minutes 2008 Feb 6

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ACTON-BOXBOROUGH SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Meeting Minutes

I. Call to Order. The meeting was called to order by Nancy Sherburne. The meeting

attendees were: Lisa Holt, Francesca Ricciardi, Nancy Sherburne, Steve Lowe, Mike

Coppolino, and Matthew Kidder.

II. Approval of Minutes. The minutes from the Jan.9, 2008 Executive Board Meeting were

presented for approval. All reviewed the meeting minutes. Steve made a motion to approve

the January minutes as written. The motion was seconded and the Jan. 9, 2008 meeting

minutes were unanimously approved.

III. Organization/Business Issues

A. Update on Parent Handbook Funding – Nancy reported that Mike Coppolino had

shared Bill Ryan’s commitment to provide the requested funds to publish and

distribute the A-B Special Education Parent Handbook when it was completed.

Steve suggested setting up a meeting when the Handbook was done to explain how

the document could be used, answer questions and perhaps give away free binders

to those who attend the meeting.

B. Charitable Organization Status. Steve reported that he hadn’t had a chance yet to

look into this issue. He will do that and file the appropriate forms for the PAC.

Action Item: Steve will research the state requirements and file the necessary

 

paperwork on behalf of the PAC to register it with the state as a

 

charitable organization.

C. Annual Meeting & Election of Officers. The PAC’s Annual Meeting and Election

of Officers has been set for May 14, 2008 at 7:00 PM in the JH Library.

D. Transition Task Force Presentation: Francesca Ricciardi and Lisa Holt presented

the AB SpEd PAC Transition Task Force recommendations to the PAC Board. The

Transition Task Force met over the course of a year or so and put together a sixpage

document identifying the transition supports currently in place in the district as

well as proposing recommendations to improve various strategic transitions within

the district for children and families. The report included recommendations for: 1)

the Early Intervention to Preschool transition 2) the Preschool to Kindergarten

transition, 3) the Elementary to Junior High School transition, and 4) the Junior

High to Senior High transition. The Task Force Recommendations are attached.

One of the recommendations that was repeated at each transition point involved

parents desiring an organization chart that illustrated the “chain of command”

within special education and the relationship between special education and regular

education staff in each school. Mike shared that Marie Altieri had recently

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completed a huge organization chart for the district although he didn’t know

whether or not it went to this level of detail. He also mentioned that Susan Horn and

Liza probably had existing org. charts they could share. Mike suggested that we

contact Marie, Susan and Liza to see what org. charts were currently available and

discuss adding to those if necessary to create what parents are looking for. It was

suggested that the org. charts might be something to include in the Parent

Handbook.

Steve asked if Pupil Services had been part of the process of creating the Task

Force’s Recommendations. Nancy explained that the PAC had requested Pupil

Services’ participation in both PAC Task Forces – the Transition Task Force and the

Parent Handbook Task Force. The PAC had waited several months for Liza to

identify who from her staff would participate before kicking off these efforts. Liza

appointed Julie Towell to serve on both Task Forces as a Pupil Services

representative and liaison to her office. Julie had been invited to all Task Force

meetings and included in all email discussions regarding the document. In addition,

at the outset of the project the PAC had requested information from Liza and each

of her staff members regarding what supports were currently in place at each

transition point. This was the baseline from which the Task Force proceeded.

Action ItemNancy will contact Susan, Marie and Liza to see what organization

 

charts are available and describe what the PAC is looking for.

Early Intervention to Preschool Transition – One minor correction was proposed

to Rec. #3. Change “During the summer…” to “Two months prior to a child turning

three…” to reflect that children move from EI to Preschool when they turn 3 no

matter when that occurs during the school year. In regards to this transition, Lisa

Holt mentioned that the PAC had recently created a flyer for EI families, which

offers information about the PAC and lets families know they can look to the

organization for support and connection to other families in the district.

Preschool to Kindergarten Transition – The task force felt this transition needed

the most support. The principal recommendations included Pupil Services sending a

letter to families over the summer to confirm the special ed. Services for their child

and identify the names of the SpEd Liaison, child’s assistant, SpEd service

providers and appropriate contact information prior to school starting. In addition,

the recommendation was made to hold a Special Education Back to School night in

September where parents could meet the specialists and staff working with their

child, see the facilities, and learn about the types of service each specialist provides.

The suggestion was made to reorder the recommendations to follow the school

calendar (i.e., move #2 to #1, #3 to #2, and #1 to #3).

Elementary School to Junior High School – The task force felt this was currently

the best-supported transition. Matt suggested a correction to existing support #1 to

reflect that a representative from the JH is only present at some Transition Team

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meetings not all. A recommendation was also made to modify recommendation #1

by adding, “or Junior High SpEd representative should be present.”

Junior High School to High School – The suggestion was made to make Existing

Transition Support #1 look like Junior High #3 (use the same language to describe

the same action at each transition point). In addition, it was noted that the May

meeting discussed in Existing Support #2 is a parent only meeting.

Action Item: Matt will take this document back to Liza for her staff’s review and

feedback prior to the next meeting.

Action Item: Nancy will write a letter to Liza and include a revised copy of the

 

document that incorporates tonight’s revisions. This letter will

 

request feedback from Pupil Services to be presented at the next

 

Board meeting on March 5, 2008.

E. Update From Pupil Services on New Connections Program at JH: Matt gave a

brief summary of the new Connections Program Pupil Services has proposed for

next year at the Junior High School. He said it adds Speech/Language and

Counseling staff to support Asperger’s students. Six incoming JH students have

been identified for this program. In addition, he said the Hayward Center proposed

for the High School is designed to support kids who are in social/emotional crisis

and can’t make it in a mainstream environment. It will provide extra support here in

district for students who would otherwise require an out-of-district placement.

F. Topics for Next Board Meeting: Discuss feedback from Pupil Services on

Transition Task Force Recommendations and discuss process for resolving

differences between the PAC and Pupil Services.

IV. Open Issues:

A. Process for Resolving Differences between PAC and Pupil Services: Matt said

he was not aware of any progress on this item by Liza.

Action Item: Mike will seek answer directly from Liza and Bill on this issue.

B. Completion of IEE Forms: Dependent on resolution of A.

C. Concerns re: lack of full-time ABA Program Director at Integrated Preschool:

Dependent on resolution of A.

V. Adjournment: Meeting was adjourned.

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