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MASA Leader Winter 2013

Keeping Up, Leading On Our Present – Our Future By Mary Vratanina, MASA President and Superintendent of Cheboygan/Otsego/Presque Isle (COP) ESD Wearly childhood, the conversation Tell me and I forget. Show this parent interaction was needed.but we have maintained this servicethrough our general fund as we foundhen I hear people outside theeducation community talk about typically covers classrooms and playgroups me and I remember. Involve the first time you look into your children’s me and I understand. strongly support early intervention,The COP ESD Board and educators and teachers. But to me learning begins eyes. There is a sense of the potential and they continue to provide as much ~ Chinese Proverb and the importance of what is to come service as possible with the resources we in the days, months and years ahead. have. Now that we are involved with the Great Start Readiness Programs, Parents are a child’s first teachers and we hope to continue to grow and must know the importance of their fulfill those early childhood needs by impact on their children’s future. Parents provide the unplanned, everyday A person’s a person, no to help children reach their potentialworking with our local school districts learning of skills that will last a lifetime. The first feeling I wanted my children matter how small. and be ready for continued learning. to have was that of belonging and ~ Dr. Seuss The COP ESD staff studied the book safety—that they could trust me. With Annual Growth—Catch-up Growth, by this trust I could lead, push, cajole and Fielding, Kerr and Rosier, as a guide provide opportunities for growth. to help us understand how to assist children to be ready to learn and, in the event that they are At the COP ESD, most of the direct services we provide not, the importance of closing any achievement gaps early on. to children are through special education. We are often the first people in the door to work with and support parents Approximately 40 percent of our entering kindergarteners and their children. Traditionally, most of our early childhood have fallen behind academically, even before they come to our services were provided in the child’s home. Our goal was K-12 schools. The earlier we recognize and close achievement to answer parents’ questions and provide support through gaps, the more success our youngest children will experi- demonstration and knowledge building. As time goes on, ence—success that will grow throughout their lifetime. more and more parents are working outside the home, so now we go into child care facilities, preschools, Head Start Early childhood programs and services are the smart programs and other types of settings to work with not only vehicle to build success for our children at a young age. the children but also the adults involved with these programs. Early childhood is also the perfect time to build and foster strong school/parental relationships that will help Beyond special education services students achieve throughout their educational experience For about 15 years, we have prepared parent educators to and serve as the foundation for their bright future. work with and provide information for any parent who has a concern or question on their child’s development. The grant that launched this program was cut after the first year, www.gomasa.org 7


MASA Leader Winter 2013
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