Council-Sponsored Grant Activities: Partners in Policymaking®
Partners in Policymaking Class 35
Weekend 1 (September 15-16, 2017)
September 15 -16, 2017 was the kick off weekend for Class 35 Partners. The focus for this first session is history – how individuals with disabilities have been treated and perceived over time; and how programs and services have been created, delivered, and evolved in response; and where we are today. This history covers the Parent Movement, Independent Living Movement, and Self Advocacy Movement. Partners graduates shared their stories, personal experiences, and benefits they received from the program. Bonnie Jean Smith, parent trainer and Partners graduate presented an overview of the concept and principles of person centered thinking and person centered planning.
Weekend 2 (October 13-14, 2017)
The weekend of October 13-14, 2017 focused on Inclusive Education. Participants learned about the history of education for students with disabilities, the meaning of "inclusion" and how it promotes quality of life possibilities in school and community, and the concepts of universal design and differentiated instruction in the school environment. They identified creative and practical approaches for modifying or adapting the school curriculum and basic skills that students learn in the classroom. Roundtables with representatives from the Department of Education provided participants with a variety of resources about specific special education topics. That knowledge and skills were then put into practice with skits, complete with character roles and costumes, that applied the principles of civil discourse in navigating difficult meetings and reaching successful outcomes.
Weekend 3 (November 17-18, 2017)
November 17-18, 2017 covered the county level of government, how counties are governed, and the role and responsibilities of county commissioners. Participants worked in small groups to create vision statements for the Year 2025 and, using their artistic and creative talents, displayed their experiences with accessing services and efforts to determine service availability in their respective counties using a bus as a metaphor. A highlight of the weekend was meeting with county commissioners, beginning a conversation with them about policy issues of concern, and offering ideas for improvements that could make their vision of the future become reality.
Weekend 4 (January 12-13, 2018)
Everyone needs a place to live and everyone wants stable, safe, and affordable housing. The fact that someone has a disability should not drive or limit housing options. The many types of housing available, styles of living, and personal preferences should be emphasized. Employment can be addressed in a similar way – most people want to work, they want to be productive and contribute. Finding a job that matches ones interests, what they enjoy doing, and personal characteristics are all factors in finding or creating a job where a person can be successful and meet new challenges to advance their employment and career options.