KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County Schools has announced the creation of new task force comprised of parents that will help inform leaders about what is needed for students with special needs.

In February, several Knox County parents of children with special needs went before the school board to pitch the idea for a special education task force.

“The goal of the task force is to offer the board of education and the superintendent recommendations for how improvements can be made to the special education department,” Special Education Task Force member Cortney Piper said. “My personal focus will be success for every student which is one of the superintendents’ priorities is accessible to students with special needs, in particular, students with autism.” 

Piper said a task force like this can be crucial for a school system. 

“We experienced delays in communication, inconsistent and often false information and for us that was extraordinarily frustrating,” Piper said. “It’s my hope that those experiences can end when this task force completes its work.” 

Piper is a parent of a child with autism and when the task force was announced it showed her that the parents are being heard. 

“The formation of this task force gives me hope,” Piper said. “Hope that Knox County Schools can provide a model educational format for students with special needs and that we are being heard and our frustrations and recommendations will ultimately be implemented within the school system.” 

The task forces members will offer a wide variety of perspectives that the school board will listen to in August when the group delivers their findings. The special education task force will have its first meeting this month and will meet every month until the school year starts.