The Milpitas Inclusive PTA will have its first 2020 General Meeting today, May 28.
Last September, Carla Crenshaw paved the way for a much-needed community-wide effort to begin forming this parent-driven organization, which was formerly called the Special Education Parent and Teacher Association of Milpitas (SEPTAM). Crenshaw, MUSD Director of Student Services and Special Education, carries a wealth of knowledge, having journeyed with close family members of differing abilities.
Before COVID-19 brought about a widespread shutdown, Milpitas Inclusive PTA was set to approve their budget for a speaker series, a school site informative tour, and family movie night; additional opportunities for learning, networking, and teacher support were also being planned. The parent-driven program will carry out its first General Meeting over Google Meet, where they’ll answer questions on Special Education, distance learning, and what might be expected for the 2020-2021 school year opening.
The Milpitas Inclusive PTA Board consists of parent leaders across the Milpitas Unified School District. Crenshaw will remain a district representative. Subcommittees are open for parents to engage in.
Schooling while at home has been a huge undertaking that no parent expected or asked for. Even with only a few weeks of school left, the future can feel daunting depending on a family’s personal situation and its children’s needs. While families across the district are united in this extraordinary set of conditions, there is natural concern for Special Education students whose needs are varied and vast.
When asked about the challenges that families face during this period, Crenshaw says, “[For] students who have pervasive and more significant disabilities, it’s truly hard for them to focus on a screen and some of the things that we do are very tactile. Some of the sensory strategies, like some of the occupational therapies and the way you would position a student’s hand, we really can’t do that.”
She goes on, “Other challenges are, if you think about it, school is a highly structured place and we had the kids busy for six hours. It’s tough on parents when they are looking after their other kids and have to teach their kids…and work situations, etc. The students themselves are not used to having unstructured time and that has been a challenge.”
Crenshaw also noted, “One of the things we have done is that our behavior therapists have been helping parents and we have samples on the Milpitas [MUSD] website. We have a Special Education resource page and some of the strategies are how to help a parent create a schedule that works for their kids so that their kids feel a little more secure and/or more organized and not as free flowing. We have a really comprehensive website as well. It even has strategies based on the characteristics of [what] we usually see with the disability. For instance, students that have autism, having a schedule is really critical. They want to know what comes next. So things like this are on the website for the parents.”
Special Education families interested in future Milpitas Inclusive PTA speaker series and additional informative events and activities are encouraged to participate in the upcoming General Meeting this evening. For answers to questions, visit MUSD Student Services.