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 Orientation Fair Informs Parents of Students with Special Needs

Parents of students with special needs who will be entering Sweetwater Union High School District campuses beginning this fall recently had a chance to learn more about the programs and services there as part of an annual orientation fair.

“We do this to help parents feel safe and comfortable sending their kids to us,” said Mabelle Glithero, program manager in the Sweetwater school district. “We want to make sure that, as they’re coming into a new school district, we relieve any stress and anxiety they may have and let them know that we will continue to provide the services that their students currently receive.”

This year’s fair was the biggest yet, with more than 50 parents attending. The event is a collaboration between the school district and the South County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), which is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education.

Most of the students in the six school districts that receive services by the SELPA will transfer to the Sweetwater district when they enter middle school.

The orientation fair featured a general overview of the district as well as separate tables with specific information for some of the services that students with special needs may qualify for. This arrangement creates smaller groups of parents and allows them to have face-time with employees from the school district.

“The parents were really engaged,” said Ryan Estrellado, coordinator with the SELPA.

The event is one of the SELPA’s monthly Community Advisory Committee’s meetings. It was held at the Sweetwater district office in Chula Vista.

The South County SELPA coordinates special education program development and student placements for more than 11,000 students from birth through age 22.