Assemblywoman Mila Jasey @ next Meeting March 24th

The next special education community meeting is Tuesday March 24th at 7:30pm at the Administration building, 525 Academy Street in Maplewood.  Find the full agenda here sepacMarch2015 and below:

The Special Education Parent Advisory Committee and Special Education PTO meeting will feature Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, with a NJ State Legislature update followed by a Q&A.   All are welcome to attend – parents, guardians and all staff.
Assemblywoman Jasey represents the 27th Legislative District, which includes Maplewood and South Orange.  She is Vice-Chair of the Housing & Local Government Committee and a Member of the Education Committee. Prior to joining the Assembly, Ms. Jasey served as a Member of the South Orange/Maplewood Board of Education for three terms, including two years as President.

I. Welcome 7:30 Jane Bleasdale, SEPAC
II. Announcements & Updates 7:35
o District Administration
o BOE Liaison
o School Liaisons
o Community/Recreation Dept. Events
o Parenting Center
o Budget
III. Guest Speaker, Mila Jasey 8:00 NJ State Legislature update, followed by Q&A. Assemblywoman Jasey represents the 27th Legislative District, which includes Maplewood and South Orange. She is Vice-Chair of the Housing & Local Government Committee and a Member of the Education Committee. Prior to joining the Assembly, Ms. Jasey served as a Member of the South Orange/Maplewood Board of Education for three terms, including two years as President.
IV. Informal Break-out Groups 8:45
o Preschool
o Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
o 3rd Grade – 5th Grade
o Middle School
o High School
o Home Instruction
o Out of District & Home School Placements
V. Adjourn 9:30

January 30 Meeting Minutes and Auditory Processing Presentation

Thank you to all who attended our January 30, 2015 meeting.    Minutes from the meeting as well as the presentation on Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) by Maureen E. Jones, M.A., CCC-SLP are attached here.

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Meeting Minutes January 30, 2015 1.30.15 General Meeting Notes

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Jan. 20 Meeting to Feature Presentation on Auditory Processing

Next week’s Special Education Community Meeting features a presentation on Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  Families and educators:  come learn more about this complex and increasingly common diagnosis and its impact on students’ learning.  See attached meeting announcement 1.20.15 SpEd Community Mtg Agenda for details and full agenda.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015      7:30- 9:30pm
District Meeting Room, 525 Academy St. Maplewood

Agenda:


1. Welcome –
Sonya Selig                   7:30pm
2. Announcements & Updates      
  7:40pm
District Special Services Staff
Board Update – new BOE Liaison
Budget Update
School Liaison Updates
3. Understanding Central Auditory Processing Disorder  
8:00pm
Maureen Jones, MA, CCC-SLP
4. Communicating with the District:
who,                                8:30pm
what, and where to look for answers
Jane Bleasedale
5. General Discussion                            
8:45pm
6. Breakout Groups                              
  9:15pm
7. Adjourn                                                  
9:30pm

December Meeting Update and Documentation – updated

Update 12/16/14  Meeting Notes can be found 12.3.14 General Meeting Notes Final

The December 3, 2014 joint meeting of the SEPAC and Special Education PTO covered several important topics: a budget analysis for special education; contacting legislators regarding state funding of special education; state testing that will be conducted in a new format this year.

Budget Analysis:
Find the Budget Analysis presentation in pdf form 2014-12 soma budget analysis – Final
We encourage you to become familiar with the budget/budget process and be aware of the timeline of this work as the Board of Education adheres to a strict deadlines to meet state requirements when “making” the budget.

Contact Legislators:
Part of special education is funded, and in cases, underfunded, by the state government.  The SEPAC Executive Committee recently sent the attached letter to our Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and similar letters were also sent to additional legislators.   A template letter is attached as well as contact information that can be used to advocate for more appropriate funding decisions  2014-12-03 SEPAC Handout  We encourage you to contact legislators regarding this issue.

State Testing:
Many students with classroom supports (IEPs and 504s) have accomodations for state testing.  As the testing format has changed to a computer based assessment, the accomodations will be changing as well.   The district has provided a FAQ document on the new testing – you can find the information on the district site and B. PARCC FAQ

District Update and Next Meeting December 3

Wednesday, December 3 is the next joint meeting of the SEPAC and Special Education PTO.  The meeting will be held at 525 Academy Street at 7:30pm in the main Board Room.

Board of Education Update:

At the November Board of Education meeting Dr. Barker, Director of Special Education Services, gave a district report  Special Education Update.  It was also noted in this meeting that Dr. Barker will be retiring at the end of this year.

Find a copy of her presentation HERE

The Village Green online news service reporting on various topics of the meeting, you can read more on Dr. Barker’s presentation from Village Green here:
http://villagegreennj.com/schools-kids/special-ed-director-faults-district-results-outsourced-projects/

To watch video recordings of Board of Ed meetings online at any time, courtesy of SOMAtv,  find links to the recorded meeting http://somatv.pegcentral.com/

Who can be involved in SEPAC?  Special Education Parent Advisory Groups are required for all school districts in New Jersey. The purpose of these groups is to provide opportunities for parents and community members to offer input to their district’s special education programs.
Anyone with student or students with learning needs or anyone with a student or students eligible for or receiving services under an IEP or 504 plan is welcome to attend, as well as district staff and administrators.

Please share this information and meeting reminder.  Send questions at any time to info@somsepac.org

Find the Special Education PTO here http://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/Page/215

Resource Fair Oct. 22 in Millburn

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Millburn Public Library
6:30pm -8:30pm

Featuring Representatives From Area Organizations and Businesses that Support the Educational and Developmental Needs of Students of all Ages and Abilities

Exhibitors will include those that offer:
»  Therapeutic Services (occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc.)
»  Recreational Services (adapted sports programs, special needs camps)
»  Legal services (guardianship, special needs trusts)
»  Educational Services (ABA providers, tutoring, assessments)
»  Counseling Services (psychologists, social workers, social skills groups, college and career counseling, organization and study skills)
»  Allergy Related Services (Epi-pen accessories, nut-free and/or gluten free food items)  
EMPOWERMENT through INFORMATION, RESOURCES and SUPPORT to allow students with disabilities the OPPORTUNITY to reach their FULL POTENTIAL

Input From Parents Requested: Special Ed. Task Force in NJ

The following information is from the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network regarding public input to the special education process.   There is opportunity to attend in public as well as submit information via email or regular mail by October 31st, 2014.

Find the full text of the SPANNJ notice HERE

Your voice needs to be heard by the NJ Spec. Ed. Task Force at its upcoming regional hearings, 10/16, 23, 27 and 29. This information was sent to school districts.

The topics for input include:

  • The evaluation of practices for classifying and educating students who are eligible for special education programs and services;
  • The development of best practices for education professionals working with special education students;
  • Strategies to reduce the costs associated with the placement of eligible students in out-of-district public schools or private schools, including the development of in-district special education programs and services; and
  • The development of standards and appropriate oversight to ensure that programs and services address the needs of students, focus on student achievement, and assess the effectiveness of programs and services.

Comments and suggestions may also be provided to the task force through October 31 via email at specedtaskforce@doe.state.nj.us or by postal mail at:  New Jersey Special Education Task Force, c/o Office of Special Education Programs, New Jersey Department of Education, PO Box 500, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0500.

NJCIE – Inclusion Support Event for Parents Oct. 15

Click HERE for alternate display of this notice from NJ Coalition for Inclusive Education and find a link to subscribe to their newsletter.

Registration is now open for:

NJCIE’s Free Brainstorming Opportunity
for Parents Experiencing Challenges with the Inclusion
of their Child in a General Education Setting.
Event Date:  Wednesday, October 15th
Chat Time:  12:00 noon – 1:00pm
RSVP:  By email only to Mary@njcie.org
          Include your full name & phone number
NJCIE Facilitators:
MaryAnn Comparetto, Parent Consultant and
Dawn Fabbro, Coordinator of Programming & Marketing
www.njcie.org   Who is NJCIE?   The New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE) supports families and schools in the quest to create neighborhood schools where children with disabilities and learning differences are welcomed as classmates, valued as learners, and empowered to succeed.

SEPAC and SPED PTO – Joining Efforts

Dear Members of the South Orange Maplewood School District,

For the last two years, parents of children with special needs in our community have been supported by two volunteer organizations: the Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SPED PTO) and the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC).

In June, the SEPAC executive committee met to review our progress in 2013-14 and set goals for 2014-15. One of those goals is to support parents on an individual basis, as well as work with the district in a formal and strategic way to improve the experience for classified students and their families. To that end, we are pleased to announce that the SPED PTO and SEPAC will merge this year to become one organization.

As you may know, the SPED PTO has existed for many years and has done tremendous work within our district. Many of us turned to the SPED PTO for support and advice and found a place where we felt welcomed, heard, and understood. For this we should all be extremely grateful – especially to the steadfast leadership provided by Barry Berg.

SEPAC was established more recently, in response to a state mandate that all districts have such a group, and its focus is on advocating for sound policy and effective practice to ensure that all South Orange/Maplewood students with special needs receive a free and appropriate education.   In order to fulfill this mission and preserve the important work of the SPED PTO – and the tremendous goodwill it has fostered between families, educators, and administrators, this year the two organizations will collaborate on a a full merger.

SEPAC will be the umbrella organization, and the PTO will continue to support parents and families individually and offer a growing roster of recreational activities.

Please join us at our first SEPAC/SPED PTO meeting on SEPTEMBER 30th @ 7.30 pm in Board of Education Meeting room, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood

Sincerely,

Jane Bleasdale, President

South Orange Maplewood Special Education Parents Advisory Committee