Wednesday, October 3, 2018

ECC PTA: A PTA for the Expanded Core!

Graphic that says ECC PTA on a chalkboard with school books.
Graphic that says ECC PTA on a chalkboard with school books. 

A PTA for the ECC? What? Why? How? YES! A PTA for the ECC!! I wish I had a better title but I don't because everyone knows that a PTA is and I can't risk too many unknowns in this new startup PTA.

Why an ECC PTA? Because we need more when it comes to partnership with providing Expanded Core instruction! Parents, family and home life are such an integral part of teaching the Expanded Core and it is one of our weakest areas. We need to find ways to strengthen it. There is so much authentic learning that happens outside of the classroom or an itinerant's janitor's "office". The Expanded Core is our key to living a thriving, meaningful life. We must find ways to connect our 9 areas to parents, the living room, the mall, friends, sports, restaurants---everywhere! We as teachers need more help. We need our parents and families to become true partners in ECC knowledge. Too much is on the line for our students. Our educational model is kinda working. We need to do better. We have to think outside the box on how we reach everyone--teachers, students and parents about the Expanded Core. Viola! We have an ECC PTA! The sole purpose is to provide blindness specific skills and intensive Expanded Core information, resources, training and build a community for our families. The unemployment/underemployment rate for people with vision impairments is still between 70-80%. We can change that statistic! The Expanded Core is a major player to change that statistic! We have to do things differently because too many good, smart, talented students with vision impairments grow up to sit at home and do almost nothing because they don't have the developed skills to live a thriving adult life.

Parents, I invite to take a good look at your child and see if they have the Expanded Core embedded in their lives. This does not mean that your child is perfect. I am a mom. My kids are not perfect. I do my best to teach them, encourage them, hold them accountable, etc. I know that my kids will not listen to me all the time and need others "in the village" to teach them. I tag others in at times to be the teaching piece I cannot be because I am the natural enemy. But the difference between my kids and your kids is that my kids have incidental learning. They can see things and learn by watching even when it is not intentional. All students with vision impairments need the ECC because it fills in the missing pieces when incidental learning isn't happening. It is not a reflection of poor parenting.

We opened our ECC PTA up to all of our divisions--from babies to post high and then we thought bigger. We opened it up to outside of Utah. We have some live sessions where we meet together but we also are creating an format where a lot of it is a digital community. We are recording webinars, newsletters, interactive pieces for sure but something that would allow parents to be involved no matter where they are.

Our ECC PTA doesn't have major time commitments. There is no fundraising or selling popcorn. It is established for the purpose of building a community for our families. It doesn't matter if your child is typically developing or has additional disabilities. The Expanded Core still applies to you no matter what!

The first thing we covered is to learn what the Expanded Core is and why it is critical that parents/guardians understand it. If you are new to my blog, that is the first thing you need to do. Read more posts on the ECC, email me for my tip sheets or do a Google on the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with vision impairments.

The second thing is to have a resource toolbox. My blog is just one tool. Your TVI is another excellent tool. I also suggest to invest in the book ECC Essentials from AFB Press (sold by APH on APH website or Amazon. I'll link it!). We will have a book club posting on this in a few weeks. I also facilitate social media on the ECC. Follow 9MoreThanCore on Facebook and Instagram (same name, different content).
A picture of the cover of the book ECC Essentials
A picture of the cover of the book ECC Essentials
Amazon link:

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Last but never least, join the ECC PTA! Click here for the registration link. 

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