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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Come cheer on our PV Roadrunners at the following fall competitions:
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