Tuesday, March 28 @ 7:30pm
TRANSITION TALK with JESPY HOUSE: SEPAC SOMA proudly presents an opportunity to learn about transition, life after high school and a gem of an organization, JESPY House, located right here in South Orange. JESPY provides employment, housing, and recreational services, and resources to the post-18-year-old disabled population.
Click here to join the Zoom meeting
Or, join by phone:
+1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 853 8832 0922
Passcode: 383410


Wednesday, March 15 & Saturday, April 15
The Township of Maplewood is in the process of preparing a new Master Plan. These plans, which are required by the state to be updated at least every 10 years, are primarily focused on the physical realm and have traditionally covered issues such as zoning, transportation, and parks. However, increasingly, master plans look at “softer” issues such as public health (especially in the wake of the pandemic), social connection, and equity.

The town is very interested in hearing from Maplewood residents with disabilities and their families about how their concerns and needs could be addressed in the master plan, including housing; accessibility of municipal and other facilities; open space and recreation needs; and communication and information sharing.

As parents and caregivers of children with disabilities this is a great opportunity to add our voices to the future of Maplewood. Two public workshops are happening soon: Wednesday, March 15 and Saturday, April 15.

If you are running into difficulties related to your child’s IEP or
504 plan, SEPAC SOMA wants to know.
Often, you aren’t alone … sharing your individual experience adds to the bigger picture and helps us identify systemic issues we can elevate to district administration.

Share your experience

BOE MEETING: Thursday, February 23, 2023, 7:00pm
At tonight’s SOMSD Board of Education meeting, there will be a First Reading of changes to Policy 8420 (Emergency & Crisis Situations), which covers how emergency drills are handled in our schools. In recent years, parents and experts in our community, including SEPAC SOMA, strongly advocated to make sure the current policy includes:
• Letting everyone know the drill is a drill, while it is in progress, not just when it ends; and
• An emphasis on social/emotional well-being during the drill, especially for students caught outside of classrooms during a lockdown.

The proposed policy removes these important provisions (and others). If this concerns you, please speak out! YOUR STORIES are testimony, and YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE by sharing your thoughts with the BOE: boemembers@somsd.k12.nj.us.

At our January 24th SEPAC SOMA meeting, we learned how to spot – and support – anxiety in high school students, and about the mental health support programs available at Columbia High School, including the CHS Social Work Intern Program; The Loft @ CHS; ESS, a therapeutic in-school counseling program; and CAP classes for students who need a smaller, more supportive environment.

Thank you, Jenny Easton, Sara Brinkerhoff, Elizabeth Kolodiy and David Velder for spending the evening with us and explaining the social/emotional support options available at CHS!

At our “Middle School & Mental Health” meeting on January 9th, a panel of SOMSD experts joined us to take a close look at how anxiety presents in the tween/early teen years, how parents and caregivers can support their child at home, and how to tap into support at our SOMSD middle schools, including the SOMS Social Work Intern Program; The Hub @ MMS; and ISTEP, a therapeutic counseling program at both middle schools.

Huge thanks to Alison Steiner, Caroline Raba and Michael Zarabi for sharing their knowledge and experience with our SEPAC community!

Anxiety in elementary school … What does it look like? How can parents and caregivers support children at home? Who can help at school? Where to start??

At our November SEPAC SOMA community meeting, SOMSD Social Workers Arelis Tapia-Vargas and Marilu Gregory shared valuable information on how to help not only kids with IEPs and 504s but any K-5 student who may be struggling. 

“We believe working in a collaborative manner with all of our partners and parents is for the betterment of every student.”

Meet Beth Cosentino, our 2022-2023 SEPAC SOMA President! Read more about Beth, our SEPAC SOMA mission, and other goals for the year in our SEPAC SOMA President’s Welcome Letter and Update

Watch Assistant Superintendent Susie Budine’s comprehensive overview of SOMSD Special Education in the district presented at our October meeting. Learn more about the continuum of programming and services; interventions, 504s and IEPs; Child Study Team members; and our Special Education student population.

And if you found that presentation informative, please join SEPAC SOMA to stay in-the-know about future meetings!


The more we know about YOU, the better we are able to support our amazing community of Special Education families!

Take our survey

Please take a few minutes to share your input on topics, meetings, communication preferences and volunteer opportunities. Five minutes of your time right now will help us tailor our programming and parent support opportunities all year long.


The Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is a parent-led, state-mandated group focused on policies, programs, and practices within the South Orange & Maplewood School District. SEPAC provides parents with tools and information to work collaboratively with the school district and to be more effective advocates for their children with special educational needs. Families and caregivers of students with learning needs or students eligible for or receiving services under an IEP or 504 plan are encouraged to attend SEPAC Meetings.

SEPAC Meetings

SEPAC hosts meetings throughout the school year to provide parents and caregivers support, resources and information relevant to students with special education programming. Our meetings consist of featured conversations and presentations, as well as support, resource sharing, and the ability to connect with other members of the special education community. Meetings with featured topics are our attempt to get those with similar concerns in the same room at the same time but all are always welcome!

View the schedule

At every meeting, we learn from one another, support each other, share resources and connect with others.

Connect with SEPAC SOMA

Stay informed about Special Education updates, advocacy efforts and upcoming meetings by subscribing to our mailing list.


SEPAC SOMA works hard to support and advocate for Special Education families by identifying trending issues and elevating those concerns to district administration and the Board of Education. If you’re feeling stuck, please let us know by reaching out to your school’s SEPAC Liaison or emailing us at info@sepacsoma.org.