The following letter submitted by SEPAC was read during the public speaks portion of the SOMSD Board of Education meeting on 10/18/21.
Good evening Board of Education members,
I’m speaking to you on behalf of the board of SEPAC SOMA — the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee — to bring your attention to TWO critical issues.
Since the first day of school, September 13, there are numerous students at Jefferson and Tuscan Schools whose IEPs are out of compliance. These students qualify for Evidence Based Reading (EBR) services, provided by an EBR teacher on a daily basis. At Jefferson, there are EBR teachers, but they have been moved into classrooms where they are filling in for other needed teachers. At Tuscan, there is no EBR teacher; there is a teacher qualified to do EBR, but this person has been placed as the special education teacher in an inclusion classroom.
We have expressed our concerns and need for a solution with the administration. Now, we are alerting you, the Board of Education, because there has been no change and no solution and still no communication to families. Every day a student is not doing EBR is another day they are not receiving the services they need to help them learn how to read. This is not something that gets ‘made up’; the reason it is done every day is because that is how it is effective.
The second issue is the lack of a working elevator at the Maplewood Middle School. We are told that a work order has been placed and they are waiting on a part. We urge you to expedite this problem. We understand that there are 7 to 8 students who are affected by this on a daily basis.
Our district prides itself on being equitable. We respectfully ask the Board to work harder to achieve this goal. Special Education students are a part of our district’s diversity and they deserve — and are legally entitled to — a free and appropriate public education.
Thank you for your urgent attention to these issues. It is time to make sure that every child in our district has an equal opportunity to learn and grow.
SEPAC SOMA Board, 2021-2022
Malia Herman, President
Beth Cosentino, VP of Policy Initiatives
Nicole Stewart and Lindsey Stone, VPs of Programming
Kelly Mortimer, Communications Officer