DOWNEY -- Approximately 200 parents of children with special needs, representing school districts across California, visited Sacramento the end of April in an effort to speak with legislators about special education policy and increased advocacy for special needs students.
The delegation visited the state capitol on April 29 for Legislative Information Sharing Day, sponsored by the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Administrators, a state network of SELPA directors.
The team was represented by Ray Guilleaume, director of the Downey-Montebello/Mid-Cities SELPA, which collectively represents the unified school districts of Downey, Montebello, Lynwood, Paramount, and Bellflower. Also attending were Vicky Sciacca, senior program specialist for the Downey-Montebello SELPA, and parents Adaiah LaVonda, Patty Salgado, and Jesenia Sanchez.
“Our voices were heard as we were able to meet with Assemblywoman Christina Garcia, Senator Ricardo Lara, Senator Tony Mendoza, and Assemblyman Anthony Rendon,” the group said in a statement. “Our team of mothers shared their personal stories of supporting their children with special needs throughout the education process. Priority topics addressed this day were: Utilizing People-First Language; Ensuring Early Education Programs are Inclusive; Developing an Alternate, Integrated Standards Based Curriculum and Assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards; Expand funding for Alternative Dispute Resolution so all SELPAs will receive grant funding for this; Using federal dollars to help serve the mental health needs of school age children and adolescents; Protect Special Education Funding.
“The day was eventful, educational, and a great experience for all.”