Get To Know The Framingham Special Education Parent Advisory Council
F-SEPAC is a resource for parents which bridges the gap between families and school administration.
As a parent of a child with special needs, I can tell you that knowledge really is power. From the moment you receive a diagnosis, you spring into action seeking as much information as possible but often find resources are lacking. The same can be said for support. It is often a solitary path when you are the parent of a child with special needs.
Thankfully several Framingham parents took it upon themselves to form a group for these very reasons. Enter the Framingham Special Education Parent Advisory Council (F-SEPAC).
Chaired by Susan Arndt and Cheryl Caira, the group is mandated and supported by Massachusetts law. F-SEPAC has become a district-wide resource for parents and guardians of special needs children in town. The group offers information, a monthly support group and meetings throughout the school year. They provide opportunities for parents to share experiences, information and a venue to learn more about challenges facing children with special needs.
According to their website, F-SEPAC:
- Is a united voice for special needs children
- Acts as an advisory committee to the Framingham school district and its SPED Department
- Works to support and protect access to quality education for all children, especially those with disabilities
- Participates in decision making that affects policies, rules, and regulations
The group has had a successful year in bringing education and awareness into the Framingham Community.
F-SEPAC was honored to be chosen for the Jim O’Connor Community Service Award at the Salute to Framingham benefit on March 24, 2011. Named for former Framingham High athletic director and founder of the Salute to Framingham, this award honors an organization whose work benefits the youth of Framingham.
In its annual presentation to the School Committee, F-SEPAC requested and was granted a liaison to the School Committee (Beverly Hugo) which will help make a stronger connection for decision making between parents and administration. F-SEPAC works with the school administration to insure that polices are followed, rights are not violated, and that the quality of special education is improved.
The group also brings important speakers, educational opportunities for both parents and teachers, and keeps the community informed of resources for children with special needs through flyers and their website which has links in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
There is also an online Yahoo group that provides one-way communication for events. F-SEPAC supports teachers by providing free professional development points (PDPs) for certain events to encourage teachers to come and learn more about special education.
The group hopes to increase their membership and volunteers so they can be a stronger, bigger and better resource and presence for both parents and school administration. They are looking for volunteers to fill a number of positions particularly liaisons to all the Framingham public schools.
The next event for F-SEPAC is June 9 from 8-9:30 p.m. at Panache Coffee. Come mingle with other parents and staff involved in special education from the Framingham Public Schools and see how you can get involved.