Parents Education Network e-Newsletter September 2009


President's Letter

LD Resource Guide

Volunteer Request

Speaker Series

Ed Rev 2010!

TEN Teacher Events

SAFE Voices

President's Letter

Dear friends of PEN,

Welcome to a new school year and a new year of PEN activity. 

We are so very excited to share our program for this year with you! Our Speaker Series includes a host of top experts speaking on topics from Making Math Real to Social Skills and Sensory Integration. There is a theme running through many of our events this year of the benefits of movement and exercise for learning and attention, and to that end we are even having John G. Ratey, M.D., author of the bestselling book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, speak in November.

Dr. Ratey is one of three fantastic speakers who will also address teachers as part of the TEN Teacher Training series. The other speakers are Robert Sylwester of the University of Oregon, and Edward M. Hallowell M.D., psychiatrist and author of well-known ADHD books like Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction.

This brings me to my biggest news... following on our enormous success earlier this year, Ed Rev 2010 which will take place at AT&T Park on Saturday, April 17. Dr. Hallowell and Jonathan Mooney will be our keynote speakers, and the event will feature an even greater selection of presenters, exhibitors and activities for kids and adults. We had over 1200 attendees this year, and we are planning to double that in 2010!

Please also take some time to read in this edition about our student group SAFE Voices, their work with Project Eye-to-Eye, and the amazing ways that some early members of the group are making history -- and also how new members can get involved.

Also, we are currently seeking volunteers for two specific roles, so please take a look at the job descriptions and let us know if you think you can help.

And finally, I would like to invite you to join PEN for our bi-annual Parent Meeting at my home in San Francisco the morning of Friday, October 9. All parents, whether new members or veterans of our community, are invited and strongly urged to join us, to share concerns and ideas and help us plan for PEN's future. Click here to register and let me know how many to expect! (If you can't make there will be another meeting on May 5, 2010.)

I am looking forward to seeing you all at PEN events this year.


Dewey Rosetti
PEN President

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LD Resource Guide

Over the summer, we released our LD Resource Directory for free download. The September edition of the directory, featuring local and national service providers for LD-related services is now available. It will be updated every month. Click here to download!

Service providers: Information on advertising rates and conditions can be found on the last page of the directory. Please contact us with any questions.

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Volunteer Request

PEN is currently seeking volunteers for two specific roles:

Speaker Series assistant: Assisting PEN staff with venue setup and attendee check-in at Speaker Series events, for 1 hour prior to the start of the event (8am - 9am for morning events). No particular experience is needed, but reliability is greatly valued! If you are interested, please pick at least 3 events (all events listed here) that you are available for and contact our Event Coordinator, Jo Cummins, at

Media/ Publicity officer for Ed Rev 2010: We are seeking a volunteer with experience promoting events or organizations through the media. Responsibilites would include: making contacts in print, radio, web and TV media;  sending press releases; organizing PSAs; setting up speaker interviews. Please contact our Program Director, Laura Maloney, at, if you think you can help.

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Speaker Series

PEN's Speaker Series this year includes 10 lectures with topics ranging from assistive technology to sensory integration. One of the major themes running through this year's series is the importance of movement and exercise in improving brain function. Download the full 2009-2010 Program (PDF) here

The first two events of the series are:

Connecting Research to Practice: Making Math Real.

Friday September 11, 2009
9am - 12pm, The Exploratorium

With David Berg, creator of the Making Math Real Method. This presentation provides the research basis from neuro-science and cognitive science directly in support of the Making Math Real multisensory structure in mathematics, for all processing styles.  Age range: K-12. Click here to register!

LD/ADHD and College: the untold stories of a Dyslexic & ADHD Brown University Admissions Officer.

Friday September 18
9am - 11am, The Exploratorium

With David Flink, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Project Eye-To-Eye. While an admissions officer at Brown University, David Flink read over 4,000 files and all those pertaining to students with learning disabilities. Flink now runs Project Eye-To-Eye, a national mentoring program aimed at empowering students with learning disabilities and helping them to think about how to make the transition into college and the work world. Having a learning disability himself, Flink speaks from his experience of self-empowerment and seeks to share his story with students across the nation. Click here to register!

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Teachers' Education Network

TEN at RECESS: Brain-Based Professional Development... With a Twist

FREE! Teacher-to-teacher discussions on topics in brain research and classroom practice in a relaxed setting, with food and drinks provided.

Any interested educators -- teachers, administrators, educational therapists, tutors -- are welcome to come by for some food, drinks, and discussion.

Thursday, October 29, 6-8pm.

at: Recess Urban Recreation
470 Carolina St. (at 18th St.)
San Francisco, CA 94107

Please register online to help us plan this event.

Teacher Training Workshop

The Science of Exercise and the Brain: How Exercise Can Improve Attention, Mood and Performance

Monday, November 16, 2009
6 pm - 9pm. Burke's School, SF.

With John G. Ratey, MD. Would you like to see lowered stress and increased harmony among your students?  How about an increase in their focus and intellectual capacity?  Harvard professor John Ratey has a simple, but profound plan of action that will radically expand your concept of  “peak performance.” In these ground-breaking presentations, Dr. Ratey will share cutting edge medical research that demonstrates how exercise sparks new brain cells and promotes both physical and psychological well-being in ways we are only beginning to understand.  In fact, Dr. Ratey will explain why exercise may be the best defense we have against ADHD, mood disorders, substance abuse, and the effects of hormone fluctuations and aging.   Don’t miss this chance to learn how certain forms of exercise can actually change one’s brain, make learning easier, combat anxiety and depression, and increase levels of attention and motivation.

FREE for teachers at PEN Member Schools / $20 for all other educators.

Click here to register!

In collaboration, TEN and PEN are hosting three unique educational opportunities for teachers this year. Download the full 2009-2010 PEN Program (PDF) here to find out more.

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Ed Rev 2010

SAVE THE DATE! Saturday April 17, 2010

The hugely successful Education Revolution event will take place once again at AT&T Park, San Francisco on Saturday, April 17 2010.

The keynote speakers this year will be nationally renowned ADHD expert Edward M. Hallowell, author of bestselling books Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction, and Jonathan Mooney, president of Project Eye-to-Eye and author of Learning Outside the Lines and The Short Bus.

Plus over 100 other presenters and exhibitors! We are expecting over 2000 attendees this year!

You can help us share the news about Ed Rev 2010 by posting or distributing this Save the Date flyer.

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SAFE Voices

Teenage students interested in learning about SAFE Voices and/or Eye to Eye mentoring (limited to high school students) are invited to join SAFE Voices at SAFE’s fall kick off meeting: Saturday, September 19th. SAFE’s meetings are always open to interested students.

If interested in becoming a SAFE mentor now or in the future, attend a training session with SAFE members and David Flink, national director of Project Eye to Eye on Thursday, September 17th.   

David will also attend the SAFE meeting on Saturday. Details and registration for the SAFE meeting and Eye to Eye training may be found here. (Please note that registration is required for the training and your RSVP is needed for the meeting! Space is limited, so sign up soon!)

Now in its third year of mentoring through Project Eye to Eye, SAFE's member Adam Schutz was selected to attend the annual OI (Organizational Institute) at Brown University.  Adam (Stuart Hall junior) and Sarah Maloney (SOTA junior) will be heading up this year's mentoring project at SFUSD's Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

Adam just returned from Brown and his enthusiasm is palpable,  "I guess I always knew this was a big program, but until I attended the national training, I didn't fully appreciate the time and energy committed to creating and supporting Eye to Eye's chapters throughout the United States - it's mind blowing!"  Adam was surprised by the number of high schools now involved in the historically college level mentoring program and reports "more and more high school chapters are being created each year; the youth of America are being challenged and motivated to make their voices heard and change the course of education for future generations."  Reflecting on the training, Adam noted his point of view and insight about the program's humble beginnings were forever altered by his experience at the national institute, "I now understand and appreciate the size and breadth of this important movement started by David Flink and Jonathan Mooney; it's great that SAFE is one of its chapters....and well, we were the first high school chapter and still the only chapter in the country that includes high school students from a wide variety of schools - no chapter is like SAFE's."

Click here to learn more about Project Eye to Eye, and if you are a high school student interested in becoming a SAFE mentor, register for training through SAFE Voices here and join the SAFE meeting on Saturday. 


Three of SAFE’s members, all with LD and/or ADHD are making history. Sarah Maloney is named co-editor of umlšut, a first for a junior at SOTA’s creative writing program.  Natalie Tamburello addresses the incoming freshman class at Whitman College on cognitive diversity. Madalyn Rokisky-Ring is featured in an article about the rewards missed when educators fail to reach out to our students who learn differently – for these students are clearly gifted.

It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows Sarah Maloney – or for that matter has read any of her brilliant, provocative and creative writing – that SFUSD’s School of the Arts (SOTA) broke with tradition and named a junior as editor to umlšut, a position held only by seniors since inception.  The umlšut is not a typical high school literature review.  Its edgy, sophisticated spirit and the glossy, trade paperback quality of the book make it worthy of bookstore shelves – where indeed, it can often be found. 

Sarah is a founding member of SAFE, one of its youngest founding members, and her creative talent and literary skill is extraordinary – so long (as she would tell you) you don’t care about her spelling.  Sarah was one of our important contributors to SAFE’s Read This When You Can.  She was a freshman at the time, yet her gifts as a writer were clearly apparent long before high school! 

Sarah entered SOTA’s highly prestigious and competitive creative writing program and joined umlšut’s staff as a freshman.  Now in its 7th year, umlšut, a collection of student writing, graphic art and photography has established itself as a journal to be reckoned with. With Sarah at the helm as co-editor, this year’s edition promises to be a volume well worth waiting for.  Despite a full plate as chapter coordinator for SAFE’s Project Eye to Eye last year and this year, Sarah continues to dazzle with a remarkable and sophisticated voice in her writing as well as her contributions as a regular panelist with SAFE Voices.

SAFE's founding member, Natalie Tamburello, now a sophomore at Whitman College made history this week at Whitman's Freshman Orientation Program.  Natalie was asked to address the entire incoming class as one of the eight "Voices of Whitman," a presentation by current students on their college experiences and "how they have shaped Whitman in this celebration of diverse perspectives that define the college."    

For the first time in the college's history, cognitive diversity was recognized as a distinct and powerful voice on campus in this annual presentation about diversity.  In Natalie's address, she explained her struggles: "I was unable to read until 5th grade, I went to a special ed school for three years, and to this day I cannot spell, or do simple arithmetic to save my life and it still takes me twice as long as any other student to complete work of equal caliber. And I will never be able to achieve a score on a standardized test that will adequately represent my knowledge, understanding, intelligence, or capacity." Yet with unwavering certainty she stated, "I truly believe that my difference is a gift. As odd as this sounds, I would not be as successful as I am today if it wasn't for the determination instilled in me because of the struggles I endured....So if you are a person like me and you are worried - as I was at this very moment last year - I want to let you know that you can do it…it will be hard, but you know hard, you’ve done hard all your life...[Y]ou’ll be valued, honored and encouraged; no one thinks you need fixing. You’re here to soar to whatever heights you care to reach for...Sure we learn differently, and with that difference comes a world, a sea of strengths….and your strengths...are valued, waiting to be discovered, uncovered so they may flourish and serve you." 

Bravo to Whitman College for recognizing the incomparable value our students bring to every college campus and thank you Natalie for your eloquent and strong voice.   To read Natalie's full speech delivered to the freshman class at Whitman College, click here.

Another early member of SAFE, Madalyn Rokisky-Ring is featured in a remarkable article published by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Inc. inspiring educators to reach out to students who learn differently.  Tracy Anne Sena, "the broadview" faculty adviser to Convent of the Sacred Heart HS recruited Madalyn (now a junior at CalArts) to join the writing staff of Convent’s school paper. Typically writers for publications come from a pool of the “English-class superstars.” Ms Sena looked beyond the usual pool for talent and was rewarded in more ways than were anticipated. 

“I was asking – and so were members of the staff – because we all knew the girl who accessorized her Catholic school uniform with a silver-studded, black leather choker and hung out in San Francisco’s Mission District would talk to anyone about anything.  She had stories to tell.”  Wisely, Madalyn and Ms. Sena worked out a plan, like an IEP, but it required buy-in from other students who were challenged by and learned from editing Madalyn’s work. “‘Editing for someone with a learning [difference] tests whether you really understand the edits you’re making because you have to find the best way to communicate it to them.’ Said Libby Brittain, now a junior at Barnard College who edited Madalyn’s stories for the two years they were on staff together.”  And as we all know, students with learning differences always work harder and typically better; Madalyn knew it would take her longer to complete her work and therefore “contact[ed] her sources sooner than standard learners” resulting in early final drafts, always with a keen, inventive and insightful eye unique to Madalyn’s style.

Bravo to Ms. Sena and to Convent! 12 amazing and unique stories would have been missed had Ms. Sena not enlisted Madalyn as a staff writer.  Click here to read the full article.  It’s an extraordinary article about why our diverse learners need to be encouraged and celebrated.   

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PEN e-Newsletter September 2009

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