Each board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities.______________________________________________________________________________________________
A Message From The SEPAC Parent Leader
Hi, I am Cathy Klein, the SEPAC ( Special Education Parental Advisory Committee) leader. We are an advocacy organization for all students identified with disabilities in the West Essex Regional School District, comprised of both district professionals and parents.
The state of New Jersey, in the New Jersey Administrative Code 6A: 13-1.2(h), mandates that all public school districts have a SEPAC: "Each board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities."
During February, 2011, a group of parents who have special needs students in and out of district, met and created the mission statement for our SEPAC: "The mission of the West Essex Regional School District's Special Education Parental Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is to encourage honest and effective communication, understanding, and mutual respect in a supportive partnership inclusive of all students, parents, educators, and the community-at-large in an effort to ensure the delivery of appropriate services to special education students." Our specific goals include:
· being an advocate for the special needs students and parents by facilitating effective communication between the Special Services Department and parents
· encouraging parent involvement in the special education program
· providing a forum for sharing ideas, asking questions, gathering information, and offering suggestions
· sponsoring presentations and workshops on a variety of issues generated by parent interest.
Since our formation in February 2011, we have had presentations regarding preparation for college entrance exams and the college application process for students with disabilities. We also had a presentation by the director of disabilities services at Caldwell college who discussed the transition to college for students with disabilities. In addition, we held two support group meetings in which parents were able to share concerns in a confidential environment.
We have tremendous potential to have a positive impact on special services in our school district by adding an important voice to the district's dialogue and decision-making process by providing valuable activities for students and parents. SEPAC is here for YOU and welcomes the opportunity to meet and work with you to share resources, thoughts, concerns, and ideas that will support our children. Presently, we need more parental support and participation if SEPAC is to continue to exist. Your participation makes us more effective advocates for our special needs children. Presentations and workshops can only take place with enough participation. We will be asking parents to RSVP to each presentation. Without adequate participation, the presentations will be cancelled.
Please look for all SEPAC announcements on the home pages of the high school and middle school websites. Also, check weekly on the West Essex School District Newsletter that is sent to you via e-mail. SEPAC e-mails will be sent to you on a regular basis with updated information. Please contact me with any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss. Again, we exist to advocate for you and your child.
Dr. Cathy Klein, Ed.D. (SEPAC Parent Leader)