Parents Education Network


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  • April 22, 2014 10:41 AM | PEN (Administrator)

    It was 2010, I was stuck in a hole full of doubt and negativity. I was running out of steam to push on. I thought that my classmates had something that I didn't have, they seemed to have the capacity for success and I didn’t. Deep down inside I had a slight feeling that there was a spark. But so far there had been nothing to ignite it, and therefore it was invisible.

    This is how I felt, until I first was brought to EdRev. I walked into the conference with a layer of self-doubt, a fog which lifted during the time I was at the conference listening to amazing speakers. It was that day that I found that spark i knew was inside of me, I got a burst of energy and inspiration. As I watched the speakers, my eyes lit up, my heart filled up with hope and I felt the inner spark of energy ignited; it was at that point when I crossed a tremendous threshold.

    As I heard the voices of people like of Jonathan Mooney and other students who had already had their inner spark ignited, I was inspired. These people understood their own learning profiles, had the knowledge of their strengths and challenges and therefore were able to disregarded their disability and turned it into their strongest asset. I was truly blown away by the manner in which this community collaborated and were intent on making a difference, questioning the ways of current education, and proclaiming that a change is in store for the future. It was at that point where I hopped on the train of difference makers and decided to join in. I continued to grow my thinking rapidly and the flicker inside me turned into a raging fire as I became one of those who inspired me; able to confidently advocate for how I learn.

    Over these four years EdRev has grown tremendously, new thoughts have been sparked, more students have become inspired, and how we perceive education is changing. More and more renowned intellectuals have come to share their ideas at EdRev. Now we are embarking on Education Revolution 2014. This year we look to break through barriers and reimagine the possibility of what education can really be. We are now entering a new era as we write a new chapter of the education system. We continue to explore ways in which we can grab hold of the ever growing and changing world of technology, how we can harness these technologies and create a bridge from the them to the consumers and users - the students. It is worth investigating how we can improve classrooms, and learning environments to make them as effective as possible.

    As we take our place in the revolution we continue to loudly express our voices, to advocate the learning rights of those with learning challenges. It is time to advocate for the assets of those who learn differently. It is crucial to know that though dyslexia or ADHD may be titled a disability it gives one the ability to succeed. At EdRev we look to learn more strategies to harness the positives out of our disabilities. This time, the journey we are embarking on is crucial and can dictate the future for a long time to come. While other aspects of our society are rapidly changing, the education system is slow to change. That is until now. It’s about time we make some change. I urge you all to come and take place in the learning revolution, on May 3rd at AT&T -  Or participate virtually by tweeting #EdRev.  It is too important to miss. I look forward to seeing you this coming May!!

    Warm Regards,
    Ben Gurewitz
    16 years old - Dyslexic, dysgraphic, and slow processor

  • April 03, 2014 4:06 PM | PEN (Administrator)
    We had the pleasure of meeting BeeLine Reader founder, Nick Lum, last weekend at the Celebrate Dyslexia event. Nick would be interested in hearing your feedback on his new reading tool.

    BeeLine Reader is a new reading tool that uses eye-guiding color gradients to make reading easier and fasterundefinedespecially for readers with dyslexia, vision issues, or attention issues. The color gradients help the reader move from one line to the next without skipping or repeating lines, and they also improve focus for many readers.

    BeeLine offers a self-diagnostic tool, as well as browser plugins and a PDF converter. The user can select from several predefined color schemes, or he can create a custom color scheme in the settings. All of BeeLine's tools are completely free, and they work on Mac/PC (some work on tablets also).

    BeeLine would love to hear your feedback, and you can email the founder directly ( with any comments or questions.
  • March 19, 2014 10:53 AM | PEN (Administrator)

    Saint Mark’s School
    Independent, Nonreligious, Coeducational K-8
    K-4 Learning Specialist
    Full-time Position Beginning July 2014

    Saint Mark’s seeks an experienced and collaborative Learning Specialist for grades K-4.  The Learning Specialist is responsible for providing academic support services and case management for students in Kindergarten through Fourth Grade.  He or she reports to the Lower School head and works closely with the Upper School head, Upper School learning specialist, school counselor, classroom teachers, and parents to facilitate consistent support and thoughtful transitions from one grade to the next.  He or she will conduct initial and ongoing screenings of students, recommend intervention, provide pull-out and push-in student support, and coordinate outside support services when necessary.  In addition to student support, the Learning Specialist is responsible for helping to keep the Lower School faculty current on best practices in the area of learning differences and supporting the diverse needs of students.  He or she recommends professional development opportunities to faculty, provides in-house professional development, conducts class observations, and meets with teachers to help implement recommendations and accommodations for students.

    Saint Mark’s School is an independent, nonreligious, coeducational K-8 school located in the Bay Area in San Rafael, CA, with an enrollment of 380 students.  Innovative, inclusive, and full of heart, Saint Mark's unites an enriched, rigorous academic program with a kind and inclusive community.  The school nurtures a love of learning, engagement in the community, and development of compassion and an ethical framework.  Students learn and practice the intellectual, social, and emotional skills they will apply to the unique challenges and opportunities of their time; graduates stand out not only for their intellectual curiosity and pursuit of ideas, but also for their joy of learning and deep sense of responsibility to be active, engaged citizens. 

    Saint Mark’s has established a consistent practice of thoughtful innovation in its curricular program, focusing on current century skills and concepts including four cross-curricular strands:  Global Education, Media and Information Literacy, Environmental Sustainability, and Social and Emotional Learning.  Highlights include the NAIS Leading Edge Award-winning Media Literacy program; well-established local and global partnerships with the Canal Alliance of San Rafael, eSibonisweni School and Kliptown Youth Program in South Africa, and Beijing Experimental Primary School #2 in China, and Pan American School in Costa Rica, among others; SmartBoard technology in every classroom, with a one-to-one laptop program beginning in sixth grade; Mandarin and Spanish language beginning in kindergarten; an integrated Social and Emotional Learning program; a commitment to differentiation across the school; and more.

    Saint Mark’s is a vibrant and diverse community, and all community members continue to work towards the furthering of an inclusive and supportive school.  Saint Mark’s is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and multiculturalism.  Saint Mark’s salary and benefits are very competitive by both NAIS and regional standards.  For more information about Saint Mark’s School, please visit our website (

    Interested candidates should send a letter of interest and resume via email to Thad Reichley, Lower School Director, at (

  • March 05, 2014 5:58 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    Star of the Sea Preschool, located in the Richmond District of San Francisco, is a Catholic multi-age pre-primary program inspired by the principals and methodology of Maria Montessori. Our Preschool currently has an opening for a Director, a practicing Catholic, preferably with Montessori teaching and administrative experience. This year round, full time position will start July 1, 2014.

    We seek an individual who will manage the Preschool program’s State of California licensing requirements, guide the Montessori curriculum and teaching staff, as well as bring talents and interests that coordinate well with the Elementary and Parish communities. The Preschool program operates on a ten-month calendar with a four to six week optional summer program and is open daily from 8am to 6pm. We offer a competitive salary and full benefits through the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

    For more information go to:

    Please send resume and statement of qualifications to:
    Terrence Hanley

  • March 05, 2014 4:53 PM | PEN (Administrator)
    Elizabeth Corsale of Pathways Institute is collecting the "hero's journey" stories of parents of kids with learning and attention differences. Please see below for more details and contact Elizabeth at if you would like to share your journey.

    Many kids with learning and attention differences face the daily challenge of learning without the support of a flexible learning environment, variable curriculum delivery and little understanding of their unique learning style including their strengths and weaknesses.  These kids begin their long educational trek on their first day of school in preschool or kindergarten, and many would consider their journey heroic given the obstacles they face. But what about the parents’ journey?

    Parents also take a hero’s journey - one that includes experiences of crisis, requires understanding, demands courageous action to change, and ends with transformation. Their journey often begins when they are thrown into crisis when they are told by teachers or administrators that their kids aren’t learning.  When they ask why, they are often met with uncertainty, unverified speculation, and sometimes blame in some the form of a complaint about the child.  The next steps require them to seek more understanding and take courageous steps towards advocating for their child.

    If parents are lucky at this point they have someone in their family or social support system that can point them to experts who can help them navigate testing, IEP meetings and generally start them on their way.  If they are really lucky they live in a place like the Bay Area which has remarkable resources such as Parent Education Network (PEN), clinical experts and some private academic alternatives. Sadly most parents aren’t this fortunate—they feel alone, isolated, lost in a sea of confusion and fear with no one to listen and understand their experience all the while trying to be calm, collected advocates for their kid(s).

    With this in mind, I have reached out to parents who have travelled this path and to ask them to publicly share their hero’s journey in the hopes that it will give much needed support, advice, and company to other parents who are making this journey. Below are the questions parents will be writing about. We invite you to email if you would be willing to share your story with others.

    1. Can you describe the biggest challenge or crisis you faced as the parents of a child(s) with learning differences?
    2. What action did you take to address the crisis?
    3. What has this journey of parenting kids with learning differences meant to you?  How has it transformed you? 
    4. What was the best advice you ever got or what is the best advice you’d like to give to other parents facing this journey?

    My hope is that reading the answers to these questions will help other parents feel more connected, understood, resilient and uplifted with the knowledge that they are being transformed through day to day experience of understanding and accepting their developing child(s) unique variability.  In other words, support + understanding + transformation = RESILIENCY. Resiliency is necessary for both kids and their parent in order to thrive throughout the educational journey and beyond.  Parenting children with learning and attention differences is about helping them get what they need, and helping them with their heroic journey. But it’s also about your own journey, which is heroic and transformative too.

    Elizabeth Corsale, MFT
    Director, Pathways Institute



  • February 04, 2014 2:17 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    Sometimes parents of kids with learning and/or attention disabilities that have qualified for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) make the decision to move children from public school to private school. In these circumstances parents need to understand their child’s rights with regard to the ongoing status of the IEP and issues related to payment for their child’s education. Elizabeth Corsale, MFT, of the Pathways Institute, spoke with Susan Horning about this issue. Ms. Horning is a Special Education Advocate trained to assist parents, in a non-attorney capacity, in advocating for their children with disabilities.

    Question:  Does your IEP terminate if you enroll your child in a private school?

    Answer: (Susan Horning)  There are three main scenarios surrounding children who have been found eligible to receive special education services, but attend private schools:

    1.  Sometimes school districts offer a child FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), but the parents elect to enroll their child in a private school.  Children with disabilities found eligible to receive special education services enrolled by their parents in private schools are still entitled to an Individualized Service Plan (ISP).  Parentally-placed private school children with disabilities may receive a different amount of services than children with disabilities in public schools, and have no individual right to equitable special education and related services.  Even though you enrolled your child in a private school, your local school district still has a responsibility under Child Find to keep track of him annually.  Each parentally-placed private school child with a disability who has been designated to receive services must have an ISP.  In this scenario the school district would not pay for tuition at the private school, because FAPE was made available to the child and the parents elected to place the child in a private school.

    2.  Children with disabilities found to be eligible for special education services enrolled by their parents in private schools when FAPE is at issue can possibly receive tuition reimbursement based on a few factors.  If the school district made FAPE available and the parents elected to enroll their child in the private school anyway then that is scenario #1 above.  If the school district did not make FAPE available to the child and there is a disagreement about FAPE, then the parents can pursue reimbursement if they can show that the district did not make FAPE available and that the private school placement is appropriate.  The parents must inform the IEP team via 10 days written notice that they are rejecting the FAPE offered by the district, must state their concerns and must inform the district of their intent to enroll their child in a private school at public expense.  The private school placement does not have to be a certified non-public school (NPS), though often times it is.  This child would still have an IEP, and various other laws kick in as to whether or not his placement would remain at the private school during the time the disagreement is being resolved.  This scenario describes a common disagreement between parents and school districts.  The dispute usually revolves around whether or not what the school district offered was truly appropriate to the child's needs and hence FAPE.  Under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), parents have the right to resolve disputes with their school districts through due process.  Procedural safeguards have been designed to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents.  Parents are urged to consult a reputable special education attorney for legal advice surrounding this scenario.

    3.  Children with disabilities placed in, or referred to, private schools by the school district do have an IEP and that IEP states that the private school is the school placement decision.  Most often times the private school placement will be a certified NPS (non public school), which the school district has a contract with to provide services to those students which it cannot.  However, the private school placement by the district does not have to be an NPS.  Tuition reimbursement would occur, since under IDEA, this placement would be at no cost to the parents.  This often times happens when the child's needs are unique enough that the school district does not have a classroom or service that will meet the child's needs and the IEP team agrees that a private school must be used to conform to the child's IEP. 

    Parents should figure out which of the above scenarios best describes their situation, keeping in mind that the law requires that to the maximum extent possible, children should be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE).  In scenario #1, the IEP would turn into an ISP when the child is enrolled in a private school.  In scenarios #2 and #3, the child would have an IEP.

    All children with disabilities found eligible to receive special education services are entitled to a FAPE provided in conformity with an IEP developed in accordance with their unique needs.  Regardless of whether the child attends public or private school, IDEA ensures that his rights are protected. It is essential for parents to understand, assert and execute those rights to improve educational results for their children with disabilities. 

    Q & A written and reprinted with permission by Susan Horning, who is not an attorney and neither offers legal advice nor acts as an attorney. Susan can be contacted at

  • February 04, 2014 2:09 PM | PEN (Administrator)
    Help the Students of SAFE raise money for their Annual EdRev Scholarship Fund. The money raised will help families across the country attend EdRev, giving them access to this life-changing event and introducing them to a supportive community.

    What can you donate?
    Here are some donation suggestions that will hopefully jog your memory as to what might be in your basement, attic, and back of your closet, just waiting to be donated!

    • Toys in working condition
    • Clothes clean
    • Furniture
    • Small appliances
    • Working electronics
    • Kitchen supplies
    • Jewelry
    • Household items
    • Homemade baked goods for a bake sale.

    Please contact Natalie at for any questions about donation items.

    How do I donate?
    You can drop of any items at 214 Duboce Ave, San Francisco 94103. This is where we will be having the garage sale. Drop off days/times will be February 3rd - 7th and February 10th - 14th from 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. The building is a law office so please come on in and Adrian will help you store the items in the garage. If you have any large items please call the office a day in advance so we can make space for the item. 415-431-4500

    How can I spread the word?
    Share the flyer below with friends and family who wish to donate items or attend the sale!

  • February 04, 2014 1:33 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    SAFE is going strong and moving fast! We are currently deep into the planning for EdRev 2014, focusing on our most elaborate art project yet! This year the students of SAFE and the students attending EdRev-Up 2014 (our student celebration prior to EdRev 2014) will be creating a massive social movement mural with Precita Eyes!  At our first meeting with Precita Eyes this last Saturday, the students decided that their mural would depict their interpretation of the current education system and how it can and will evolve into their utopic view of education in the future. They are calling it “Evolution of Acceptance” This mural is sure to be inspiring to all who view it and participate in its construction. With this mural, we will be able to perceive the educational environment that our students are working toward and the journey of acceptance that they have embarked on.

    In addition to our mural the students have started an EdRev Annual Scholarship Fund to raise money to help families across the country attend EdRev 2014, giving them access to this life-changing event and introducing them to a supportive community. To kick off this Annual Scholarship Fund we are having a garage sale on February 15th and 16th. Please come and support the students in their cause at 214 Duboce Ave. 94103 on Febuary 15th and 16th and donate items for the sale!

    What can you donate?
    Here are some donation suggestions that will hopefully jog your memory as to what might be in your basement, attic, and back of your closet, just waiting to be donated!

    • Toys in working condition
    • Clothes clean
    • Furniture
    • Small appliances
    • Working electronics
    • Kitchen supplies
    • Jewelry
    • Household items
    • Homemade baked goods for a bake sale.

    Please contact Natalie at for any questions about donation items.

    How do I donate?
    You can drop of any items at 214 Duboce Ave, San Francisco 94103. This is where we will be having the garage sale. Drop off days/times will be February 3rd - 7th and February 10th - 14th from 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. The building is a law office so please come on in and Adrian will help you store the items in the garage. If you have any large items please call the office a day in advance so we can make space for the item. 415-431-4500

  • February 04, 2014 12:04 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    Come have lunch with us and shop!

    Hot Diggity Hot Dog Cart will be selling hot dogs at our EdRev Annual Fund Garage Sale on February 15th @ 214 Duboce Ave. San Francisco 94103

    Support students who are making a real difference in the future of education!
    Students with learning and attention differences from Student Advisors for Education (SAFE) are raising money to help families across the country attend EdRev (, giving them access to this life-changing event and introducing them to a supportive community.

  • January 08, 2014 12:27 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    UPDATE - Drop off directions:

    You can drop off any items at 214 Duboce Ave, San Francisco 94103. This is where we will be having the garage sale.
    Drop off days/times will be February 3rd - 7th and February 10th - 14th from 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. The building is a law office so please ring the door bell and Adrian will help you store the items in the garage. If you have any large items please call the office a day in advance so we can make space for the item. 415-431-4500

    Dear PEN families:

    My name is Jonathan Tyler (JT) Werth and I am a student with dyslexia from San Francisco. I also am a member of the San Francisco chapter of Student Advisors for Education (SAFE), the student branch of Parents Education Network (PEN). SAFE is a student community that strives to educate, mentor, and support students, parents and teachers regarding the challenges and strengths of students with learning and attention differences.

    This group supports us in finding and sharing our own voices in our academic and life experiences as students with learning and attention differences. The group is completely student run and student driven. We meet monthly to develop and implement projects for each year.

    For families with children who have learning and attention difference in rural areas or who live far away, the opportunity to attend EdRev would be a dream come true. Many families still feel isolation and frustration and struggle to find the information, services and expertise needed to help their children succeed academically. One family said that the chance to bring their daughter to EdRev would “be an amazing step in helping her to advocate for herself.” This family inspired us to start the EdRev Scholarship Fund. We would like to raise enough money to help with travel to EdRev for families with limited resources in their hometowns, to offer them access to this life changing event and introduce them to a supportive community. We would like your help!

    There are a few way you can get involved

    1. Donate your time to help us organize and run a garage sale on Feb 15th and 16th.
    2. Donate items for the garage sale. Have any unwanted Christmas or Hanukah presents still lying around? Give them to us!
    3. Donate your baking skills! On the day of the garage sale we are also planning to have a bakes sale. If you love to bake and wouldn’t mind donating some homemade items please let us know.
    4. Stop by the garage sale in February and do some shopping.
    5. Spread the word to others who might want to stop by to pick up a vintage treasure. Or a tasty treat!

    Please contact our Program Director Natalie Tamburello if you wish to make a donation.

    If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact
    Natalie at 415-751-2237

    Thank you so much for your time and considering our cause,

    JT and SAFE

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Parents Education Network (PEN), 6050 Geary Blvd., Ste. 101A, San Francisco, CA 94121    Phone: (415) 751-2237

PEN is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, federal tax ID# 43-2008436.

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