Wilton selected for special education youth council

The Wilton Public School District has been selected to start a local Special Education Youth Advisory Council, designed to increase student involvement in the special education process.

The council was created by the State Education Resource Center (SERC), Connecticut Bureau of Special Education, and state Department of Education with the goal of reaching students “who may not typically have an opportunity to share their voice,” and helping students “develop effective leadership skills in order to make positive changes in their school and community,” according to SERC’s website.

Twenty middle and high school students will be part of the Special Education Youth Advisory Council, according to a press release from Wilton Public Schools.

The students will participate in focus groups facilitated by SERC consultants — the purpose of which is to develop a student voice and solicit feedback from students about their overall experience in school. A school staff member will be present during the group discussions, and student responses will not be identifiable in any focus group reports.

To continue developing their voice, leadership, and teambuilding skills, the students will participate in youth leadership training during the school year and be invited to attend a youth symposium at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain on May 16.

At the symposium, the students will “help design their ‘ideal school’ in an effort to increase public awareness of the valuable role that student voice, and increased student independence, can play in the lives of students, families, and communities,” according to the school district’s press release.

The council’s work will be shared with, and help to inform, the special education bureau chief on issues that are important to special education students.