The purpose of the Parent Mentor Program is to help parents of children with disabilities effectively navigate the educational system in partnership with school district personnel. This is accomplished by providing information and support to families and by creating a mechanism to convey the family perspective back to the school district.
PARENT MENTOR ROLE:
- Serves as liaisons between families and school district personnel to foster positive parent/professional teamwork.
- Mentors have a child with a disability in the district and have firsthand knowledge on how school system works.
- Available to attend meetings with parents to help communicate concerns between parent and school personnel.
- The State of Ohio, through the collaborative efforts of the Ohio Department of Education, Office of Exceptional Children, and the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities, provide ongoing staff development and support to the Parent Mentors.
- Bring information to parents and staff from trainings, workshops, and networking with other Mentors statewide.Positive programs presented to the district by Parent Mentors are: The Reading A-Z program, the Game Club, Friendship Club, Its My Turn, ADHD workshops and Parent Education nights.
- Work with the staff in coordinating workshops/trainings like Transition Fair, Boardmaker Software, the Circles Program, etc.
- Monthly Support Group Meetings for Parents.
- Maintains a Lending Library which includes books, videos, magazines and software to assist staff and parents on various resources and information on disabilities.
- Knowledge of resources in Medina County to help families.
- Communicates through website and fliers with information for parents and staff on special education issues.
The Parent Mentor Program is funded through grants from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
Requirements mandated for grant:
Implement annual budget of the grant and report back to the OhioDepartment of Educationat end of the year;
Establish professional development goals each year and send in report with documentation of professional development hours;
Parent Mentors must acquire at least 21 hours of training per school year;
The ODE and OCECD provide mandatory training that make up 16.5 of those hours;
The other hours are supplemental trainings each Parent Mentor pursues according to their district needs.
A year-end summary of each Parent Mentor project must be submitted describing the impact the program has had on families in the school district.