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EDUCATION The Park Record. Editor: Bubba Brown firstname.lastname@example.org 435.649.9014 ex.118 ECKER HILL PARENTS CAN GET TEXTS FROM SCHOOL The Park City School District is rolling out a pilot program at Ecker Hill Middle School that allows school officials to send information to parents via text message and allows parents to respond with feedback. According to the district’s website, pcschools.us, the pilot program will run through the end of the school year. Parents will have the option to stop receiving the texts at any time. For more information, or to sign up to be part of the pilot, visit the website, or contact Molly Miller at mmiller@ pcschools.us. TMJH OFFERS COLLEGE READINESS MEETINGS Parents of eighth-graders at Treasure Mountain Junior High School have just a few weeks left to schedule meetings with school counselors regarding their students’ college and career readiness. According to the school’s website, tmjh.pcschools.us, the meetings focus on student progress, graduation requirements, course pathways and college planning. Appointments are available through April 28 and can be made any time during the school day, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment, contact Kate Riggs at email@example.com or 435-6455641. Visit the website for additional information. t u o TRAILSIDE STUDENTS WILL UNDERGO TESTING Students at Trailside Elementary School are scheduled to participate in cognitive abilities screener tests, which measure a wide range of students’ mental capabilities. According to the school’s website, tses.pcschools.us, the screener is not an achievement test, but will be used to help place students in the district’s Program for Academic Achievement and Enrichment (PACE). Trailside students are slated to be tested March 27 to March 31. Parents who do not wish to have their children tested must inform their children’s teacher before the test dates. Additional questions can be sent to Gina Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alp-n-Rock Blizzard Helly Hansen Swany Dalbello Descente Giro Head Hestra Hot Chillys K2 Sunice Line Mammut Marker Neve Nordica North Face Oakley Obermeyer Rossignol Roxy Salomon Scott 686 Smith Spyder Tyrolia Under Armour Volkl PRESCHOOL PROGRAM SEES SUCCESS, A-12 www.parkrecord.com SOUTH SUMMIT SAYS NO TO TOBACCO, A-12 A-11 WED/THURS/FRI, MARCH 22-24, 2017 New special education director sees progress Jennifer Slade says the district is taking steps to implement changes By BUBBA BROWN The Park Record Jennifer Slade often worked with parents and staff in the Park City School District during her tenure as the Utah State Board of Education’s anti-discrimination specialist, where she focused on ensuring students throughout the state requiring special accommodations are treated fairly. But when an opportunity came available last summer to join the district and deal with those issues from a different angle, Slade was eager to take it. She is now nearing the end of her ﬁrst school year as the district’s special education director. Slade, who has been an educator for nearly 30 years, is tasked with making sure the district is fulﬁlling its legal requirements in how it deals with students with special needs, ranging from learning disabilities to medical conditions. “I thought, ‘What a great opportunity for me to grow and to increase my knowledge and work directly with the people I’d been engaging with,’” she said. “I wanted to be in the community and maybe make a difference.” She joins the district a year after an investigation from the U.S. Department of Education’s Ofﬁce for Civil Rights found that school ofﬁcials had discriminated against a diabetic student and had failed to properly administer the 504 Plan that speciﬁes her special accommodations. After the investigation was made public, other parents of students with medical conditions spoke out with similar claims. In response, Superintendent Ember Conley and the Park City Board of Education ordered a comprehensive review of the district’s special education program. The report, conducted by the State Board of Education and ﬁnalized this winter, found glaring problems with the district’s operations. The areas of BUBBA BROWN/PARK RECORD Jennifer Slade is in her first year as the Park City School District’s special education director. A parent of children with special needs herself, Slade says she wants to help forge strong relationships between parents and school staff members. concern included a disconnect among parents, teachers and district administration; a lack of school- or district-wide outlines of how to provide equal access to all students; and a deﬁciency in training for staff about the basics of special education requirements. Slade, who helped districts work through similar problems in her role with the State Board of Education, was hired to ﬁx them. She said her ﬁrst months on the job have been aimed at fostering better communication with parents of students with special needs and implementing processes within the district to address the deﬁciencies outlined in the report. That includes the installation of new software that allows students’ 504 Plans and Individualized Education Plans to follow them when they change grades, and makes it easier for regular class- room students to have access to them. Parents in recent years have complained about both issues. “I think that’s been done generally in the past, based on my experience with the district, but that communication definitely breaks down occasionally,” Slade said. Additionally, Slade has met regularly with special education coordinators at each school to ensure staff members have more clarity about regulations and the district’s responsibility in educating students with special accommodations. She said it’s been important to make sure the staff -- the people she said are truly responsible for the well-being of the students on a day-to-day basis -- are educated and feel comfortable having discussions with parents of children with special needs. Community outreach has also been t u o w o l B critical, she said, to help bridge divides that have been common among parents, teachers and the district. That aspect is important to her because, as a parent of children with special needs herself, she understands what it’s like to have to work within the school system to get better care for her children. She is happy to meet with parents -she’s even willing to provide them with her cell phone number -- but her primary focus is on building strong relationships at the ground level, between parents and the staff of each school. “I want them to be able to advocate for their kids just like I did for my own children,” she said. “I have only had my degree since 1996, and I was raising my kids prior to that, so I had to learn the system as I went. For me, it’s satisfying that I can empower and give parents those tools.” SHOP NOW! 40 -ALL50% OFF OUTERWEAR 30ALL-SKIS50% OFF and BINDINGS *Some restrictions may apply.