February 4th, 2013 | Posted by DoverFSA in General Info - (Comments Off)

Please visit us often as we add information and develop a great resource for Dover families and teachers. Feedback is welcome and appreciated. 

The Dover Family School Alliance is a newly-formed, collaborative group intended to support special education students & educators within the Dover School District. The DFSA’s mission is to provide a source for Dover parents to have access to relevant information, training and emotional support in meeting their children’s special needs. We also aim to encourage an atmosphere of effective communication, understanding, and mutual respect among students, parents, educators and the Dover community-at-large.

Please join us on our Facebook Group  or Email Us to be added to our email list.

Mental Health Issues in the Classroom: A Teacher Training by Dr. Lauren Cook

April 16th at 3:30pm: Dover Middle School

A significant number of youth struggle with emotional challenges, which can impact the child’s academic functioning, social skills, behavior, and overall well-being in school. It is crucial for educators to be able to identify mental health concerns, provide appropriate referrals, and implement evidence-based strategies in the classroom. This training will provide teachers with a better understanding of mental health challenges such as anxiety or depression. Participants will learn to identify risk factors, protective factors, and symptoms, as well educational strategies for helping to teach and support children with emotional problems.

This event is free and CEUs are available.
RSVP: info@doverfamilyschoolalliance.org.

Dr. Lauren Cook, a licensed clinical psychologist, provides diagnostic evaluations and psychotherapy at the Portsmouth Neuropsychology Center, LLC and is an adjunct professor in UNH’s Education Department.

Knowledge is Key—How to be an Effective IEP Team Member

March 26th at 6:30pm: Wentworth Douglass Hospital

Parents are key members of a productive IEP Team. To be a full participant in the process – and a voice for your child’s needs - parents need a clear understanding of the special education process, including their roles and responsibilities.

This free workshop, presented by the NH Parent Information Center, includes a brief overview of each step in the IEP process, as well as strategies to help ensure all who “sit around the table” can work more effectively together.

This event is free. Childcare is available. 

RSVP:  Mary Grillo at mgrillo@picnh.org or
(603) 224-7005.

WDH parking/directions:
Park in WDH’s garage and proceed to the information desk, located just inside the main entrance (in rear of building). 

The Noerr Program, Ability Path & The Mall at Fox Run are hosting a private photo session with Santa on Sunday, December 8th starting at 8:00am exclusively for families of children with special needs.

RSVP today by contacting The Mall at Fox Run at 603-431-5951 or log on to www.caringsanta.com.

Sensory friendly accommodations, coloring activities, treats and no waiting in lines help make this a morning of treasured memories. The entire family is welcome! 

When you examine the diverse roles that the 100+ paraprofessionals working in the Dover School District have – anywhere from a literacy specialist working with kindergarteners to a one-on-one student support for a high schooler – you can begin to see the investment needed to successfully educate every student, every day in our district.

This diversity makes ongoing professional development of these employees no easy task. However, twice each year, Dover Public Schools invests in day-long training sessions to ensure that these employees have access to ongoing learning opportunities. This event offered more than a dozen sessions, ranging from intelligence/information processing, latest trends in working with students with ADHD, to applications of Math in Focus.

The November event was attended by more than 60 individuals, with more planning to attend the next training day on March 14th, 2014.

DFSA was pleased to help with the content development for this important day, as well as secure volunteer instructors. Holly Goodell, MS, CCC-SLP is a Speech and Language Pathologist at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and led the popular training “What we Need to Know about Concussions & Head Injuries: Warning Signs and Return to School Options.”

We commend the Dover School District for its ongoing professional development investments and are pleased to help district administration ensure that all children have access to knowledgable and prepared paraprofessionals.

On October 1, 2013 in Concord, the NH Department of Education and PIC cosponsored the fifth annual Parent Involvement in Education Awards. This event celebrated the efforts of educators, parents, and family-school partnership teams from around the state that displayed creativity, innovation, and/or commitment at the community, school, district, or state level. Our very own DFSA was honored as a Parent Involvement in Education Awardee and noted for its accomplishments in the areas of communicating effectively, welcoming all families, and collaborating as a community. Not bad for a group that was founded just a year ago.

This award is an honor and much appreciated by all of us involved with the DFSA. As a parent, however, what struck me most is that – finally – the importance of collaboration between schools and parents is being recognized and celebrated. We all know that navigating the diverse world of special education and IEPs isn’t easy. For every child identified with a special need, there are parents and a team of educators, each with his or her own challenges, priorities, and perspectives. With so many dynamics at play, it stands to reason that clear, frequent, and transparent communication is essential. And, while we all know this to be true, the reality is that genuine collaboration isn’t always as easy as it seems. George Bernard Shaw must have been talking about IEP meetings when he said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Parents and teachers may believe that they’re on the same page, but until something goes wrong (at the detriment of our kids) these misunderstandings are often never realized.

The simplest solution is often the one right in front of us, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to execute. We know that constructive collaboration amongst the people involved in the education and well-being of any child, but one with special needs in particular, is essential. Actually initiating that change is the real challenge, but when it happens, it benefits everyone. So, to those of you who go the extra mile and work to foster true collaboration between schools and parents, THANK YOU. This award is every bit as much for you as it is for us, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the years to come!