ACTON-BOXBOROUGH SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
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
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