The Virginia Coalition for Students with Disabilities was formed in 1994 to address issues impacting students with disabilities and to promote educational rights and opportunities for students with disabilities in Virginia. The Coalition includes individuals and organizations that have expressed a desire to work together to improve education opportunities. A commitment to working together is all that is required to be involved with the Coalition. View upcoming coalition activities.
The Coalition maintains an internet listserve/group that was initiated through a grant from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities to provide training and information on the amendments to IDEA in 1997. The grant project was titled River. River was chosen as a title to represent tributaries, streams and creeks of advocates from throughout Virginia gathering together to form a strong River to affect change. When the internet listserve/group was formed, we started to call it River-Va and the name has stuck. The grant ended years ago, but River-Va has lived on.
The Coalition and River-L are facilitated by the Endependence Center in Norfolk. The Endependence Center has no ownership of the Coalition, merely the ability to facilitate meetings and communication. For instance, the Endependence Center pays for conference calls and meeting refreshments. However, all organizations and individuals have an equal say in Coalition activities and decisions.
Coalition participants are individuals and organizations who express a willingness to work together with other advocates by joining in Coalition discussions, meetings or decisions. An email list is maintained of organizations and individuals who have expressed an interest in Coalition activities. There are no dues or membership to be involved with the Coalition.
Coalition decision making is a collaborative process of the people who have expressed an interest in working together.
Development of positions: Any document distributed as a position of the Coalition will be developed by a group of Coalition participants and circulated to all people on the Coalition email list. The following process shall be used:
1. Any participant or group of participants can decide to draft a document for consideration of the Coalition. The document will be drafted by a group of participants who self-identify themselves as wanting to be involved in that process.
2. Notice will be sent to all participants that a document is being drafted identifying the key contact participant responsible for drafting the document.
3. The draft document will be sent to all participants in order for them to have the opportunity to say that the document will or will not be sent from the Coalition. The time frame for responses will be determined by the group of participants that developed the document. In no case shall the time frame be less than 48 hours.
4. If more than 50% of the participant responses are unfavorable to the draft document, the document may not be published under the name of the Coalition.
5. Documents that receive a favorable response from the participants will be distributed to all participants in order to have an opportunity to sign on to the document. This step can be omitted if Coalition participants agree that this step is not needed due to time constraints. If this step is to be omitted, a request to omit this step must be included in the statement that goes out with step 3 above.
6. The document will be circulated throughout the community under the name of the Coalition with the names of those participants who proactively offered their support for the document. The names of participants will not be included if there is agreement to omit the process for sign-on.
Meetings of the Coalition will be announced to all participants at least three weeks in advance or in the case of specially called meetings, as soon as possible. Special meetings may be held at anytime by any five participants as long as all participants are notified of the special meeting 24 hours in advance. Special meetings must include a conference call option for all participants.
Communication of the Coalition will be primarily through email. Regular mail and fax will be used only when a participant does not have email access.
This statement of procedures was agreed to by the Coalition participants on February 17, 1994.