Friday, October 18, 2013

2013-2014 Georgetown SEPAC Meeting Schedule

What is the SEPAC? The PAC is a mandated organization under the current Massachusetts Special Education Regulations and is tasked with “advising the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities; meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district's special education programs.” (Pursuant to 603 CMR §28.07(4)) The PAC is a group of parents and care providers dedicated to providing the community with information specifically targeted to the educational development of children with special needs. We are also a support network and sounding board for families of children with special needs. We work together to facilitate communications between families and the administrators and staff members of the Georgetown Public Schools. PAC Chairperson Shelby Walker, Esq………………… (H) 978.352.2072 (C) 978.270.6447 ( 2013-2014 GEORGETOWN SEPAC MEETING SCHEDULE Most of our meetings are held on the Last Tuesday of each month in the Library at Penn Brook School (68 Elm Street) from 7:00 to 8:30 PM. The preliminary agenda for the year is as follows: September 24, 2013: Our first meeting of the year will feature Dr. Donna Straight, Ed.D., our Director of Special Education. Dr. Straight and other members of the Special Education Department will provide parents with an overview of the vision for the Special Education Department for the 2013-2014 school year. Additionally, parents will be able to ask questions and share concerns. October 17, 2013: Special Education Law and Advocacy Training by Pete Wright (of This is a one day special education and advocacy program that focuses on special education law, rights and responsibilities; tests and measurements to monitor progress and regression; SMART IEPS; and intorduction to tactics and strategies for effective advocacy. Please see for registration details. Additionally, the PAC will sponsor one Georgetown parent to attend - first come, first serve basis if seats are still available. Transportation for up to two parents will be provided free of charge as well. Please email Shelby Walker at by September 1st if interested in sponsorship and/or transportation. Location: Wilton, CT October 29, 2013: The Role of the BCBA & Behavorial Strategies and Social Skills: Increasing Your Child’s Social Interactions with Peers. This seminar will feature Georgetown’s resident BCBA’s Karissa Bonner (Perley) and Sarah Clifford (Penn Brook & Middle/High School). December 3, 2013: SEPAC Parents Holiday Coffee Connection. An informal gathering that will be hosted by the Chairperson at her home solely to offer support, networking and information sharing. Other topics will include: fundraising and parent participation. Refreshments will be served. Time & Date: 7:30PM at 108 Jackman Street, Georgetown. January 28, 2014: Effective Advocacy for Your Special Needs Child by Shelby Walker. Based loosely on the Best Seller “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” co-authored by Harvard Law Professor Mr. Rodger Fisher, this seminar will focus on the do’s and don’ts of negotiation. Included: tips and strategies for how to be an effective advocate for your child while building trust and respect; and an overview of the “W’s” of Advocacy: When should I begin advocating for my child? What laws should I become familiar with? What else do I need in order to be an effective advocate? February 25, 2014: Practical Strategies for Strengthening Executive Function Skills by Dr. Molly Cook. This seminar will help teachers, parents and school administrators alike to address and plan for students who have impairments in their executive functioning skill sets. March 25, 2014: Diagnosis Overview: Language-Based Learning Disabilities (“LBLD”). Does your child struggle with reading, spelling and writing? Language-based learning disabilities are problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, and/or writing. This disorder is not about how smart a person is. Most people diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence. This seminar will help parents understand: What are some signs of LBLDs? How are they diagnosed and by whom? Speaker: Panel Discussion by multiple Specialists, including CCC-SLPs from various service providers such as Clearly Speaking of Hampton Fall, NH. April 29, 2014: Assistive Technology Overview. Speaker: TBD June 17, 2014: End of the Year Wrap-Up and Shining Stars Awards. We would like to recognize Georgetown Educators, be they teachers, therapists, aides, support staff or administration, that have been exceptional in their support of our children and/or Special Education programs within the School District. Additional Trainings….. Transition Bootcamp: The PAC is pleased to announce that, in partnerships with The Arc of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport and Parent Advisory Councils of Haverhill, Newburyport, North Andover and Pentucket, we will be sponsoring a “Transition Bootcamp”. The Bootcamp comprises a series of workshops to help guide and prepare teachers, parents and students with resources and information for the Transition years, ages 14-22. This is a must attend for all parents with children approaching 14 or older. Workshops include: (i) The Post-Secondary Years: College Options - Projected date October, 2013 • Learn about what local colleges have to offer students with Intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Hear from college faculty and parents and students who have attended these programs. Participating colleges include Northern Essex Community College, North Shore Community College and Mass Bay Community College. • Location : Newburyport (TBD) (ii) Ready for Turning 18: Legal Planning and Benefits- Projected Dates 10/29 and Tuesdays in November, 2103 • A local attorney specializing in Special Needs Guardianship and related matters will provide information on what reaching the age of majority really means and will include information on guardianship and the alternatives, benefits and services. • Location: Georgetown (Penn Brook Library) (iii) Financial Planning: The Essentials Every Family Must Know- projected dates-November, 2013 • Cynthia Haddad from Shepard Financial Partners will provide information on the steps families can take to insure the care and well-being of their family members with disabilities. • Location: Pentucket (TBD) (iv) Teacher’s Toolkit: Workshops for Educators on the Transition Process. Projected dates: One session during Oct/Nov – perhaps during half days. • The Arc of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport will provide educators with information on Transition Planning- the timelines and process. Strategies on how to include the student in the IEP will be shared. • Locations: TBD (v) Transition Clinic: An informal discussion on the Transition years. Learn when to begin and what the timelines are. Projected date: November, 2013 • What can families do to prepare their sons and daughters for the future? This small group discussion will provide a guide for the Transition years, the process, checkpoints and essential timelines. Facilitated by The Arc of Greater Haverhill Newburyport • Location: Haverhill (vi) Transition Bootcamp Basics: Getting Our Kids Ready for the Transition Years. Projected date, March, 2014 • Entering the teen years brings lots of opportunities to get our kids ready for adulthood! Learn about strategies to increase independence, developing a vision, self-advocacy, self-determination and Transition Planning with your IEP Team. • Presented by Pat Pakos, M.Ed, The Arc of Massachusetts • Location: Haverhill (vii) Ask the Expert: Legal Planning Clinic. Projected date: March, 2014 • A local attorney will provide answers to your questions on the legal processes, benefits and resources that can happen when your family members turns 18. This clinic will be held in a small relaxed setting- it is like getting a consultation for free! Sign up quickly as the registrations will be limited. • Location: Haverhill ARC Offices (viii) Ready for Life! When the School Bus Stops Coming. Projected date- April, 2014 • As your sons and daughters approach leaving school “life on the other side” can be a mystery. Learn about housing, employment and day options, and community involvement. Hear from a panel of self-advocates and families who reached 22. What were the pitfalls and successes? • Location: Pentucket (ix) Transition Clinic: An informal discussion on the Transition years. Learn when to begin and what the timelines are. Projected date: April, 2014 • What can families do to prepare their sons and daughters for the future? This small group discussion will provide a guide for the Transition years, the process, checkpoints and essential timelines. Facilitated by The Arc of Greater Haverhill Newburyport • Location: Newburyport YWCA