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

Advocacy Workshop May 5th

We are partnering with the START Project to host a workshop for our May meeting:

Family-Educator Collaboration in the IEP Process:  A Joint Training Activity for Parents and Educators
Families Can Make A Difference!

In special education, collaboration between parents and educators is essential to ensuring that the student is the central focus. During this training, parents and educators will explore techniques and strategies that enhance parent/educator collaboration in the IEP process. Tools that advance ongoing parent/educator collaboration in the IEP process will be shared.

Date: Monday, May 5th Time 7pm-9pm

Location: South Orange Maplewood School District Administration Building,
525 Academy Street, Maplewood, New Jersey. 07040

Presenter: Myriam Alizo, Parent Group Specialist, START Project  (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network)

Who should attend: Parents and educators of children who are already receiving special education services and parents and educators of children who are having difficulty in school but may have not been determined to be eligible for special education services will benefit from this training.

The START Project is a collaboration of the New Jersey Department of Education Office of Special Education (NJOSE) and Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) Funded by IDEA Part B funds      http://www.spanadvocacy.org