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DRW Board Listening Sessions – Participant Comments

Three to four times per year, the DRW Board conducts Listening Sessions around the state to hear from people with disabilities, their families, friends, disability activists, service providers and other concerned individuals about their ideas for the future of disability advocacy and the issues that need to be addressed in the areas of special education, developmental disability, mental health and physical disability services and disability rights. This information helps the Board set priorities for the agency.

Click the links below for summaries of participant comments from recent sessions:

Racine Listening Session Comments 9-24-10

Eau Claire Listening Session – Comments 6-25-10

Inclusion of Racine Special Education Students in Regular School Classrooms

The Racine Journal Times recently published a series of articles on inclusion of special education students in regular school classrooms in the Racine Unified School District. DRW Board member, Jeff Timm, and several DRW staff were involved in an inclusion work group with regular education teachers, special education teachers, school administrators, parents of students with disabilities and other disability organization representatives to develop recommendations and an inclusion implementation plan for the Racine schools. Below are the links to the recent Journal Times articles and background articles regarding the need for reforming special education in the Racine Unified School District.

RUSD Workgroup for Inclusion 9/20/10
Article #1 9/18/10
Article #2 9/19/10
Article #3 9/20/10

Background articles:
Frattura Special Ed Report 11/13/07
Inclusion K through 2nd Grade 9/26/09
Racine’s Special Ed Major Events 9/18/10
Autistic Second Grader Helped by Inclusive Practices 1/26/10

Rice Lake office scores victory in Open Enrollment Case

DRW Rice Lake Office Director, Genie Hedlund, recently succeeded in winning an Open Enrollment appeal to the Department of Public Instruction. When the Rice Lake School District sought an injunction to stop DRW’s client from transferring schools, Genie Hedlund succeeded in court by getting the judge to agree to allow DPI’s decision to stand. In fact, due to the frivolous way in which the school district obtained a temporary restraining order to stop the DPI decision from going into effect, the judge agreed to allow DRW to seek attorney’s fees in the case. The case was reported in the Rice Lake Chronotype.

MPS case at 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

DRW attorneys Monica Murphy and Jeff Spitzer-Resnick presented their oral argument before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on September 7, 2010. For a link to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s coverage of the argument, click here.

If you want to listen to the oral argument (which lasted approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes), you can go to the 7th Circuit’s web site (click here) and insert the 2 case numbers (1 at a time): 09-2741 and 09-3274.

October 1 Forum in Milwaukee – State Senate & Assembly Candidates

Location: IndependenceFirst, 540 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204

This is a great opportunity to meet the candidates and gain information on their perspectives on community issues including Family Care and long term care services, mental health services, transportation, housing, education and more.

For details, Click here.

RSVPs one week prior to the session are appreciated and will help with planning. Disability-related accommodations are also available. Please contact Disability Rights Wisconsin at 414-773-4646 or elisec@drwi.org.

Racine Journal Times Coverage of DRW’s Sept 24 Listening Session

Over 35 people attended the DRW Board’s Listening Session at Racine’s Festival Hall on September 24, 2010. Click the following link for media coverage of the event: Racine Journal-Times website

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Profile of Barbara Beckert, DRW Milwaukee Office Director

The Business section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a profile of DRW’s Milwaukee Office Director, Barbara Beckert, with mention of DRW’s overall work and recent work re: the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. Click here for the full article.

First Annual MPS Compliance Report Issued by Independent Expert

Dr. Alan Coulter, the Independent Expert appointed by the federal district court in DRW’s longstanding class action against Milwaukee Public Schools, as part of the plaintiffs’ settlement with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), has issued his first annual report. That report described MPS as out of compliance in over 50% of the outcomes required by the settlement. Coverage of the report appeared on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. To read the coverage, click here.

DRW’s Update to the Community on the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex

DRW released an “Update to the Community” today, which includes preliminary concerns and recommendations in response to a variety of problems uncovered by state surveyors at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.

To read the 2-page Executive Summary of the update, click here: Executive Summary

To read the full update, click here: Update to the Community.

Attorney Monica Murphy Speaks at 20th Anniversary Celebration of the ADA

Monica Murphy Speaks at the Riverwalk ADA CelebrationAttorney Monica Murphy spoke on July 26th at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the ADA hosted by IndependenceFirst in Milwaukee at the Riverwalk. Click here to view her remarks.