SPS Committee Receives Update from Special Education Council
SEPAC says it's focused on being a 'positive support system for Sudbury families.'
Paula Moyer of the Sudbury SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) provided an update about the group's activities to the Sudbury Public Schools Committee during its meeting Wednesday night at the Sudbury Senior Center.
She said future plans include sibling workshops, teacher appreciation events and fun activities such as a family sledding party.
"We are here to be a positive support system for Sudbury families," said Moyer, who is the mother of a special needs son.
She said the group plans to do more promotion and more outreach to parents of Sudbury's special needs kids.
"Sometimes we hear from people who are surprised that there even is a SEPAC, so we try to get the word out," Moyer said.
The Committee also heard an update on the newly established Student Services model, which focuses on continuity, consistency, collaboration and coherence.
"It's been very invigorating for me personally," said Special Education Administrator Debbie Dixson about the Student Services model, which has been in place in the Sudbury Schools for about two months.
Dixson said the number of Sudbury students who require Special Education services range from 10 to 14 percent among the elementary and middle schools. She said that figure is below the state average and is consistent with previous years. Types of disabilities include autism, hearing or vision loss, emotional, communication oR health issues.
Dixson said staffing challenges in special education included a few resignations and some movement within the schools as some staff moved from special to regular education. It took some time to fill those positions, she said.
"We've always said that we'll wait for the right person," she said, emphasizing a need to hire the right individual for a position as opposed to simply filling the position as quickly as possible. Other challenges include finding the space and resources to develop new programs, she said.
Dixson also serves as the district's Homeless Education coordinator to make sure that children who are homeless continue to receive the public education they are entitled to. Dixson said homeless services are not used frequently in Sudbury, but this year there were three families who were eligible for the homeless program.
"We're all here for the same purpose," Dixson said. "We want to make sure that we don't miss a child."
"I think this is really helpful, not only to see the special education presentation, but to think about it with a unified approach," said Committee Chair Richard Robison.
"Everyone involved in Student Services brings tremendous skill," said Dixson.