Acton-Boxborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council

Headline News

  • 2/7 BUSINESS MEETING CANCELLED – Our business meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 7, has been cancelled. We will still host a coffee and tea hour at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 12. Please RSVP to for address.
  • Transition Resources & Self-Determination Presentation – On January 10, 2018, ABRHS transition specialist Kate Sullivan and Leslie Leslie from the Federation for Children with Special Needs spoke on transition resources available in A-B and self-determination as a guiding principle in the transition planning process. We will post slides from the presentation here.
  • 2017-2018 Parenting Support Hour (Infants through Early Adulthood) – First Sunday of the month during the school year from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Acton Memorial Library upstairs conference room. For parents and guardians of children with learning differences, special needs, or other challenges. Providing informal parent-to-parent support and occasional guest speakers. This is a place where we share our experiences, resources, and ideas. Facilitated by parents of the Acton-Boxborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council. Drop-ins welcome. Free and open to all communities. For questions, contact Jeanne Hobbie at or Carolyn Sprague at 978-793-1094.
  • NEW Spring 2017 Mini Survey Report – In May 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 – Can’t wait for our annual Basic Rights in Special Education workshop? Need information now about how to navigate the special education process or your rights as a parent and full IEP team member? You can watch a webinar of the presentation by Elizabeth Topaz, Senior Trainer for the Parent Training and Information Center at the Federation for Children with Special Needs, here.
  • 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.”
  • 2016 MCAS Report – In December 2016, the PAC published analysis to supplement our annual review and discussion of student performance on the MCAS. Of note, substantial gains were made in fourth grade ELA for students with special education needs. To view that report and previous MCAS information please click here.
  • 2015-2016 Staff Recognition/Teaching Excellence Award – After careful review and discussion of parent feedback, we have selected ABRHS’s Nikki Jeanotte to receive this year’s Staff Recognition/Teaching Excellence Award. The feedback from multiple families painted a picture of an exceptionally kind, patient, talented, and dedicated educator who routinely goes out of her way to forge strong connections with students through genuine interest in their lives, unflagging individual attention and support, and encouragement and care not only for her students’ social, emotional, physical, and academic needs but for their families as well. Ms. Jeanotte is an exceptional teacher who has deeply touched the lives of her students, helping them build self-confidence as well as core emotional and academic competencies to prepare them for future successes in life.
    Nikki Jeanotte
  • 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 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.
  • AB SpEd PAC Presents First Teaching Excellence Award – In June of 2013 the AB SpEd PAC awarded retiring Gates 5th grade teacher, Monty Grob, with our first Teaching Excellence Award. Mr. Grob was an exceptional teacher who was deeply committed to the success of every student in his classroom. He put enormous effort and compassion into understanding how each individual child learned and ferreting out obstacles that got in the way of student learning. As a community we’re very grateful for the years he dedicated to educating our children. In addition to an engraved crystal award, over the summer the AB SpEd PAC installed a cast aluminum garden sign in Mr. Grob’s honor at Gates Elementary School to commemurate the wonderful, year round garden he created for students on the school property.
    Monty Grob
  • UNDER REVISION: AB SpEd PAC 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 parent tips and resources and includes a list of the special education programs and services available in the Acton Public and Acton-Boxborough School districts. If you have questions about special education, this should be a very useful reference guide.


    Donate through our sister organization the Friends of AB SpEd PAC, Ltd. to support and connect families of children with special needs in the Acton-Boxborough School District. Your donations will help us provide quality speakers and workshops for parents and teachers and plan social activities that bring families together.

  • Donate with PayPal or major credit card:

  • Or send a check payable to “Friends of AB SpEd PAC, Ltd.” to Kathleen Guinee at 25 Marshall Path, Acton, MA 01720.

Get Involved!

  • 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 event name, date, time, description, contact information and/or link to  The calendar is updated about once a week, so get your events in early!
  • Would you like to become more involved in the PAC?
    Please see our Volunteer page.
  • For further information about the AB SpEd PAC contact us at

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