Since 2000, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI) has funded WSPEI as a resource for families and educators. The District Family Engagement (DFE) Liaison Program is a core component of WSPEI’s efforts to provide districts with a structured framework to train and mentor a district selected DFE Liaison. A WSPEI trained liaison facilitates the district’s ability to offer local support. The trained liaison also has the capacity to assist districts in developing and refining family engagement activities. WSPEI’s DFE Liaison program has been purposely aligned with State Performance Plan Indicator 8, which focuses on parent engagement, to assist districts in fostering positive working relationships with families.
DFE Liaisons are the parent/guardian of a child with a disability and should have some knowledge or experience with special education. Liaisons disseminate information to other parents, guardians, and staff about special education topics, family engagement, and DPI grant-initiative resources. Liaisons are identified by their local school district and must attend WSPEI core trainings during their first year. Some of the topics covered in the core trainings are an overview of the WSPEI Grant, Confidentiality, Navigating the Special Education Maze, the IEP Process, and Transition Planning for Students and Families. New Liaisons also receive other books and resources that support the training objectives.
The core trainings are offered at all twelve Cooperative Educational Service Agencies. WSPEI has four regional Family Engagement Coordinators that assist the CESA Family Engagement Coordinators with the training. The regional trainers are Colleen Mulder for CESAs 4, 10 and 11, Martha DeYoung for CESAs 5 and 6, Deb Hall for CESAs 1,2,3 and Evelyn Azbell for CESAs 7, 8, 9, and 12. A complete list of contact information for all the CESA Family Engagement Coordinators is at http://wspei.org/contact/ . The 2013-2014 schedule will be posted on the WSPEI web site in early October.