October 12, 2021 Meeting Agenda



In accordance with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 30A Section 20, notice is hereby given for the following meeting of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council,

Tuesday, October 12th, 9am


  1. Call to Order
  2. Approve minutes
  3. Officers/committee reports
  4. Planning Workshops for the coming year
  5. APS Staff reports – Presentation on SLC-D at Peirce Elementary by Special Education Director Alison Elmer
  6. Public participation / New business / Open discussion
  7. Announcements
  8. Adjourn

Arlington Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is a parent group that acts as a resource for parents and advises the district regarding meeting the needs of students with special needs.  We provide support and networking opportunities for parents and guardians of children with special educational needs, offer workshops and guest speakers to help parents become better informed about special education issues. We meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of special education programs in town.

We hope you will join us!


SEPAC Meeting Minutes – October 12th, 2021

Call to Order

Introductions – Alison Elmer, Inae Hwang, Sarah Barton, Bill Hayner, Agapi Stratakias, Joyce Schlenger, Louisa Popkin, Kristin Burke, Rena Mello, Lynne Bennett, Chris Carlson, Joanna Poole, Brie Stanley, Katrina Bernstein-Lewicke, Tracy Perneta, Melissa Hinck, Stephanie Trinkle, Krasimira Petkov, Lori Berman attended

Approve Minutes –

Meeting Minutes from June 2021 were approved.

Officer/Committee Reports –

– Basic Rights on October 27th at 7pm, the topic is Transition Planning. Attorney Clare Vann will be presenting. The workshop is put on by the Federation for Children with Special Needs on their Zoom platform. The link to register is:

Registration Link:


Update on Website, Listserv, Communications:

– We used to have a listserv, but don’t have that option.

– Sarah put the ArlingtonSEPAC@gmail.com email in the chat for those to opt in to our email list

Workshop Planning-

We are looking to hold the Understanding Your Neuropsychological Report workshop again. Inae still needs to reach out to those in the community who previously ran it.

Alison mentioned that someone from Crafting Minds is willing to do a workshop on dyslexia at some point.

We are looking into having principals or our new Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion present at future meetings. Alison suggested that maybe we should also invite our reading specialists.

Other Workshop Ideas: Preparing for College for High Schoolers

APS Staff Reports –

Alison presented on the new SLC – D over at Peirce Elementary

– Collaborating with Dr. Melissa Orkin from the Tufts Center for Reading and Language Research/Crafting Minds, in 2017

-Established Goal to Differentiate Specialized Instruction for Students with IEPs for Reading

-SLC-D serves students with specific learning disabilities in reading and/or writing, and/or language learning difficulties. Most students have average or above average cognitive skills with language-based learning disabilities. Many may have difficulty with memory deficits or auditory discrimination.

Methodology is:

– Multi-sensory – Using visual, auditory and kinesthetic pathways in the brain simultaneously

– Explicit – Teachers directly teach, explain and demonstrate each concept

– Sequential and Cumulative – Skills are sequenced in small steps, following the order of language

Current Staffing:

-Special Education Teacher (1.0), Speech Language Pathologist (0.5), Paraprofessional (1.0), Related Service Providers, Gen Education teacher (1.0), and a Consultant (Dr. Orkin).


– Classroom is for 3rd and 4th graders over at Peirce Elementary

– Growth intended for grade 5 next school year

– Regulations limit maximum grouping/staffing to 12:1:1

Katrina asked how it was determined if students qualify for dyslexia/language-based learning services like Wilson, and if students needed to get outside diagnoses in order to receive services. Alison said that reading specialists use screening tools to determine where the language-learning deficits are and whether students require certain instructional tools like explicit phonemic awareness curriculum, or Wilson.

Krasimira asked how we know if our student has been considered for this program. Alison said that the students who have been evaluated for IEP services with the assessment battery were considered for the program. Those who most closely matched the profile and required a more restrictive learning environment to make effective progress were considered first for the SLC-D. Not every student with dyslexia requires a more restrictive setting to make effective progress. (Sarah said that legally, schools should not be eager to put students in a substantially separate program unless they require it to make effective progress in the curriculum.)

Stephanie asked how it is determined what method would work best for each student when working with them. Alison said that they are using the assessment battery to pinpoint what types of intervention are required with each student. Tests such as phonemic awareness, phonemic (auditory) processing, working memory, retrieval, site-word efficiency, pseudo word decoding, oral language awareness, listening comprehension

Bill Hayner said that Dr. Homan has indicated areas of need to be addressed at the next School Committee meeting. He says to contact your School Committee members with any concerns or ideas for workshops to improve the professional development of our special educators/reading specialists.

New Business – Inae said we are open and receptive to any ideas on speakers we might invite.

Announcements – Next meeting is in the evening, November 9th at 7:30pm, on Zoom