Actor Ed Asner, well-known for his "Lou Grant" character from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and more recently for his role in the movie "UP," is kicking off The Winston School Conversation Series: A Path to Educational Excellence on Thursday, June 11, with a community forum discussing "Living Life on the Spectrum: Student and Parent Perspectives on Autism and Asperger's Syndrome."
Open to the public, the free event is at the Del Mar school campus at 215 Ninth Street. Guests will gather at 3:45 p.m. for refreshments and an opportunity to meet Asner and other special guests, followed at 4:15 p.m. by an interactive forum of educators, students, and parents as well as audience members, with Asner serving as moderator. The event concludes at 5:30 p.m.
The Winston School is a college preparatory program for students grade 4 through 12 with learning differences and whose needs are not generally met through traditional school settings. This is the first forum in the series, which the school created to educate and foster dialogue about leading educational issues of the day.
Asner's son and grandson have autism. "From my experience with my son, I know how challenging it can be to find an educational environment that adjusts to the student and not the other way around," he said. " Finding the right educational setting is one of the most impactful things you can do to influence your child's success in life, and The Winston School Conversation Series is going to help parents know the options and make the best choices for their kids."
According to The Winston School's headmaster Mike Peterson, "We have a proven record in educating children with learning differences and The Winston School Conversation Series helps extend our reach into this often under-served community, providing support and guidance."
Peterson said this is the first in an ongoing series of open forums where students, their families and the professional community supporting them can gather to discuss current topics in education and learn about the best options when choosing an educational path.
Earlier in the day Asner will make a guest appearance at a private screening of this summer's must-see comedy adventure "UP." Asner provides the voice for one of the two star characters, Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman in the film. Disney-Pixar and Quince Productions provided the film for the invitation-only event for The Winston School students, parents and friends.