Parent committee advises on student disability issues

The mission of the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is to promote partnerships among parents and educators that benefit students with disabilities. To support this, the PAC members provide communication, awareness, and collaboration between parents, the community, local school districts and the Intermediate School District.

The Parent Advisory Committee is an advisory group for parents of children with disabilities. The parents represent local school districts in Houghton, Baraga and Keweenaw Counties as well as the Copper Country Intermediate School District. Parents are appointed by their local school board and an attempt is made to make sure students with a variety of disabilities are represented. The Parent Advisory Committee members are available to local parents for support and as a resource for additional information. Current representatives and their contact information are listed on the Copper Country ISD website under Special Education. The PAC also works closely with the CCISD to develop a Handbook for Parents, which informs parents in our area of special education programs and services available in the local school districts and within the CCISD.

The committee also finds speakers that can address current issues in special education to help support families with understanding the many rules and regulations that surround special education. Some of the topics that have been addressed in the past include guardianship for parents of young adults and helping parents become advocates during the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process.

The Parent Advisory Committee hosts an annual event to honor people in our three county area who have made an outstanding contribution to the education and understanding of children with disabilities. Staff, students and community members are nominated by students and their families. Nominations are reviewed by the members of the Parent Advisory Committee and awards are given in several different categories. Nominees are celebrated with a catered dinner and award ceremony at the Copper Country ISD each spring. This is a very heartfelt event and many of the special education students and their families participate in the event.

Regular meetings of the PAC are held bi-monthly during the school year at 6:30 p.m. at the Copper Country ISD in Hancock. All parents of students receiving special education support are welcome to attend. If you are a parent in Baraga, Chassell, CLK, Dollar Bay, Hancock and Stanton we do not currently have a representative from your district. We would like to encourage parents from the previously mentioned school districts to join the Copper Country Parent Advisory Committee. Having representation from all our local schools will help strengthen an already active and important committee that is here to help students with disabilities. Please contact the Copper Country ISD for more information if you are interested in attending a meeting and/or becoming a committee member.

George Stockero Jr. is superintendent of the Copper Country Intermediate School District.