StudentsFirst Advocacy Training

Early in the week, I sat down with Steven Quinn of StudentsFirst and talked about how his organization advocates for all students to have access to great schools.

StudentsFirst hosts the Georgia Education Advocacy Summit at the State Capitol which focuses on how to be an effective education advocate teaching techniques to have your voice heard by the Georgia General Assembly.

Steven has offered to provide special education advocacy training to our group. If you are interested in attending a training session let me know. I am hoping to coordinate one in January.


Senate passes Casey’s bill to help families bear long-term disability costs

I thought the article below would be of interest. If President Obama passes the bill, families will be able to create tax-sheltered savings accounts for their special needs children without affecting their federal disability benefits.

Senate passes Casey’s bill to help families bear long-term disability costs

DBHDD looking for Stakeholders to join DD Advisory Council

In case anyone is interested in applying.


DBHDD looking for interested stakeholders
to join DD Advisory Council

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is looking for interested stakeholders who would like to apply to be a member of the DD Advisory Council.

The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Department/Division of Developmental Disabilities on matters relating to the care and service of people with developmental disabilities served by the Department. These purposes shall be:

  1. To assist the Division in assuring the Department’s services to people with developmental disabilities reflect adherence to the standard of “best practice.”
  2. To assist the Division in assuring the Department’s programs for people with developmental disabilities provide quality services in a cost effective manner.
  3. To recommend improvements to the Division for existing programs serving people with developmental disabilities.
  4. To recommend development and implementation of additional programs for people with developmental disabilities in Georgia.
  5. To review the Department’s policy, policy revisions, and make recommendations regarding the adherence to the Department’s mission and the cost of proposed policies and amendments.
  6. To facilitate communication among Department staff, providers of services, service recipients, parents/guardians/advocates of people with developmental disabilities, and other public and private entities involved in delivering services to  people with developmental disabilities.

DD Advisory Council members serve a period of two years. Meetings are held in person at least 6 times a year, with subcommittee workgroups meeting at least 4 times a year. Conference call/Go to Meetings may be an additional 6 times a year.


If you are interested in applying to become a member, please fill out the application. Applications will be accepted until January 2, 2015. Please send completed applications to:

Dan Howell
2 Peachtree St.
22nd floor
Atlanta, GA  30303 

School Choice (HB251) Updates

Today, the board unanimously voted to update the school choice policy to include sibling transfers, feeder pattern transfers, and a waiting list.

Communication of these changes will be posted on the district website and all schools will be instructed to post on their websites as well.

Be sure to watch the video of today’s board meeting for Darryl York’s explanation of each policy. And read the MDJ articles here and here.

Before the board went into executive session, we were able to talk with Darryl York, Executive Director Policy, Planning & Student Support. He indicated the school choice application will open February 1, so continue to check the CCSD website as that date gets closer.

Also per Mr. York, Cobb County handles special education transfers through School Choice (HB251). So if you are considering another school for next year, be sure to complete the HB251 application. Once an application is received for a special education transfer, Mr. York confirms that the requested school can meet the student’s IEP and that there is space available.

In addition to getting the chance to meet and speak with Mr. York, I also got the opportunity to speak with Dr. Carol Seay, Assistant Superintendent Special Student Services. She informed me that as part of the independent special education review, families will be interviewed for their feedback.

So although special education was not on the agenda, by attending the board meeting I was able meet and speak with Mr. York and Dr. Seay. I encourage everyone, when you can, attend the board meetings. It is a great opportunity for the district to learn who you are and for you to voice your concerns.