Welcome to the first Special Education Newsletter! We hope parents will find the information valuable and encouraging. Our goal is to "bridge the gap" between our PV special education parent community and the individuals that comprise the Special Education Department for PVUSD. We aim to help foster greater transparency and collaboration between families and school teams. In addition to information and resources, each newsletter will spotlight one individual. We hope the "In the Spotlight" section will help our families to get to know the individuals from our district's Department of Special Education on a more personal level and gain a better understanding for their role within the district. We are honored to have Ms. Linda Taylor featured in our first "In the Spotlight."  

In the Spotlight

Q & A with Linda Taylor, Director of Special Education  
Where did you get your passion for special education?
 I was a gymnast when I was a teenager, and for a summer job, I taught gymnastics to young children.  There were 2 girls in the group with Down syndrome, and I immediately fell in love.  I also had a cousin who had special needs and I never saw her in school (many years ago when students with special needs were segregated).   I knew then that special education would be a part of my future in some capacity, and have never regretted that decision.
What is your favorite part about being the Director of Special Education?
I love being able to work with children and their families to help develop the best-individualized programming needed to allow all students to achieve their potential.  I have been in the district for 20 years now, and it has also been a ball watching these individuals grow up and become independent, unique adults.    For selfish reasons, ESY is probably my favorite part of the year.  I actually get into classrooms and work with students and staff - it fills my bucket being with our kids!
What do you believe are the keys to building a collaborative IEP team?
Transparency and communication!!! I really believe that if teams and families are open and share the pros and cons of all options available   that would meet the student's individual needs, we can achieve the best results.  If there are outside providers, bring them to the meeting, or bring their input as they may have ideas and strategies the school team may not have considered.  I strongly recommend that everyone come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to work to develop an individual plan that best meets the student's academic and functional skill needs.  Sometimes, unique situations require unique planning and solutions.
What can parents do to best support their student on an IEP?
This goes back to the "transparency and communication" piece.    While the school team may be the experts with regard to instruction, curriculum, etc. you, as the parent are the expert regarding your child.  Share what works at home, with outside providers, in the community, etc.  The more the school team knows about your child, the better equipped they will be to meet their educational needs.
Is there anything else you wish parents knew about special education in PVUSD? (feel free to brag about anything that pertains to the work you are doing)
In my opinion, we offer the broadest continuum of services in the state.  We try very hard to address the whole child when we create and plan for student programming, which requires us to think outside of the box.  We offer a full continuum of services for a variety of student needs.  We have outstanding resource programs providing multi-sensory instruction and behavioral supports, specialized programs and highly qualified staff that specialize in teaching functional life skills, adaptive skills, emotional regulation skills, social pragmatic skills, and language development skills.    We have a Twice-Exceptional Program, which is not offered in any other district that seeks to meet the needs of highly gifted students in need of intensive social skill development.  We have a fantastic Transition Program, which I am learning, is pretty unique.  We are currently collaborating with Mayo Clinic and Project SEARCH to create a transition pathway for our students to train and ultimately secure gainful employment at Mayo Hospital.  Our needs grow and shift on a regular basis, and we do our best to support the ever-evolving student population we serve.
Now for the fun questions...
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I don't have a sweet tooth, so ice cream is not my thing.  But if you are asking for my guilty indulgence, anything salty and crunchy will get the job done!
What is your favorite book and/or movie?
This is a hard question as I love to read!  I'd have to say The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is among my favorites.  But, put it in front of me and I'll read it!  Life can be pretty heavy and serious at times, so when I watch a movie, I enjoy a good laugh.  I enjoy everything from "feel good" movies to comedies.  I am looking forward to seeing The Peanut Butter Falcon.  Disclaimer  -  I refuse to watch scary movies!
What is do you like to do for fun?
As mentioned, I am an avid reader, so spend a lot of time buried in a book, but I also love to cook and play in the dirt (flower and vegetable gardens are my favorite).  I also like being outdoors, so swimming with my dog in the summer, and hiking and biking in the "not 100+" weather are my relaxation "go tos".    Contrary to what some may believe, I hate shopping!
Parent Workshop 

Please join us for our first evening program of the school year. It will be on Tuesday, October 22nd 6pm at the District Offices. Click on the link below for additional information 
An Overview of Special Education and 504 Programs in Paradise Valley Unified School District

Interested in joining our Special Education committee? Have ideas for future workshops? We'd love to hear from you! Email us at specialed@pvupc.org

United Parent Council 

We ADVOCATE for Students, EDUCATE parents and community, COLLABORATE with PVUSD and other Educational Organizations, and WORK with the Superintendent to increase the presence of the UPC. 
Have your voice heard, join us!
Next General meeting:  Wednesday, October 16th 8:45am-11:00am
8:45am - Meet and Greet
9:00am - Business portion begins
10:15am - Educational program- "Campus Safety"

What's Happening in Our Community

Special Olympics in PV Schools
The fall season of sports including, swimming, bowling and, golf is underway.
To become an athlete, coach or volunteer contact:
Jason Flock via email at jflock@pvschools.net

Come cheer on our PV Roadrunners at the following fall competitions:
State Competition
Friday/Saturday, October 25th and 26th
Southwest Valley YMCA- 2919 N. Litchfield Rd, Goodyear, AZ 85395
Competition: Friday/Saturday, November 22nd and 23rd, 2019
Brunswick Zone Mesa Lanes
1754 W. Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
Regional Golf Tournament: Saturday, November 2nd 7:30am-2:00pm
Rolling Hills Golf Course
1415 N. Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

Tools, Tips and Resources 

Words of Encouragement

" Believe in yourself as a parent. No one knows your child better than you. 
You have been there since their first breath. There is no better advocate for their needs." 
-Author unknown 

Deb Kozak and Jessica Crain
Special Education Committee Co-Chairs

Paradise Valley United School District United Parent Council 

15032 North 32nd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85032
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