SEPAC Meeting – January 14, 2020

Call to Order

Introductions – Alison, Joyce, Lynne, Stephanie, Chris, Christina and Bill Hayner attended.

Approve Minutes – Minutes from December were approved.

Officers/committee reports 

– We did Basic Rights Workshop in October, Clare Vann, a lawyer from the Federation, did the presentation, and she had a new perspective.

– Having trouble getting principals to post the agendas at their schools so parents know about upcoming meetings. Many PTOs are posting them.

Workshops 

– Rec Fair: Will not be happening this year, unfortunately. Two years ago we had a great turnout, and we’d like to get it off the ground again. We could reach out to other SEPACs in surrounding towns to put on an event together, but since many members are volunteers it’s challenging to coordinate everyone. Reached out to Somerville, Medford, Lexington.

– Disclosure Workshop from ASPIRE: MGH ASPIRE is willing to do a free workshop on Disclosure (how you talk to your child about their diagnosis and how they can talk to the world about their disability). Tuesday, April 14th, Elise Wolf will come to the SEPAC meeting at Gibbs and do the presentation.

-Movie screening at the High School – “Intelligent Lives” – 6pm March 9th in the Lowe auditorium at the high school. The movie follows young adults as they navigate their lives post high school.

– Transition Night in the spring:

-Gibbs: not planned yet

-Ottoson: not planned yet

-High School: Rising 9th grade parents – January 22nd 6 to 8:15pm in the high school auditorium

Special Ed presentation is between 7:30 and 8:15 after main presentation

– Mindfulness workshop: Carla Leone would do the presentation at some point in the spring. Past presentations have been on mindfulness before the team meeting and with having a child with a disability. We are still trying to decide what flavor of mindfulness we’d like to present this time. We might include students and do mindfulness with families as a whole.

APS Staff Reports 

– The school district (elementary/secondary) along with the teacher’s union presented on their budget priorities. Public school committee meeting and participation from public will happen in the beginning of February. The School Committee then comes up with a number and the budget committee then votes on whether to approve the budget.

– MRC (Mass Rehab Commission) has partnered with AHS to hold a vendor fair for students approaching transition from school services into adult services (internships, job training, resume help). This year the event is put on hold because the person on their end who organized it in the past is currently out.

Public Participation –

– Survey: Claudia worked on survey questions on special education services at Gibbs that didn’t fit into the general survey they worked on at Gibbs. They suggested she present the questions to SEPAC. Inae and Alison discussed combining efforts to make the survey a district-wide survey that would figure out how much people really know about special ed services, how you access them, whether parents are aware of certain supports and resources available to them in the district. They are working on getting the Superintendent to send it out to her list, to reach a wider audience. Sending it to parents of general ed and special ed parents is good PR for our programs.

– Bill – The 501c3 is better than a line item for raising money, because with a 501c3, you control the money, and if the money is in a line item, the school committee controls that line item. (SEPAC currently doesn’t have a dedicated budget for anything, so at the December meeting we discussed ways to get presentations funded when most of them cost money. A budget line item was brought up as a way to fund presentations and other workshops. Most current workshops (except the Basic Rights put on by the Federation for Children with Special Needs) are donated.

– Would love a future workshop on Gender and autism. The Lurie Center has a workshop currently on this topic, and there are support groups locally for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and fall on the autism spectrum. We can look into contact information.

Announcements 

– Next SEPAC meeting is at 7pm on February 11th in the Gibbs Media Center. There will be a social hour immediately following the meeting.

Adjourn

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Author: ArlingtonSEPAC

Please bear with us as we develop our new website. Our goal for this blog is to inform you about upcoming events so that you may fully participate in Arlington SEPAC, a parent-led volunteer organization.

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