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The informational event provided an overview of options in the Student Services Department

The Lake Oswego School District has held back-to-school nights at each

district school in order to welcome parents and provide them necessary information to ensure their students have the best school year possible.

One of these events, held Oct. 10 at the LOSD central office, focused on the district's Student Services Department (formerly known as Special Services). Parents of nontraditional learners and students with special needs throughout the district gathered to hear about opportunities to help their children succeed.

According to Mary Kay Larson, LOSD's director of communication, feedback from the Student Services Information Night has been very positive. "The intention of the night was to introduce new parents to Lake Oswego School District's student services, including staff enhancements such as the new psychologists and learning and behavioral specialists," Larson said.

The event also gave parents the opportunity to network with each other. "The highlight of the night was seeing parents share experiences and collaborate with each other in their grade level groups," said Executive Director of Student Services Patrick Tomblin. "So engaging was the time together, many remained talking well past the end of the program."

Student Services Parent Advisory Committee (SSPAC) co-chair Cyndi Spear helped lead the district event. "The purpose of it is to give a general overview of the services that are provided in the district, and who to call if you have a question," she said. "It helped people put names to faces in the department and the district."

Spear said the abundance of information concerning Student Services can be confusing for parents new to the subject. "Parents come to the session because they're just starting out in the process and are looking for answers," she said. "It's always best to start out with learning as much as you can, especially how to get connected to the people you need."

As a parent of a high school and middle school student, Spear has learned her fair share of information along the way. "I'm always both learning and sharing what I know. A lot of what I know I've learned from parents who have come before me," she said. "I always enjoy meeting with other parents. I love being able to talk about the work of SSPAC, because I feel passionate about it, and I love to be talking to parents about it and get them involved."

Spear said there were even parents present at the meeting who are not yet a part of the LOSD, but are considering it because of the Student Services Department. She believes that while the district is not perfect, it is improving its support of students with special needs. "I think that the system as a whole is trying to get better, be more collaborative, bridge the gap between special education and general ed. It's a shift to a philosophy of collective responsibility," Spear said. "This means everyone serves all students, every single one. Yes, it's a positive direction and we are working hard, but it's not an overnight sensation."

LOSD Superintendent Lora de la Cruz also spoke at Student Services Information Night and observed networking among parents. "It was incredible seeing parents support each other, and parents and staff collaborating side by side," de la Cruz said. "It was a very uplifting evening."

For more information on Student Services in the LOSD, visit www.losdschools.org/domain/56/.


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