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5th Taos-area Special Education Meeting Set for October 17, 2010


(Taos, NM) -- Parents of students receiving Special Education services are invited to participate in the fifth Taos-area Special Education Community Meeting to be held Sunday, October 17, 2010 at the Taos Youth and Family Center in Taos, NM. At the meeting, parents can access written materials to help them understand their rights and responsibilities under federal IDEA laws and can learn what services are available for their students with special needs.

The Community Meeting features a special workshop for parents seeking help with their child’s special education process. Guest advocate Kendra Morrison, Special Education Project Coordinator with Parents Reaching Out (PRO), will lead the workshop “Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA’s) & Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP’s) – What Parents Need to Know.” FBA’s and BIP’s are important mandatory components of a Special Education student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that parents and educators can use to ensure services for the student. This workshop is the fourth workshop PRO has presented for Taos-area parents.

Taos parent Linda Carvalho appreciates the opportunity to participate in PRO’s parent workshops: “These meetings have given me a huge amount of community education resources and emotional support.”

Maxine Roybal, parent of a student in the Peñasco Independent School District adds that “meeting with PRO really helped me understand … what I need and how to advocate for my son – knowing the documentation and laws is helpful.”

Special education legal issues, especially districts’ failure to identify and evaluate children who qualify for services, are receiving media coverage in NM. Local concerns in the Taos area are increasing and the best efforts of advocates and attorneys have not produced results at their District level. According to Taos parent and advocate Heather Rowley, “even though our state advocates are giving heart and soul, there simply aren’t enough of them to help us all – so as parents we have to learn how we can advocate for our kids and add our strength to the cause.” She smiles “if enough of us learn our rights, they’ll have to listen.”

According to the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED), New Mexico’s 89 public school districts served 39,197 special education identified students (K-12) during the 2009-10 school year. Advocacy organizations such as PRO and NM Family Network employ approximately 14 advocates for statewide services, such as attending Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings with parents. Four child disability rights attorneys practice in New Mexico. Parents in New Mexico can, and must, be part of the team of professionals working state-wide to secure rights and services for special needs children. Taos-area parents now have access to the resources and training they need to advocate in the schools, with the next opportunity for education and assistance at the October 17th community meeting and workshop.

For more information, please contact:

Heather Rowley, President
Rowley Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 21564
Albuquerque, NM 87154
(575) 770-1218

Kendra Morrison, Special Education Project Coordinator
Parents Reaching Out
1920 B Columbia Dr. SE
Albuquerque, NM, 87106
(505) 247-0192
(800) 524-5176


 special education
 disability rights
 community meeting

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