SEPAC – South Orange/Maplewood

Welcome

cropped-book-1189776_960_720.png

Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is a parent-led advocacy group focused on policies, programs, and practices within the South Orange Maplewood School District.  Families and caregivers of student(s) with learning needs or students eligible for or receiving services under an IEP or 504 plan are encouraged to attend SEPAC Meetings.

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. Our meetings consist of featured conversations/ 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!


SEPAC Board Nomination Form, plus Descriptions of Positions

Are you interested in becoming more involved with the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC)? Go HERE to learn about what we do and nominate yourself or another person for a board position. Questions: Email – sepacsoma@gmail.com

SEPAC Board Advocacy 2020-2021

The following list of issues and concerns have been brought to the attention of the District Administration, the Special Services Department and/or the Board of Education: 

  • Additional accommodation support for students with IEPs and 504s for distance learning.
  • Professional development to teachers to be able to help students during distance learning. 
  • Prioritizing special education students to return safely to in-person learning, especially those in self-contained classrooms. 
  • Compensatory Related Services be broadly offered, as opposed to school by school.
  • Childcare coverage for the Montrose students when the school returned to hybrid learning and no longer had space for them.
  • Additional PPE for Paraprofessionals and Staff who work more closely and hand-over-hand with some Special Education students. 
  • Greater outreach for Preschool Program Registration to include more families whose children may not otherwise receive a high quality preschool education.
  • Integration throughout special education and inclusion classrooms.
  • Executive Function Program to be initiated in Elementary Schools and more EF preparation for Middle Schoolers. 
  • Elementary School Social Skills Program that is embedded into the school day as opposed to once-a-week pull out with the School Social Worker.
  • Social Emotional and Mental Health Support for students and families. 
  • Transition support for students returning to in-person learning.

SEPAC and Support Group Meetings

The Virtual ADHD Parent Group Meeting
Thursday, April 15 @7:30pm
Google Meet: meet.google.com/bnw-qfho-khc

Connect with others who understand the challenges and rewards of parenting children with ADHD. We are a group of parents who value the exchange of ideas and resources to help our unique children meet their social, emotional, and educational needs. Join us for judgement-free support. Drop-ins always welcome.
Questions? Contact Alison Steiner at asteiner@somsd.k12.nj.us and Hilary Andreini at hilary@hilarylifecoaching.com.

Selective Mutism Support Group Meeting
Wednesday, April 20 @8:00pm
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/95482957507?pwd=dUlhcTVSTjlteUtqWTFyK1pxSFAzQT09 Meeting ID: 954 8295 7505 Password: talking

How are our anxious kids doing during this pandemic? Need to share and compare?The purpose of the SM Support group is to provide help to families new to Selective Mutism by sharing experiences, information, and resources, and answering their questions as well as aid in formulating pertinent questions to ask. A secondary purpose is to provide a virtual and physical space for all local SM families to communicate current needs regarding their child with SM and share information specific to the local area. The overall mission is to bring awareness to SM as an anxiety disorder and to inform the general public, families,school administrators, teachers, and staff on proper methods in approaching a child with SM. Questions? Contact Kathleen Hong at kitkathong@gmail.com

Learning Disability Parent Support Group Meeting
Thursday, April 21 @8:00pm
Google Meet: meet.google.com/qdk-qzxp-obo

Have a child with a learning difference (i.e. dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, specific learning disability)? Join this supportive group of parents to share experiences, resources, concerns and solutions. For more information or questions, please contact: Susan Nasberg-Abrams at snasberg@hotmail.com.

SEPAC Meeting
Monday, April 26 7:15-8:45pm
Google Meet: meet.google.com/mbc-ieza-xmg

April is the time for Transitions! At our next meeting, we’ll be focusing on the big ones: Preschool to Kindergarten, Elementary to Middle, Middle to High School, and High School and beyond. All of our children go through them at some point so come join us to hear from Case Managers and Transition Coordinators what those big changes entail and how to make them as smooth as possible. SEPAC Board will also give updates on advocacy and there will be time at the end for parents to talk and support each other.


Staff Shout Outs!

Is there a staff member that has gone above and beyond for your child? If so, click on the link below and fill out the form to give them a shout out. Then, in the next Special Services Newsletter they’ll get to see their name and feel extra special! Here are the previous staff members who have received Shout Outs… Ms. Benn, Mrs. Spina, Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Pleasant, Mrs. Hirsch, Nichole Kaller, Christopher Faley, Amanda Quinitchett, Lataeya Lane-Mega, Patty Scali, Jessica Knasel, Meg Richardson, Michael Wojcio, Shannon Colonna, Amy Pitucco, Mara Fox, Cynthia Van Wert, Hillary Rosen, Meredith Roig, Kristin Auriemma, Miss DeMartino and Miss Dulny, Danielle MooneyChavez, Phil McCormick, Lori Smith, Dr. Nicole Guilino, Mary Davis.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe343cLfE2jX7TfX7DBCrrrIBijvKzVv5TBJev3qo7bpx0TYQ/viewform


Special Events and Programs

South Orange honored Black History Month this year with a variety of offerings. Click on the highlighted header-links for more information.

Our Voices Podcasts: This weekly podcast will feature conversations with members of our local and nearby communities. For 2021, Our Voices focuses on this year’s theme for Black History Month – The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. This podcast will highlight black families who practice Judaism, black LGBTQ+ families, and black people with disabilities and their families.

South Orange Public Library’s Events and Children’s Book List Picks

South Orange Village’s Black History Month Home Page – This year’s national theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.


Quick Links to SOMSD Special Services Information

Special Services Department Newsletters

March 2021: https://www.smore.com/wp4a3

February 2021: https://www.smore.com/f106k

January 2021: https://www.smore.com/xkhy1t

December 2020: https://www.smore.com/8by1u

November 2020:https://www.smore.com/9814b

October 2020: https://www.smore.com/u7xk2

2020 -2021 Special Services Supplemental Guide: Virtual Instruction Guidebook for Families (9/2)

Link: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/mdocs-posts/2020-2021-special-services-supplemental-guide-to-somsd-virtual-guidebook-for-families/

2020-2021 Virtual Instructional Guidebook for Families

Link: https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/mdocs-posts/2020-2021-virtual-instructional-guidebook-for-families/