Good News: Parent mentoring conference - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Good News: Parent mentoring conference

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The state got smaller Thursday morning to make the world bigger for students with special needs.

"Our biggest message,” said Anne Ladd, a family engagement specialist for the Georgia Department of Education, “is everybody has gifts and talents and a purpose and we want everybody to just meet their highest potential.”

Teachers, school administrators, and special needs parents are getting together at the Georgia Parent Mentoring Partnership Conference.

The initiative of the Georgia Department of Education is designed to share best practices and help ensure positive outcomes for special needs students before and after school.

"These students with disabilities can do things, they can make things,” said Ty Donaldson, co-founder of Maven Makers, an after-school 3D printing, and woodworking program that encourages special needs students to participate. “And the goal of being able to pair with the Savannah-Chatham Public School System is building a community of makers within this workforce and the future workforce, which is the special needs students.”

Savannah-Chatham is one of 90 school districts participating in the conference.

And the local Special Ed programs that have helped Blaine Donahue become employed are a model being studied by other school systems.

"I think it's just a great thing for all of these kids and especially me to have this great opportunity and for these doors to open,” said Donahue. "it really does change everything. It changes the way people look at them.”

And the goal of the conference is to educate more people on how to affect that change.

"We know schools could do great work,” said Ladd. “But we've got to have all these groups and all these folks working together.”

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