top of page

Special Education Committee

The goal of the Special Education Committee is to help parents and PTAs best assist students with barriers, or students who could benefit from special considerations and attention in an educational setting. The types of barriers include physical and mental disabilities who are differently-abled, sensory sensitivities, economic hardships, homeless, non-English speakers, absent parents, in foster care, and more. The goal is to provide additional and thoughtful support that best supports all students.

The LAPTA Special Education Committee is chaired by Doris Glass-Heckert who can be emailed at Please share any resources and tips that can benefit the children across Louisiana or contact her for additional support.

When thinking about the special education or special populations in your school, perhaps a perspective shift is needed. “She can't get inside the building because of her wheelchair." No. She can't get inside because the building is not accessible. The building has a barrier that does not let her in. The wheelchair is not the problem; the building's lack of access is the problem.

  • 14% of all US students have a disability.

  • 6% of students in public schools are enrolled in gifted and talented programs.

  • 6% of US students receiving special education services are also academically gifted.

  • Behind every one of these numbers are families – people and faces just like yours and mine – who crave connections to schools, communities, and family engagement.  We want to be a part of the conversation and to help create a more inclusive world.

  • Inclusion is making changes or adjustments to allow more people into a space.

  • When families are engaged at school, their students have lower discipline problems, higher attendance, higher grades, and higher graduation rates.

National Standards for Family-School Partnerships

The National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships provide the framework for PTAs and schools to work together to support student success. There are six standards which can each be applied to benefit students with barriers. The PTA can help facilitate the following implementations to improve school for all children, especially those with barriers. 

Standard 1: Welcome All Families: Schools provide a welcoming environment for all families to feel included. Families are treated as partners in their child’s education.

  1. Be aware of barriers for differently-abled students, such as parking, sidewalks and curbs, elevated stage access, eating access, fire drill stair chairs, and universal design.

  2. Create opportunities for connections, such as Open House, Back to School picnic, Family Learning Nights.


Standard 2: Communicate Effectively: Schools provide regular and accessible communication with families that is clear and effective.

  1. Use culturally responsive methods for diverse families.

  2. Create opportunities for two-way communication, such as the Talking Points App that translates texts in real time.

  3. Ask questions.

  4. Find families who want to be spokespeople for the group.

  5. Seek feedback on events for what did or did not work.

  6. Report feedback back to families to let them know they were heard and that feedback made an impact.

Standard 3: Support Student Success: Establish a positive and respectful relationship between families and educators.

  1. Frequently communicate student’s academic and social development.

  2. Expand feedback abilities from families.

  3. Collaborate will families to plan for the future, such as college and trade schools.

  4. Share outside resources.

Standard 4: Speak Up for Every Child: Encourage all families to advocate for their children.

  1. Make it easier for families to speak up even when it feels “excessive.”

  2. Provide FAQ guide for families.

  3. LAPTA connects families with resources.

  4. Learn how to “FISH.” Explanation coming soon.


Standard 5: Share Power: Build trusting relationships between families, educators, and community as a cornerstone of sharing power.

  1. Respect diverse cultures and perspectives of families.

  2. Involve families in decision-making process of their child’s education.

  3. Support development of PTA that represents all families.

  4. Give students a voice about decisions that affect them. Recognize and respect the student’s perspective.


Standard 6: Collaborate with Community: Establish partnerships with community organizations.

  1. Develop programs and initiatives that help schools and communities effectively work together.

  2. Align partnerships to the school improvement plan.

  3. Identify community-wide solutions to community-wide issues.

  4. Have the community fund “donation closets” for students with school supplies, backpacks, food especially for weekends, sanitary/grooming products, and clothing such as prom outfits, professional attire, cold-weather gear, and uniforms.

Resources - Coming Soon

bottom of page