Sections    Thursday March 21st, 2019
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Raising Special Kids and Pendergast team up for monthly sessions

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  • Maureen A. Mills/ Raising Special Kids


Raising Special Kids and Pendergast Elementary School District have teamed up to provide no-cost trainings for families of children receiving special education services.

The once-monthly “Westside Wednesdays” program will provide trainings on important topics such as the Individual Education Program (IEP) and Positive Behavior SupportRaising Special Kids will provide the trainings in English and Spanish.

Raising Special Kids and Pendergast team up for monthly sessions PendergastRaisingSpecialKidsInsideNicole Kaufman remembers feeling as though she was going through the IEP process in the dark when her son first started school. After consulting with Raising Special Kids and attending a few trainings, she recalls, “My next IEP meeting was the most successful one I’d ever had. Collaborating with the IEP team was a new experience for me—it was so refreshing to work with a team.”

As for her son, Kaufman reports, “he is more comfortable with his program, and he is making progress.”

“We are delighted to partner with Raising Special Kids to bring these family-friendly trainings to our side of town,” said Dr. Melissa McCusker, Director of Special Education for Pendergast. “We welcome folks from outside our district to join us.”

According to Christopher Tiffany, Director of Family Support and Education for Raising Special Kids, “helping families learn to work collaboratively with schools is a critical focus of Raising Special Kids.”  Continuing, he added, “Pendergast District’s belief in a culture of collaboration and partnership fits perfectly with our goals. It was natural for us to team up.”

Since 1985, Raising Special Kids has earned the designation of Arizona’s Parent Training and Information Center, required by states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Arizona has approximately 200,000 children, from birth to age 22, with disabilities and special health care needs. Many require special education services and support to receive a free and appropriate public education.

For more information about special education, the needs of families raising children with special needs in Arizona, or the work of Raising Special Kids visit