Ila Elementary is among the top 25 schools in Georgia whose parents are highly satisfied that their special needs children’s educational needs are being met.
Madison County school system parent mentor Pam (Moore) Walley said Ila received a 74 percent satisfaction rate on a federally mandated special education satisfaction survey, which is compiled by the state.
Every year, the state selects certain schools within each district to administer the survey to the parents of each child with an IEP (individualized education plan) that is designed to help them with their specific educational needs. Ila was the only school in this district to be included in the 2012-13 school year.
“That’s a wonderful score,” Walley said, adding that it means Ila is on the right track.
But she doesn’t shortchange any of the other schools in Madison County.
“All of our schools are good schools with excellent education for our IEP children and all our teachers are hard working,” she said.
For the 2013-14 school year, Colbert and Danielsville elementary schools have been chosen to give out the surveys to their parents. And Walley said they are already busy working on ways to increase special needs parents’ inclusiveness in their child(ren)’s education.
“They have a whole list of things planned,” she said. One of the things Colbert is planning, Walley noted, is taking fifth grade IEP students and parents on a tour of the middle school, where they will meet their teachers and get an idea of what their new school will be like.
Ila’s high score the previous year just goes to show they are doing some “extra” things that made them stand out. “One thing is they are working for more face-to-face time with parents of IEP students,” she said.
Katrina Cook, Ila’s special education in-school coordinator, is dedicated to increasing parental involvement.
“I have been in the education field for more than 15 years, and I have always made it my top priority to work hand in hand with the parents of my students,” she said. “This close, working bond provides a clear and concise path to a more promising educational future for all students.”
Cooks says at Ila, teachers promote parental engagement and communication in a multitude of ways. Among those are weekly newsletters, parent breakfasts, and the school website, just to name a few.
“We also provide more personal assistance based on a family by family need,” Cook said. “For example, making home visits, daily phones calls, tutoring lessons for parents in the area of mathematics, and providing outside resources are ways to ensure student success no matter their socioeconomic status.”
And Cook maintains that though economic times are tough for everyone, she says one aspect of teaching that cannot be thrown by the wayside is the relationship between the school and the home.
“This relationship can be one of the most influential factors in a child’s academic and future success,” she said. “I believe it is our jobs as educators to keep this relationship strong and empowering.”
Ila also met with 83 percent of their IEP students’ parents at its annual open house, held the day before school opened in August, according to Walley.