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updated: 11/2/2012 12:28 PM

SPARK to explain what makes a good IEP

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Tim Waldorf

Special Education Parents Accessing Resources and Knowledge (SPARK) has scheduled four events for the 2012-13 school year that will provide parents information they need to advocate for their special needs children.

SPARK's first event, which will be held Monday, November 12, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Walter R. Sundling Junior High, 1100 N. Smith Street, Palatine, will be the first in a two-part series on Individualized Education Programs (IEP)--the process and document that defines the objectives for special education students. Titled "IEPs Part 1: What makes a good IEP?" this meeting will explore how IEPs are designed. Panel guests will include Cindy Phelps, District 15's Student Services director, as well as a teacher, a parent, an attorney, and a school psychologist/private therapist. The panel will help parents understand what makes a good IEP by explaining how to read them, what can and cannot be included in them, and what roles and responsibilities each member of an IEP team has with regard to creating and implementing the plan.

SPARK is a committee of the Northwest Suburban Council of PTA/PTSA that serves families of children with special needs in District 15. It was formed in response to the growing needs of families whose children learn differently or have special needs. It is comprised of parents who are trying to navigate the special education system who have realized the importance of networking with families of other special needs children and sharing resources related to special education.

SPARK has representatives at each District 15 school, and all parents, educators, and administrators are encouraged to attend its quarterly meetings, which feature presentations by special education experts.

SPARK also has an online support group. If you would like to subscribe to this group, visit or e-mail

For more information on SPARK, visit | For Parents/Students | Parent Resources | SPARK, or contact Jenni Bennett at 224-725-3795.

-Story Submitted by Community Consolidated School District 15