Partnership for Success
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Fine Arts and Communication
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As a culminating project for my Masters degree, I produced two informational videos for the Stevens Point Area Public School's Special Education Department. The purpose of this work was to develop communication tools designed to help increase the involvement of parents, whose children are being evaluated for placement in special education programs. This first video has three main objectives. First it explains the rationale and goals of special education. Second, it explains the procedures and terminology involved with the delivery of special education services. Third, the video stresses the importance of parental involvement and encourage parental participation in the evaluation and placement process as well as in the delivery of special education services. The second video offers strategies for parents on how to become more effective educational advocates for their children and help them succeed in school. It emphasises a partnership between parents and schools and stress the importance of attitude, discipline, and communication in working for children's educational success. The theme of this project is bringing parents closer to their children's education. One objective of education is to involve parents in the important educational decisions that effect their children. In special education, these decisions are made using a multi-disciplinary format. Specialists in various areas of education Join with parents to decide how to best meet the learning needs of the child. In an effort to have parents become a part of the multidisciplinary team that determines the educational program of their children, school systems will provide plenty of information about the programs, policies, procedures, and goals of the special education department. Every effort is made to see that parents get the facts. In my teaching career, I have seen a great deal of effort aimed at the parent's cognitive preparation for M-Team and special education participation but I have not seen any formal, district wide communication tool that addresses the affective dimensions of involvement in the special education system. I have never seen a tool that is specifically designed to motivate parents to get involved in their child's education. I have never seen a formal tool that works to empower parents not only with the facts they need but with the recognition that they are valid and equal members of the multi-disciplinary decision making team. To help make important decisions about their child's education, parents are invited to participate in an endeavor that is at best unfamiliar and at worst frightening and intimidating. It is not that the affective concerns of parents are ignored by education professionals, but a formal, district-wide tool that would provide a "common ground" of attitudes and beliefs between parents and professionals involved with delivering special education services would be of value. I felt that a tool like this was needed and a video presentation would be an effective way to address this need. I begin my work with a brief overview of the special education system. I cite research that indicates a need for greater effort in parent education and involvement. I review the district wide materials the Stevens Point Area School System's Special Education Department uses in their formal efforts to inform and engage parents in their children's education. I developed a rationale and proposal for this project and took it to the special education administration of the Stevens Point Area Public Schools. Together, the district and myself developed a basic program design. Next, I offer reasons why I felt video would be an appropriate medium for this type of project. I then present treatment of the videos themselves followed by the scripts that were produced and a detailed production schedule that sets the various deadlines of the project, leading to a completion date of May 1993.