Formerly known as The Special Education Network, the organization was formed in 1999 by a group of parents and professionals committed to advancing educational excellence for children with special needs in Community Unit School District 300. The founding members felt strongly that parents of children with special needs would benefit from an organization to bring parents and educators together to share resources, educate the community about disabilities and build a strong partnership to enhance educational programming. Initially, the project was two-fold. First, monthly parent support groups were held where parents could discuss concerns about their children, share resources and form relationships with other families. Additionally, monthly informational seminars on a variety of relevant topics were held for parents and educators in district schools. These programs are still in place today. Please check our schedule for upcoming events.
Fueled by strong parent participation and a school district committed to serving and educating its special needs families, the Special Education Network and Community Unit School District 300 expanded programming and formed the Parent Liaison Program. With guidance and training from the Illinois State Board of Education, the program was one of the very first in Illinois. A Parent Liaison is available to assist parents of children with disabilities to effectively navigate the educational system to improve outcomes for students in special education. The program's intent is to build collaborative partnerships between parents, educators and administrators. The Parent Liaison works as an impartial special education ombudsman for families. A basic tenet of the program is that trust built between school staff and parents results in a positive, productive approach to problem solving.
In addition to the ongoing support and educational programs, the Parent Liaison is available to provide free training and assistance to any family in District 300 with a student with an IEP or 504 Plan.
Benefits for the Child and Family
Research strongly supports school-parent partnerships as effective in improving both school climate and student performance. The influence of parent involvement is profound and provides wide-ranging benefits for students, families, and schools when parents and family members become participants in their children’s education and lives. Parent Liaisons are parents of children with disabilities themselves and have received extensive training on special education law, policies and procedures, the IEP process, evaluations and assessments, collaboration and community resources. The Parent Liaison is a consultant, not a district employee, and all contacts are confidential. Parent Liaisons assist parents and schools in creating a cooperative partnership focused solely on the needs of the student.