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 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
          Include your full name & phone number
NJCIE Facilitators:
MaryAnn Comparetto, Parent Consultant and
Dawn Fabbro, Coordinator of Programming & Marketing   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


Jane Bleasdale, President

South Orange Maplewood Special Education Parents Advisory Committee

Resource and Support Page

We have added a “Resource and Support Page” to post information about meetings, groups and events that are of interest to our community.

The first addition is Camp Huntington which has programs for children and young adults with Autism and related developmental and learning disabilities (6-22 years old) to enjoy the benefits of camp programs throughout the year.

Check out our new page here

Meeting Dates for 2014-2015

The SOM SEPAC and Special Education PTO will be holding joint meetings for the 2014-2015 school year.

September 30
December 3
January 20
March 24
May 19

All meetings are held at the Board Office, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood NJ at 7:30 pm.

Superintendent Focus Groups in September

The school district will be holding focus groups on September 13th to gather input for the new superintendent search.  There will be focus groups for stakeholders organized by interests.  The special needs community is included as Parents of Students with Special Needs   Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, Special Education PTO, others in the special needs community

Location: District Office—District Meeting Room 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, NJ

Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014   1:00pm – 1:45pm   New time 2:00-3:00pm

Find the flyer and the full list of focus groups including meeting times for September 13th here:  updated flyer

Superintendent Search: Focus Group RSVP, Input Needed

 The South Orange / Maplewood Board of Education

Invites you to attend a 

SEPAC/Special Education PTA

Focus Group Session on

Selection of the Superintendent

Thursday July 10, 2014
8:00pm – 9:00pm

District Meeting Room, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood
RSVP by Thursday July 3rd to Elizabeth Brinkerhoff or (973) 762-5600 x 1820


At this session, you will meet with Dr. Leroy Nunery of Hazard, Young & Attea, the search firm hired to find a new Superintendent.  Dr. Nunery is gathering stakeholder input in order to: 1) inform the Leadership profile (job description) and 2) identify prospective Superintendent candidates.

For those who are unable to attend, please provide input for the superintendent search using the online survey on the homepage of the district website  Updates on the Superintendent Search will also be posted on the district website homepage.

Please consider the following questions in preparation for this discussion:

  1. What are the strengths of the South Orange-Maplewood School District?
  2. What are the challenges and issues that the District faces now and in the future?
  3. What are the characteristics you think are necessary for the next Superintendent?