Parents Education Network


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  • August 05, 2014 4:50 PM | PEN (Administrator)
    Do you have expertise in the area of insurance? 

    PEN needs a volunteer to spend a few hours reviewing our insurance policies, summarizing and advising us regarding coverage.

    If interested please contact Laura Maloney,
  • August 05, 2014 3:50 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    Job Description – Deputy Executive Director
    Hours: Full Time

    Overview of Position:
    Parents Education Network, located in San Francisco, California, is seeking an excellent candidate for a rare opportunity to join its dynamic and growing team as Deputy Executive Director. This is a new role that has come about as a result of the growth of the organization causing the current Executive Director to have to delegate current responsibilities. This is a good opportunity for someone who would like to develop his or her career toward an Executive Director Role. Reporting to and working closely with the Executive Director, this person will oversee programs, volunteers, outreach and program evaluation, helping to integrate all of the work of the organization into a cohesive, organized strategy. This individual will work to advance PEN’s strategies to increase engagement and deepen relationships with volunteers, members and affiliates while implementing internal systems and building internal teams. The Deputy Director will play a significant external role that will include assisting in the areas of fundraising and community awareness.

    This person will be a close and trusted advisor to the Executive Director, strengthening the internal foundation that supports the Executive Director’s significant external responsibilities. The Deputy Director will participate in shaping key initiatives and will forge progress towards the goal of a larger program supporting a higher percentage of the families of the 1 in 5 students with Learning Differences.

    The ideal candidate will be a collaborative leader with excellent relationship building and communication skills and the ability to integrate into the PEN culture. This is a unique opportunity for a proactive, creative, flexible and strategic leader with excellent volunteer management, planning and implementation skills to join a dynamic, high-functioning organization at a critical and exciting stage.

    See full details here.

  • August 05, 2014 12:34 PM | PEN (Administrator)
    "We are in the midst of an exciting time of growth here at PEN as we launch new Affiliates and push to become a nationwide movement.

    To accomplish this growth we have had to do some restructuring in order to maximize our resources. Regretfully, we have had to cut back some of our local staff. 

    Please read Natalie Tamburello's generous letter below. We are so proud of Natalie for, as you can read, she has grown up along with our organization and is a vivid example of the benefits of our LD community support.  While we no longer have a full time position at PEN that can maximize Natalie's talents, we look forward to watching her continue to grow and remain an important part of the PEN community. We can’t wait to see what she does next!"
    - Laura Maloney, Executive Director

    When I was applying to high school I was asked, “If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?” I told the admissions director that I would give the money to PEN and described all the reasons why: no organization had understood, supported or empowered me more.

    I participated in PEN’s first student panel in 2003 as a seventh grader. You can still see that panel video on SAFE’s website. Three years later, PEN launched SAFE. Before I graduated from high school, SAFE started its first Eye to Eye mentoring program, produced a public service video for the Giants, partnered with 826 Valencia Street and published Read This When You Can, the first anthology of essays written by and for students who learn differently, and we started speaking publicly throughout the Bay Area.

    I have been privileged and honored to be a constant part of this organization and its commitment to SAFE students. This fall, with a Masters in Education under my belt, I returned to PEN as the SAFE Program Director. I was elated to be able to give back to the organization that gave so much to me.

    SAFE’s success is directly tied to the enthusiasm of the students and the commitment of the facilitators and advisors. We are family, a community, tied together by our unique learning experiences and our commitment to change how we educate in this country – employing a strength-based, rather than a deficit model of education.

    I can’t summarize everyone’s contribution, but I know that each and every one of the SAFE students in all three chapters has made the success of this organization possible. And I can only imagine what lies ahead for current and future SAFE chapters given the talent, creativity and commitment of our SAFE students. To each of you, I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey; I am honored and privileged to know you all.

    The work we began this year will continue and I cannot wait to attend the San Francisco chapter’s first SAFE play, help fund-raise for the next EdRev Scholarship Fund, explore Silicon Valley’s website, and hear the Sacramento chapter’s EdRev anthem.

    Nick, Mariah and Christie are amazing facilitators; together we made a great team, and without their huge commitment to SAFE, the amazing ideas of the SAFE students cannot be realized. The insightful and supportive guidance of the SAFE advisors is equally essential, for without each of you acting as a sounding board, SAFE would not be where it is today. It is clear that together this community can do anything.

    I regret that I never did find that million dollars for PEN, and unfortunately there is not a full-time position for the SAFE Program Director at this time. Therefore, my time as member of the PEN staff has come to an end for now. The chapters of course, will continue and a part-time facilitator will be hired for San Francisco in the fall.

    As you can see, I’ve never really left this community and I never will. I promise to remain close to you all; please feel free to contact me any time. I can always be reached at natalie.tamburello AT I am here for each and every one of you during this transition and I will always be available for the students and families of SAFE whether I am a PEN staff member or not.

    It was my dream to give back to SAFE, the group that gave so much to me. As this school year flew past, you blew me away with your maturity, insight, ideas and empowerment. Continue to Stand Up, and Speak Out! I know that this is a community that will change the terrain of education.

  • June 11, 2014 2:50 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    The End Game is Learning – Not Reading

    Guest post by  Laurie O'Hara

    My son, AJ, is severely dyslexic and loves to learn. He consumes all he can from the internet and audio books. He is literate and can read, but not at his grade level and not with any joy. That’s OK though. In our home, we do not force reading. Rather, we encourage learning and the acquisition of knowledge. To us, the channel the learning is delivered to AJ is not important, but that knowledge is acquired and learning happens.  In our home, learning happens in abundance and AJ teaches us something new every day before breakfast.

    Years ago, when AJ was in first grade (for two years), he struggled with reading and we were constantly told that he would catch up; that it was a developmental lag; that boys learn later; to wait and see.  All those responses to legitimate concerns are stalling the inevitable diagnosis of dyslexia. But why?  The worst advice you can accept is ‘wait and see’ because that allows the frustration to continue, despair to set in and self-esteem to plummet. Being proactive about getting a child tested is how parents need to go – and sometimes with assertive advocacy. It is the parents’ rights to have their children tested when there is reason for concern. In our case, reading at the first grade level for three years was adequate concern.

    PEN (Parents Education Network) has been a fabulous source of education for me on my son’s learning disabilities and how to best guide him through his education. I enjoy their forums, panels, and workshops. They have been such a lifesaver, when I felt despair not knowing where to go for the right tools or how to navigate the education system. I have been to EdRev in San Francisco for years and thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie and always learn something new and fascinating about dyslexia. I’m happy to say that AJ is proud of his dyslexia and all the gifts that come with the dyslexic brain. Now we simply have a sense of humor with his spelling mistakes and reading errors.

    Laurie and AJ's book, 'Why Can't I Read?' tells AJ's story about how he struggled with reading and how he's come to deal with his learning disability. Laurie says: "It's the book we wish we could've read when we were confused and frustrated with his reading challenges." It is available on Amazon.

    This is a book about one boy's struggle with dyslexia. It is told from the child's perspective to help other children and their parents understand and deal with the frustrations, shame, and despair of not being able to read, to ultimately overcome the obstacles to reading, and become proud of the fascinating dyslexic brain. This book should be read by children, parents, teachers, and anyone who has a loved one struggling with a learning disability. It's a story of resilience, pride and hope

  • June 09, 2014 9:51 AM | PEN (Administrator)

    Dear PEN Members and Supporters:

    As our 11th year draws to a close, I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all of you on behalf of PEN. Your support made possible another year of exciting advances in the movement to understand how we can move toward supporting all students in the classroom.

    Among our accomplishments this year were:

    • Affiliates: we helped local groups of parents to launch three PEN Affiliates, in Sacramento, Silicon Valley and Phoenix, AZ. PEN is going national!
    • Speaker Series: back in San Francisco, we presented 10 Speaker Series events to over 1,000 attendees, on subjects such as LD rights in college, nonverbal learning disabilities, executive function, assistive technology and resilience
    • Professional Development: hosted two Professional Development workshops for educators, on “The Whole-Brain Child” and Executive Function
    • Early Childhood: held two early childhood education presentations on early literacy, for parents and for educators
    • Parent Meeting:  our parent meeting at the start of the school year provided a forum for parents to connect with and support each other
    • SAFE: monthly meetings and other activities for students continued in San Francisco and in the newer Silicon Valley branch of SAFE

    This year culminated in another transformative, celebratory day at EdRev 2014: Step into a New Era of Learning, where we welcomed back our first ever keynote speaker, Jonathan Mooney, for a rousing speech on the future of education, and hosted:

    • over 120 exhibitors (the most ever!)
    • yet another fabulous Student Art Show
    • a range of 14 workshops
    • Student Celebration
    • 2,000+ attendees from around the Bay Area and all over the country
    • attendees from HI, MA, WI, AZ, NY

    The level of excitement and engagement at EdRev was greater than ever this year, as this event continued to grow as a gathering place for a national movement.

    These advances can only take place with the dedication of supporters like you. Once again, we thank you, and wish you all a rejuvenating summer. I hope this time of year provides the opportunity for you and your kids to spend time together and appreciate their gifts, their passions and their amazing potential.

    Laura Maloney
    Executive Director

  • June 06, 2014 3:45 PM | PEN (Administrator)
    Tutor Corps is currently hiring for two homeschooling opportunities. Both positions require candidates to have a background working with students with learning differences. See full details on the flyer here.
  • June 04, 2014 11:21 AM | PEN (Administrator)

    Dear Fellow Members,

    Thank you to all of you who make PEN an effective organization year after year.  Without you we could never accomplish our goals of changing lives for families of kids with learning differences. We need your help now more than ever.

    Now in our 11th year, and on the verge of becoming a national organization, we are seeking new ideas and experience at the board and committee level, as these are the people who continue to provide direction and policy to our programs.

    Claudia Koochek, head of the Charles Armstrong School, and I are leading the effort to add to our committees and Board. We are looking for volunteers from both CAS transitioning parents and from PEN membership who are willing and able to commit their time in one of the following areas:

    Human Resources;  governance/board development; marketing skills such as branding, outreach, PR; and fundraising and event planning.

    If you have experience and interest in volunteering in any of the areas of expertise above, we would love for you to contact one of us.




    Dewey Rosetti
    PEN Founder

  • May 20, 2014 5:52 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    Congratulations to all the EdRev 2014 Art Contest Winners, and all the wonderful artists who participated!

     After All, We’re Not Savages
    (click for full size)

    Artist's Statement: I recreated the scene of Simon's death from William Golding's Lord of the Flies using miniature animals. I then photographed and digitally enhanced the image.In this violent and gripping scene, the boys are symbolized through these animals to show their transition to an animalistic and savage lifestyle on the island, and their primitive interactions with each other. The innocence of these small animals, juxtaposed with the harsh, brutal atmosphere from Lord of the Flies, reflects the strong contrast between age and action in the book, and the shock the reader feels when these young boys turn against each other.
    1st Place Visual Art
    Artist: Emma Waldspurger
    Title:“After All, We’re Not Savages”
    School: Gunn High School
    Grade: 10
    Artist Statement:

    2nd Place Visual Art
    Artist: Leah Paxon
    Title: “Mental Oriental”
    School: Bayhill High School
    Grade: 11

    1st Place Written Word
    Artist: Patrick Martin
    Title: “Questions”
    School: Commodore Sloat
    Grade: 5

    2nd Place Written Word
    Artist: Chris Kelly
    Title: “Rush”
    School: Sterne School
    Grade: 12

    1st Place Video
    Artist: Nicholas Santiago
    Title: “The Last One”
    School: Our Lady of Mercy
    Grade: 4

    2nd Place Video
    Artist: Dylan Rivers
    Title: “Project Z”
    School: Stern
    Grade: 7

    1st Place Music
    Artist: Alexi Dobrov
    Title: “Heading Down South”
    School: Stern School
    Grade: 8

    2nd Place Music
    Artist: Stephanie Woodford
    Title: “Little Piano Trio”
    School: St Ignatius College Prep
    Grade: 11

    1st Place Learning Differently
    Artist: Jimmy Reidy
    Title: “Super Dyslexia”
    School: St. Gabriel
    Grade: 2

    2nd Place Learning Differently
    Artist: Esti Smith
    Title: “Learning Difference”
    School: Charles Armstrong
    Grade: 3

  • May 20, 2014 4:19 PM | PEN (Administrator)

    This year at EdRev-Up 2014 we were excited to have a record-breaking 3 community projects that the students worked on. By offering a variety of projects for students to work on we hoped to encourage two forms of activism: visual and vocal. We wanted every student to feel they have a place in this community and feel comfortable participating in ways that suit them best.

    1. VISUAL

    First, we were honored to work with Precita Eyes, a community-based mural arts organization located in the Mission District of San Franciso, which seeks to educate communities locally and internationally about the process and the history of public community mural art. 

    At EdRev-Up, the students created two community mural based on how they view the current education system and their vision for the future of education – two opposing worlds.

    1. VOCAL

    This year we brought back an art project that had great success at EdRev-Up in the past. We believe that through EdRev-Up and EdRev we build a social movement to give students a voice to change the future of education. Therefore, we wanted to find a way to share the history of social movement building with the students while encouraging a modern perspective. What better way than to reinvent and use a tool immortalized by social movements thoughout history--the soapbox? Students decorated soapboxes with messages of empowerment and change, then used this platform to express their own visions for the future of education as modern-day social activists. You might have seen this at being demonstrated at EdRev. 


    Lastly, we led a march down The Embarcadero to spread awareness about learning and attention differences. With this march, we ended our day of empowerment by spreading the message of change and our vision of education for the future.

    Photo of EdRev-Up Student March

    EdRev-Up always proves to be an inspiring day for the students and educators that attend. Please contact if you would like your school or your child’s school to participate next year.

  • 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

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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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