Plain Press, December 2015 Parents attending the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) School/Parent Organization meeting on November 12th at Paul Dunbar School learned about a program that provides eye care to children in the school district and received information about services offered by CMSD’s Special Education Department.
Parents also formed groups to practice tackling issues their schools may face such as how to increase literacy for students in a third grade classroom; strategies to increase a schools attendance rate; and how to keep parents and students invested in a high school when the school district radically changes the school’s staff and curriculum.
Guest speaker Teri Kula, Family Engagement Specialist at ChildSight, Ohio explained the vision services ChildSight offers to students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She said ChildSight comes directly into school buildings with an eye doctor that tests children to see if they need glasses. ChildSight then orders and pays for the glasses. Students getting glasses never need to leave the school building.
Kula said ChildSight also makes referrals and pays for specialists when other vision problems are discovered during an eye exam.
This year ChildSight hopes to visit many 5th through 8th grade classrooms in the school district to offer its vision services. In other schools ChildSight will be taking referrals from school nurses for students in need of vision services.
Kula says three years ago ChildSight was able to provide vision services to 17,000 students attending schools in Cleveland and East Cleveland. This year she said the organization will be trying to serve as many students as they can, but has substantially less funding than it had three years ago. Kula offered a survey to parent leaders present at the meeting to help gauge the need for its services in their schools
Jessica Baldwin, Executive Director Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Special Education Department, brought materials explaining to parents what to do if they believe their child may have a disability. The first step described in the materials is to write the child’s principal a letter describing your concerns. The letter should then start the process where a meeting will be convened to discuss available data and information about the child. If there is evidence the child has a disability that impacts the child’s academic performance a referral will be made to the School Psychologist for additional testing.
Baldwin also offered parents information about Individual Education Plans (IEP) and the Special Education Department. West Side parents needing help with the IEP process were urged to call Raychelle Fair at 216-838-0345. Parents or school personnel needing additional information about Special Education services can call the Special Education Department at 216-838-7733.