President's Message for July 2014
I’m honored to begin my presidency of the Division for Learning Disabilities for the 2014-15 year. I follow in the formidable footsteps of incredible leaders who have guided our organization for the past several years. In particular, over the past year, I have observed the commitment of Erica Lembke, our immediate Past President as she has led our dedicated board to address the needs of professional educators, teacher educators, parents, and researchers who make up the membership of our division. Thanks to all of you who have entrusted me to serve in this capacity.
Over the past year, DLD has focused its efforts on issues that are key to serving students with learning disabilities including Response to Intervention, adoption of college and career readiness standards, revisions in state high-stakes assessment structures, and changes in teacher preparation and evaluation. The DLD board is committed to providing you with up-to-date information and advocacy on key issues that are likely to impact students with learning disabilities, their families, and their teachers.
Several important objectives will form the agenda for DLD over the next 12 months. As a board, we are planning to examine closely our relationship with CEC and try to identify ways in which membership in DLD enhances the value of a CEC membership. Certainly, many of our “members only” publications such as the DLD Newsletter are designed to keep members updated on research evidence and topical issues that are important to our field. But, more than that, we want to be sure that our members’ voices are represented in conversations with members of the legislature and their staff members about critical and timely issues such as federal special education funding, IDEA and ESEA reauthorization, and research funding. Like many associations, DLD has seen a decline in membership over the past several years and we want to understand how to be of better value to our members. Your feedback on this issue in particular will be essential.
Our fall board meeting will be in Dallas, Texas in early October. As part of that meeting DLD will co-host a symposium with Southern Methodist University’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The north Texas area has numerous resources for students with learning disabilities and their teachers. We think this event may be a way for us to increase membership in the north Texas region while providing local and regional members with an opportunity to share strategies with their peers. In addition, we will continue to focus on the development of white papers and op-eds to increase DLD’s visibility and impact on topics of importance to its members. And, of course, we look forward to seeing all of you this spring at the annual CEC convention in San Diego.
It was a particularly difficult past year with the loss of our Past-President, colleague, and friend, Janette Klingner. In addition to her many contributions to our field, she was just a wonderful person. She is dearly missed. With July’s arrival comes transitions to our board leadership. I would like to thank Kristin Sayeski for her outstanding service and commitment to DLD as board secretary and Abby Carlisle, our student representative. I look forward to working this year with the current board members and our executive director, including our new Vice-President, Linda Mason, and our new Secretary, Jeanne Wanzek. The history of DLD is marked by vigilant advocacy and action on the part of the individuals with learning disabilities. I’m confident that our leadership will build on this legacy and continue to serve the DLD membership well in the coming year.