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Parent Mentor Program

Bexley's Parent Mentor is available to support the families of children with special needs from ages three through high school graduation. The Parent Mentor project is funded by the Ohio Department of Education with additional funding from the Adam Stuart Linhart Foundation.

What does a Parent Mentor Do?

  • Guides families through the special education process and helps them understand their rights and responsibilities;
  • Listens and supports families and teachers on an individual basis;
  • Provide information and resources to families and schools . This includes education laws, district programs, and community services ;
  • Attend IEP meetings and other education-related meetings at parent or staff request;
  • Partners with the Special Education PTO (SEPTO) to organize information sessions for families;
  • Make resource materials available to families and teachers from the Adam Stuart Linhart Memorial Resource Library
All services are provided at no cost.

Parent Mentor Newsletter Archive

April 2024

Hello to Parents and Guardians!

Back by popular demand, our quarterly “Parent Mentor Newsletter” is returning!  If you are directly receiving this email, you currently have a student at Bexley schools who has an Individualized Education Program (often referred to as an IEP.) The purpose of the newsletter is to ensure that you and your family have direct access to information, resources, events, and community connections that are relevant to your needs. This and future newsletters will also be available for all Bexley families via the District Student Services website to ensure equitable access to information- regardless of current IEP status.      

Below you will find District Updates and resources, central Ohio events and organizations, and news and parent training that are connected to the disability and neurodivergent community. Our hope is that each newsletter will contain something that will support or build your knowledge regardless where you might be in the educational, special education, or life journey.  

District update: The Ohio Department of Education and Workforce recently released Special Education Profiles for districts. Bexley met every indicator!  

We continue to provide professional development opportunities for our staff to meet the literacy needs of Bexley students. Three intervention specialists participated in training on structured, multisensory literacy instruction this school year and have received ongoing coaching while they complete their 100 hour practicum. A new group of Intervention Specialists will begin the training this summer! This increases our capacity to support students at all buildings. The teachers are doing a fantastic job implementing what they have learned, and have expressed appreciation for this professional learning opportunity!

The District Internal Monitoring team continues its work to evaluate the compliance of district IEPs (redacted to maintain confidentiality). This information is used to determine how we can support staff to ensure that IEPs are compliant. The team, which consists of Intervention Specialists, a therapist, Parent Mentor and administrators, also discusses best practices that we would like to see implemented - Quality Beyond Compliance! Our final meeting of the year, in April, will be used to identify themes upon which staff professional development will be designed.  

In case your child’s IEP team determined that your child is eligible for Extended School Year services, the dates will be: June 11, 12, 13June 25, 26, 27July 16, 17, 18July 23, 24, 25.

Your child’s specific schedule will be determined based on the individualized services identified in the IEP. The hours of ESY are 8:30 - 11:00, and your child’s time will be scheduled within that time frame.

Parent Mentor: 
Many families in Bexley don’t realize they have a free local resource!  Bexley City Schools has been a recipient of the Ohio Parent Mentor Grant for over 20 years.  The grant funds a part-time position within Bexley schools, currently held by Rachael Holland, to work in collaboration with families, schools, and community agencies.  Ohio Parent Mentors are parents of a child with disabilities and provide free peer-to-peer support to other families with disabilities.  

Specifically, the Parent Mentor role can offer support in:
  • Understanding the rights and responsibilities of the student
  • Transitioning from preschool to high school
  • Guiding families through or planning for any special education meeting at the request of the family or district
  • Whole child planning and problem solving, including using the tools from Charting the Life course Nexus (our current Parent Mentor is an Ambassador for the OH program)  
The Ohio Parent Mentor Project is funded by The Ohio Department of Education. The Oversight and Professional Development for Ohio Parent Mentors is provided by The Ohio State University’s Center on Education and Training for Employment, a translational research center within the College of Education and Human Ecology.    

Ohio’s Parent Mentor Project offers all services free of charge to families with children within the district (preschool until graduation.)  For more information: https://parentmentor.osu.edu/ -or- contact Rachael Holland directly at [email protected].

Diverse Learning PTO (formerly Special Education PTO)
 “The Diverse Learning PTO is an active group of parents, friends, and educators working together as a team to share parent education resources and address the educational, social, and emotional needs of children with disabilities and diverse learning needs in Bexley City Schools.

We want to reach as many Bexley parents as possible, regardless of whether your child/children receive special education services. If you want to know more about what special education services entail, how the evaluation process works, how to get started, or whether a medical diagnosis means you should be talking to your child's teacher about accommodations, please fill out this form to get on our email list!” Diverse Learning PTO Email List Sign Up. Follow on Facebook and/ or Instagram.

Mental Health:
Joanne Mannarelli, Mental Health Specialist for Bexley Schools, shares articles and information around mental health topics.  

Local Events/ Resources:  
Do you have OH Afterschool Child Enrichment Funds you haven’t spent?
“The Ohio Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) Educational Savings Account funds must be used for allowable activities with service dates no later than July 1, 2024. All claims for ACE payments or reimbursement must be submitted to Merit no later than July 15, 2024. If you have questions or need help submitting a claim for reimbursement, please use the Help Center.”  

Learning Aid Ohio- Accepting waitlist applications.  
“Learning Aid Ohio provides students learning on IEPs and 504 Plans funding for in-person, supplemental learning support. Our goal is to connect families with Learning Providers to help students stay on track toward their academic goals, specific to their individual needs, and based on the curriculum their traditional teachers set.”  To be eligible a student must have an IEP or 504, be an Ohio resident, and have family income below 400% of the federal poverty line.  (The 400% federal poverty line for a family of 4 in 2024 is $124,800. )  

2024 Summer Special Education Program Fair Brochure: A list of Central Ohio providers who participated in the Dublin City Schools Special Education Summer Fair

Colleges/Universities Resource Directory: For students who are planning to attend college and who are currently being served on an IEP or 504 plan. Last updated Fall 2023 by State Support Team 11 

Summer Resources: The following information is shared in the hope that the challenges and experiences of other parents will enable you to select the summer camp that is most appropriate to meeting the needs of your child. Last updated in March 2024.  

Extended School Year Services: What you need to know: Understood.org gives an overview of what Extended School Year services are.   

Understanding Formative, Interim and Summative Assessments in the Classroom: The Ohio Department of Education provides a breakdown of types of assessments used in a classroom and how they are used in a classroom.   

Ohio program helps people with disabilities access more places - “Accessible Ohio helps venues open their spaces to people with disabilities by adding more accommodations and amenities.” The Columbus Dispatch. Jan 15, 2024

Department of Developmental Disabilities hoping to make Ohio more accessible - “COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine allocated $56 million dollars of the state budget to the Department of Developmental Disabilities.”- Spectrum News, Jan 30, 2024.   

SSI May Be Missing Scores Of Eligible Beneficiaries - “A new report recommends that the Social Security Administration take additional steps to ensure that it reaches children who qualify for the Supplemental Security Income program. (Disability Scoop)” March 11, 2024 

Do you have upcoming events, resources, or topics you would like included in future newsletters? Email Rachael Holland to share! 

Parent Mentor

Rachael Holland is the Parent Mentor for Special Education in Bexley City Schools. She has a background in working within underserved communities around workplace reforms, specifically in non-profit community organizing and advocacy. Since 2019 she has worked under the Ohio Parent Mentor Project grant in Bexley Schools to support parents and staff as they navigate the special education process and the world of disability. In 2023 she became a certified Charting the Life Course Ambassador to further assist families with this whole-child/ person-centered framework and tools. She is the proud mom of two children, a special education parent, a neurodivergent adult (ask her how her ADHD is her superpower!), and a believer that learning is a lifelong journey for us all. 
(614) 237-4309, Ext. 3123