Scott Anderson: Parent Volunteer of the Year

CVESD Parent is Named County Parent Volunteer of the Year
Posted on 03/11/2019
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As a child who grew up attending schools in the 1970s and 1980s, Scott Anderson recalls when there were no Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and Special Education was nothing like it is today.  As the only disabled student in the elementary school he attended, students did not know how to interact with him.  They bullied him.

“Where I got my strength was from my faith.  God made me just the way I am. ...What I needed to realize in my mind, is that I am special just the way I am,” Mr. Anderson said.

Mr. Anderson has taken that belief that everyone is special and become an outstanding example of an engaged parent advocate in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. He first became involved in Chula Vista schools nearly seven years ago, when he and his wife became foster parents to three school-age sisters. One of the girls had an IEP. Mr. Anderson not only had to learn to be a parent for the first time, he also had to learn about education and Special Education.

Photo of DAC/DELAC Board“Foster kids are typically two years behind in their education,” he said.  “Our goal was, ‘How do we get these girls up to grade level?’  That really energized us into learning what to look for in the classroom, and how can we support them?” 

Mr. Anderson knows better than most about the challenges that life can bring, and the strength and resiliency needed to overcome hurdles. Mr. Anderson has had cerebral palsy since birth. Tasks that others take for granted, such as walking and speaking, are every day hurdles to Mr. Anderson.  Now 48, Mr. Anderson and his wife adopted the girls four and a half years ago.

“They were not just a number.  What these kids needed was a stable, forever home.  That’s what we gave them,” Mr. Anderson said. 

In the process, Anderson became an education advocate for all students. Anderson was recently announced as recipient of the San Diego County School Boards Association’s “Honoring Our Own” Award in the category of Parent Volunteer of the Year. He will be formally recognized at the association’s Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina.  

 

Scott speaking to parents at Parent Academy“Scott Anderson is an inspiration to students, parents and staff,” said Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D. “In fact, he inspires me.”

 

The award honors a parent volunteer in San Diego County who has demonstrated exemplary support of their local schools and has served in a variety of ways that enrich and improve the educational experience of all children.

 

Anderson’s start as an involved parent at his children’s school evolved with his own learning and advocacy. He grew into a District parent leader. He served as chairman of the District Advisory Council. He was also part of the “Parent Cabinet” for Dr. Escobedo.

 

Anderson is an especially strong advocate for two of the most challenged target groups in schools today: Foster Youth and Special Needs students. He and his wife are now fostering a two-year-old boy. In working with CVESD’s Parent Academy Planning Committee, Anderson helped ensure workshop sessions were offered for parents of Foster Youth and Special Needs pupils at the half-day event.

 

Public speaking can be a challenge to many people. When you have cerebral palsy, public speaking poses additional hurdles. This hasn’t stopped Anderson from being an engaging, even humorous public speaker on a number of education topics. Parents of Special Needs students find hope in Anderson. Students see him as a real-life example of beating the odds.

“I tell them you are made special just the way you are,” Anderson said. “You can do it. You can do anything. Try it. You may fail. You may not. And that’s where you find out about yourself.”

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