minutes 2008 Jun 4

ACTON-BOXBOROUGH SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Meeting Minutes

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

attendees were: Terry Lindgren, Nancy Sherburne, Bill Guthlein, Steve Lowe, Mike

Coppolino, Matthew Kidder, and and Xuan Kong.

II. Approval of Minutes. The minutes from the April 2, 2008 Executive Board Meeting were

presented and unanimously approved with the correction that Mike Coppolino’s name only

needed to be listed once as a meeting attendee.

III. Approval of Bylaws. We didn’t have the required quorum of parents present to vote on the

Bylaws, so that vote was tabled until our next meeting.

IV. Organization/Business Issues

A. Introduction of New Officers. Nancy introduced and welcomed new PAC

officers, Terry Lindgren, Bill Guthlein and Laurel Collins to the Executive Board.

B. Summary of Monthly Meeting with Liza Huber. Nancy shared the information

that she and Liza had discussed at their recent monthly meeting.

• Liza said she planned to host a bullying forum in the fall with all school

principals perhaps in a panel discussion format. Liza has been spearheading

a bullying initiative in the district and the PAC is concerned about the

prevalence of bullying in our schools and the lack of consistency in antibullying

programs currently implemented across the district.

• Pupil Services and the AB SpEd PAC agreed to co-host a picnic for special

education families in September to facilitate connections between families.

• Liza said she would cut a PO in July for the funds needed to reproduce and

distribute the Special Education Parent Handbook so funds would be

available for that project in the early fall.

• Liza generously agreed to donate one copy of each book in the Pupil

Services’ parent lending library to the Acton Memorial library as part of the

PAC’s fundraising initiative to expand the public library’s special education

resources for all families in our community. This undertaking is a memorial

project in honor of past PAC Chair, Lynne Deutch. The PAC will make a

financial and book donation in memory of Lynne’s unflagging service to the

special education community in the Acton-Boxborough school district.

• At the PAC’s request for a Pupil Services’ org. chart, Liza requested a copy

of the master org. chart Marie Altieri had created earlier in the year so that

Pupil Services and the PAC could both have official copies.

• As a result of the Transition Task Force’s recommendation, Liza agreed to

send out a Pupil Services’ directory of staff broken out by individual schools

as part of Pupil Services’ Sept. OnTeam newsletter.

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• Liza shared that Pupil Services planned a probable expansion of the

Autism/Asperger’s program to Gates Elementary school for grades K-3

beginning in the fall of 2008 under the leadership of Johanna Pyle.

However, she stated that before a final decision was made and the program

designed, parents would be included in that process.

• Liza also expressed an interest in meeting with Bruce Sabian, Director of

Academy MetroWest, to discuss his consulting to the district re: expanding

in-house social skills programs to incorporate some of the techniques used in

his cooperative, group play, social skills classes.

C. Discuss New PAC Policy, Procedure & Fall Presentation. The Board

discussed the School Committees’ new PAC policy and procedure and its

implications for the PAC’s goals next year. Possible goals discussed for next year

included: publishing the Special Education Parent Handbook, making a donation to

the Acton Memorial Library in Lynne Deutsch’s memory, further defining the

relationship with Pupil Services documented in the new policy and procedure,

supporting the Connections Program at the Junior High, the Hayward Center at the

High School and research trials in APS schools like ILD’s executive functioning

trials at Douglas, focusing on bullying, looking at successful mainstreaming – how

to make it work, mandatory vs. elective special education training/professional

development for regular and special education staff, and after school/extracurricular

programming/support. Additional ideas for next year included sponsoring a high

school scholarship, hosting a special education staff appreciation luncheon, and

raising funds for the organization through grant writing, school PTOs and other

means.

D. Pupil Services Feedback re: Transition Task Force Recommendations. Pupil

Services just provided feedback on the task force recommendations today, so Board

members didn’t have a chance to review that feedback prior to the meeting. The

Board postponed discussion on this topic until our next meeting so people could

have a chance to review and consider Liza’s comments.

E. Agenda for Next Meeting

• Discuss Pupil Services’ feedback on Transition recommendations

• Develop PAC presentation for SC in the fall

• Establish meeting schedule for the year

V. Open Issues. 1) Completion of IEE forms – now that procedure has been established for

topic resolution when PAC and Pupil Services reach an impasse, we can move this

discussion forward. 2) Lack of full-time ABA Director – Parents continue to contact the

PAC with concerns about the lack of a full-time ABA program director at the Integrated

Preschool. Parents have expressed concerns that the new service delivery model (program

director who teaches half time) is not working well for preschool students or families.

VI. New Issues. The Board briefly discussed reports from multiple parents that Independent

Education Evaluation reports and recommendations from outside specialists were not being

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given equal weight to school evaluations, nor were key recommendations from these

specialists being incorporated into children’s IEPs as appropriate. Nancy expressed the

concern that she seemed to be hearing these concerns from an increasing number of

families this past year relative to previous years. The trend was disturbing. Mike asked how

many families we were talking about. Nancy suggested she’d heard from about twice as

many families this year, though couldn’t provide a specific number of families without

gathering data through a survey. Since the PAC has created a parent survey and asked Liza

to distribute it before the end of the school year, we can discuss this issue further after those

survey results come in.

VII. Adjournment. A motion was made to adjourn the meeting. That motion was seconded and

unanimously approved.

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