Student success is improved when the relationships between school and family are positive and strong. NSSED is committed to creating partnership, educational and support networks for parents of students with special needs whenever and wherever the opportunity exists. We invite you to review the supports we currently have in place, and to reach out to us with ideas that you believe will serve to improve the outcomes for our students.
NSSED Association of Parents and Staff
Over the past 22 years, the NSSED Association of Parents and Staff (APS) has served as an advisory board to NSSED administrative staff. With parent representatives from all 18 member districts, the APS Board meets on a monthly basis with NSSED and member district staff to discuss the broad spectrum of interests of parents and students in special education.
In addressing its mission to heighten awareness and understanding of learning differences, provide ongoing training and education, and offer support to all parents, the APS has developed educational and community programs that are carried out within all of our member districts. School based programs such as Kids on the Block and a complete Disability Awareness Curriculum have built a foundation for disability awareness at the individual building level. The annual Police and Fire Department Open Houses have helped to establish our community partnerships with first responders. This year another community based partnership program was initiated with representatives from the public libraries within our member school districts based on a model program created by the Deerfield Public Library called Sensory Story Time.
School, Family and Community Partnership Teams → Download pdf
In 2010 NSSED began implementation of School, Family and Community Partnership program. This work signals a shift in our approach to family engagement. NSSED has always placed a very high value on its relationships with families. However, new partnership work advances us to a broader initiative wherein our family engagement moves from a program level to a district systems level, that engagement isn’t events driven, but is student outcome oriented. Parent or family involvement moves from being an add on to our work to being integrated into our educational work and together we all move from a position of command and control to one of collaboration and inspiration through this partnership work.
Currently NSSED has two active Partnerships Teams working in a decision making capacity with the NSSED administration and programs.
Weekly Parent Update
The hallmark of the Association of Parents and Staff work is an educational workshop series held each year. Each year eight workshops are held from September through May. The workshops cover the full continuum of interests ranging from universal presentations such as reading interventions for all students to specific topics focusing on life planning for students with autism. A list of the workshops held in 2012-2013 is attached.
ISBE Parent Guide
Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois is a document, developed by the Illinois State Board of Education for parents and others to learn about the educational rights of children who have disabilities and receive special education services. (Updated 6/09). We believe it is one of most well organized and comprehensive guides to the Individualized Education Plan process available.
FAQs – A Parent Resource
Over the years we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked question by parents new to the NSSED community. Some of the questions are repetitive of information provided elsewhere on our website, but we wanted to give new parents one place to get their initial questions answered.
If you have any questions that you would like us to add to our FAQs, please feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your input.
Parent Mentor Program
In 2005, the Association of Parents and Staff was awarded a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to implement a Parent Mentor Program. The NSSED/APS grant was one of 15 such grants awarded in the state. The purpose of the grant is to develop and implement a training and consultative model for collaborative problem solving within the IEP process
The Parent Mentor provides parents and staff with training, networking opportunities, and resource information on the educational process or a specific disability. Parent Mentor services may also take the form of assisting individual parents with the various parts of their IEP process. Overall the Parent Mentor seeks to facilitate access to information and provide an opportunity to rethink or reframe an existing process or problem.
If you are the parent of a child with special needs and need any type of help or information please feel free to contact Susan Hans, NSSED Parent Mentor at (847) 831-5100 x 2228.
District Parent Groups
Many of the member district of NSSED have created parent groups to provide support and information to their families at a local district level. Each of these Parent and Educator Partnerships was started by an interested and enthusiastic parent in partnership with district special education administrators and establishes priorities for the group based on need.
If you are interested in starting a new group please feel free to contact your district representative on the Association of Parents and Staff Board.