I want to help students with disabilities and their families navigate the IEP process because I have seen, first hand, how difficult this process can be for students and families. I have witnessed close relatives of mine navigate the IEP process. Although my relatives had many resources at their disposal before beginning the IEP process, they still struggled and were forced to switch schools before achieving a truly beneficial IEP. This made me realize that the IEP process is often not implemented in a way that allows students with disabilities to receive and benefit from a truly individualized educational experience. And if parents who have extensive information and resources regarding the IEP process, such as my relatives, struggle with the process, how are parents without such resources expected to navigate this process successfully? After speaking with many parents and students who also had experience with the IEP process, I consistently found the same thing – that both parents and students felt frustrated, confused, and lost in the process. I decided to start REACH to address this critical problem in our public education system.
Member of the Board of Directors
I am deeply passionate about treatment of disabilities in Elementary Schools, an issue that has touched myself and my family on a personal level. While attending Cornell University, I volunteered as a tutor to underachieving students in the surrounding community. I saw first-hand that students with disabilities needed more help than they were receiving from the school. I immediately began conducting research on how public schools accommodate such disabilities in the classroom and found information on the IEP process. However, after further research and conversations with teachers and parents who had been through this process before, I learned that the IEP process is often not implemented as it should be, and, as a result, students with disabilities tend to fall behind and are left as confused as ever. Thus, after graduation, I decided to move back to St. Louis and start REACH to address this issue.