Parents Education Network e-Newsletter October 2009


A Message from the President

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our first PEN Advisor, Beverly Metcalf. She passed away last Monday morning at 9:40 a.m. at St. Luke's hospital in San Francisco.  Her two children were with her as she died peacefully and gracefully.

Beverly was a veteran educational therapist and advocate of children with learning disabilities.  She was an early president of the AET (Association of Educational Therapists).

She was also the very first person we called on to help a group of parents at the exploratory meeting we held in my living room on February 2nd, 2002, which led to the founding of PEN. She and Natalie O'Byrne were a team when my children needed to be tested.  They were doing pioneering work in the Bay Area, first coaching parents and intervening with the schools on behalf of hundreds of students and their families.

We are proud and grateful to have had Beverly’s guidance these last eight years.

As late as last summer, she and two of her colleagues, Natalie O'Byrne and Mickey Kirar Ashmun, collaborated on an article, "The Collaboration between Educational Therapy and Mental Health Professionals: A Case Study", to be published as a chapter in the upcoming book The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy: A Teaching Model, to be released May 2010.

She was all about the work; and, in fact, this was how she grieved the loss of her husband of many years a few years ago --"I just keep going as the work calls me ".

We will miss her greatly.

Dewey Rosetti
PEN President

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Annual Fund Appeal 2009

Invest in your community.

“SAFE Voices changed my life by telling me not to be afraid of my LD and helping me express it and ask for help when I needed it.

And they showed me how to help others do the same thing. ”

Trevor Gunn - High school senior, SAFE Voices member

We have 3 months to raise $60,000.

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Upcoming Events

Parent Meeting

Friday, October 9, 2009.
9 - 11am. The Richmond District, San Francisco

PEN was founded by parents for parents.  We would like to invite you to our annual meeting of parents. All parents, whether new members or veterans of our community of LD awareness and support, are invited and strongly urged to join us to share concerns and ideas, and help us plan for PEN's future. 

This organization's greatest strength is its grassroots membership and our involvement is integral to our growth and success.  Please join us at the home of our co-founder and president, Dewey Rosetti. Click here to register!

Matching Students and Learning Technology

Friday, October 23, 2009
9 - 11am. The Exploratorium, San Francisco.

With Shelley Haven, ATP/RET, Assistive Technology Consultant. Assistive technology can help level the academic playing field for students with learning differences.  But with so many devices, softwares, and possibilities to consider, how do you identify the tools best suited to a student’s unique abilities and needs? Click here to register!

The Science of Exercise and the Brain

Monday, November 16, 2009
9am - 12pm. Our Lady of Mercy School, Daly City.

Bestselling author Dr. John G. Ratey will explain why exercise may be the best defense we have against ADHD, mood disorders, substance abuse, and the effects of hormone fluctuations and aging.   Don’t miss this chance to learn how certain forms of exercise can actually change one’s brain, make learning easier, combat anxiety and depression, and increase levels of attention and motivation within our families. Click here to register!

The Science of Exercise and the Brain: Teacher Workshop

Monday, November 16, 2009
6pm - 9pm. Burke's School, San Francisco

Would you like to see lowered stress and increased harmony among your students?  How about an increase in their focus and intellectual capacity?  Harvard professor John Ratey has a simple, but profound plan of action that will radically expand your concept of  “peak performance.” In these ground-breaking presentations, Dr. Ratey will share cutting edge medical research that demonstrates how exercise sparks new brain cells and promotes both physical and psychological well-being in ways we are only beginning to understand.  Click here to register!

Ed Rev 2010 News!

Saturday, April 17, 2010
AT&T Park, San Francisco

An information pack for advertisers and exhibitors will be emailed out and available on the website October 15th. Please let us know if you or anyone you know should be added to the distribution list for this information, at

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Volunteer Opportunities

The following volunteer opportunities are available this month:

We are still seeking a Publicity/Outreach Officer for Ed Rev 2010. Responsibilites would include: making contacts in print, radio, web and TV media;  sending press releases; organizing PSAs; setting up speaker interviews; promoting Ed Rev in schools and other forums 

We are starting to put together our list of general volunteers for Ed Rev, both on-the-day and for preparations.

We are also seeking an office volunteer who would be available on short notice for small, occasional jobs like stuffing envelopes and compiling promotional packets.

Please contact Laura Maloney at if you are interested. Thank you!

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SAFE Voices

 SAFE is currently scheduling panel presentations for all-school assemblies, faculty meetings and parent nights. To schedule a presentation at your school, write to To learn more about SAFE, visit us on the web at

SAFE welcomes our new faculty advisor Frances Dickson, learning specialist at the San Francisco Friends School, formerly with Nueva and San Francisco Day School. Frances joins our amazing advisors: Brian Thomas, head of the Upper School at Bentley and Nancy Cushen White; Shafia Zaloom, long time advisor to SAFE has taken maternity leave. SAFE is grateful for Shafia’s remarkable insight and leadership and looks forward to collaborating with Frances.

In addition, Eli Kersh-Oliva, UC Santa Barbara’s former Project Eye-to-Eye coordinator has joined SAFE as the group’s facilitator. Eli brings activism, enthusiasm, dedication and leadership to SAFE. Eli speaks publicly about his own LD and many were fortunate to meet Eli when he presented with David Flink on “LD/ADHD and College” last month as part of PEN’s Speaker Series.

Thank to Adam Schutz for the artwork!

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TEN Logo

TEN is fortunate to announce a notable line up of speakers this year in our effort to understand more about exercise and the brain, explore how to incorporate movement in the classroom and learn more about classroom management relating to ADD.  John G. Ratey, M.D. will be our guest for our first teacher training workshop this year titled, The Science of Exercise and the Brain on Monday, November 16, at Burke’s School from 6-9 PM. We also welcome Robert Sylwester in February who will run a workshop titled, Movement as the Central Concept in Cognitionand Curriculum. Finally, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. will lead our lastworkshop for the year in April by leading a lecture on The Classroom Management of ADD.

Our mission is to understand our cognitively diverse students. In our second year of TEN, we enthusiastically continue our on going effort to connect research-based findings with effective teaching practices that help all learners in our classroom. With the support of PEN, TEN will continue to sponsor professional development workshops each year, all of which feature respected researchers, thinkers and educators who are working to illuminate our knowledge about the brain and about learning.

In addition to our teacher training workshops, over the course of the school year, TEN will host four Thursday evening gatherings for Bay Area Educators. Known as “Professional Development with a Twist,” these events are opportunities for teachers to discuss ideas about the intersection of current neurological research and the best teaching practices, capitalizing on the wealth of each others’ experiences. Often centered around an idea presented by TEN speakers at a workshop or one discussed in a commonly shared article, these events are characterized by lively conversation and thought-provoking observations—not to mention food and drink donated by Whole Foods and other local establishments. We look forward to seeing you at a TEN event! 

Click here to register for the next Professional Development with a Twist evening.

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News from the Schools

Bentley School Founds Center for Teaching and Learning

One of the central parts of Bentley School’s mission is respect for diversity within our community, including different learning styles. With this in mind, under the leadership of Brian Thomas, Head of the Upper School, and Daniel Popplewell, Dean of Teaching and Learning, the Center for Teaching and Learning was founded this fall at Bentley. Our aim is to help all upper school students meet the school’s curricular goals, to enable them to become more aware of how they learn and to empower them to advocate for themselves and communicate their learning needs to their teachers. We’re working with all students, teachers, and parents to understand personal learning styles, learning strengths and challenges, and using study skill strategies to overcome learning difficulties that present themselves in the classroom or when studying at home. All upper school students are encouraged to make full use of a wide variety of services at the Center. These include learning style assessment and consultation, study skill instruction, small group instruction, referrals to outside resources (tutors, coaches, educational psychologists) as well as support with understanding and using learning accommodations.

Bentley is also continuing its Student Study Teams (SSTs) where students independently or with the guidance of the Dean and/or parents communicate their learning differences to teachers, articulating accommodations and strategies that help them learn. Upper school teachers are also encouraged to use the Center as a resource for research and discussion with students and colleagues about innovative and differentiated instruction. The Center inaugurated the Study Skills Enhancement Workshop, a summer program for new 9th grade students in need of brushing up their academic skills. Start of the Year Meetings with all students with accommodations and their parents have been taking place.

As Bentley welcomes more international students, many of whom from mainland China, we are also reflecting on our support of English Language Learners. The ELL Task Force brings together all teachers with international students in their classes to discuss how best to teach them. The Lunch Bunch, also known as the Teaching and Learning Seminar, is another collaborative initiative where faculty gather to share food, thoughts and ideas about their practice as teachers, particularly as regards differentiating instruction. Bentley School is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The Lower and Middle Schools are located in Oakland, while the Upper School is located in Lafayette, California. For further information about Bentley and its Center for Teaching and Learning, please contact Daniel Popplewell, Ph.D., Dean of Teaching and Learning, by email at

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Other News

Caroline Rosetti, daughter of PEN's President, recently had her article No Application to Hide Behind, describing the process of applying to college as an athlete with a learning difference, published in the Journal of College Admission:

Reprinted with permission from the Journal of College Admission. The following article originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue, number 204. Copyright 2009 National Association for College Admission Counseling.

"According to Plato, 'The beginning is the most important part of the work.' The beginning of my collge application process was one that did not include traditional steps such as essay-writing and application processing. My process started with phone calls and emails to various crew coaches around the country. In addition, my college application process began and ended nearly a year before most of my peers. When being recruited for college as an athlete with a learning difference, the process is more like applying for a job than applying for a spot in a freshamn class." Continue reading... (PDF)

The October edition of the PEN LD Resource Directory is now online. Download it here (PDF - large file!).

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