Call to Order
Introductions: Alison Elmer, Sophie Prevost, Chris Carlson, and Stephanie Greiner attended. Liz Exton from the School Committee was also in attendance.
Attendance: Claudia Donnet, Rachel Ostrow, Sarah Barton, Eileen Coleman, Naomi Muller, Rebekah Lea, Sarah Forster, Ileana Gatica Herrera, Claire Johnson, Michele Phelan, Tracy Perneta, Marais Young, Noel Dyer, and Lauren Bellon
– Minutes from November 2020 were reviewed and approved
-We have been working on getting workshops together for the second half of this year
-Work on the new SEPAC website continues and is close to being uploaded
– We used to have an in-district Listserv where parents could opt-in. We have been taking notices from Alison and others and sending them out via arlingtonSEPAC@gmail.com. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please send an email to the above address so you can be added.
Planning Workshops for the coming year:
– Federation for Children with Special Needs – Basic Rights: Transition Planning for IEP students age 14 to 22 – Monday, December 14th 6:00pm
– Riverside Community Care’s System of Care Meeting and presentation – Tuesday, December 15th 9:30am
– SEEM Collaborative’s training on Supporting Children in Remote Learning – 7:00 to 8:30pm on December 15th
– Elise Wulff, the Director of Children’s Services from ASPIRE at MGH, will be doing a workshop on Helping Kids Learn Self-Advocacy Skills. This workshop will immediately follow our evening SEPAC Business Meeting at 7:00pm to 8:30pm on January 12th. Sarah will make up a flyer and send it out before the event with the Zoom link.
-We are trying to plan a Basic Rights workshop from FCSN in Arlington, probably happening at the February 9th evening SEPAC meeting.
-Requests for an Accessible Recreation Fair/Exposition on extracurricular activities and therapies that are available for students who need a higher level of support to participate.
-Inae suggested putting together a committee in order to organize this event.
-Others spoke of ways that the district might be able to support families and these after-school recreation programs in order to minimize the amount of discrimination that occurs and sometimes makes these activities inaccessible for some children with disabilities. Alison suggested having some of the support personnel from school and town recreation programs attend a meeting to talk about what they do to support children with disabilities in these programs.
-Inae also mentioned that it would be nice to also include summer camp options in the Recreation Fair, which didn’t happen the last time we held it.
-Michele suggested holding the Recreation Fair as a Zoom Fair in the spring, with breakout rooms or presentations given in a specific order.
-Augmented and Assistive Communication Options/Providers Workshop – Alison mentioned that we have an AAC coordinator, Amanda Lewitus, who might be able to answer any questions families have on AAC: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Chris Carlson provided a link to Recreation Opportunities:
Special Needs Recreation Programs & Events Massachusetts
-We would need to establish a 501c3 in order to raise money for workshops, otherwise any money we raise goes to the School Committee. PTOs have sponsored speakers with us in the past, so this might be another route that we could take to fund workshops in the future. Rebekah Lea is a tax professional who has offered her experience with taxes and filing, should we decide to start a 501c3 in the future. Michele has proposed that those interested in discussing this further should email each other off of Zoom.
APS Staff reports:
-The Superintendent Search Committee extended a contract to Dr. Elizabeth Holman for the 2021-2022 school year. The School Committee is in the process of negotiating that contract.
-Departments and different schools in the district are giving presentations in the end of January to the Budget Committee on their needs for the upcoming year
-The school budget is allocated based on projected needs, and built on funding estimates that we get from the state. There will be meetings where departments give presentations to the budget committee in the next couple of weeks, and the final budget is voted upon in March.
-We will talk about what Special Education has put forth as needs as they continue to move through the budget process.
SEPAC Board Elections:
-Michele Phelan nominated Inae Hwang and Sarah Barton as Co-Chairs and Jessica Dombrosky as Secretary. Eileen Coleman seconded the nomination.
-Inae and Sarah were elected as Co-Chairs, and Jessica was elected as Secretary.
Public participation / New business / Open discussion:
-Rachel Ostrow offered to be the Stratton liason and Marais Young also offered to be a liason
-Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 12th, at 7pm, which will be a quick 10 minute business meeting, followed by the presentation by Elise Wulff from ASPIRE.
Meeting ID: 862 3477 8319