Parent Perusals

June 28, 2019

A Note from Kimberly

From my family to yours...Happy 4th of July! The picture of my girls on the left was taken 3 years ago and it's one of my favorites.

Independence Day is a popular day for kids because of the excitement and fun events that accompanies it. However, the Fourth of July is more than fireworks and barbecues. This holiday marks the day our great country was unified as a nation.

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to celebrate family, community and the things that make our country special.

This edition of Parent Perusals is kind of a random mix of community events and information that I've collected. I did want to make sure and share some 4th of July family activities!

As summer continues, it's important that as parents you continue to disguise learning as fun and keep your kids reading, writing, playing and thinking to keep their skills sharp!

Below are some ideas and resources that can assist with that!


Fourth of July Conversation Starters

  • Name as many states in the USA that you can think of in 1 minute.
  • Make up a story about how the Liberty Bell got its crack.
  • Everyone at the table must perform their best interpretation of a firework.
  • Belt out the Star Spangled Banner.
  • If you were the President of the United States, what would be the first 3 things on your agenda?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat on the 4th of July?
  • If you had designed the American flag, what would it look like?
  • Why are you proud to be an American?
  • How is the American flag like Santa Claus? They both hang out at the pole!
  • What dance was very popular in 1776? Indepen--DANCE!
  • The length of the Statue of Liberty's nose is 4 feet 6 inches. Grab a ruler and measure it out!
  • Do you know what everything on the American flag stands for?
  • How is a healthy person like the United States? They both have good constitutions!
  • What famous pig signed the Declaration of Independence? John HAMcock!
  • Sing "Happy Birthday" to America!"

Download the Conversation Cards Below or click HERE.

Taken from Happy Home Fairy.

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Download the Flyer Below!

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Download the Flyer Below!

Looking to Clean Out Your Closets this Summer?

Please dig into your closets and see what you can find that will make someone’s dream come true. The formal ware is given FREE of charge to the students. The organizers take donations year around and are blessed with the gratitude of students who have never owned such glamorous clothing.

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Great Idea if You are Parenting a Teen! Just in Time for Back to School Physicals!

The teen years are an important time of growth and development. Teens need regular medical care to ensure they receive recommended health services that help keep them safe and healthy.

Having a healthcare provider(e.g., a doctor or nurse practitioner) they trust and can talk to is important, particularly when it comes to topics such as mental and sexual health, substance use, and safety from bullying. Parents can help create that trusting relationship by allowing their teen one-on-one time with their healthcare provider.

Download the FULL Information Sheet Below!

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TEA Stakeholder Initiative: A Community Voice for Special Education

Through Strategic Health Alliance's (SHA) project, people impacted or interested in special education will have multiple opportunities to provide guidance to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Schools, students, families, communities, businesses who are committed to strengthening our workforce, and professionals across disciplines who work with children will be able to share their knowledge, skills, and insights with the TEA on improvements that can be made, while learning about how systems and services are delivered. Inclusion of families whose children are in public, private and charter schools will be critical for the project, as well as families of marginalized communities, who research shows often do not obtain the access they need to critical special education opportunities.

This initiative is part of the new special education plan that was developed to respond to widely publicized challenges of children in accessing special education and receiving the right combination of services.

Partners in this project include the Institute for Public School Initiatives, which is also part of the College of Education, and two prominent nonprofits, Knowbility and Texas Parent to Parent. Together we will bring the community to the table, both on line and in person and build a communication bridge that will serve the children of Texas for years to come.

While the TEA has always provided systems for public input, through this grant we will provide a more structured approach that allows community input to become imbedded in the TEA decision making process.

Sign up to recieve updates about the TEA Stakeholder Project

IEP Facilitation

Facilitating IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) or, in Texas, Facilitating ARDs (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) is a term used to describe an approach on the rise in special education.

This facilitation approach applies skills and knowledge from the fields of group dynamics, conflict resolution, communication and meeting management to IEP or ARD meetings.

Facilitation is a process in which a person intervenes to help a group improve how it identifies, discusses, solves problems & makes decisions…thus increasing the group’s effectiveness. ~Roger Schwarz, The Skilled Facilitator, 1994

This IEP Facilitation or Facilitated IEP (FIEP) livebinder is a free resource for parents and professionals wanting to work collaboratively.

To make collaboration easier, special educators and parents are using facilitation skills and techniques to enhance communication, problem-solving and decision-making.

To watch a video of an IEP meeting illustrating the use of facilitation techniques, visit the Facilitated IEP (FIEP) webpage at Education Service Center Region 13.

For a free online course, The Basic: Facilitating IEPs, set up an account in ESC Region 13's eCampus and search by course name or ID # FA1219851.

The development and production of this product was funded in whole or in part by state or federal grants.

Contact: Linda McDaniel at

Questions? Comments? Feedback?

Click HERE if you can't access the form above and you'd like to leave Kimberly a comment, question or other feedback. Thanks!

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Consultant, Family Engagement, Education Service Center, Region 20

Kimberly has worked in the field of special education for 19 years. She has been on staff at ESC-20 for 10 years. She spent 7 years as a special education curriculum specialist and is currently the Family Engagement Consultant.

Kimberly has become quite passionate about empowering families to be more involved in their child's education and future as well as challenging and supporting schools to increase their efforts to involve families in their child's educational journey and focus on Family Engagement as an instructional tool that improves student's academic outcomes.

Kimberly enjoys living out in the country with her husband, Tyson and two daughters, Lynette & Lucy Sue.