some different resources that you can actually click those links, um, on your handout and access those.

[00:03:32] So before we begin, we’re going to kind of go over a couple of acronyms that you’re gonna hear in the presentation. Um, and of course, you know, Special Education is no different than any other. We have acronyms, we have words that, um, that it’s like, what does that mean? (laughs) I do that every day. Um, but IDEA, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which [00:04:00] is a federal law, I E P, the Individualized Education Program, which is through IDEA, the ARCs, or some people call ’em A R C, Admissions and Release Committee.

[00:04:13] Now with that, this total side (laughs) note, in Kentucky, we decided to throw on an extra name on the stuff. So an I E P meeting or an ARC meeting is one and the same. Uh, and it’s the ARC I E P team for our children. And S D I, Specially Designed Instruction.

[00:04:33] And KAR, or some people, uh, call it K A R. It depends on who you’re talking to and how it’s pronounced. And some people, I call it IDEA, some people call it I D E A, so, (laughs) um, that further complicates things I know, as we all pronounce it different as well. But KAR is very important because that’s the Kentucky Administrative Regulations. And for our purposes today for [00:05:00] Special Education programs that we’re gonna talk about, and you’ll see too on this side, uh, slide- side- slide. (laughs) There is the helpful handout that Shasta put there, uh, to let you know what those letters mean, and you could click right on that and others as well, because we have, what is it? The alphabetic soup. So we have tons that.

[00:05:24] Shasta Hensley: Absolutely. And even, I’ll even say, you know, when we say the K A Rs, I apologize if I say regs or regulation, that’s what I’m referring to is the Kentucky Administrative Regulations for Special Education, uh, but like Rhonda said, we do have this resource that’s on the K D E Parent and Family Resources webpage, which you can see if you hover over, it’ll be linked so when you get this, um, the- the- the handout or when you get this attachment, you’ll be able to click that and under the section, “What do all these letters mean?” there are, I think, three or four different resources that just talk about those acronyms that can help. Again, we’re [00:06:00] talking about capacity that can grow your capacity to participate in those, you know, A R C or ARC meetings, um, and meaningly participate in those I E P teams or those A R C teams. Um, so go check those out. And even one of them, I think, is available in a couple of different languages. Um, so if you are working to support someone, um, who has, uh, whose primary, uh, language or first language is not, um, English and they prefer a different language, maybe we’ll find some resources there for that.

[00:06:32] And so with that, I’ll kind of get us started. I feel like I just led us into this, uh, this first topic here, which is Growing Capacity for Partnership. And so when I talk about capacity, I’m also thinking about self-efficacy. So let me give you a little- little bit of what I’m talking about. So when I say capacity, learning capacity, what I mean is the cognitive or the thinking skills, plus the language skills that equals your capacity. So your ability to think [00:07:00] about a thing, a topic, but also the language that you have to talk about that topic. And- and if you’ve ever set in an A R C meeting, you know how important both the ability to think about the I E P and to think about Special Education, having those tools in your toolbox, plus knowing the language, um, of Special Education, how important those are.

[00:07:23] In addition, when we think about, um, growing our capacity to participate, to meaningfully engage, um, in our children’s education, we think about self-efficacy. And so when I say self-efficacy, what I mean is a person’s belief about their capabilities to complete a task or to fulfill their role or exercise influence over events that affect their lives. And so if your role is a parent in the A R C team, if your role is a teacher on the A R C team, if your role is an advocate on the A R C team, all of those sorts of things, your self-efficacy is your belief about how capable you are to [00:08:00] do that task. And one thing that’s really important about self-aff- self-efficacy is that it can grow.

[00:08:06] And so when you are given the tools and you’re given the resources that you need, then you can grow your self-efficacy. And so you could think, “Well, I don’t maybe have a lot of this understanding or a lot of this knowledge right now, but I can use these resources, I can do some research, I can watch some videos, um, I can talk to some experts and I can grow my capacity.”

[00:08:26] Um, and what you’ll see here are two different resources that kind of just talk about that, that talk about, um, constructing a parent engagement program to build parent capacity. And so whether you’re a parent or you’re an advocate, um, or you’re a teacher, the use is a really great resource that could just provide you with some background information on that learning capacity of families.

[00:08:46] And also this self-report measures of, uh, parental self-efficacy. And it just talks about, it looks at several different research articles talking about the importance of self-efficacy and how to grow self-efficacy within Special Education.[00:09:00]

[00:09:02] So why is this important, right? Why- why- why are you talking to me Shasta about the value of self- or self-efficacy? Well, this is really important, um, for our students because whether you’re a family member, whether you’re a teacher or you’re a student yourself, When you have self-efficacy, right? So when you have- when you believe that you have the tools in your toolbox to fulfill the role that you need to fulfill, you can meaningfully engage in that A R C process.

[00:09:27] You can ask good questions, you can be really in good, rich conversations. You can think about things through that I D E A or that Kentucky, you know, the regulation, the administrative regulation lens, through the lens of the I E P in the school system. Um, you can also have meaningful engagement at the school level, and so you can think about what’s working and what’s not, and you can think about how to maybe pull up some- some resources and pull out some great ideas of ways to make things better or improve things.

[00:09:56] And also, and very importantly, um, [00:10:00] self-efficacy strengthens family-school partnerships. So whether you’re a teacher or whether you’re a family member, or whether you’re a student or you’re an advocate, when you know that you have the tools, you feel more strengthened, more able to participate and meaningfully engage in that process with confidence so that you know that you can have a good, solid impact in a very meaningful way.

[00:10:27] And so how do we do that, right? I just said that research says that when you have the tools, you can grow your capacity. And so there are lots of different tools out there that can help you grow your capacity. And this is really important if you’re about to go into something, an A R C meeting, I E P meeting, or a, you know, S B D M meeting, it’s really important to- to have these tools in your toolbox. And so what we’ve provided here are- are just that, right? So these are just websites and there are so many great resources on here. We didn’t wanna overwhelm anybody and put like 14,000 different resources, but these are [00:11:00] awesome. Some first clicks, right?

[00:11:01] So this first one is from, it’s from, all of these actually are from K D E, the Special Education Page. And so the first one is Parent and Family Rights. And so the Rights and the Resources page, what we did was we consulted with Kentucky SPIN, we took our- our assistance calls with families. We reached out to schools and we said, “What are the questions that families most often have.” Right? So what questions, um, do they most want answers to? And so we put those into like a Q and A kind of style. Um, and then we not only added- had answered the question, but we provided resources to further grow your capacity to learn about that thing.

[00:11:38] Um, and so maybe you’re brand new to Special Education and you’re- you’re about to go into your child’s first A R C. Maybe you’ve been to like 12 A R Cs already, um, and you’re like, but I just- this is gonna be the year, right, where I’m gonna have this super meaningful engagement. And so you can go here and you can maybe look and see what your question is or what realm your question is in, and then you can find these really great resources to grow [00:12:00] your capacity.

[00:12:00] Same thing with the Family Resources, right? Again, it’s just gonna give you the answer to those most frequently asked questions and then give you more tools for your toolbox. Um, the Parent and Family Toolbox talks about all kinds of different things and so on that you’re gonna see things about family engagement and really maybe you really wanna grow family engagement in your child’s school.

[00:12:20] And you’re like, “Well, how do I do that? What are some steps I might take?” And so we’ve provided some resources. Maybe you’re really curious about, um, the specific, um, like how to- how to grow your community. Like how- who could I partner with, right? Who are some people who are in the same kind of boat that I’m in, um, that I can partner with and- and I can, you know, have community with, and so you can go to a toolbox and find some advocacy and support organizations.

[00:12:43] There are also, um, Special Education Instructional Resources and Guidance Resources. And so while they’re primarily targeted more towards districts and teachers, um, they’re available to anyone. So if you’re curious about, well, what is the guidance around I E P development or [00:13:00] what is there out there for specially designed instruction?

[00:13:03] Both of these, um, resources can take you again to just lengths of other information so you can add more tools to your toolbox.

[00:13:14] Off to you, Rhonda.

[00:13:21] Rhonda Logsdon: Okay. Well, and Shasta, I love how you explain stuff, (laughs) because when we were going over stuff and about the, um, and I’m even gonna admit it, efficacy. I have a hard time saying it, but I’m like, Shasta helps it make so much sense, cause it’s exactly how I feel sometimes I may feel like I know the different stuff, but being able then to- to give it across or having the confidence to do so, um, and being able to communicate with one another is so important.

[00:13:55] So we’re gonna do the Share Your Knowledge now and with [00:14:00] this, um, we are gonna look at again, where we had- I kind of indicated a little bit earlier the, um, the ARC, the, um- admiss- there we go. (laughs) The ARC um, which is considered, uh, KAR 7- uh, 7 . 0 7 KAR 1.320, Section 3. What’s important to know about that? That is in regards to the Special Education.

[00:14:27] Um, and when we talk about this and with the ARC and the I E P team in Kentucky, again, I E P team is called the Admissions and Released Committee, or the ARC. And the ARC works together to develop the individualized and high quality I E P and it includes a lot of different members, um, who have great expertise and knowledge to bring to the table.

[00:14:54] And here’s the wonderful thing about it is, parents and students are [00:15:00] an equal member of the team and bring, um, great things to offer and input. Um, it’s so that we all can be successful because everybody’s role is so important in this and what we have to bring to the table, along with other, um, other people, teachers, it might be therapists, anyone who has knowledge of the child.

[00:15:26] Um, and, you know, it- it really to work together in true partnership to provide for them. Um, and so on the next one, the parents and families as partners. Again, this is so critical. Um, our role is so unique in what we provide and the experience and the influence that we have because first of all, if you’re a student, you know yourself better than anyone else. It’s important for you to give input.

[00:15:56] The families, you know your child or your youth better than anyone else, [00:16:00] and it’s so critical to share and be a part of that, and you know, a lot of times, you know, and I loved this, having this on here, um, and I can’t take credit, that was Shasta. Social Capital. A lot of times we do not realize our value, um, and what we bring cuz sometimes it can be intimidating, it can be overwhelming because we think everyone else when we go to different things are the experts, right? We may not have went to- to school for this, but they’re not an expert in your actual child and every child is different.

[00:16:39] Um, and so we all have a huge social capital regardless of your role sitting at the table. Information-

[00:16:48] Shasta Hensley: Absolutely Rhonda, and I’ll just kinda like add to that. I’m sorry to interrupt you there. I just wanted to kind of add to that.

[00:16:52] Rhonda Logsdon: Yeah.

[00:16:52] Shasta Hensley: Like this social capital, you know, we see, you know, so many times when we see families and schools work [00:17:00] together, um, that what we see is, you know, they- they can align some goals, they can have the- when- when great conversations are had and we align these goals then- then really, you know, good, measurable, solid action steps can be taken, right? Because we know that at the end of the day, both, you know, families and schools want what’s best for their- for their students and for their child.

[00:17:21] And so by working together, you know, um, we can grow our social capital. Say, okay, here are the problems that we’re facing as a community, here are the problems that we’re facing as a team. So let’s put- let’s put our heads together. Let’s see what resources we can pull together, and then address this problem. Um, and- and I think that that is, you know, so valuable and, you know, um, you know, just kind of like following up with that information channels, right?

[00:17:47] So where unique experiences can support other families. And so- and I know Rhonda, you know, definitely has some- some great things to say about this, but that whole, like, you’re not in it alone. [00:18:00] Um, we know, and you know, myself especially, I’m- I’m also a parent of a child with a disability and how, um, isolating, um, sometimes having a child with a disability can be.

[00:18:11] And so when we have these information channels and say, “Oh yeah, me too. Like my child has struggled with that, too. And what worked for my child was this.” Or we went and met with this, you know, therapy- therapist, or we tried this resource, or we talked to Kentucky SPIN. And so we become these really great information channels who can support the unique needs of not only our children, but even ourselves as caregivers.

[00:18:34] And then of course, as advocates, you know, parent leaders can advocate for their school, their teachers, and their students, you know. Um, I can think of so many different times where when families and schools have worked together and in this partnership, you know, um, particularly parent leaders, they make these amazing advocates for their school and they say, “Hey, this thing is happening in our community. These things are happening at our [00:19:00] school level. We recognize that it’s not the fault of the teachers, it’s not the fault of the school, the school, you know, um, it’s- but this is a systemic issue, and what are we gonna do to address this systemic issue at higher levels? Or who do we need to talk to in our community to get these things changed?”

[00:19:17] Um, you know, one example that- that I found or- or you know, heard in some research was, you know, where children, um, that the streets that they were- they- the school had lots of, uh, kids who walked to school and that the streets that they were walking on just weren’t safe. There were a lot of like- like traffic issues and different things, and so, um, the families, um, worked with the schools to say, “Okay, who do we need to talk to, where, you know, where is the problem? How do we fix this?”

[00:19:42] And then they add- they worked with the school to say, “You know what? It’s not just gonna be your voices that are saying this anymore. It’s gonna be our voices collectively, and we’re gonna pull together and we’re gonna speak to the people who are gonna make the changes.” And they got the changes made to where, um, you know, things were rerouted during the school day, [00:20:00] and additional stop signs and stop lights were put in and- and there was like security officers, you know, on the streets and things like that to make sure, um, that kids could safely get home. And so that was just a really good example.

[00:20:11] Um, Rhonda, do you- what else would you add about the information channels or the advocates?

[00:20:17] Rhonda Logsdon: I think just the using those, especially cuz I think a lot of times, um, we think when maybe, um, we might not agree on different things, that those are actually gonna be times that those things are critical, those information channels, and making sure that you keep those open. Um, and in a lot of times you hear when people say advocates, they automatically think that that’s a negative thing when in fact it is a wonderful thing, right? And how we all come together. Our teachers are advocates for our children, our schools are, our parents are. And the more that we come together and partner on this, um, the [00:21:00] more it’s only gonna help our children, right?

[00:21:03] Um, so, and- and I love the example that you used, it’s how we come together to solve something, right? So, you know, we all can figure things out and bringing options to the table and seeing that we all play a role in it, um, and are part of the solution, I think is just critical to have.

[00:21:23] Shasta Hensley: Absolutely.

[00:21:25] And- and I think this leads really well into this, you know, this next piece of this about the impacts of policy and regulation.

[00:21:32] And so one way, you know, a very oversimplified way to kind of think about this is thinking about how policy and regulation impact our students at the end of the day. And so, you know, we start with the federal leg- regulation. Federal regulation is gonna cover every state, and every district. And so those federal regulations, um, include things like the I D A, the Individual Disability Act, um, ESSA or the Every Student Succeeds Act, you know, the- the [00:22:00] things, um, and the guidance put out by the Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice and the US Department of Education.

[00:22:06] Those are federal regulations. And so when there’s federal regulation, they, you know, the- those regulations then follow up on the state to make sure that they’re followed and abided by and implemented. And so, when you think about state regulation and policy, and so you think about those Kentucky administrative regulations or regs that Kentucky academic standards.

[00:22:26] Um, and then there’s like a- I mean there are so many different regulations, um, you know, at the state level, but then also K D E guidance documents, you know, all of those things are influenced, um, by federal regulation. And so, you know, we will follow what- what federal regulation says, and then we’ll say, “Okay, how does this work? And how does this fit for Kentucky? And how does this make sense for Kentucky?”

[00:22:49] And then from there you go to the local policy and procedure where it’s at the district or the school level. Um, you know, they’re Kentucky school districts. You know, there are lots of [00:23:00] spaces where they get to make, um, you know, decisions based on the needs of their communities.

[00:23:04] Um, and so sometimes they’ll implement a policy or a procedure that works for their- for their community. Um, things like school-based decision ma- decision making are very influential- influential in these sorts of policies, particularly at the school level. Um, curriculum and instruction, and so, you know, state regulation or state policy says, “Okay, here’s- here’s the standards. Here’s- here’s the minimum things that students at each grade level are required to learn.”

[00:23:30] But then local districts, um, get to determine the curriculum. Okay, well how are we gonna teach that standard? And- and what tools and what resources are we gonna provide to students to learn that standard? In addition things like local resources, um, so things like some districts, you know, have, um, you know, parent liaisons at the district level and some, you know, and some do not different things.

[00:23:52] Um, those things are decided at that local policy and procedure level, but you can kind of see how one will impact the other. [00:24:00] And so, again, thinking about what we, you know, talked about previously around social capital and information channels and advocates, um, you can see how, um, when you know families and schools are in partnership together when we’re- we’re talking about what goals we want to achieve collectively and- and- and individually for our students.

[00:24:19] Um, you can see how things, you know, maybe there’s a decision that happens at the local policy and procedure level, and we say actually that’s really- that’s really- it’s a great idea. But here is this issue here. And then, you know, well, maybe that’s not the issue, it’s not here at the state level, it’s actually here.

[00:24:35] And it kind of helps you think about where does my voice and my resources most need to go, and who do I need to talk to, um, at each level to have really good conversations? And again, partnership conversations, um, around, you know, the- the guidance and the implementation of things that impact our students.

[00:24:59] And I think, uh, [00:25:00] Rhonda, I think you’ll be able to expand on that maybe even a little more as you talk about growing your community.

[00:25:05] Rhonda Logsdon: Yes. And so to tell you a little bit about, um, sort of Kentucky SPIN, um, it’s Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network, and we are, um, the Parent Training and Information project for the state of Kentucky.

[00:25:21] And interestingly, (laughs) this is funded under IDEA, um, a part of the law that the I E P comes from as well. Um, and there’s at least, um, one Parent Training and Information project in every state. Some states like Florida and California have more than one. So also too, if you ever move, let us know and we connect you with the one that’s in that state, because again, like Shasta just talked about, you know, you’ve got your federal law, but you have state and then local policies and procedures. So it may vary a little bit, um, from state to state, but we are here [00:26:00] as a resource to you.

[00:26:01] We are all- all staff are persons with disabilities and or the immediate family members helping one another. The majority of our board is, uh, parents, caregivers, uh, persons with disabilities, um, and we provide that peer-to-peer support. Um, and we offer trainings throughout the state’s information. We help one-on-one. Step through the process. And then we also have a huge library of information online that’s continually growing in our video library, which I am backlogged on. We’ve had so many wonderful, uh, trainings and information. So, uh, keep an eye out on that.

[00:26:43] We’ve got a lot of different things and partnerships, um, to bring great information to you all. And then I think Sha- and then one of the things I think Shasta was going to, um- [00:27:00] no, nevermind. Sorry, Shasta.

[00:27:03] Shasta Hensley: That’s ok.

[00:27:04] Rhonda Logsdon: Um, so, uh, with this looking at statewide advocacy and support organizations, there are all kinds of wonderful, wonderful work being done.

[00:27:17] And here’s the great thing too, is that, um, another thing that I wanna make sure that I mention that I’m- that I’m not sure that a lot of people are aware of, um, is that in each school district, they are served by a Special Education cooperative, at least one that serves all school districts. You know, it’s broke up into regions.

[00:27:39] The Special Education co-ops are, they offer assistance to the schools, but then also they have wonderful amounts of information are so beneficial for families too in their website. Um, and so looking at those support organizations, statewide advisory groups and councils, these are [00:28:00] opportunities to grow, right?

[00:28:02] Um, and truly in looking at how, you know, and the whole purpose of how Kentucky SPIN was founded, you know, uh, back in 1988 is that we are all families helping families, right? You know when you learn something, you wanna share it with someone else, you know, so that it may help them, right? Um, and so that they could expand their knowledge and grow their community. Local advisory groups and councils, those are also wonderful ways to- to really grow the opportunity for yourself, which in turn grows it for your child.

[00:28:41] Um, you know, uh, I always say, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know till you know it, right? So, um, those are the things, and I think sometimes too, as parents, and I’m number one guilty of it, like I’ll say, “I can’t believe I did not know this.” I’d only known this then, but [00:29:00] take it from where you know it and go from there and just continue to grow. I think I will be infinitely going for growing and learning because there’s something every day and an opportunity that comes about.

[00:29:15] So we’re gonna talk about growing our partnership through communication, which I think is gonna be so key for successful family, uh, school partnership. Um, knowing who to contact, um, having that, and I think Shasta cause it- your- who’s your go-to person, right?

[00:29:37] Who is someone that you feel comfortable with? Who is the person where you can work with and know, um, and- and have that relationship with? Um, and we talked yesterday during, uh, the webinar is the building the relationship is what is key for our children to be successful, um, and staying [00:30:00] child-student focused.

[00:30:01] Um, and sometimes especially, you know, whether you are a parent or a teacher or a school, um, we are all emotionally involved in this, right? At different levels and for different reasons. Um, pretty much, I don’t know anybody that’s in this that- that there is not a huge why?

[00:30:20] Um, and ask questions. I’m the person who may be considered annoying. But I ask questions because if I don’t understand, I cannot help my child and I cannot help other families. So we have to understand, but also be, and this next one is a huge one for me, an active listener. Cause I’m so worried in my O C D that I’m gonna forget everything that I’m supposed to think of or say, or what is my response gonna be?

[00:30:50] But I need to stop myself and make sure I’m actively listening because, you know, first of all, I want people to listen to me, right? [00:31:00] So I need to ensure that I’m actually not just hearing voices, I’m actively listening to them and, you know, valuing and respecting one another is huge. You can express honestly and even disagree about stuff and still value and respect one another regardless of your role.

[00:31:23] This is critical, um, because, um, we need to make sure that we ensure that. Now, I can tell you first of all, I’ve made a million mistakes and I’ll make a million more, and I’ve approached things all in the wrong way. But I learned real quick, and I still sometimes have to catch myself because, you know, mama comes out (laughs) , but I, you know, it, uh, I have to catch myself because in the end, how I approach it is how it’s gonna affect my child. [00:32:00]

[00:32:01] Many times because that is keeping me focused on my child, focused on my student, because if I don’t approach this in communication wise, and when we say communication, it’s not just them words. You, um, nonverbal is just as strong as verbal. Um, and making sure that we respect one another, our cultural differences. Leave judgment at the door. Um, because none of us is living the exact same life or has the exact same experiences.

[00:32:34] But if we focus on not only our child’s strengths, but every member’s strengths, then I mean, we can just compliment one another, like be complimentary to one another, but also complement one another to where it- it’s like a dream come true, right? Because we all have different strengths. [00:33:00] And when that comes together and we use those and we are value and respect one another equally, um, it’s going to make a world a difference.

[00:33:11] And not only that, make a difference for our children, I don’t know about you all, but I- I enjoy it much more when we concentrate on the strengths and we ensure that we value and respect one another. Everybody’s happier. Yes, you can disagree, but be open to discuss it and be open because everybody is looking at it from a different view.

[00:33:37] Just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean that it’s not important or that, you know, I think that’s where, and not only with this, with working family school in- in the world in general, is if we can discuss things because disagreement’s- disagreement’s good. Um, and I say it over and over, but it is a good thing because it means [00:34:00] that, but what it is is how you handle a disagreement, how you work through it brings solutions to the table.

[00:34:08] Don’t just say, “Uh, no.” Whether you’re parent, school, anybody, if you shut down, then that is not a relationship, a partnership in giving both ways, and we’re not staying focused on our children and their future because if we, and I have to stop myself cuz sometimes I get to where I’m like, “No, I- just don’t go there with me.”

[00:34:31] Okay. But I have to be like, Okay, are you, is this really what’s best for your, for your child (laughs) or for your family or for other families? So we have to really push ourselves past that. And be aware of the verbal and nonverbal because, and I use this example all the time, but if you’re being sweet as pie and you’re rolling your eyes at the same time, those sweet words coming outta your mouth is not what they’re gonna remember.

[00:34:57] They’re gonna remember the eyes rolling and that is the [00:35:00] message that you give across. Um, and I know that y’all are like, “Really? Did they let Rhonda out here?” But it’s true. And my mom always told me, she’s like, “You never-“, oh, I’d never make a poker player cuz it’s always written all over my face. But you have to just like, I have to purposely be an active listener, you need to be aware of the message you’re given across, um, and everything too. So, um-

[00:35:29] Shasta Hensley: Yeah, I definitely agree with that, Rhonda. I’m with you. I have a glass face, is- is what, um, I’ve been told before, um, in that like it reflects whatever’s going on in my brain. Like I know how to control my words but my face gives me away. So Zoom is like an answered prayer to me cuz I can like turn it off and you can’t see my face. (laughs) But um, I do think those things are very important.

[00:35:51] And I just would like to add here, like this- that going back to the first point that you made, which is so, just so on point, [00:36:00] um, about knowing who to contact, right? And- and so, you know, oftentimes when I’m working with families and- and, you know, working to support families and- and school districts and teachers and advocates, you know, one of the- the first things that I like to ask, um, and- and think about is, okay, who have you talked to already? Because sometimes you may hit a roadblock, you know, with one person, there may be a barrier, and that barrier could be just within, you know, one individual versus where, you know, if maybe you had spoken or spoke- speak to the Director of Special Education.

[00:36:30] We are so fortunate in Kentucky to have so many wonderful directors. And so, um, so student-focused and- and want to make sure that students’ needs are met. And so, you know, maybe you’ve spoken with someone at the school level, but you don’t feel like, you know, based on like what you’ve learned and- and based on the things that you’ve read and all these great resources that we’ve provided, um, you’re like, I don’t really think that is jiving very well with what’s happening, um, in regulation. And so contacting the director, you know, and saying, “Hey, here’s my issue and here’s my [00:37:00] concern. You know, what can we do to problem solve?” Um, you know, uh, like I said, we have so many great directors who want to help, you know, solve problems and make sure that students needs are met.

[00:37:11] Um, so I- I just wanted to kind of echo that and- and just kind of, you know, reinforce that point about knowing who to contact. And if you’re not sure who your director is, if you go to, um, the- the K D E, the- the resources, um, at webpage, it will give you something called, uh, open house. Um, or if you just go to the K D E webpage and just like put in the little search bar, “open house”, it’s gonna give you a list of directors per district.

[00:37:36] And so that way, if you’re like, “Okay, I’ve- I’ve spoken with- with the school, you know, I’ve spoken with the teachers. I’m still not feeling that this is, you know, moving in a positive direction. I feel like there’s still more questions that- that are lingering.” Um, you know, you could maybe reach out to that director, um, to have a conversation with him or her to discuss that.

[00:37:57] Rhonda Logsdon: Well, and I’m glad you brought that up because that’s also one of [00:38:00] the first things that we do when we’re working with families is that we make sure that they know because they may not know that there is such a thing too, uh, in the districts. And we are fortunate to have that.

[00:38:12] Something else I would like to mention though too, is sometimes I see where, um, you may skip talking to the person that there is the issue with or with the school, too. So I think also mentioning giving the opportunity to work together and to communicate that with one another, we have to make sure we do that as well, um, and make sure that we are giving those opportunities because that is a true partnership and relationship to where we communicate that to one another so we have an opportunity to address it and sort of figure it out together.

[00:38:55] Because sometimes I think, uh, that doesn’t happen. And that’s also [00:39:00] my first thing too, which I know it is, you’re a Sous-chef, so have we tried to work through this? Um, because, you know, um, again like you don’t know what you don’t know till you know it, is that if they may not know. Uh, so we’ve gotta give those opportunities to one another, um, equally so.

[00:39:22] Shasta Hensley: Absolutely.

[00:39:26] And just kind of thinking about, you know, communication. We do offer some additional communication tools, right? So who do I talk- who do I talk to? Who do I communicate with? How do I know what’s going on in the world of education? You know, like, you know, statewide, you know, at the state level. So, you know, K D E does have a communications department, and so we have news releases and advisories, and you can sign up for those newsletters. Like it’s not just for teachers, it’s teachers, families, advocates.

[00:39:52] So if you kind of wanna know what’s happening, what’s up and coming, maybe with regulation or with policy, or maybe there is an advisory [00:40:00] council meeting that you’d be interested in attending coming up, um, you can go to the- the news releases and advisories webpage, which is linked here and say, “I really wanna learn more about this.” Click on that, and it’s gonna give you information about how to sign up for that information.

[00:40:13] Um, you can also check the- the online directory, again, that open house, um, where it’s gonna give you contacts o- at the local level. So it won’t just be your director, maybe you’re having a transportation issue. Um, maybe there’s an issue, um, with, uh, you know, an attendance issue.

[00:40:28] And so kind of again, knowing who to contact. Go to that online directory and say, “Well, I think that this might fall in this category.” Right? And, you know, hopefully if you don’t get to the right person, they’re gonna say, “Oh, here’s who you need to talk to. Let me give you their number.”

[00:40:43] Um, in addition, we do have the Parent and Family toolbox. I had mentioned it earlier, but again, some of those things that are on there are advocacy and support organizations. You know, we work with and- and partner with lots of great organizations like Kentucky SPIN. Um, but also, you know, we have, you know, [00:41:00] uh, great support at Kentucky Protection Advocacy and, you know, we all try to work together, um, the Kentucky Autism Training Center, like we all, you try to work together to solve problems, um, and, you know, also supporting districts, um, as they grow their family engagement.

[00:41:15] So how do you actively and meaningfully engage families? Um, we really are working hard on transition and employment. And so if you’re, you know, at- at this- if you are a student or if you work with students who are of that transition age, right? Um, thinking about what’s gonna happen after high school. Um, there are lots of great resources around transition employment like, you know, sometimes, you know, I hear from families, “Gosh, my kid’s gonna graduate in four years. And I’m starting to think about what- what’s gonna, you know, what are we gonna do? What- what’s out there? You know, what are the next steps? How can I continue to push, um, and have high expectations, you know, for my child, but also help them advocate for themselves.”

[00:41:55] And- and so again, just lots of good resources out there about how to have those conversations [00:42:00] at an A R C meeting and just more like I could have, again, just listed lots of things, but just go check it out cuz there really are some, um, great information on there.

[00:42:12] And then I guess we’re kind of concluding here, and I know we’re gonna have some space for questions. Um, but this is my contact information. And so, um, please, if you ever have a question, please don’t hesitate to, um, reach out and ask. Um, you know, it’s really good for us to know what, you know, what questions, you know, families, teachers, advocates, professionals, um, whatever your role is, we wanna help you grow your capacity.

[00:42:36] So if there’s something that you don’t see on the website, or maybe you’re not really sure who to talk to about a certain policy, if I don’t know, I will be the first to say, “I’m not sure who that is, but, I will help you figure it out.” Um, and we’ll work together to um, you know, find some answers. Um, and then of course there’s Rhonda’s information and she clearly is the mayor, uh, because she has like three different emails here. [00:43:00] I just have one.

[00:43:01] Um, so you guys are welcome to reach out to us. And Rhonda, is there anything you would wanna add about your- your contact information?

[00:43:09] Rhonda Logsdon: No, it’s, uh, but I’m totally not a mayor. I’m a- (laughs) I’m the fixer. All different things, right? (laughs) Um, but yeah, any way that we can help in stepping through it and work together and to build things, we help, uh, not only families, schools, uh, teachers, um, social worker, you know, we are here for everyone in how we work together, provide information and support, especially if there’s something like Shasta said, that you see that if there’s especially a topic you wanna learn more about, and it may not be one we had a webinar for, we will get- that’s the great thing about the partnership, you know, and like the agencies that Shasta mentioned and many other bits throughout, uh, Kentucky, is that we have been very [00:44:00] fortunate to be able to partner with so many wonderful people with so much expertise to bring information to everybody that it’s just been amazing.

[00:44:10] Um, so just let us know any way that we could help. I know that, um, that we love any opportunity to partner more with everybody. Um, and you know, we wanna kinda look at, I think we’ve got- may have some questions here, um, as well and we will, uh, kind of go into that. Um, but you know, we definitely wanna thank you all so much and if there’s anything that you wanna email us, just let us know.

[00:44:42] Let’s see. One of the questions, “Is it common for the director of Special Education to have their assistant attend meetings in their place? When and how do you make it clear you would prefer them to attend?” So I’ll let Shasta answer it in a second. But from my experience, sometimes though they will, [00:45:00] especially in larger districts, um, it may be someone from their office that- that they appoint to represent.

[00:45:09] If, um, if you would prefer it be them, um, if they’re able to, I would make it clear, but it doesn’t mean it would not have the same impact of having someone at the district level through the Special Education Department attend, right? Because they are there, and especially bigger districts, some districts actually the director of Special Ed attends their ARC meetings in some of the smaller ones, you know, without it being requested.

[00:45:39] Um, so it really depends on the district and again, also, um, what all they have going on, right? Um, so I would not say that it would be a bad thing if someone else does, because you would still be having the representation from the district level with the Special Education director and that office there. [00:46:00] Shasta?

[00:46:01] Shasta Hensley: Yeah, and I- I think that that- that’s on point, Rhonda. I think, you know, um, you know, if we do have some districts that are just larger than others, there- there may be, you know, uh, where the- the director has been requested to be in five places at once. Um, you know, depending on, you know, what’s going on at the district level.

[00:46:20] And so, um, it would maybe the- the director would say, “You know what? I can’t attend this A R C because I have to be at this other place, but I’m gonna send my qualified representative, maybe it’s an- an assistant, you know, uh, director to attend that meeting, and then they’re gonna, you know, report back to me, kinda tell me what was going on.”

[00:46:37] Um, however, if you feel strongly that you would want, you know, the director, you just make that request, you know, to- to the director, um, and the A R C chair, if it’s a different A R C chair than the director, um, you just make that request in writing. Just say, “I really feel strongly that I would like it to be this person.” And then there can be a conversation around that.

[00:46:56] Um, you know, if- if you get, you know, a no, like I can’t, [00:47:00] then maybe have a phone call, you know, and say, “I really would prefer that it be you there. I know you have, you know, high knowledge in this area.” And they may say, “Well, okay. I can see that’s really important to you. I can make that happen or I can’t make it happen on this day, but maybe I can make it happen, you know, on a different day.”

[00:47:15] There’s a lot of, you know, flexibility there that’s gonna be, uh, re- you know, needed on- on both sides. Um, you know, to- to make sure that the- the team feels complete and full for- for both the district and the, you know, the family.

[00:47:32] Hope that answered the question.

[00:47:35] Rhonda Logsdon: Yes. And um, we also have a- a comment here, and then there’s, I think, another question.

[00:47:42] “I can’t agree more. Sometimes we have a great message, but we lose it and we lose people’s interest in our delivery. If our delivery is off, our message gets lost.”

[00:47:53] Yes, that is so true. And across the board like that is (laughs) that- [00:48:00] that I can copy that not only in my work life, but every- (laughs) every aspect. Thank you so much for sharing that. And it’s- it’s so true.

[00:48:09] Shasta Hensley: Absolutely. My son, he’s like, “Mom, you’re saying- you’re saying you’re fine, but your face is not saying you’re fine.” You know, because (laughs) again, that delivery piece. I think that is so absolutely true. Whoever said that, uh, absolutely that our- our delivery is just as important as our message, for sure.

[00:48:28] Rhonda Logsdon: Yes.

[00:48:29] One of the questions here, “If you ask for mediation during a manifestation, uh, determination meeting, is it okay that the ARC meeting continue or should the meeting halt at that moment?”

[00:48:45] I would- I would- (crosstalk)

[00:48:48] Shasta Hensley: Go ahead, Rhonda.

[00:48:48] Rhonda Logsdon: Go ahead.

[00:48:49] Well, I- (laughs)

[00:48:50] Shasta Hensley: Oh, I was just-

[00:48:51] (laughter)

[00:48:51] Shasta Hensley: Look, here we are, (unintelligble) here’s what’s great is that even when we’re just like on the phone with each other, this is what we do. We’re like, “What about this? And what about this? And what about this?” [00:49:00] Like we- (laughs)

[00:49:00] Rhonda Logsdon: Yeah. (laughter)

[00:49:02] Yes, so go ahead, Rhonda. Go ahead, my dear.

[00:49:06] Okay. Well, I was just gonna say, you know, it really depends on how y’all are doing in most terms, when it comes to that, and you wanna do the- the mediation, it might, uh, and this is not even just if it’s a manifestation determination meeting or any of those things, right? You have the right to request mediation any time.

[00:49:28] Again, you know that you and the school both have to agree upon it, and then there’s a form. (unintelligible) The education that’ll be filled out and sent in. Now, with that, especially because regardless, whatever, if it was a manifestation or whatever meeting that- that you’ve come to the decision to do that. Most of the time it’s probably- it is- may have got heated.

[00:49:55] And it might be beneficial, especially when you’re looking at your relationship, [00:50:00] is sometimes, and we recommend this even when it’s not your, um, requesting mediation, sometimes it is best for your relationship, especially if you’re not in agreement and in filling and- things are running very high, right? It is better to step away and come back with fresh eyes and fresh- a moment because, you know, hindsight’s 20/20.

[00:50:28] I’ve learned in life, well, I keep teaching me that every day. Sometimes it is better to take that moment and to, you know, it doesn’t necessarily for- to my knowledge, and again, we’re gonna ask Shasta or anyone else, that you have to stop everything, but it probably would be beneficial to the relationship, especially if you feel that having an impartial mediator come in is gonna be able to help you all come to an agreement. It would be beneficial to do that.

[00:50:58] Um, and [00:51:00] you know, again, um, taking sort of a gauge of the temperature and everything, and regardless of its mediation or where it is, you can always, at any time, if it’s an I E P ARC meeting, if you feel that you need a break, you can, uh, let’s- let’s take just a few minutes, uh, of a break if we could. Or can we continue this meeting to be scheduled to continue it for another day? Sometimes that, regardless if you’re the family or the official, the teacher or the school, sometimes that is more beneficial to the relationship because that’s keeping us child-focused, right? Cause sometimes we all need a moment to step away and come back.

[00:51:42] Um, but again, I didn’t mean to ramble, but sometimes, I mean, that’s a really good question. It doesn’t necessarily that I’m aware of, but we can double-check, that you have to do that because of the regs or anything like that, if that’s what you’re going to ask for.

[00:51:59] Shasta? [00:52:00]

[00:52:00] Shasta Hensley: Yeah. And I would just kind of follow up. I, you know, that’s a- that’s a very, you know, technical question. Not a bad one, but a very technical one. And so I would really like to have, you know, conversations with some- some people, you know, at my department who are much, you know, uh, have better capacity, stronger capacity in that, um, you know, in- in- in that area, in that arena, who could perhaps help us answer that, you know, that question with if there were reg or guidance to support that, um, to kind of support that thinking around that conversation.

[00:52:33] So, um, whoever, you know, whoever sent that, um, if you would email me that question, um, again, you know, I would like to collaborate with some- some people on my team to, um, my K D E team you know, to kind of get some- some information, some resources together for you to help you answer that question.

[00:52:53] Rhonda Logsdon: Thank you so much, Shasta.

[00:52:54] Yes. Cause we wanna double-check that- that there isn’t, you know, if there’s some certain things in [00:53:00] that.

[00:53:00] Um, let’s see, if you- there’s another, “If you are act- acting as a parent surrogate for a student. They have an ARC due to be held by the student has been listed as a runaway is the school lab to still hold the meeting outside of the student being in the school at the moment, or even present to their own meeting?”

[00:53:27] Shasta Hensley: So again, for me, like my brain is like, there’s a lot of pieces to that question. Again, I love these questions. Yeah, these are great. Um, you know, but I always like to consult with- with the other experts on our team to make sure that we give you, you know, the most solid answer that we can possibly provide you.

[00:53:45] So, um, you know, again, my email, um, info is there, or, you know, phone call, whatever, you know, give- give me a call, shoot me an email, um, so that we can get you in contact with the people who can help answer that question the best.[00:54:00]

[00:54:03] Rhonda Logsdon: Absolutely. And here’s the thing about it, and one of the great things that I love about, you know, not only what K D E and Shasta and many others at K D E, but what we do at SPIN, too. Every situation is so different and it has a million pieces. And I also saw the other question that had more to do with the manifestation. Every situation is so different that we have to double-check because we wanna make sure that we give you all the best information, right? And looking at, just like Shasta showed, you know, the different- you’ve got your federal reg, state, local policies and procedures, looking at all of that along with the individual situations.

[00:54:43] So a lot of times, and a lot of times people get frustrated with this because we can’t give just a blanket, “This is what happens”, right? Because there’s so many revolving pieces. And the great thing about I D A is the Individualized Education Program, that if one thing is [00:55:00] a little different, then it means something a little different.

[00:55:02] Does that make sense? (laughs) So, uh-

[00:55:05] Shasta Hensley: Oh, it definitely does. It definitely does.

[00:55:08] Yeah, and- and just kind of in that same thread, right? Like, and- and you know what I’m, you know, what I’m hearing are multiple questions around the same topic. And so, um, you know, as we get phone calls or emails and we have these conversations, that really kind of helps my team think about, okay, where could- where do we need to better support districts or where can we better support families or, you know, where do we need to partner with- with SPIN or Kentucky, you know, Protection Advocacy to really help clarify some of these concerns and these issues.

[00:55:36] Um, and so, you know, I- I- I love these questions. I appreciate these questions, and again, you know, to make sure that we give you an answer that’s, you know, tailored to- to your situation. Um, you know, and also making sure that we, you know, keep confidentiality and we don’t say, “Well, that’s in this case, but not that case. And well, it depends on this versus that.”

[00:55:55] And I think that’s very, you know, like you said, Rhonda, it’s- it is gonna be very individualized [00:56:00] because so much is dependent upon the I E P and- and you know, what happened in A R C meeting and things like that. And so, um, by all means, again, you know, shoot me an email, give me a phone call, um, and if I don’t have the answer, um, I will- we definitely have people on our team who can help answer that question, who kind of live in that world of manifestation determination and who are, you know- you know, by all means, just experts, very knowledgeable experts in that area and can help us answer those questions.

[00:56:29] Rhonda Logsdon: Absolutely. Oh, and, uh, there was a thank you too, Shasta, here for you. So, um, you know, I- I greatly appreciate y’all. And Shasta, you don’t know how much I do you. Um, we are so grateful, um, and so thankful that you all joined us.

[00:56:47] Um, when this ends you’ll be prompted. And if there’s something you think about afterwards, don’t hesitate to reach out. Um, but we’re grateful for you and sharing your time with us, and you’re gonna be prompted, [00:57:00] uh, to fill out a survey when this ends.

[00:57:01] If you would take a few minutes, we greatly value your input, any suggestions that you may have on future topics as well, you’ll get the follow-up email that also has, uh, the handout as I had explained, but then also we’ll have a link to the evaluation if you don’t have a moment.

[00:57:20] But thank you so much, Shasta. Um, as always, you’re like amazing.

[00:57:26] Shasta Hensley: Well, thank you, uh, Rhonda, and just the whole, you know, SPIN team. Um, uh, I love our- our partnerships and again, just our collaboration and conversations with families and with districts because, you know, I think we both, uh, believe in how powerful and how valuable, uh, family-school partnerships are.

[00:57:46] Um, and- and we- we see the assets of both schools and families and how, you know, when they have the tools, uh, to work together, that there are great strides in education are made. [00:58:00] Um, you know, and improvements around Special Education, both individually and collectively are- are made. And so, um, again, thanks to SPIN and thanks to everybody who attended.

[00:58:09] It’s like the middle of the day and you chose to sit and hear us, um, ramble on, like we’re just having a conversation, I hope. Um, you know, but, uh, we do appreciate you being here. And if you, um, know someone who has questions, if you have questions, if you’re in search of resources or know someone else who may be in search of resources, again, you know, you’ll have all of that, um, in the PowerPoint that you’re gonna get.

[00:58:32] And, um, don’t hesitate, I think, to reach out to- to either one of us. Um, there’s no silly question, no bad question or anything like that. So just give us an email and we’re gonna help in any way that we can.

[00:58:46] Awesome. Thanks so much. You all have a great day now. Bye-bye.

[00:58:49] Bye.

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