May 7, 2004 – The State Office of Special Education will host Parent Empowerment conferences on Saturday, May 15, at the Holiday Inn Windward Passage, St. Thomas, and Sunday, May 16, at Gertrude's Restaurant, St. Croix, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The theme of the conferences is Working Together to Weave Positive Attitudes for Students with Disabilities. Guest Speaker for the two-day activity is Darrell Andrews, president of Famquest Inc,
Andrews, according to a press release from the education department, will focus on helping students learn to understand their strengths, develop goals for their futures, and master the skill to achieve those goals. The release continued, "His featured soft skills motivational training program will help parents as well as educators to understand the importance of compassion and knowledge as it pertains to working with the special education population."
Belinda West-O'Neal, state director of special education, said, "A very important aspect of the overall learning of our special needs students is the utilization of parents into all aspects of the education programs toward improving the individual's child's learning. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the primary law governing special education policy in the United States. Parent Involvement is included in this act, which defines parent involvement as 'the participation of parents in every facet of the education and development of children from birth to adulthood'. Parent involvement activities can range from volunteering to school reform and reconstruction efforts."
The Department of Education is responsible for conducting and/or providing training and information to parents for the educational benefit of their children West-O'Neal said. "Therefore, I wholeheartedly encourage parents to participate in the scheduled parent empowerment conferences."
Interested persons are asked to RSVP no later than May 12 with the special education office at 774-4399 or V.I. FIND (Family Information Network on Disabilities) at 774-1622.
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