Parents Education Network Ignites An Education Revolution

posted Aug 30, 2016, 12:50 PM by Robin Dutton-Cookston   [ updated Aug 30, 2016, 3:31 PM ]
by Laura Malony, PEN Executive Director
I can tell you from experience that heading back to school after summer break can be an extremely stressful time for families of children with learning and attention differences (LD, also referred to as learning disabilities).

In our family all 4 of us have diagnosed LD's. I had to learn how to effectively communicate with my kids’ school about their challenges and more importantly about their strengths as students. I had to learn to lead a collaborative team that included my children, their teachers and their tutors in finding the best way for my kids to have a voice in the success of their education. I had to empower my kids to be their own self-advocates, I had to listen, a lot, and it hasn't always been easy.

I will say, looking back, it was worth it, I am a better parent because of it.

I had support from Parents Education Network (PEN), where I started out as a volunteer, not only as a way to educate myself but as a way to help educate the community at large regarding the strengths of students with LD.

Since 2003, Parents Education Network (PEN) has been helping parents connect with a unique community of support. PEN can help you gain the tools to initiate positive discussions with teachers and support your child throughout their educational development (and beyond).

What is PEN?

PEN (Parents Education Network) is a parent coalition that collaborates with educators, students and the community to ignite an education revolution that will acknowledge, appreciate and effectively teach and support all students, including those with Learning and Attention Differences (LD’s). We have reached more than 20,000 parents, educators and students with educational programs and workshops and has created a community working together to ensure student success. Learn more about PEN here:

How can PEN support you?
I invite you to start the new school year on a positive note by joining us for a discussion of parent self-care, and learn how you can be part of PEN's community of education and support this year.

Our free parent meeting on:
Thursday, September 15, 9:30 – 11:30am
the Audre Lorde Room
The Women’s Building
3543 18th St #8.

Register here:

See if your child wants to get involved in SAFE (Student Advisors for Education), our student community that educates and mentors participants regarding the challenges and strengths of LDs. SAFE enables students to develop self-advocacy skills, participate in community service and share their experiences. SAFE students range in age from 13 to 19. They are students who share common experiences of having mild to moderate learning and attention differences, such as dyslexia and ADHD. SAFE IS FREE FOR ALL STUDENTS.

The first meeting in San Francisco SAFE Meeting is on:
Saturday, September 24, 10-11:30am
San Francisco Friends School
250 Valencia Street
San Francisco 94103
Sign up here:

Please visit our website for additional PEN events in Silicon Valley and the East Bay.