2013-2014 Year-end Report Prepared For
Elizabeth Flynn, Director of Student Services, and the School Committee, Hingham Public Schools
The following is a summary of the business conducted by the Hingham SEPAC during the 2013-2014 school year:
SEPAC Overview: In accordance with federal and state special education laws and regulations and in adherence with all the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) directives and advisories pertaining to the creation and functioning of special education parent advisory councils, Hingham Public Schools (HPS) has established and will continue to foster the HPS Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). HPS authorizes the Hingham SEPAC to be the authorized and designated special education parent advisory council for HPS, Hingham, MA.
Hingham SEPAC Mission Statement: The mission of the SEPAC is to work for the understanding of, respect for, and support of children with disabilities who receive special education services from HPS.
• To promote a network of parents of students with disabilities who receive special education services from HPS and to provide a forum to share information and concerns;
• To advise the Director of Student Services, the Superintendent, and the School Committee regarding professional development and parent concerns;
• To promote communication among Hingham SEPAC members, local, state and national organizations, councils, and groups;
• To promote communication and programs within the community to encourage understanding, acceptance, and inclusion of all children with disabilities.
SEPAC Board Members: At the start of the 2013-2014 school year, the SEPAC Board consisted of Marisa Ronan, Co-Chair; Daniela Andruszkiewicz, Co-Chair; and Sonja Finney, Secretary.
In addition, the following SEPAC members served as PTO liaisons: Kerry Ni, South Elementary; Brooke Gagnier, Foster Elementary; Sharon Burnett, Plymouth River School; Daniela Andruszkiewicz, East Elementary; Marisa Ronan, Hingham Middle School.
SEPAC Meetings: The Board meets monthly on the second Tuesday of each month in the Fearing Room of the Hingham Public Library. In keeping with the state’s Open Meeting Law, our monthly meetings are posted at least 48 hours in advance, minutes are kept, and agenda/attendance sheets are maintained by the Director of Student Services in compliance with the Public Records Law.
SEPAC Accomplishments: We continued our efforts to reach out to members, in addition to educators, school PTOs, and the public in general. Some highlights of 2013-2014 are:
· Grant process open to all HPS staff; three grants awarded in May to teachers, totaling $2,526.
· Formation of the South Shore Special Needs Athletic Partnership (“SNAP”) together with the Hingham Sports Partnership
· Third annual Families4Fitness Fun Run/Walk held at Bare Cove Park, raising $3,387.
· Developed and introduced a new logo and tagline for the SEPAC—“navigating special education”
· Two multi-page newsletter mailings to all SEPAC members (September and March)
· Regular and periodic electronic newsletter mailings to SEPAC listserv
· Book donations from the SEPAC to the Hingham Public Library
· Ongoing maintenance of the Hingham SEPAC website (www.hinghamsepac.org) and Facebook page
SEPAC Presentations: The following events/presentations were offered:
· October 9 – Teacher and parent executive function workshops presented by Sarah Ward, MS, CCC/SLP, Co-Director of Cognitive Connections
· October 23 – Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities presented by Elizabeth Flynn
· March 13 – Screening of The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia followed by discussion and Q&A facilitated by Elizabeth Flynn
· April 2 – Presentation on Precision Teaching by Richard McManus, Executive Director of the Fluency Factory
· April 10 – Presentation on Demystifying Section 504 Accomodations by Elizabeth Flynn
· May 3 – Third Annual Families4Fitness Fun Run/Walk at Bare Cove Park
· May 15 – Screening of Mother Nature’s Child with Q&A at Plymouth River School organized by Elizabeth Flynn
SEPAC Outreach: SEPAC information and notices are routinely sent to HPS principals for distribution through their e-mail distribution lists; posted in PTO newsletters; advertised in the Hingham Journal, Local Betty and Hingham Patch; posted on the SEPAC website and Facebook page; distributed through the SEPAC listserv; and printed in SEPAC newsletters mailed to the home addresses of students on IEPs. In addition, SEPAC Board members attended and participated in all-town PTO meetings for information sharing. Private support group meetings for Hingham parents/caregivers were hosted in response to direct requests, but discontinued due to extremely low attendance. The Families4Fitness Fun Run/Walk continued to serve as an important community- and visibility-building event.
SEPAC Finances: The pro forma cash balance in the SEPAC account as of June 30, 2014 was $11,124.50. The actual cash balance number is not available at this time due to a change in personnel in the HPS Accounting Department. SEPAC funds are deposited with and held as a separate account by the Town of Hingham’s Accountant until use by the SEPAC.
SEPAC Goals: Due to the lack of volunteers the SEPAC will be forced to scale back its agenda for the 2014-2015 school year. We plan to:
· continue with our outreach initiatives to increase the visibility of our organization with parents, educators, and School Committee by providing informative programs and resources to parents and educators and encouraging parent involvement; and
· collaborate with the HPS administration and Director of Student Services to the benefit of students receiving special education services.
We look forward to furthering the Hingham SEPAC’s mission and goals in the 2014-2015 school year.
Marisa Carnevale Ronan, Chair
Sonja Finney, Secretary