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FAMILY SUPPORT CENTER

Apply to Work ESY in the Summer

The Summer Careers on-line application portal for ESY summer employment is now open.

We want you to be part of our amazing team!

Apply and join us this summer! To begin, go to MCPS Careers
Then, click on the SUMMER EMPLOYMENT portal to log in and apply.

ESY Summer Employment Ad.png
April SECAC Ad.png

MD Parent Involvement Survey

Parents, we want to hear from you! This survey is being conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. All parents or guardians of children ages 3 to 21 who are receiving special education and related services through Montgomery County Public Schools are invited to participate.

The purpose of this survey is to determine how well your child’s school is partnering with you and promoting parent involvement in your child’s education. Your feedback will help guide efforts to improve special education and related services in MCPS. The Survey is anonymous so please do not write any personally identifiable information.

Parent Survey MD 2024 (460 x 280 px).png
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MaryBeth Mantzouranis
Family Support Services Coordinator
Department of Special Education
Montgomery County Public Schools

Email: Marybeth_O_Mantzouranis@mcpsmd.org

Cell: 240- 753- 9487
Office: 240-740- 3900

Family Support Center staff are committed to provide information to parents and families to work as equal partners with MCPS.

MCPS Family Support Center seeks to:

  • Increase parental involvement in the early intervention and special education decision making process
  • Increase collaborative relationships through information and training
  • Assist families in resolving concerns and making informed decisions regarding their child's education
  • Provide information about disabilities and school system and community resources
NEW:  April 2024 Events Bulletin

 

Family Resources

*While the Family Support Center and MCPS do not endorse any business, activity, or group, we do encourage you to utilize resources to support your needs and interests.*

 

Month of April 2024

 

April 4

Supporting Healthy Dating Relationships
Sponsored by the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County
Thursday, April 4, 2024
7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Virtual- $5
In this workshop, parents will explore obstacles uniquely experienced by people with intellectual disabilities and identify helpful roles for parents and/or support providers, as well as strategies for supporting self-advocates as they learn important steps in the dating process.
Register here:
https://dsnmc.networkforgood.com/events/68262-supporting-healthy-dating-relationships-apoyar-relaciones-de-pareja-saludables

 

April 4

General Autism Support Group

Sponsored by the Autism Society of Maryland
Thursday, April 4th
7:30- 9:00 pm
FREE- Virtual
A traditional support group for families that have a member on the Autism spectrum. FREE!

A one-time registration is required at https:/app.donorview.com/g135k

The login will be sent before each Zoom meeting.

 

April 6

Shine Brighter Together: Autism Acceptance Month
Sponsored by Montgomery Parks
Saturday, April 6th
11am- 2 pm
FREE- In Person Event
April is Autism Acceptance Month! To recognize its significance, various agencies from across the county are “shining brighter together” at a fun family-friendly event at Wheaton Regional Park!
Participate in hands-on, sensory-friendly activities while learning more about autism and the variety of resources available in Montgomery County. Attendees will also have an opportunity to help decorate Buddy Benches that will remain at select Montgomery Parks. To learn more:
https://montgomeryparks.org/event/shine-brighter-together-autism-acceptance-month-event/

 

April 7

Joan Karasik Resource Fair: For Teens and Adults with Disabilities
Sunday, April 7th
1:00- 4:00 pm
FREE- In Person Event
Join us April 7 at Montgomery College Rockville - more than 70 vendors, including government agencies, service providers, nonprofit organizations offering services and opportunities for teens and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities/autism.
https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/_documents/workforce-development-continuing-education/
developmental-education/joan-karasik-resource-fair.pdf
Free parking, no registration, no fees. Buy box lunches on campus. See you there!
Montgomery College- 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, MD

 

April 10

Parent Panel Webinar: We've Been There
Sponsored by the Autism Society
Wednesday, April 10th
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
FREE- Virtual
Join us for a FREE Zoom webinar sponsored by the Autism Society of Maryland. This webinar is a parent-led panel discussion for families with young children with Autism or with children who have been recently diagnosed. Learn from other parents who are at various stages of the Autism journey, with elementary school age children through adults in their 30’s.
Registration is required:
https://app.donorview.com/Event/EventInfo?prm=pZbBD5VzOO90RymTPXzR0UFmrVq0Ku4zlm9-rI
Yrm_bnzhhvTZZaZJ8j_yTpW9tim8tKsczYucm7vSFBz_DXrT27OW_fiT9PKKmGf3_HbSztzTgavtFTf
HC4pQFqleSRIDp2oVETa-XXq0bSBfS80jESccD-n1f_y3YKQIziJW8jIU7vFyqSjhfTtDDI5p-wTxA3s35
kdeJ2LkG0D0xbAKucl4oJFIFcLA1g8AbOFBi5Z_2ZQwwypaBPUHCBwUG80

 

April 11

Pre K to Kindergarten Transition
Sponsored by the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County
Thursday, April 11th
7:00- 8:30 pm
FREE- Virtual
Is your child getting ready to transition to Kindergarten? In this workshop, you will learn about the transition process, kindergarten instruction and schedules, the different educational services provided in MCPS, school assignments, transportation, and more! This program is designed for all parents with children transitioning to kindergarten and parents with children 0-3 who want to learn more about the early transition process.
Register here:
https://dsnmc.networkforgood.com/events/69376-mcps-pre-k-to-kindergarten-transition

 

April 13

World of Possibilities Disabilities Expo
Saturday, April 13
11:00 am- 3:00 pm
FREE- In Person
This event is designed to bring people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, service providers, and supporting agencies together in one venue. There will be educational forums to improve your knowledge, plus an opportunity to explore other services, products, technology, and resources from over 70 vendors.
University of Maryland -Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center
7801 Alumni Drive College Park, MD 20742
https://expo.caringcommunities.org/?msclkid=fcd0bea46f1511d06964db5de59aea9e

 

April 17

Family Bingo Night
Sponsored by Pathfinders For Autism
Wednesday, April 17
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FREE- Virtual
Join US FOR A FUN EVENING OF BINGO! This activity is FREE to register! Please register one email that will receive access to the Zoom link and indicate how many BINGO cards your family will need
(up to 6 per family). Once registration is closed, 48 hours before our BINGO Game, you will receive a Zoom link for our game and a link to access your bingo cards. Each person will use ONE Bingo card. We will play 4 games, so you can either print your card 4 times, or use your card online and you will be able to clear your card each time. Register at: https:/ pathfindersforautism.org/bingo/

 

April 21

Preschool and Elementary Parents Playground Meet-Up
Sponsored by xMinds
Sunday, April 21
2:00- 3:30 pm
FREE- In Person
Take this opportunity to meet other local parents of young autistic students while your kids enjoy themselves on the playground. Siblings are welcome to attend. xMinds executive director, Melanie Carlos, will be there to welcome you and to provide snacks.
Location: Playground at the back of Ivymount School, 11614 Seven Locks Rd, Rockville, MD 20854
https://xminds.org/event-4837251 CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=4/1/2024

 

April 24

DORS and Social Security
Sponsored by MCPS Transition Services Unit
Wednesday, April 24
6::30pm
FREE- Virtual Event
The transition services unit provides stakeholders with the necessary resources, tools, supports and professional development needed to ensure students a successful transition into further education, employment, and full participation in their community. Please join us!
https://mcpsmd.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIldOCgrDMrGdFj2IzZ6M1D4pC0R9gHRi-S#/registration
Questions, please contact 240-740-5900.

 

Month of March 2024

 

MARCH 21

SECAC Meeting on March 21 - Agenda with Zoom Link

Thursday, March 21 at 7PM - Special Eduation Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC) Meeting

 

Month of February 2024

 

FEBRUARY 6

Tuesday, February 6th at 6:30PM - Montgomery County Department of Recreation & Department of Parks shared information about summer camps and inclusion:

Camps & Programs: Finding the Right Fit

2024 Summer Overview

- FULL AND HALF DAY OPTIONS (AFTER ESY)
- RECREATION ASSIST
- FINDING THE RIGHT FIT

 

FEBRUARY 7

Parent workshop: Helping Kids and Teens with ADHD and/or Executive Function Challenges to Thrive: Practical tools you can start using today.   

Slide Presentation from Parent Workshop

 

FEBRUARY 28

Parent workshop: Supporting Student Learning and Achievement

Wednesday, February 28 at 6:30PM - Access to the Zoom Link

 

FEBRUARY 29

 

Month of January 2024

 

Please join us virtually on Tuesday, January 9th at 6:30PM

Montgomery County Recreation & Montgomery Parks will be sharing information about summer camps and inclusion!

Camp offerings will be released Friday, January 5th.

Registration begins the week of January 16th.

If you are interested in learning about what is available, please join us for this virtual event!

ZOOM info:
MEETING ID:
860 4204 6561
PASSCODE:
275390
ZOOM LINK

 

Month of December 2023


The Autism Society of Maryland is hosting a Meet & Greet (in person)
on Wednesday, December 5 at the Gaithersburg Regional Library from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Learn about resources, services, and activities available through the Autism Society of Maryland.
No need to RSVP. Please drop by. Children are welcome!
Kristen Letnick, Resource Coordinator for Montgomery County Kristen.Letnick@autismsocietymd.org
Gaithersburg Regional Library (Medium Room 2)
18330 Montgomery Village Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20879
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Potomac Community Resources, Inc (PCR) is holding a virtual Transition Times program entitled,“How to Access Mental Health Services Across the Lifespan” on Wednesday, December 6th at 7pm. To attend this free webinar, please register at the link below.
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4Dal8K4GRU6aUwbbWf3b3g#/registration
Simultaneous ASL and Spanish interpretation will be provided. The webinar will be recorded in both English and Spanish, and the recordings will be archived on the PCR website: www.pcr-inc.org. PCR serves teens and adults with developmental differences.
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MCPS Transition Services Unit is hosting a virtual Transition Information for Parents and Students (TIPS) Meeting on Thursday, December 7. This meeting, College Night. will include presentations from:
● Montgomery College Disability SupportServices
● The Graduate Transition & ChallengePrograms
● Accessing Financial Aid, and
● Montgomery College, Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Pathway
Register HERE
Co-Sponsored by Autism Society of Maryland and the Parents’ Place of Maryland
Drive-Thru Santa Event on Saturday, December 9 from 10:00- 12:00.
Visit with Santa from the comfort of your car! This visit with Santa is perfect for children and youth with autism and other developmental disabilities, as well as their siblings and friends! The event is free and no reservations are required. This event will happen RAIN OR SHINE!
CEDAR LANE SCHOOL PARKING LOT
11630 SCAGGSVILLE RD, FULTON, MD
Questions- 410-290-3466 OR INFO@AUTISMSOCIETYMD.ORG
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Pathfinders for Autism
is sponsoring a free, virtual presentation titled, “SUPPORTED DECISION MAKING IN MARYLAND” on Tuesday, December 12 from 7-8:00 p.m.
Supported decision-making is an alternative to guardianship and a tool to increase self-determination that recognizes that people with and without disabilities may rely on the people they trust to make and communicate their own decisions. Last year, a new supported decision-making law came into effect in Maryland. In this presentation you will learn about supported decision-making, what the new law says and does, and how you can use and practice supported decision making. To register:
https://pathfindersforautism.org/supported-decision-making-in-maryland/.
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STAND Together is a local self-advocacy group run for and by people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Montgomery County, Maryland. The group will meet monthly on the second Wednesday of the month from 4-5 pm on Zoom. Join us on December 13!
Each month, the group will focus their discussion around different topics of interest to the group members.
This will be a safe space for everyone to share their thoughts and ideas without judgment.
STAND Together is part of Empowering Partners, a statewide initiative to grow and strengthen local self-advocacy groups. To learn more about Empowering Partners, visit The Arc Maryland’s website:
http://www.thearcmd.org/empowering-partners/
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82614747133?pwd=OEd3NDJ0WVpVVmlZVkpGYXZ6NzZtZz09
Meeting ID: 826 1474 7133
Passcode: 299355STAND
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SECAC- Special Education Citizens Advisory Council
holds monthly meetings that are open to EVERYONE!.
SECAC is composed of parents/guardians, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff members, and representatives of Montgomery County community groups that advocate for students with special needs and serve to advocate for, and advise, the Office of Special Education (OSE).
Please go to the SECAC website to sign up to receive emails! Meetings are typically held the 4th Thursday of the month, virtually at 7:00pm.
https://www2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/special-education/secac/
The next meeting is Monday, December 18th at 7:00. Dr. McKnight, the superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, is scheduled to attend.

Our next SECAC Meeting will be on Monday, December 18 at 7PM

 

Month of November 2023

Our next SECAC Meeting will be on Thursday, November 16 at 7PM

Flyer with Zoom link

Meeting ID: 898 4699 5469
Passcode: 111623

 

Parent Workshop: Fostering Positive and Productive Partnerships

Date: Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Time: 6-7PM
An interactive experience held virtually in Zoom

Flyer with Zoom Workshop Link: https://bit.ly/49wdFH7
Meeting ID: 835 7109 6732
Passcode: 533043

 

Parent Workshop: Unlocking the Major Components of the IEP Process

Date: Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Time: 6-7PM
An interactive experience held virtually in Zoom

 

 

Month of October 2023

Our most recent SECAC Meeting was on Thursday, October 26

Meeting Agenda | Meeting Video | Meeting Slide Presentation

 

 

Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee (SECAC)

Join us each Thursday at the end of the month from 7:00- 9:00pm virtually in Zoom

*Interpretation is available.

SECAC is a committee made up of parents/guardians, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff members, and representatives of Montgomery County community groups that advocate for students with special needs and serve to advocate for, and advise, the Office of Special Education. 

Please sign-up to and join our SECAC meetings! SECAC is open to everyone.

Please complete this form to help us plan future meetings and to receive emails.


 

Family Resources 

 


MSDE Parent Information Series

MSDE is proud to partner with families through the publication of their new Parent Information Series. These booklets provide essential information for families of students with disabilities from ages 3 through 21 on important topics that increase collaboration between home and school in planning for their child's education.

 

New! A Companion Guide to the Alternate Education Framework

MSDE is pleased to offer the latest in our Parent Information Series, A Companion Guide to the Alternate Education Framework. This guide provides information for families to better understand IEP team decisions around participating in the alternate state assessments and alternate academic achievement standards for our students with significant cognitive disabilities. We hope that this information assists our families in ensuring they have what they need to fully participate as equal partners in the decision making process.

Download the Booklet  |  Spanish Version

 

Special Education Process - Guide 1

The first booklet in the series takes the parent from referral through evaluation and eligibility determination. This booklet provides tips for the parent to understand their role in order to actively participate at each meeting for each process.

Download the Booklet  |  Spanish Version

 

Parental Rights - Guide 2

The second booklet in the series discusses some of the key elements in the Procedural Safeguards/Parental Rights Handbook that parents are given during annual review and other IEP team meetings. It explains their legal rights in clear terms and is a companion (not replacement) to the larger Brochure.

Download the Booklet  |  Spanish Version

 

Understanding the IEP - Guide 3

This booklet takes parents through each section of the IEP and briefly explains what should be there and why. There are some legal requirements explained, as well as things the parent should expect from their IEP teams.

Download the Booklet  |  Spanish Version

 

Secondary Transition - Guide 4

The final booklet in the series provides parents with information about secondary transition. It is fairly comprehensive and includes information about other agencies and services that students may engage with once they leave high school. It also provides parents and students with tips and steps that they can take to facilitate this important transition.

Download the Booklet  |  Spanish Version

 

Contact: Alison Barmat
Department of Early Intervention/Special Education Services
Office: (410) 767-7770
alison.barmat@maryland.gov


 

Organizations, Academies, and Programs

 

The Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County (DSNMC)

https://dsnmc.org/

The Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County serves individuals with Down syndrome and their families in Montgomery County, MD and the surrounding region.

The DSNMC helps people with Down syndrome lead self-determined lives. They do this through education and support programs, advocacy, and initiatives that span the lives of individuals with Down syndrome from birth through adulthood. 

They also provide information and support to professionals who work with individuals with Down syndrome.

 


 

Partnership for Extraordinary Minds- xMinds

https://xminds.org/about

xMinds is a collaborative partnership of parents, educators, and service providers working together to improve the educational experience and outcomes for autistic students in Pre-K–12 education in Montgomery County, MD.

 


Maryland Coalition of Families 

https://www.mdcoalition.org/

Maryland Coalition of Families (MCF) is a state-wide nonprofit dedicated to connecting, supporting and empowering families who are experiencing behavioral health challenges. 

They also advocate to improve services and systems that impact individuals with behavioral health challenges and to reduce stigma related to behavioral health.

 


 

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

SEAC is comprised of parents/guardians, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff members, and representatives of Montgomery County community groups that advocate for students with special needs and serve to advocate for, and advise, the Office of Special Education.

SEAC hosts a 2-hour meeting each month, open to everyone. Parents, families, advocates, educators are all encouraged to participate each month through the academic year.

 


Parent Academy - To Go

 

 Parent Academy Logo

 

As our school district continues to navigate through COVID-19, we want our families and students to remain engaged with us throughout the school year. Student, Family and School Services is very excited to provide "Parent Academy TO GO," a series of virtual presentations for families to participate and view at home.  

Parent Academy TO GO is designed to inform and empower families as advocates and partners in their children's education. Workshops provide families with useful information and resources to support their children's academic and emotional well-being, as well as help them to be college and career ready. Through a variety of learning opportunities hosted by MCPS staff and community partners, we hope to strengthen our engagement with families and the community. We recognize that behind every successful student are supportive families, teachers, school staff and community members who take an active role in educating our students.


                                                                                       

Parental Rights, Resolution, and Compliance 

 
 

What parental rights do I have regarding the IEP? 

The Maryland State Department of Education has developed Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Individualized Education Program (IEP) Rights and Responsibilities in Maryland which summarizes all rights that parents have such as notice, disagreement, participation, and copies of certain documentation.

If you have further questions regarding your parental rights, you may refer to the Parental Rights, Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice, contact your child’s case manager at the school, or contact the Resolution and Compliance Unit at 240-740-3230.

Resolution and Compliance Unit

 

MSDE Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch

MSDE Family Support Section of the Family Support and Dispute Resolution Branch, responds to parent inquiries, assists parents with navigating Maryland's early intervention and special education systems, and provides parents with school system resources.

Special Education State Complaint Resolution Procedures

State Complaint Form (Birth - 3 Individualized Family Service Plan or 4 if extended Individualized Family Service Plan)

State Complaint Form (3 - 21 Individualized Family Service Program)

Request for Mediation/Due Process Form

Listing of Free or Low Cost Assistance for Special Education Disputes

Parent Information Series on Procedural Safeguards

Procedural Safeguards/Parent Rights Brochure

A Parent’s Guide to Frequently Asked Questions about Special Education State Complaints

A Parent's Guide to Frequently Asked Questions about Special Education Mediation

A Parent's Guide to Frequently Asked Questions about Special Education Due Process Complaints

IDEA Dispute Resolution Processes Comparison Chart

Apply to Work ESY in the Summer

The Summer Careers on-line application portal for ESY summer employment is now open.

We want you to be part of our amazing team!

Apply and join us this summer! To begin, go to MCPS Careers
Then, click on the SUMMER EMPLOYMENT portal to log in and apply.

ESY Summer Employment Ad.png
April SECAC Ad.png

MD Parent Involvement Survey

Parents, we want to hear from you! This survey is being conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. All parents or guardians of children ages 3 to 21 who are receiving special education and related services through Montgomery County Public Schools are invited to participate.

The purpose of this survey is to determine how well your child’s school is partnering with you and promoting parent involvement in your child’s education. Your feedback will help guide efforts to improve special education and related services in MCPS. The Survey is anonymous so please do not write any personally identifiable information.

Parent Survey MD 2024 (460 x 280 px).png
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