2014-2015 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 2014-2015 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 that receive special education services from HPS as follows:
- 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: For the 2014-2015 school year, the SEPAC Board consisted solely of Marisa Carnevale Ronan, Chairperson. After serving four years on the Board, Marisa Ronan is stepping down as of June 30, 2015.
In addition, the following SEPAC members served as PTO liaisons: Kerry Ni, South Elementary; Sharon Burnett, Plymouth River School; Holly Pilotte, East Elementary; Marisa Ronan, Hingham Middle School.
SEPAC Meetings: The SEPAC met 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, monthly meetings are posted at least 48 hours in advance, minutes are kept, and the Director of Student Services in compliance with the Public Records Law maintains agenda/attendance sheets.
SEPAC Accomplishments: Due to the lack of board members and volunteers the SEPAC was forced to significantly scale back its agenda and activities for the 2014-2015 school year. The SEPAC’s primary activities this year were holding the monthly meetings and maintaining the Hingham SEPAC website (www.hinghamsepac.org) and Facebook page. There were no presentations sponsored by the Hingham SEPAC this year other than the required basic rights and responsibilities.
SEPAC Outreach: The Hingham SEPAC Facebook presence and engagement grew during the year, with the number of “Likes” increasing 35% over the past 12 months. As social media is an increasingly important outlet for any organization, this growth in our reach is significant, particularly given the general lack of interest and enthusiasm generally demonstrated by our membership. Facebook will continue to be an important avenue for communication in the future.
SEPAC Finances: The cash balance in the SEPAC account as of June 9, 2015 was $10,137.39. SEPAC funds are deposited with and held as a separate account by the Town of Hingham’s Accountant until use by the SEPAC.
SEPAC New Board Members: As of July 1, 2015, the new Hingham SEPAC Board is as follows:
Diane DeNapoli, Co-Chair
Nate and Paige Rand, Co-Chair
Katherine Gaughen, Secretary
Lynda Vanderhoven, Treasurer
SEPAC Goals: 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.
The Hingham SEPAC looks forward to furthering its mission and goals in the 2015-2016 school year.
Marisa Carnevale Ronan, Chairperson