contentmentIssue 23

SCOE Offers Valuable Training for Staff And Parents

By Jacqui D. Sinarle

It’s not often that a new educational program makes an immediate and significant impact on everyone involved, but when it does, it’s an obvious winner.

That’s certainly the case with the Stanislaus County Office of Education’s (SCOE) professional development and instructional support opportunities program, which provides valuable training for both special education staff and students’ families.

“Since we implemented the program in August 2014, it has produced positive learning experiences for staff and provided a sense of support and belonging for families,” observed Saundra Day, Principal, Stanislaus County Office of Education.

Alyson Padgett - BCBA and Gabe Velez- BCBA Assistant- Naturalistic  Intervention“The purpose of the program is to provide support, recognition, and professional development to staff at the SCOE and district-wide, and to support the empowerment of families of children in our programs through parent trainings, workshops, and social events and opportunities,” Day said. “It was piloted division-wide to encourage networking opportunities across departments, supporting new and veteran staff with the latest research and norms on research based methods and best practices.”

“We offer free parent workshops on the second Friday of every month that are geared towards parents’ needs, common issues, and providing a place of encouragement,” added Krissy Zapien, Director II, SCOE. “We also provide instructional, behavioral, and emotional support trainings on the third Tuesday of every month that parents can attend for a small fee.” All training sessions are currently offered August through May.

Parent training sessions include a variety of topics with the intent to capture parent interest and involvement across all programs within the division.

“All families are welcome to participate with confirmed registration and we encourage their involvement,” Day said.

The goals of the parent training sessions are to provide a support and information resource for parents who may be navigating their way through the special education process for the first time, and to educate parents who are interested in becoming better informed.

“We want parents to leave a training session with more tools in their tool belts compared to when they arrived, whether these tools are resources, contacts, information, or just the feeling that they have a supportive network around them,” Day said.

Some of the free parent training topics have included: Creating language rich environments; caregiver self-care and stress relief; rituals, routines and dealing with change; embracing gifts and challenges; recognizing depression and what to do; potty training 101; and community resources for families. Paid training sessions have addressed the ABCs of behavior; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); bullying prevention; extinguishing behavior fires; emotion management and self-monitoring strategies for students; successful prompting to independence; teaching coping skills for change and transition; keeping students motivated; suicide prevention; and picking your behavior battles.

Jonathon Kohring- Mental Health Clinician-Oppositional Behavior  ManagementTraining sessions are conducted by the SCOE’s expert staff that includes board certified behavior analysts, mental health clinicians, program specialists, and certified staff who support classrooms and programs throughout the entire division.

“Trainings initially began August 2014, and we continue to modify and adjust as we go in an effort to meet the needs of staff, families and students,” said Zapien. “We will be continuing to offer these sessions in the new school year and hope to include even more topic selections.”

Parent response has been very positive, Day noted. “Parents feel a sense of support and have expressed that they appreciate the opportunity to attend trainings to help them better understand the needs of their children, and they also appreciate being able to talk to other parents who have similar experiences.”

One parent who attended a free session on embracing gifts and challenges observed, “I learned how important it is to expose my child to the community and other situations while he is young to help him live a more rewarding life in the future.”

Families are also invited to attend monthly scheduled social opportunities that encourage family involvement and provide them with a sense of empowerment involving their children.

“These events are designed to provide a typical social opportunity for families, but in an environment that supports the unique needs of their children,” Day explained. “They create an environment where children can just have fun while also providing parents with opportunities to celebrate their children in the company of families who are similar to theirs.”

“We are committed to continuing to offer these opportunities as we constantly reflect, modify and adjust to meet the needs of our staff, students and families,” Zapien added. “We believe it will only get better and more supportive from here.”

For Information On Parent Training Sessions, visit or contact Zapien at [email protected] or 209-541-2214. For Information On The SCOE, visit

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