With the holidays right around the corner, I want to share a few highlights and reminders for the next few weeks.
I hope those of you who were able to attend our Fall Family Festival at Sienna Ranch in October had as much fun as my kids and I did! The glorious California weather was perfect for horseback riding, hiking, archery, pumpkin crafts, tractor rides, farm animal visits and a delicious barbecue lunch topped off with birthday cake! We had our biggest turnout ever and are extremely grateful to Sienna Ranch for working so closely with us to make sure each of our unique kids were well-cared for and to Diablo Foods and the Manning Family for donating the pumpkins and all of the wonderful decorating supplies.
Last month we also had an incredibly impactful parent education presentation from Todd Gary on Fostering Advocacy in Kids with Special Needs. I am STILL repeating the gem he gave us, "It is not the product that matters, but the process." Click here to see the slides of Todd's presentation.
Springhill Elementary and SEED collaborated this month for a week of Diverse Ability Awareness for the entire school! Students were able to experience and learn about motor difficulties, allergies, reading and writing challenges and more. The week concluded with a pizza party movie night where I found humility watching "On the Way to School" - a documentary about how children around the globe get to school and the steep price they pay for education.
At our monthly breakfast we had a wonderful turnout and are incredibly appreciative to Green Leaf Psychology for their presentation on ways parents can take care of their own needs. If you didn't make this one, don't fret - we're at The Parlor in Lafayette every second Friday of the month from 9-10:30 a.m. Feel free to join us when you can!
Did you know that SEED now has a group for parents of high schoolers? We meet the first Thursday of every month at Metro Lafayette. If you are the parent of a high school student with special or diverse learning needs, please stop by! RSVP for next month's gathering here.
Please join us after the Thanksgiving break for Navigating the World of Dyslexia with Julie Holcomb on Wednesday, Nov. 28th from 6-8 p.m. at the Lafayette Library. It feels like I keep hearing the word Dyslexia lately, so if you suspect a Dyslexia diagnosis in your child, are curious about assessment and/or instruction or are wanting to learn more about working with your child's school or private support, this presentation is for you!
Our SEED holiday party is right around the corner, so please join us for an evening of fun on Friday, Dec. 7th from 6-9 p.m. One of our fabulous board members, Cathy Kauder, has generously offered to host us, and Mary Kaye Stephens at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church has moved their respite night to accommodate us. RSVP here and don't forget to sign your kids up for the fantastic respite night too!
And finally, mark your calendars for the first of our Spectacular Special Needs Parties on Saturday, Dec. 8th from 2-4 p.m. at the Lamorinda All-Access Playground in Moraga Commons. I am so thrilled to introduce this new party idea where we will have fun, snacks and entertainment for all with a birthday cake celebration and prizes for our special kiddos that have had a birthday in the past month.
Robyn Dobruck, SEED Co-President
I hope everyone is having a smooth transition into our 2018/2019 school year!
October is so jam packed with fun activities, social events and educational opportunities that you’ll want to update your calendars as you’re reading through this letter, because there are great things happening you won’t want to miss!
SEED is thrilled to be adding the High School community into our programming and support. Don’t miss the monthly high school parent get-together at Metro this week, October 4th from 7-9pm.
Our monthly breakfasts at The Parlor will be back in full swing starting next Friday, October 12th from 9-10:30am. If you can’t make this one, just keep in mind that we’ll have one every 2ndFriday of the month, and we would love to see you there!
We are all so fortunate to have special education advocate Todd Gary back for our parent education series this month. The topic is Fostering Advocacy in Kids with Special Needs, and will be a great presentation October 11th from 6-8pm at Acalanes High School library. To RSVP for this informative event, please click here.
Our beloved annual Fall Family Day at Sienna Ranch is right around the corner, on October 21st12noon-3pm. Truly one of my favorite activities of the year, with pumpkin crafts, pony rides, farm animals, a face painter, lunch and more. This one does fill up, and is just $10 per family, so be sure to RSVP soon for this day of fun!
SEED is also proud to co-sponsor two new programs this year – one a social group with Sienna Ranch and the other sibling support group with Spectrum Strategies. These two programs got underway in September and have been very popular with our community.
In addition, don’t miss upcoming respite nights. The next one will be this Friday, Oct. 5th at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church. Contact Mary Kaye Stephens for more information.
And lastly, SEED is very honored to have been chosen by our Assemblywoman, Catharine Baker, as the Nonprofit of the Year for Assembly District 16. She and her team graciously hosted a ceremony last month at the Lafayette Library for SEED to celebrate this honor, where our board, many members of our community and several school reps attended. Thank you to the Lafayette community - you are all part of the village that is helping our children thrive, and this Nonprofit of the Year belongs to us all!
Welcome back to school!
I hope you had a wonderful summer.
The SEED Board is thrilled to congratulate former board member extraordinaire, Kenny Tuckerman, who will start on LAFSD Governing Board in December. His contribution to SEED for the past 3 years was phenomenal: Kenny was my co-liaison with the LAFSD, as well as our parliamentarian, he elevated our website and communications and spearheaded innovative programs and partnerships. His in-depth understanding of all aspects of SpEd and special needs in general will be invaluable on the School Board. Kenny, we thank you for your inspiring willingness to serve! We would also like to congratulate Suzi Pak, Jean Follmer, and Rob Sturm who will be joining him on the School Board.
We are very proud to have been chosen by our Assemblywoman, Catharine Baker, as the Nonprofit of the Year for Assembly District 16. We traveled to Sacramento on June 6th, California Nonprofits Day, to receive our award.
I would also like to introduce you to the SEED Board for school year 2018-2019. Click here for who’s who and bios. Personally, I would like to extend a special thank you to Board Member Robyn Dobruck who is stepping up to be my Co-President this year. If you would like to volunteer, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, we will bring back a lot of your favorite programming…
...as well as a variety of new exciting projects and programs, such as:
As always we will be kicking off the year with our back-to-school brunch, hosted by the Kauder and Weiss families at the Weiss residence. Register here.
We hope many of you will come to meet and greet with fellow SEED members as well as new LAFSD Superintendent, Richard Whitmore, LAFSD Assistant Superintendent, Mary Maddux, and LAFSD Director of Student Services, Pat Gargiulo.
Do not miss our Back-to-School Checklist on our Homepage!
Last but not least, if you need an evening to recover from Back-to-School, I recommend you sign up all your children to the upcoming Respite Night at LOPC on Friday September 7th. Email Michelle Browning to register. And don’t feel guilty: it is even more of a treat for the children as their programming and staff are fabulous.
I wish all of your families a great school year!
Elsa Troy Slovik
Happy Spring SEED Friends!
We had an amazing beginning of the year. Here are some of the highlights you may have missed or you’ll enjoy seeing recapped:
In January, in partnership with LOPC for respite and space, we had an inspiring moment watching together the acclaimed documentary Swim Team about a Special Olympics Swim Team and some of its star athletes. The discussion following the movie was moderated by Educational Psychologist Carrie Rodrigues and enriched by the presence of representatives from our local Special Olympics Swim Team, the East Bay Sea Serpents, including managers, volunteer coaches and athletes!
IEP Parent Ed Series
In February, at the last event of our IEP Parent Ed Series with Todd Gary, IEP Collaboration, the following points were covered:
For details, view the presentation by clicking here.
Click here for the NCLD IDEA Parent Guide, an essential tool to become an empowered partner.
Winter Play Date
Also in February, we filled the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek with a lot of excitement for our first Winter Play Date, run by the fabulous educational psychologist Jenna Krook.
Learning Disability Simulation Workshop
Earlier this month, we gave a headache and everlasting insight and empathy to the parents and caregivers who attended our 3rd Learning Disability Simulation Workshop. SEED uses the kit developed by IDA Northern California. Click here to read the article the East Bay Times wrote about the same workshop last year. SEED is grateful to Temple Isaiah for providing us with space for this workshop for a second year in a row.
Breakfast Speaker Series: Visual Supports
At SEED’s breakfast earlier this month, Educational Psychologist Carrie Rodrigues was back to present how to use visual supports with our children. Carrie presented a wide array of visual supports for organizing life, for coping and for social skills. You can follow Carrie on Instagram and/or Facebook for more ideas @justkeepswimmingmama.
Don’t Miss SEED’s Annual Fundraiser and Resource Fair
We are planning to end the school year with a bang or two! Do not miss our fabulous super fun Casino Night: James Bond vs. Austin Powers on April 20, 6:00 PM-9:00 PM at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center. Register soon! And don’t forget to also register for the Free Respite Care from 5:45 PM-9:00 PM, provided by LOPC, less than 5 minutes away.
And finally, please Save the Date for a fun Spring Family Day Resource Fair on May 19, Noon-3:00 PM, at the Twin Canyon Girl Scouts Camp in Lafayette! More details to follow in the coming weeks!
Elsa Troy Slovik,
Happy New Year SEED Friends! May 2018 bring more growth and community to your lives.
I hope you survived and enjoyed a meaningful holiday season.
A big thank you to the Manning Family for hosting a wonderful Holiday Party for SEED. I thoroughly enjoyed kicking back and engaging in meaningful conversations with all of you who came. Another big thank you to Mary Kaye Stephens and her team of volunteers at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church for coordinating a fun respite for our children that night.
We finished our programming last year with a very insightful SEED Parent Forum. While we had many takeaways, here are just some of the highlights of areas we discussed:
You can see the SEED presentation by clicking here.
In December, we also inaugurated our new space for our Monthly Breakfast meetings at the Parlor in Lafayette. It is a cozy private space where SEED brings breakfast for all. We hope that this new space will foster even more sharing and bonding as a group. This new space also opens the door to bite-sized learning. Many breakfasts will feature a speaker covering a topic of interest in 30 minutes. Our first speaker will be Melissa Nolan, a child psychologist and advocate and a usual contributor to SEED. Melissa will guide us through how to create a one page write up on our children that summarizes their profile based on their IEP document.
Do not miss our two upcoming evening programs. Our second annual SEED Movie Night is 6:00 PM on January 26 at Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church. We will be screening and discussing Swim Team, an acclaimed documentary on how a swim team dedicated to autistic kids is having a big impact on a community. I plan on bringing my neurotypical 4th grader as last year’s movie night had a big impact on him. At 5:30 PM on February 6 in the Stanley Middle School Library, advocate Todd Gary will teach us everything we need to know about IEP Collaboration to finish his outstanding 3-part IEP series.
It has been a busy month. SEED Fall Family Day at Sienna Ranch was at capacity. We couldn’t have hoped for a better turnout and a more beautiful day. Families got to bond around a BBQ. Children explored the ranch, did pumpkin crafts, interacted with chickens and goats, rode horses, did archery, went on hayrides and hiked to the fort. This year the event saw the addition of a professional face painter and a group of about 10 teenagers there to enhance the family experience.
SEED, in collaboration with the Springhill Elementary staff and PFC, piloted a day of Diverse Ability Awareness for the first time in the Lafayette School District. All the classrooms received age-appropriate hands-on lessons to experience what it is like to live with specific differences and disabilities. The highlight of the day was the meet and greet with Canine Companions for Independence. Click here for more info on the program. If you would like to champion such a program in your school, please contact us at email@example.com.
The second installment of SEED’s IEP Parent Education Series, “IEP Process & Goals,” was a tremendous success, with 60 parents coming out to hear advocate Todd Gary’s talk on the ins and outs of the IEP process.
The following points were covered in the presentation:
Once again, SEED’s new specialized childcare allowed many families present to attend. We plan to continue offering childcare for the 3rd installment in our IEP series with Todd Gary. This next parent ed on Tuesday, February 6, from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM is called "IEP Collaboration.” Please RSVP for Parent Ed and Childcare by clicking here.
In the meantime, in response to many requests from our members, SEED is organizing and moderating a SpEd Parent Forum for LAFSD families on Thursday, November 30, from 5:30PM-8:00PM.
As always with our evening programming, the first half hour will be dedicated to socializing and refreshments. Whether it is for the parent forum or for the next parent ed, the presentations and discussions will start promptly at 6:00 PM. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Last but not least, it is time to RSVP to SEED Holiday Party on Friday December 8th, at 6:00PM. The respite for children that night will be provided by Mary Kaye Stephens and her fabulous staff of volunteers at Moraga Valley Presbyterian. In my house, we call it Mary Kaye’s Party! To register to the Holiday Party click here, and to register to Mary Kaye’s respite “party”, email Mary Kaye at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the SEED Board, I’d like to express how grateful we are for the community response to our programming. We are all volunteers and your presence keeps us going strong. Happy Thanksgiving!
-Elsa Troy Slovik, President
The first installment of SEED’s IEP Parent Education Series, “Help! My Child is Struggling in School” was a tremendous success, with many new parents coming out to hear advocate Todd Gary’s talk on the ins and outs of the special education process.
For details, view the presentation by clicking here.
SEED is happy that its new specialized childcare allowed a third of the families present to attend. We plan to continue offering childcare for the 2nd installment in our IEP series with Todd Gary. This next parent ed on Tuesday, November 7, from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM is called "IEP Process & Goals.” Please RSVP for Parent Ed and Childcare by clicking here. As always with our evening programming, the first half hour will be dedicated to socializing and refreshments. The presentation will start promptly at 6:00 PM.
SEED is happy to announce that we will be funding the upcoming Orton-Gillingham training for the Lafayette School District IST's. Orton-Gillingham is one of the most acclaimed programs for Dyslexia. One in five students, or 15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia is the most common of the language based learning disabilities.
Finally, on October 24, SEED in conjunction with the Springhill PFC and the Springhill staff, will be conducting the first pilot of a Diverse Ability Awareness Program with all the students at Springhill Elementary. Click here for details on our programming that day.
I hope to see you at our Fall Family Day at Sienna Ranch on October 22, click here to register.
May you all stay safe through this tragic fire season,
The 2017-2018 SEED Board would like to welcome you to this new school year.
We would like to congratulate Rob Sturm on his recent appointment to the School Board. Rob comes with a solid background in community service. As a lawyer in corporate disability law, he has ramped up quickly in understanding some of the critical pieces of Special Ed. Welcome Rob and thank you for your service!
The new SEED Board has in store a lot of exciting events for this school year. Here are some of the upcoming highlights:
Save the date for:
Be sure to check our website www.seedlafayette.org often for what's going on in the community.
Did you know that:
SEED (Special Education Enrichment Development Foundation) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization run by parent and community volunteers to benefit diverse learners in Lafayette, California.