Next Board Meeting:
At this last meeting for the 2020-21 school year we will vote for our 2021-22 SEPAC board and discuss the specialized program enrollment policy for siblings of students in the elementary AIMS, Building Blocks, and ILC programs. See additional information about both of these items below. We will also start planning for next year and have our usual update from Dr. Faye Brady and our school committee liaisons. Please click here to see the full agenda.
We wanted to introduce SEPAC’s new executive board: Sarah Weirich, President and Angelica Bernal, Vice-President.
There is also another update from the APEA about writing in your thoughts for the paraprofessionals’ wages to be increased.
Also, SEPAC’s Summer Newsletter is ready! We had a wonderful STARS awards and it touched so many individuals this year as many needed the extra boost. Thank you all for sending those in (we had 56 individuals nominated for 68 awards this year)! We also put together a list of resources, support groups, as well as summer camp options for families interested.
Be on the lookout for our SEPAC Summer Social hopefully July 24 at the Splash Pad at Groff Park.
Our new Facebook Page is up and running as well!
Specialized Programs Sibling Enrollment Policy:
The Amherst School Committee is currently considering revising its enrollment policy to allow siblings of students in the elementary specialized programs (AIMS, Building Blocks, ILC) to attend the school in which the special program is located. Currently, siblings must attend the school in the enrollment zone where their home is located. This often results in siblings attending different schools even if they are close in age.
Please consider joining our Thursday, June 3, 6:30pm, Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) meeting to hear more on this topic and to share your thoughts. (Use this link to join the meeting). If you can’t make it, please consider sending us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org that we can read as public comment at that meeting. You may also submit public comment directly to the Amherst School Committee as a voice mail message (413-345-2949) or via email (McdonaldA@arps.org) with “public comment” in the subject line by 3pm, June 15, for that evening’s meeting when they plan to discuss and potentially vote on this topic.
For additional information you can watch a recording of the May 11 Amherst School Committee meeting starting at 1:45:30 on youtube. Additionally, an enrollment working group in 2018 produced a report that recommended changing this enrollment policy. You can find the report here. Also, feel free to reach out to SEPAC at email@example.com if you have any questions or comments.
2021-22 SEPAC Board Vote:
At our last meeting we took nominations for our 2021-22 SEPAC Board and we will confirm these nominations with a vote at our June 3rd Board Meeting. All seats are uncontested. Nominations are:
President: Sarah Weirich
Vice President: Angelica Bernal
Secretary: Catherine Lodge
Treasurer: no nominations received
Please come give an “Aye!” to help make it official and to provide our new board with encouragement as we look forward to next year.
We are also looking for liaisons for each of the schools we represent. Please reach out to us at SEPAC@arps.org if you are interested in hearing more about how you can also volunteer in this way.
SEPAC Annual Report and Presentation to ARPS School Committee:
Our SEPAC by-laws require that we give an annual update to our school committee. SEPAC’s Secretary, Sarah Weirich, put together a very thorough report with a focus on the two COVID impact surveys we conducted this year. You can find the report here. You can view Sarah’s presentation at the May 19, 2021, Regional School Committee meeting starting at 52:27 on youtube.
The website for ARPS’s April Autism Acceptance event is still live. Check it out!
Slides from March’s Autism Insurance Workshop can be viewed here.
November’s event was a well attended workshop by ARPS’s Transition Specialist, Crystal Cartwright. If you were unable to attend, you can view a recording of the talk here and view the slides here.
During the 2020-21 school year, SEPAC conducted two COVID Impact Surveys of ARPS families with students with IEP’s.
SEPAC COVID-19 SURVEY PART 1 Results (school closure and summer services)
SEPAC COVID-19 SURVEY PART 1 Video Presentation
SEPAC COVID-19 SURVEY PART 2 Results (fall and spring remote learning)
SEPAC COVID-19 SURVEY PART 2 Video Presentation
What is SEPAC?
The Special Education Parent Advisory Council is a volunteer organization of families of children with disabilities in Pelham Elementary, Amherst Elementary, and Amherst Regional Schools as well as students out of district. We are federally mandated to exist under Massachusetts Special Education Law and are charged with: “advising the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities, meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district’s special education programs. ”603 CMR 28:07(4)
Our 2020-2021 Board Members:
Catherine Lodge, Co-President
Heather Sheldon, Co-President
Sarah Weirich, Secretary
Who are members of SEPAC?
Parents and/or guardians of children who receive any type of special education services or accommodations in school, such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 accommodation or an out-of-district placement.
Families who think their child may have some learning issues or differences and/or would like to understand or have an interest in special education.
Educators and any other member of the community who want to learn more!
Ways to contact us:
Facebook: Arps Sepac