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Special School District of St. Louis County
Program Has Rich History of
Serving Students and Families

Families of students who receive services from SSD have a long history of benefitting from supports offered by the Parent Education and Diversity Awareness Program (PEDA).

From workshops on transition, behavior strategies, youth mental health, and a multitude of other topics, to borrowing resources from the program’s library, PEDA has been serving those who help students since 1990.

“PEDA is part of the scaffolding that has supported me for over 15 years with two students,” said parent Anne Roux. “Looking back over time, the amount of topics they assisted me with is unbelievable. It’s like they anticipated what I was going to have to learn.”

By championing meaningful inclusion, diversity awareness and family engagement through supporting and working with everyone who touches the student’s life, PEDA reaches students, staff and families served by SSD and partner district schools.

The PEDA program was launched in 1990 when SSD hired its first administrative liaison for disability-related issues. 

“The PEDA team values the rich history of the program and we never forget those first program team members and families who came before us,” said Michelle Levi Perez, PEDA administrator.

In 1992, the program expanded to include an administrative liaison for parent education.

“While titles have changed over the years, the overall mission and goals of the PEDA program have always aligned to the mission, vision and values of SSD,” said Levi Perez. “We work with a student’s building-level team and parents to provide the resources, training and support needed to assist them in obtaining the best possible educational outcome.”

“Whether it was reading up on a social skills program, resources for teaching shoe-tying, videos on coping with a tic disorder or handling bullying, or how to prepare for transition, the staff at PEDA never failed to provide the information, answers, resources, and connections that I needed – in a compassionate and empowering manner. They are gold,” said Roux.

Additionally, PEDA provides ongoing collaboration with local agencies and offers resources to the entire community.

“Currently, our outreach to families in all 22 school districts and SSD schools, as well as the community, continues to grow each year and utilization of technology through online offerings and materials furthers that outreach,” said Levi Perez.

PEDA also operates the Family and Community Resource Center (FCRC), a clearinghouse of information available to the entire community.

The FCRC offers resources on all disabilities and disability-related areas:

  • 2,500 books and 250 DVDs available for checkout
  • 45 resource packets with articles for the most requested topics
  • Ability awareness materials
  • Brochures on: specific disabilities, Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, evaluation process and transition process
  • Community agency information

For more information on PEDA or FCRC resources, contact Michelle Levi Perez at 314.989.8438 or

Published October 2017

photo of family reading

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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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