Dr. Ficarra letter 3-18-2019

Here is the letter that SEPAC sent to Dr. Ficarra in regards to the variety of methods that secondary teachers are using to communicate assignments to students.  The content is also shared below.

March 18, 2019

525 Academy Street Maplewood, NJ 07040

Dear Dr. Ficarra:

I am writing to you as the SEPAC president about an issue of great concern to parents of middle school and high school aged children both with and without IEPs and 504 Plans. The issue is the variety of methods that secondary teachers are using to communicate assignments to students. When my daughter with severe ADHD and accompanying Executive Function deficits was in 6th grade at SOMS, she had teachers using Edmodo, Google Classroom, a whiteboard with assignments that students were expected to copy down, Remind texting, and specific teacher websites. This was so confusing for her that we had to make a spreadsheet for her with each class listed along with the online (or paper-based) platform that she needed to check daily for assignments.

I know that this issue is not specific to my daughter alone. Last month, at our SEPAC meeting, focused on secondary education students, this topic came up again (as it did last year at the same meeting) due to the prevalence of the issue. Many parents described similar situations and concern about the lack of a consistent online platform for teachers to communicate assignments to students. This is extremely challenging for students with a variety of learning challenges.

We have discussed this issue with Dr. Morana but wanted to reach out to you as this affects students in general education as well. Students transitioning to middle school have a large learning curve, which is to be expected as they adjust to 8 periods a day; however, making communication consistent from one class to the next and from one year to the next could really help students to be successful. Somewhere along the line, the notion arose that the administration could not dictate a particular platform to teachers due to contractual issues and I would appreciate your explanation of whether or not this is actually the case. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss this further if that would be productive.

Best, Reesa Salomon, SEPAC President On behalf of SOMA SEPAC

CC Mr. Keith Bonds CC Dr. Laura Morana CC Ms. Ann Bodnar CC SOMSD Board of Education members

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