I. CALL TO ORDER:
Nancy Sherburne called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm.
The following Board Members attended the meeting:
Nancy Sherburne, Terry Lindgren, Steve Lowe, Bill Guthlein, Valerie Ryan
Also in attendance were SpEd PAC members: Pat Bickimer, Cynthia
Overman, Sasha Stavsky, Lynne Zawada, Kim Nolan, Andrew Comjean, ShuFang Lin; Pupil Services Representative: Matthew Kidder; and School
Committee Member: Xuan Kong
II. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND:
Nancy gave some background on the SpEd PAC and its focus as a parent run
organization that works closely with parents and Pupil Services to ensure
successful outcomes for children with special needs. Nancy mentioned the
Parent-to-Parent listserv offered by the PAC as a great way for parents to stay
informed about PAC activities as well as a great way to connect with other
families and share information and support with one another.
III. ORGANIZATION/BUSINESS ISSUES:
A. Treasurer’s Report:
Bill provided a handout of financial activity for the period of July 1, 2008
thru June 11, 2009. Bill reviewed the year’s income and expenditures and
reported a balance of $996.78 as of May 31, 2009.
B. Fundraising: Nancy emphasized that while fundraising is not the primary
purpose of the PAC, funds are needed to accomplish important services
such as bringing educational speakers to the community and providing
informational handouts and resource materials to families on an ongoing
basis. Nancy also mentioned it might be nice in the future to provide a
scholarship for a graduating high-school senior with special needs each
year. One fundraising idea previously discussed by PAC members had
been: giving presentations to each of the school’s PTOs and asking that a
portion of PTO funds be allocated to the PAC annually. Nancy
emphasized that the PAC does not want to compete with the PTOs for
funds as many parents already participate in PTO fundraising and this
would be asking parents to do double duty. Other fundraising
opportunities discussed included holding bake sales, conducting flower
bulb sales in the fall, and/or writing grant proposals. Page 2 of 4
C. Suggestions for Speakers/Presentation Topics for Next Year:
A review of suggestions from the SpEd PAC survey was given. The most
often suggested topics from the survey were: Social Skills Workshops,
Navigating the IEP Process, Teen Related Topics, and Autism Topics.
Suggestions were made to bring in Pamela Ely, and Lynn Crowley (both
from the Ely Group), Elsa Abele, and Sarah Ward for social skills and
executive functioning presentations. A discussion took place of other ideas
for topics and speakers. Ideas presented were: The Special Education
Process; Sheila Heene author of Difficult Conversations; specific teen
topics such as sex education, dating, and anxiety; No place for Hate; Ned
Hallowell’s presentation on focusing on what is positive about your child;
and parenting siblings of special needs children.
D. Peer Mentoring:
Expanding peer mentoring to benefit special education students was
discussed. Mentoring for support of social, academic, and organizational
skills was discussed. Some ideas were:
• Extend the support into after school hours to help with homework
• Children with special needs could take on the mentoring role in
their areas of strength
• Mentors would earn credits
• Bringing in professional coaches/mentors to facilitate executive
functioning skills especially after school
Xuan mentioned that the idea of peer mentoring had been raised at the last
Pupil Services Round Table. Liza was looking into the idea of
implementing a program.
Action Item: Matt stated that he would follow-up with Liza
regarding the status of implementing a peer-mentoring program.
IV. ELECTION OF PAC OFFICERS:
Nancy proposed that we move into elections, she mentioned that she had
brought a copy of the By-Laws and noted that the By-Laws were also
available on the PAC website.
A. Election of Co-Chairs: Terry asked for nominations for SpEd PAC CoChairs. Cynthia nominated Nancy Sherburne and Bill Guthlein and Sasha
seconded the nomination. Terry asked if there were any other nominees –
no others were presented. A vote of PAC members took place. There
were 11 votes for the nomination and none against. One member chose to
abstain. Terry made a motion that nominations for the other PAC Officers
be made and that motion was seconded.
B. Other Board Members: Nancy made the following nominations:
Co-Secretaries: Valerie Ryan and Lynne Zawada
Co-Treasurers: Sasha Stavsky and Caroline Jarvis
Past-PAC Chair: Steve Lowe Page 3 of 4
Cynthia seconded the nominations. A vote of PAC members took place.
There were 11 votes in favor of the nominations and none against. One
member chose to abstain.
C. A discussion took place regarding increasing visibility of the PAC.
Reaching out to parents of children who may have a need for special
education but are not yet receiving services was emphasized. It was
suggested that the role of the school PAC representatives be expanded.
The representatives could give a brief presentation at the school openhouse events, for example. Nancy expressed the need for PAC members
to volunteer at the schools. Volunteers agreed to represent schools as
? Nancy – RJ Grey Junior High School
? Steve – Any school where there is a need
? Valerie – Conant School
? Sasha – Gates School
? Kim – McCarthy Towne
? Terry – AB Regional High School
Other ideas for increasing visibility were: PAC coordinating with the
resource room leads; and coordinating with community education to provide
more extracurricular opportunities – including sports – for special needs
Action Items: Look into getting on the agenda for school openhouse events; Nancy to connect Shu-Fang and Caroline Jarvis
regarding shared interest in expanding extracurricular
opportunities through community education for children with
V. 2008-2009 PAC ENDEAVORS INCLUDED:
A. First Back-to-School Special Education Family Picnic: This event took
place in early October and was co-hosted by Pupil Services. Nancy
mentioned that Danny’s Place had been a great venue and that it was an
important event to connect families of children with special needs.
B. PAC members participated in a Superintendent Search Focus Group and
provided written input into the process for hiring a new superintendent for
C. Donation to the Acton Memorial Library in Lynne Deutsch’s memory: A
donation of books and a check was made. The library staff were very
grateful as they did not have many special needs related resources but do
have a significant demand for them.
D. SpEd PAC Survey: The survey was distributed to special education
families. Nancy encouraged all present to go to the SpEd PAC website to Page 4 of 4
read the survey in detail. Bill spoke about the comprehensive analysis of
data and report. Bill mentioned two major highlights: 1. Satisfaction of
parents by primary disability – parents of autistic spectrum children were
much less satisfied than parents of children with specific learning
disabilities; 2. Bullying- Bill stated that there is reasonable evidence that
bullying may be more prevalent among special education children and
overall parents are not satisfied with school programs. The mission of
improving the process and the perceptions of parents of the process was
emphasized. Terry encouraged everyone to attend the school committee
meeting when the survey results are presented.
Nancy thanked Terry for his work as co-chair. Terry talked about the progress
made and the strength of Nancy’s leadership over the past couple of years. Terry
encouraged all to take ownership of PAC goals. Terry motioned to adjourn the
meeting, Steve seconded the motion, and all were in favor. The meeting was
adjourned at 8:55 PM.
VII. NEXT MEETING:
The next Board meeting will take place in September.
Meeting Minutes Respectfully Submitted by Valerie Ryan, Secretary.