Parent-Educator Connection Newsletter Vol 9, Num 3
February 2016
Website Guide
Document Guide
PEC Logo


PEC Find Families pg 2
Grandparents of Kids with Special Needs 
 We believe that no one understands a grand-parent's unique joys and concerns better than another grandparent of a child with special needs. 

On the GKSN website,   grandparents will have a chance to meet other grandparents through our Yahoogroup or Facebook groups, share ideas for supporting their kids and grandkids, and even post pictures of their grandkids! 

Please visit  and help us spread the word! 
Welcome to the Parent-Educator Connection E-Newsletter!
Dear Parents & Educators, 

She's back!  Grab a friend, a co-worker or a family member and come spend an evening with The Behavior Doctor!

Our most requested speaker, Dr. Laura Riffel, The Behavior Doctor, is coming back to Great Prairie AEA to spend an evening sharing her expertise with parents.  Educators, para educators and community service providers are also welcome to join the workshop being held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2016 at Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.  Dr. Riffel is a nationally known speaker who travels the world sharing her 30 years of experience in working with children with challenging behaviors.   

Comments received in evaluations from last years parent session:
"More than two hours.  I could have spent 4 hrs.  listening and learning."
"A lot of information in a short time for the parent workshop.  Would definitely take a full day session if offered."
"Defiantly worth my time.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring her back!"

Registration is requested, but not required.  Please see flier below for more details.  

This event is free, and everyone is welcome.   We hope to see you there!

Annette Clarahan,
Kelly Wallace,
Keeping Children Safe on the Internet
Dr. Sally Lindgren
Director of Technology & Innovation
Great Prairie Area Education Agency
The world today is indeed a very different place for today's children as compared to our own childhood days, or our parents childhood days.  Technology keeps moving forward- changing in its path the way we do business, read the news, learn new things, and communicate with others.
Technology, both in and out of schools, has also impacted the way students learn and even socialize with peers, employers, and even family!  As parents, it is just as important today, as it was in the past to be part of your child's eco-system of communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and all things that lead toward healthy growth and development. Sometimes, it is a challenge to hurdle through all the technology that our children take for granted. Cell phones, text messages, email, social-grams, insta-grams and so on, all of which impact our lives today.
As role models for our children, today's parents should take an active role in the use of technology- including "friending" your children, reading their posts in places like Facebook, or "following" them in places like Twitter, and helping them to create a positive social media presence (age appropriate, of course!). Teachers should always include parents when students are engaged with online activities. It is our job as parents and teachers to make sure our children know how to stay safe, communicate wisely, and use technology in positive ways while protecting their personal information.  At school, these skills and considerations come under the term Digital Citizenship, and Acceptable Use.
A really great website and resource for all parents, grandparents, care providers, teachers and even kids is managed by the Federal Trade Commission and called OnGuard  This resource can be reached at this web address: is a partner in the Stop Think Connect campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Opportunities for Parents

Links to help navigate the upcoming changes to Medicaid
Learn to think like a Behavior Detective!  

Links of Interest 


A look back at last month's readers choice article
How to Hook Parents at the High School Level

By Zach Wigle, Keokuk High School Principal

PEC K Pride
PEC Keokuk  School Pic

Engage the student and their parents will follow!

Finding ways to connect parents is always a difficult task regardless of the level, or school demographics. It can become harder when you work in high poverty areas with disconnected families. In Keokuk, we have been able to identify some strategies that allow parents to feel more welcome and connected within the walls of our schools. I don't have all of the answers, but what our high school staff has been able to do over the  last three years has been a catalyst in our school improvement efforts. At Keokuk High School, we believe that K-Pride has made a huge impact in regards to parent engagement and involvement and it starts with the students.

K-Pride is a mindset that highlights the importance of building relationships with our students. When students feel more connected, parents will feel the same way. There is no real program or set of guidelines that we have followed, but our staff has bought into  this mindset of "relationships first" and the results are impressive. If I could highlight three things that have aided our efforts they would be Communication, Positive Contacts, and Special Events. Below you will see a list of things we have done that fall under each of these categories.

Positive Contacts
Special Events
K-Pride Facebook page
Home visits in the summer 
K-Pride Block Party
Parent Syllabi 
Weekly calls/notes home from staff members
Stepping Towards Success banquet
Youth Leadership Team
Celebrating small wins 
School Community Council Meetings
SMORE flyers
Student/Staff/Parent Surveys
Thank Yous/Raise the Praise 
Lunch and Learn with parents

As Marzano states, "Schools that are highly effective produce results that almost entirely overcome the effects of student or family background." I can't thank our staff enough for all of the hard work they have put in over the last few years. Our graduation rate is the highest it has been in a long time at 91%. We only had nine students drop out of high school last year (less than 1.5%) compared to over 6% the previous five years. Student achievement is also climbing, and this spring we will be anxious to see the results of all of this hard work. I have included a link that will give you access to many of the documents and resources that may give you some ideas. If you have any questions, or ever need anything, please contact me.

Zach Wigle
High School Principal at Keokuk High School
319-795-6493 Twitter: @wiglezac
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Great Prairie Area Education Agency works as an educational partner with public and accredited, nonpublic schools to help students, school staff, parents and communities. Great Prairie AEA provides professional development and leadership to promote school improvement, a variety of instructional services, special education support services, and technology and media services. It is the policy of the Great Prairie Area Education Agency not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy please contact Greg Manske, 3601 West Avenue, Burlington, IA 52601, (319) 753-6561 x1217, (employment practices) or Deb Cook, 103 South A Street, Albia, IA 52531, (641) 932-5003 x5801, (educational programs).