Information for Parents of Children Receiving Special Education

There is a new way to receive information and send questions or communication to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children’s Division through an online listserv. Interested parents can sign up by visiting the website for NC Public Schools by clicking here and registering an email in order to access information on the workings of the NC DPI EC division. The following link explains how to select and sign up for this listserv:

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1 Person in the World Dies by Suicide Every 40 Seconds

That’s a lot to process, isn’t it?

This article from CNN discusses new data on suicide from the World Health Organization (WHO).  It’s sort of a “good-news, bad-news” read.  For example, between 2010 and 2016, the global suicide rate decreased by 9.8%.  However, the WHO also found that the only region to see an increase was the Americas.

The article also notes that close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, more than those lost to malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide, and the WHO is now referring to suicide as a “serious global public health issue.”

We also wanted to pass along this unique way of sharing the Suicide Prevention Hotline number:

This message was created by John & Julie Govin in Wisconsin, who reported that they always do a “theme” for their annual corn maze.  This year, they were inspired to share this message after losing a loved one to suicide.  Mr. Govin noted that he and his wife are “really doing this in the hope that we can prevent another family from going through what we’ve gone through.”

Your Student Services team here in W-S/FCS has a protocol in place to intervene with – and get help for – students who are experiencing thoughts of suicide.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us; we’re here to help!

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National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8-14

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is encouraging people to create a safety net for those that are struggling, themselves included, by educating and inspiring them to feel as comfortable talking about mental health as they would their physical health. By knowing how to have a real conversation (#RealConvo) with people in our lives, recognize the risks and warning signs for suicide, and understand ways to connect to help, we can all play a role in making our communities safer.

AFSP created a toolkit filled with inspiration, guidance, social media sharables and more, enabling you to:

WATCH short, informative videos
SHARE images and other goodies on social media
READ blogs featuring personal perspectives and expert guidance on how to have a #RealConvo
TAKE ACTION and get involved in the cause

The toolkit contains a calendar of events for September, including Twitter chats, as well as personal stories, #RealConvo guides, and further resources for those who are struggling. New social sharables, merchandise updates and more will continue to be added throughout the month.

Thank you for helping AFSP spread the word, get people talking more openly about mental health and suicide prevention, and make our communities and loved ones safer in the process.

Access the toolkit here

The website provides additional information and talking points along with videos from well-known folks discussing their own mental health.

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Supporting Students After Tragedies

It seems like every time we turn on the news there is another act of mass violence.  With the access our children have to technology, they frequently see horrifying, sometimes first-hand images and videos of these tragedies which have been posted to social media. These stories and images often leave children scared and confused.  Making matters even worse, many of these events happen in schools, adding to the sense of apprehension they feel in that setting.  As parents and caregivers, what can we do to help reinforce feelings of safety and security in our children?

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has several recommendations for how to talk to children of all ages about these events.  In a recent article by National Public Radio, former NASP President Melissa Reeves outlines five important factors for increasing your child’s sense of safety and security within the school environment.  Learn more here NPR article

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)

What is a Multi-Tiered System of Support?
You may hear your child’s school refer to developing “MTSS” or a Multi-Tiered System of Support. By definition, MTSS is a tiered framework, which promotes school improvement through engaging, research-based academic and behavioral practices. North Carolina employs a systems approach, using data-driven problem solving to maximize growth for all students.

So, what does this REALLY mean?
It just means that ALL students will be provided the instruction they need to make progress towards standards. All students will receive core instruction with instructional and behavioral practices based on the needs of the district and school populations. The school MTSS team will check to make sure the practices are being used effectively. When groups of students or individual students are not making progress, then the school team will review the instruction, the curriculum, and the environment to consider what changes are necessary to meet the needs of the students. Some students will need changes such as a supplemental layer of support in addition to and connected to core instruction. Again, based on a review of data, a few students will need core, supplemental and intensive layers of support to make growth and progress towards standards. The diagram below is a good visual for this layering of support.

“Every public school student will graduate ready for post-secondary education and work, prepared to be a globally engaged and productive citizen through access to needed resources and rigor.”

This vision set by the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) unites all teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and communities in our work in all public schools. The following goals give further direction and framing the efforts.

State Board of Education GOALS (

  • Every student in the NC Public School System graduates from high school prepared for work, further education, and citizenship
  • Every student has a personalized education
  • Every student, every day has excellent educators
  • Every school district has up-to-date financial, business, and technology systems to serve its students, parents, and educators
  • Every student is healthy, safe, and responsible
  • Ensure equity of educational opportunity for all students

Achieving these goals takes a collaborative effort, dedicated experts, and an efficient and sustainable system of support. The work of Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is designed to build this sustainable system of support. And parent involvement and communication is an integral part of that.

NC MTSS Definition:
NC MTSS is a multi-tiered framework which promotes school improvement through engaging, research-based academic and behavioral practices. NC MTSS employs a systems approach using data-driven problem-solving to maximize growth for all.

NC MTSS Vision:
Every NC Pre K-12 public education system implements and sustains all components of a Multi-Tiered System of Support to ensure college and career readiness for all students.

NC MTSS Mission:
NCDPI will prepare and support LEAs to implement a Multi-Tiered System of Support for total school improvement by providing professional development, coaching and technical assistance, research and evaluation, and communication and visibility that results in college, career and community readiness for all students. NCDPI believes that MTSS is the most effective and efficient approach to improving school outcomes and student performance thereby ensuring equitable access to a sound basic education.


  • All staff and students are part of a multi-tiered system of support.
  • MTSS utilizes a systematic problem-solving model to analyze multiple pieces of information to determine how all students are responding to classroom instruction.
  • School teams look at instructional practices, curriculum and environment to ensure students get the help they need when they need it.
  • MTSS is a layering of academic and behavior supports. Additional support is added as needed.
  • All students have access to all layers of instructional support. Instruction increases in intensity as layers are added.

All information was compiled from resources available in the NC MTSS Live Binder.

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