Parent Resource Center of Santa Barbara
The Parent Resource Center of the Santa Barbara Unified School District was established in the spring of 2013. Since then, the library-meeting-place-information center about learning differences has become a hub of activity, planning and innovative outreach to the community.The Parent Resource Center has been visited by hundreds of individuals, including educators, parents, students, philanthropists, community leaders, politicians, and others who are interested in learning more about a wide range of subjects including ADD, dyslexia, autism, mental wellness, parenting, and more.
In addition, there are resources for students of all ages to help them understand differences and learn how to self-advocate, as well as a unique collection of materials and information about how to pick the best colleges and careers for students with differences.
The Parent Resource Center hosts annual Open Houses, as well several training sessions—ranging from assistive technology to executive function issues, special techniques in dealing with autism, and eating disorders. The well-attended monthly Dyslexia Dialogues, hosted by Cheri Rae of The Dyslexia Project, create a sense of community for the families of 1 in 5 students affected with dyslexia.
Dyslexia-related offerings sponsored by the Parent Resource Center have included general discussions; appearances by filmmaker Harvey Hubbell and a screening of his film, Dislecksia: The Movie” and guest speaker-author John Rodrigues; a the showing and discussion of the acclaimed video “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia”; a thoughtful panel discussion of accomplished individuals who have dyslexia, and a presentation by Learning Ally and Decoding Dyslexia members.
The Parent Resource Center has been generously supported with donations of materials, most recently the Orfaela Foundation and Santa Barbara City College, as well as the Kirby Jones Foundation and the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, which have generously underwritten staffing.
The Center has grown from serving by appointment-only to part time availability, and now are pleased to announce that because the Parent Resource Center has become so important in our mission of serving the community, it will have a full-time staff member next school year—and we anticipate another busy year of providing information and resources for those who need them.
A Personal Note:
For parents of students with learning differences, this center symbolizes a commitment to our kids who have tons of potential—and little likelihood of reaching it in standardized classes, or revealing it in standardized tests.
I’m the parent of one of those kids who got through school with extraordinary efforts on his behalf: assessments and accommodations; interventions and interviews; strategy sessions and seminars; conventions and consultations; research and reading; comparing notes, interviewing experts and meeting with teachers, administrators and educational psychologists again and again and again over all these long years.
Importantly, we’ve figured out how to work together to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for this out-of-the-box thinker. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to educate one—especially one who flourishes in a setting that’s just a little different than the typical classroom: One that uses hands-on, project-based approaches and a little extra time to compensate for a little difference in processing speed.
What really kept this kid on his pathway to success is networking and knowledge. This can only be gained by parents taking the time to learn and understand their own child’s learning style and communicating it effectively to others—most importantly to educators and school administrators in a partnership dedicated to making it work.
That’s the real story about his new Parent Resource Center—where parents can learn how to figure it out in a pleasant place—dedicated solely for that purpose. It’s a big deal for a school district to offer information and innovation, and I’m happy to play a part in it, benefit from it, and welcome others to do