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Returning to School During COVID-19
August 2020
Photo of author Robyn Lampley and her son

Back to School!
Parents, time to do your homework

By: Robyn Lampley

As Mom to a young man (9th grade) receiving special education services in a Tennessee public school, I am thankful for the many available resources – this year more so than ever before. My top three are the state’s School Reopening Toolkit for Special Populations, The Arc Tennessee’s Family Engagement in Special Education blog, and STEP’s Return to School Planning Guide. (Note: for those nearer the beginning of this journey, a number of advocacy organizations offer workshops and documentation for parent education on topics such as Basic Rights in Special Education and IEPs. These resources prepare parents for their place at the table at IEP meetings and for ongoing involvement throughout the year.)

As Tennessee heads back to school, whether in-person or virtual READ MORE>>

photo of author Erin Richardson

The First Day of School Year 2020-2021
By: Erin Richardson

Tens of thousands of students in Nashville will begin the new school year today. They have been school supply-shopping and are ready to go. Only, they won't be going anywhere because, as you know, schools will begin virtually for students in Nashville today due to the skyrocketing Covid-19 numbers in our city.

I joked with my 17-year old daughter, who will be a Senior this year, last night that I should take a picture of her in her pajamas and post it on Instagram with the caption "First Day of Senior Year." We laughed a little, but really, this isn't a laughing matter at all. Virtual learning is new to most students, their parents, and even their teachers. It's going to be hard. For everyone. It may work great for many students, and challenging and non-productive for others.  Without question, however, one of the READ MORE>>

Call Pathfinder
By Karen Mevis

CALLER: Hello. I’m a little confused about what my children’s school is doing about reopening. It seems like every time I turn around, I am hearing a new plan or proposal, or something else different on the news, or another change.  We’re in Friendship, Tennessee, and I have three children that normally would be going to Friendship Elementary. One is starting kindergarten, and one of my twins has an IEP. I have gotten a lot of emails, but how can I keep up?  READ MORE for PATHFINDER'S RESPONSE>>

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Hands holding tablet with one finger touching icon on screenSpecial Education COVID-19 Resources

With circumstances continuing to evolve during the pandemic, we realize the difficulty parents are experiencing when trying to navigate special education services for their children.  Here are some online resources to help make that process a little easier.  To find answers to other questions or connect with additional resources in your area, please connect Pathfinder.

STEP logo
STEP, Inc. provides accurate, timely, and relevant information and training related to special education rights, equal access to quality education, and connections to community resources.  Read More >>

The Arc Tennessee logo
The Arc Tennessee Family Engagement works in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Education to help families engage in their children's journies in special education.  Read More >>

Tennessee Department of Education logoTennessee Department of Education includes the latest information about school reopening guidelines and protocols for schools to respond appropriately to changes caused by the pandemic.  Read More >>

Additional resources are available through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Transition Tennessee, and TRIAD (Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders) of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, and national websites. Read More>>

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Do you want to know what disability-related, virtual activities are happening throughout the state?  Check out Pathfinder's Community Calendar.

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This project is partially funded under grant contracts with the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Division of Rehabilitation Services, and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

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