Special Education Parent Newsletter

February 2022

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Welcome to the first edition of our Special Education monthly parent newsletter! We look forward to sharing helpful resources, upcoming events, connections, and celebrations here with you.

In the spirit of celebration we are thankful to all of our families and our community for the care and support that they provide on behalf of our students. We are so fortunate to work and live in a community that truly values our students and supports our schools.

If you have celebrations or resources that you would like to share over the coming months, please email Melissa at mrobertson@stanwood.wednet.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!


Meet the Special Education Directors:

Robert Hascall

Executive Director of Special Services

As a graduate from the University of Washington and Seattle University, Robert has work broadly as an educator, beginning as a teacher, and also has served as a program administrator, principal, and school counselor prior to becoming special services director for Stanwood-Camano School District in 2017. In his free time he operates a hobby farm with pigs, sheep, turkeys, and chickens.

Melissa Robertson

Director of Special Education

Melissa is a former special education teacher and experienced special education director. She is the parent of two adult children, one of whom has a developmental disability. Melissa is passionate about supporting students with differing abilities, and building inclusive programming in school communities. She loves to travel, hike, read, ski, and spend time with family and friends.

Upcoming Events & Important Dates

Parent Nights

We are happy to announce two upcoming Parent Nights for parents of students who receive IEP services:

March 1: 6:30-7:30 via Zoom - Understanding and Participating in my Child's IEP


May 3: 6:30-7:30, location To Be Determined - Understanding Inclusion

At these meetings, you will have the opportunity to hear from the district special education directors, and to ask any questions that you might have.

IEP Progress Reports

Just a reminder that you should be looking for your child's IEP progress report to arrive in the mail by the end of February. The progress report is intended to let you know how your student is progressing on his/her IEP goals and should include data for each goal that is being worked on.

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IDEA 2004 and Inclusion

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. (IDEA website)

Special education is a service, not a place. According to IDEA 2004, eligible students receive specially-designed instruction (SDI) in order 1) "to addres the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability," and 2) "to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children" (IDEA 2004, PL 108-446; S300.39[b][3]).

Adapted from The Principal's Handbook for Leading Inclusive Schools by Julie Causton and George Theoharis, 2014.

Inclusive Practices are defined by:

1. BELONGING - How we assure that every student has a sense of belonging in their home school community

2. PROGRAMMING - How we make sure that we meet the needs of all students, including students who struggle, within our school communities

In principle, inclusive education is:

"...the valuing of diversity within the human community. When inclusive education is fully embraced we abandon the idea that children have to be "normal" in order to contribute to the world. We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging."

Norman Kunc, The Need to Belong: Rediscovering Maslow's Hierarch of Needs, 1992.

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Special Education Information

Our desire as a district is to center the way that we think about students on their strengths and assets in order to positively impact their lives. Our hope is that each family will feel welcomed and cared for as we partner together through the IEP process. The PACER Center offers resources for Building Effective Family-School Partnerships as well as other important information for families.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.

The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 7.5 million (as of school year 2018-19) eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

Infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth ages 3 through 21 receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

Congress reauthorized the IDEA in 2004 and most recently amended the IDEA through Public Law 114-95, the Every Student Succeeds Act, in December 2015.

In the law, Congress states:

Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

US Department of Education

IDEA Website Resources for Parents and Families


The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides resources for parents and families related to special education. That information can be found here on their Family Engagement and Guidance page.

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Social Emotional Learning

Resources for families to support positive behavior:

Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports - information on PBIS and family engagement

Reinforcing Positive Behaviors at Home - an article by WAPAVE with great links to webinars and resources for supporting positive behavior

CASEL Framework - See the interactive CASEL Wheel for the components of Social Emotional Learning

Responding to Challenging Behaviors of School-Aged Children at Home and/or Childcare Settings - this article, provided by the Vermont Agency of Education provides practical tools, strategies, and resources for supporting your child's behavior

Parent Training & Resource Corner

PD Options:

Please check out the following free professional development resource!

OCALI Autism Internet Modules - Designed for those who support, instruct, work or live with someone with autism

Chromebook Accessibility Features

Chromebooks have accessibility features built in for learners with diverse needs, abilities, and learning styles. You can read more about those features here.


ARC of Washington - Provides support to families of children with developmental disabilities

Autism Society - Resources for families of children with autism

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) - Provides information and resources about special education

Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDAA) - Resources and support for parents of children with learning disabilities

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