SEPAC Meeting Minutes – February 8, 2022

Call to Order

Introductions – Inae Hwang, Sarah Barton, Alison Elmer, Chris Carlson, Louisa Popkin, Kristin Burke, Audrey LaVallee, Kate Hadden, Tracy Perneta, Calpurnyia Roberts, Michele Phelan, Cheryl Miller, Claire Johnson, Sheherazade Essack, Kusum Thummalapalli, and Stephanie Trinkle attended.

Meeting Minutes – Meeting Minutes from January 2022 were approved.

Officer Committee Reports – 

– We just held the Crafting Minds workshop with Sarah Gannon, and it was well-attended, even by people from outside the district. The slides from this presentation are up on the District Special Education page, our website, and the link to them is also up on the Facebook page.

– Tonight we are holding a parent-only listening session, in conjunction with our survey that we sent out. We had 122 responses already to our survey, and are already seeing a number of common threads that might be able to be addressed at the State level, such as how school refusal is dealt with (a punitive vs. a mental health response). We are having representative Sean Garballey at a future meeting to present the results that can be addressed at the state level.

– The results of our survey will be published after they are aggregated.

– Our April meeting is going to have a focus on staff who work on the General Education reading curriculum, such as Dr. MacNeal, the APS ELA director, Reading Staff, and Reading Coaches, so get those questions ready.

APS Staff Reports –

– The Superintendent will present her budget proposal to the School Committee, and if the School Committee approves the budget then it will be presented for approval to the Finance Committee. Once it is approved by the Finance Committee, it becomes part of the Town Manager’s budget, which is voted on at the Town Meeting in May.

– We are looking forward to some of our upcoming presentations, such as the presentation on the Elementary ELA curriculum, and the upcoming School Committee presentation on social-emotional needs of students during the pandemic by Director of Social Emotional Learning Sarah Burd.

– Dr. Janger, the principal of AHS, and the heterogeneous learning working group, is looking at other areas, such as Science and ELA, where the heterogeneous classroom model can be applied. There is evidence that there is more equity for traditionally marginalized students who participate in heterogeneous classes, and that participation has led to these students taking higher-level courses in later years. Dr. Janger will be presenting on heterogeneous instruction at our March meeting.

Public Participation/New Business –

– We hope to get Rep. Sean Garballey to attend our May meeting.

– At our May meeting we will also be holding nominations for the SEPAC board, so if you want to be considered for one of our positions, feel free to nominate yourself.

– Maybe next year, since we are out of space for this year, we can have Jeffrey Benson do a presentation on Growth Mindset

– Stephanie Trinkle mentioned that she spoke with Laura Rodriguez (a district SEL coach), and found that the Second Step curriculum hasn’t been included in the curriculum for all grades. She mentioned that her second-grader is just starting the curriculum in February, rather than having it introduced at the beginning of the year. She also talked to her about how some of the tools that have been recommended for her child aren’t always accessible, such as using mindfulness when they have a disability such as ADHD or anxiety.

– Alison mentioned that the Second Step curriculum is being phased in gradually, so not all teachers have implemented it yet. Inae mentioned that a few years back Sarah Burd talked about rolling out the Second Step curriculum, starting in Kindergarten, so it was planned to be a gradual roll-out.

Announcements –

– We are holding the Parent/Caregiver Listening Session tonight at 7:30 at the same link as this meeting.

– Our March presentation is Dr. Janger on Heterogeneous Groupings, April is Reading Curriculum/Specialists, May is Rep Garballey, and June is elections.

– We usually hold social hours at night when we have morning meetings.



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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