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I’m Determined’ summits moved forward

Students and parents had to adjust to a virtual setting, but two annual statewide “I’m Determined” summits for students with disabilities and their parents went forward as scheduled this summer, despite coronavirus-related restrictions on travel and gatherings.

I’m Determined is a statewide project that provides resources and training to help teachers, parents and students learn how to work together to increase self-determined behaviors among students with disabilities as they transition through life.

The I’m Determined Virtual Youth and Parent Summit took place June 8-12. Students and parents from across the commonwealth met online to network and discuss self-determination, inclusion, successful transitions and other issues of importance to students with disabilities and their families.

All of the I’m Determined Virtual Youth and Parent Summit sessions — and remarks from Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane and Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services Samantha Hollins — are available online on the I’m Determined website.

The annual I’m Determined MOVE Summit empowers male African American students with disabilities ages 13-21 to overcome barriers, become self-determined and to graduate from high school ready for postsecondary studies and careers. This year’s virtual summit took place July 19-21.

“The MOVE Summit lets young men of color who have a disability know that we are not alone and that whatever we set our minds to we can accomplish,” participant and student leader Jonathan Brooks said. “The coaches promote teamwork, hard work and determination. I truly feel we build a brotherhood.”

“MOVE is a valuable experience for me as a parent because the program actually cares and reaches out to the African American communities to help these young men be successful and strive in life,” MOVE summit parent leader Mario Cerritos said. “Here we find help, answers and other assistance that is harder to find elsewhere.”