November 2019

Message from the Special Services Director – Dr. Shannon Hitch

Dr. Shannon Hitch

I.E.P. It is an acronym that for many of you had little meaning prior to having a child with special needs. Individual Education Plans are the foundation of special education. The first word is 'individual,' meaning that each IEP should be unique and designed specifically for your child. The second word is ‘education,' meaning this document is designed to ensure that your child receives instruction designed to ensure their growth and progress. Finally, the last word is 'plan,' meaning that this document is meant to be a roadmap for your child’s educational program. Together, IEP stands for so much more than a document you write once a year.

Over the years I have worked in special education, I have participated in hundreds of IEP meetings. Each one telling a different story of a unique child. These meetings are so familiar to me that I find it helpful to pause and reflect about what it is like to be newer to the process and the complexity that is often involved in developing a quality IEP. While some of our families could likely teach a class on IEPs, there are others who have questions or want more information to successfully partner with their IEP teams. Therefore, this month we will be offering a parent education night on IEPs (and 504s). At this event, we will help parents gain greater understanding and knowledge of the IEP document and the process of developing one. We will share suggestions on how to prepare for IEP meetings, what to bring, and questions to ask. Our team will provide guidance on why the IEP is designed the way it is, how to develop goals that are appropriate and measurable, and we’ll break down what each part of the document means. In addition, we will provide information on our district programs and services.

Here are our goals for this event: First, we hope to provide the knowledge and understanding that will enable parents to feel more confident in participating in IEP meetings. Second, we can answer questions about the IEP process or the document itself. Finally, we are invested in providing transparency in the special education process as we believe it is in the best interest of our students for us to be collaborative partners. We hope you will be able to attend!

When: Monday November 25, 2019
Where: Resource Center, Board Room
Time: 6:00-8:00 PM

Child Care Support
We will offer student care during this meeting, to assist you in being able to access this wonderful opportunity. Please RSVP, by emailing by/before November 19th. In your email, please include your child’s first and last name(s), age(s) and any significant behavior notes so we can ensure we have enough staff to cover all the students. Please use the email subject line: Childcare at November 25th meeting. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Dr. Shannon Hitch
Director – Special Services


Support for Families

If you are looking for support, further knowledge on how to help your student, or are new to the special services programs and want to learn more about what to expect at all ages, we have got an incredible resource for you. Informing Families, Building Trust is full of invaluable information that will lay out how to navigate through multiple systems, provide helpful resources for grandparents or siblings of children with special needs, as well as sharing some emergency preparedness tips. This website is definitely one to explore!

Featured Articles

Future Engineers at Juanita

Some of our students from Juanita High School entered a unique contest with NASA. Their challenge? Name the 2020 Mission’s new Mars rover. As a class, they studied the project, researched the mission, then created essays to submit. On October 9th, 2019, they received a hand-written letter addressed to “Our Future Engineers” along with official NASA swag. What a fun learning opportunity!

Looking for Support?

If you have a child struggling with social emotional or mental health concerns, finding resources in the community can be challenging. Children’s Hospital now offers a Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens. This service connects patients and families with evidence-supported outpatient mental health services in our community. It is a free, telephone-based referral service, funded by Washington Healthcare Authority and operated by Seattle Children’s. This service provides referrals for children and teens, ages 17 and younger.

Families can call 833-303-5437, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to connect with a referral specialist. They will ask for patient information including mental health needs, location and health insurance plan. Families can expect to receive information on one or two providers or agencies that meet their needs and have openings. After providing the referrals, Children’s will follow up with families to see if they were able to make an appointment and ask if additional resources are needed. If no appointment has been made, they will help to address any barriers or link you to a different provider. 


Special Services Newsletter – Available in Multiple Languages!

If you, or someone you know, would like to read our Special Services Newsletter in a different language, this is now possible! 

  • Follow the link for access to all of our newsletters here 
  • Select the month and year that you would like to read (Ex: December 2018, November 2018, etc.)
  • In the top left-hand corner of the web page, there is a small globe icon/drop down
  • Click on the drop down and select the language that you would like to have the newsletter translated to  

Happy Reading!

PTSA SNG Meetings and Child Care Support

Our monthly PTSA SNG meeting (see schedule below) is a great time to network with other parents, learn more about resources in our community, and learn more about strategies and supports for students with disabilities. We offer student care during these meetings, to assist you in being able to access this wonderful opportunity to meet with parents. Please RSVP each month, by emailing For our November meeting, please RSVP by/before November 15. In your email, please include your child’s name(s), age(s) and any significant behavior notes so we can ensure we have enough staff to cover all the students. Please use the email subject line: Childcare at PTSA meeting. The Special Services Director and Associate Directors, participate in a meet and greet before each meeting at 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you all there. 


Upcoming LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group Meetings:

Date: 11/19/2019
Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Location: LWSD Resource Center – Board Room (1st Floor)
                 16250 NE 74th St
                 Redmond, WA 98052
Topic: On November 19 we will be partnering with LWPTSA Council Parent Ed and host a listening/ dialoguing session around accessibility and inclusion in PTSA events and activities. We hope to invite families to share their experiences with local PTSAs and council AVPs and share about access needs and ways for PTSAs to create space and belonging for all the families in their communities.


Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2019-20 PTSA Special Needs Group Meetings:

*All meetings are 7:00-8:30pm

Networking Time: 6:30-7:00- Parent networking and opportunity to meet Director of Special Services, Dr. Shannon Hitch and Associate Directors. 

  • Tuesday, 11/19/2019
  • No Meeting in December 2019
  • Tuesday, 1/21/2020
  • Tuesday, 2/25/2020 (Resource Fair)
  • Tuesday, 3/17/2020
  • Tuesday, 4/21/2020
  • Tuesday, 5/19/2020
  • No Meeting in June 2020