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- District Seeking Interim Director of Special Education – Current Director of Special Education Pam Smith will be leaving Acton-Boxborough to take over Student Services in Leicester as of July 1. The SEPAC has valued our collaboration with her and we wish her the very best in her new position. The district has posted an ad for an Interim Director of Special Education for the 2019-2020 school year. A full search for a permanent Director of Special Education will take place next year.
- Early Childhood Program & School Building Project Update – The School Building Committee unanimously voted at their February 14 meeting to keep the Early Childhood Program classrooms in the new elementary building project. The SBC further opted to omit language from the cover materials submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority saying the preschool could potentially be removed at a later date. Community support was repeatedly cited as impacting their decisions. Thank you to those who sent their feedback to the committee.
- Parenting Support Hour (EI through High School) – Join us the first Sunday of the month (5/5, 6/2) during the school year from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Acton Memorial Library upstairs conference room. Providing informal parent-to-parent support and occasional guest speakers for parents and guardians of children with learning differences, disabilities, or other challenges. This is a place where we share our experiences, resources, and ideas. Facilitated by parents of the A-B Special Education Parent Advisory Council. Drop-ins welcome. Free and open to all communities. For questions, contact Jeanne Hobbie at email@example.com or Carolyn Sprague at 978-793-1094.
- Spring 2017 Mini Survey Report – In May 2017 the PAC conducted a brief, 8-question survey to follow up on findings from our 2015 parent/guardian survey, and Extended School Year programming. We had 309 respondents representing about 39% of ABRSD’s students with special education needs participate, a huge increase from our 2015 response rate. Our report of findings and analysis can be found here.
- Basic Rights Webinar – Missed our annual Basic Rights in Special Education workshop? Need information now about how to navigate the special education process or your rights as a full IEP team member? You can watch a webinar of the presentation from the Parent Training and Information Center at the Federation for Children with Special Needs here. The SEPAC also has workshop materials available.
- Service Award Presentation – At our June 14, 2017, meeting we honored Nancy Sherburne with an award recognizing her many years of service to the families of Acton and Boxborough. As PAC Chair, Past PAC Chair, and head of the Friends of organization, Nancy diligently fostered relationships and collaboration with district staff and administration. We continue to benefit from that foundation and follow her open, steady approach. Articulate, intelligent, and savvy, countless families have benefited from her counsel. Her warmth and genuine concern for children and their caregivers have made her an invaluable asset as a leader. As one parent wrote, “Every parent and every student–all–have been the beneficiaries of Nancy’s work. We owe her our lasting gratitude for a work well done.”
- Special Education Attorney Daniel Perlman Presentation – On November 18th, 2015, Attorney Dan Perlman presented on how to handle disagreements in special education, citing recent BSEA decisions and emphasizing due process, working with the team, responding to an IEP, and independent evaluations. Slides from his presentation are available on his site.
- Dr. Bostic’s Mental Health Presentation – On June 2nd, 2015, Dr. Jeffrey Bostic, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of school psychiatry at Mass General Hospital, gave a presentation addressing the topic of mental health issues in children and teens. Click here to access the slides from his presentation: Building Better Brains at School.
- 2014 Special Education Population Trends Report – In September 2012, the AB SpEd PAC published two separate reports titled Special Education Spending & Population Trends 2004–2011 – one for Acton Public Schools and one for Acton-Boxborough Regional Schools. These reports can be found on the PAC website at http://abspedpac.org/reports/sped-spending-trends/. The current report focuses on updating those trends with the last three years’ data and including Boxborough’s student population in our analysis as we look ahead to a fully regionalized Pre K-12 district. We believe that tracking population and spending trends over time and comparing our district to other high-performing districts can provide valuable information to help inform future decision-making related to special education budgeting and planning.
- Dr. Gaab’s Dyslexia Presentation – On March 12th, 2014 Dr. Nadine Gaab from Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School gave a very engaging and informative presentation on the most recent research related to Dyslexia, reading acquisition and the brain development of children with Developmental Dyslexia. A link to Dr. Gaab’s presentation is included here. And a link to sign-up for Dr. Gaab’s research registry is here.
- UNDER REVISION: Special Education Parent Handbook – This handbook defines terminology, timelines, and the different steps in the special education process from evaluation for services through IEP development and transition planning. It offers tips and resources and includes a list of the special education programs and services available in our district. If you have questions about special education, this should be a very useful reference guide.
- Email Lists: We have two email lists, one for news about upcoming events and activities, the other for confidential communication between parents of children with special needs.
- Calendar of Events – This calendar includes special education-related presentations, meetings, and workshops in Acton, Boxborough, and surrounding communities. To add an event, email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. The calendar is updated weekly.
- Would you like to become more involved in the PAC?
Please see our Volunteer page.
- For further information about the AB SEPAC contact us at email@example.com.