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SEPAC

The Braintree Special Education Parent Advisory Council is an organization run by parents in conjunction with the Braintree Public Schools. The purpose of the SEPAC is to give children with special needs in our community a voice, stimulate parent involvement and to establish an effective channel of communication between the school district and parents of children with special needs. The ultimate goal is to enhance special education service delivery for students throughout the school district. Membership is open to all parents/guardians of children with disabilities.

If you have a child on a 504 (accommodations plan) or an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and you live in Braintree, you are already a member of Braintree SEPAC. Please join us at one of our monthly Parent meetings or other events to learn more.
 
If you have questions about Braintree programs and specialized services that are available at the pre-school, elementary, middle and high school levels, see the Parent's Guide.  For general SEPAC questions, or to be added to the distribution list, please contact braintreesepac@gmail.com.

SEPAC Calendar

January

-
Thayer Public Library, 798 Washington St, Braintree, MA 02184, USA
James Bush has been advising clients on complex financial, business and life matters for over 35 years. Families who have a child with special needs face a unique set of expenses. Financial planning for special needs families is a must. Although the prospect of financial planning for the rest of a child's life can seem difficult in the midst of all the everyday challenges, having a plan can provide a greater sense of security. Topics discussed will include making plans for medical expenses, are taking, and preserving a child's government benefits. Mr. Bush will provide an overview of the legal and financial needs families should address.


WORKSHOPS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO ALL!

RSVP not required.

If you have any questions, please call Vicki Griffith (SEPAC) at (857) 939-1219 or via email at gikonyogriffith@yahoo.com
Read More about SEPAC-Financial Planning for Special Needs Families

February

March

-
Braintree High School Media Center, 128 Town St, Braintree, MA 02184, USA
Advocating for children in the special education system can be frustrating and overwhelming for parents. Over the past decade, Attorney Jeffrey Sankey has worked with hundreds of families. In his experience, he's found that the parents who are best able to navigate the intricacies of the special education process share a number of common traits, which we will explore during this session.


Topics covered will include:
• Understanding key special education rules and regulations
• Maintaining accurate and complete records
• Facilitating productive relationships with school staff

WORKSHOPS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO ALL!

RSVP not required.

If you have any questions, please contact Leah Nabstedt (SEPAC) at (617) 943-2452 or via email at lnabstedt@verizon.net
Read More about SEPAC-10 Traits of Effective Parent Advocates

April

-
Thayer Public Library, 798 Washington St, Braintree, MA 02184, USA
This workshop to be presented by the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN). This presentation identifies the shift in student discipline from zero tolerance to safe and supportive schools and summarizes school district's behavioral expectations. Also identified are legal protections for students on IEPs and 504 Plans. This workshop clarifies differences among suspensions, expulsions and emergency removals. This workshop also will describe out-ofschool suspension procedures and explain limits on use of restraints. (workshop updated winter 2017)


WORKSHOPS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO ALL!

RSVP not required.

If you have any questions, please contact FlowerJaeger (SEPAC) at (617) 447-3685 or via email at dominiquejaeger@comcast.net
Read More about SEPAC-Suspension & Discipline

May

-
Braintree Town Hall, 1 John F Kennedy Memorial Dr, Braintree, MA 02184, USA
This celebration hosted each year by Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan


True inclusion allows children and youth with disabilities to develop a sense of belonging through building relationships outside of their family, developing knowledge of support systems, and having regular access to their community. Communities in which all children and youth are included are healthier, more balanced, and beneficial for all members. If you know of someone in our community, whether they are a teacher, student, parent, or community member, who furthers the
ideals of inclusion in Braintree, intentionally or not, please nominate them for a Community Inclusion Award.

Please see the SEPAC Website for detailed information about the nomination process.

Complete nominations can be sent in writing to:
SEPAC at 128 Town St., Braintree, MA 02184
ATTN: Community Inclusion Award Committee
or via email to braintreesepac@gmail.com or lynmcphail@yahoo.com
Read More about SEPAC-11th Annual Community Inclusion Awards

June

News and Announcements

Welcome back!  Our new parent board is now planning the workshops and activities for the 2018-2019 school year.  We will be updating this site regularly with Parent and Administration Meetings as well as workshops and other events.

Please join us!  Please complete the membership form (via link below).  As a member of SEPAC, we will add you to our email list to receive information on local resources events, workshops and support services.  Note you do not need to be a member to participate in our meetings or events - SEPAC is a free resource and open to all!

2018-2019 Membership Form

________________________________________________

Please consider making a donation in to our SEPAC.  Your donations assist in funding relevant workshops and two scholarships each school year to graduating seniors of Braintree High School.   Thank you! 

Donations may be mailed to:

Braintree SEPAC
c/o Braintree High School - Special Services
128 Town Street
Braintree, MA 02184

(make checks payable to “Friends of Braintree SEPAC”)

SEPAC Parent Meeting Agenda

Anxiety Information and Resources

Braintree Commission on Disabilities

The Braintree Commission on Disability meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:30PM in the Town Hall. If there is a holiday on the first Monday, then the commission will meet on the second Monday of the month.

1 JFK Memorial Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
Contact:  781-794-8327

Meredith Lincoln – Chairperson
Lynn Vaillancourt - Vice Chairperson
Robin Torpey - Secretary
Crystal Evans-Pradhan - Treasurer
 

* Do you have an idea to improve accessibility for the Town of Braintree?

* Does your community program/idea need funding in order to benefit people with disabilities, i.e. physical, visually impaired, emotional, behavioral, or communication needs?

* Do you need funding for recreational equipment for disabled individuals?

We may be able to help!
 

The Commission on Disabilities for the Town of Braintree has funds available that may be able to help your program or need. The request for funds must benefit the community of Braintree in some way. Unfortunately, the funds, according to state law, cannot be used solely for an individual.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 781-794-8195.

Written requests may be sent to:

Commission on Disabilities
Town of Braintree
1 JFK Memorial Drive
Braintree, MA 02184

Community Inclusion Awards

Community Inclusion Awards





Inclusion means that all children and youth are given equal opportunity to participate in the community. More specifically, children and youth with special needs are participating alongside their typical peers. We are proud to have honored several people for how they demonstrate a commitment to inclusion!

Announcing Recipients of the 
2018 Braintree Community Inclusion Award!

Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan will be hosting the 10th Annual Braintree Community Inclusion Awards on Thursday, May 24th to honor members of our community that have furthered the ideals of inclusion. Inclusion means that ALL children and youth are given equal opportunity to participate in the community. More specifically, children and youth with special needs are participating alongside their typical peers.

We are honored to be dedicating this year’s event to Kristen Zechello, Special Education Parent Advisory Council Co-Chair and Town of Braintree ADA Coordinator. Kristen has guided friends, family, school personnel, the SEPAC, the Community Inclusion Awards committee and the entire Town of Braintree with a sharp vision of how everyone can be included in our community.

We are honored to be presenting this award to the following members of our community this year:

  • Julia Doherty – Julia, a senior at Braintree High has devoted herself from an early age to include those who have different abilities and challenges. Julia is the President of the Best Buddies program at BHS and organized Braintree’s own “Fancy Formal”! She has also been assistant coach for the Super Stars sports league since she was very young.
  • Joe Hubbard – Joe has been a volunteer at the Special Needs golf program at Braintree Municipal Golf Course since 2007. Joe has taken the role of teaching the other volunteers how to interact with and teach our special athletes for them to be able to access the sport in their own ways and develop a love for the game!
  • Melissa Ricci, Victoria Russo and the South Middle School Ambassadors Club – The Ambassadors Club, under the leadership and passion of Melissa, Speech and Language Pathologist and Victoria, Special Education Teacher, was created. The Ambassadors seek to educate all students with their initiatives and commitment to including all students at South Middle School!
  • Christopher Kelly and Steve Zechello – These two gentlemen founded and coach the Commonwealth Football Club “Kick-N-It” Soccer League. This program allows all of its players, with varying abilities, to learn skills and sportsmanship in their own unique ways! Coach Chris and Coach Steve staff the program with typical student volunteers who help the players learn soccer skills in a fun and safe environment.

We are extremely honored to have Braintree Public Schools’ retired Superintendent, Dr. Peter Kurzberg, a longtime supporter and pioneer for inclusion in our wonderful community, to offer his perspective and thoughts on Braintree’s history and commitment to inclusion in our schools.

Please join us for this celebration

Braintree Town Hall

Thursday, May 24th

light refreshments at 6:30 p.m.

program of speakers promptly at 7:00 p.m.

Each year, this event is inspiring and uplifting as we hear stories about the special members of the community that we honor. It is a wonderful way to share the meaning of inclusion and how it’s done in Braintree!

The Community Inclusion Awards Committee looks forward to seeing you there!

Stefanie Brown, Bethany Doherty, Linda Doucette, Eileen Donohue and Lyn McPhail

Inclusion Award Winners

2017

  • Pam Ten Eyck, Braintree Public Schools Behavior Specialist and passionate supporter of ALL students and families in Braintree
  • Braintree Community Youth Center – Braintree Rotary Club founded the BCYC ten years ago with the intent of providing a safe, fun, and supervised environment for the youth of Braintree
  • Sue Frazier, one of the first faces everyone who enters Braintree High School sees
  • 2nd grade boys soccer team Coach Adam Ringius and his assistant coaches Nick Faoro, David Ringius, Sr., and Christos Papaioannou and their team, Chris Anderson, Evan Anderson, Chris Faoro, Ned Fitzgerald, Patrick Grehan, Michael Mackay, Brendan Mcgonigle, Sokrat Pango, Foti Papaioannou and Adam Ringius, Jr. (A.J.)
  • Abigail “Abba” Yaney, an extraordinary senior at Braintree High School who has reinvented how the BHS yearbook is created to ensure all students are represented

2016

  • Bill Berman, passionate coach and baseball instructor
  • Nick Sarno, a Braintree High School senior and natural “includer” of all
  • Luca Silvestro, a four year old student at Braintree Integrated Preschool and his parents Lisa and Mike
  • Allison Young, an extraordinary 5th grader at Flaherty Elementary School

2015

  • 2014-2015 Braintree High School “Best Buddies” Officers: Kathryn Barry, Maverick Lydon Shay, Melissa Madigan, Kerrin Norton and Caroline Tomasetta
  • Steve Connolly the Volunteer Coordinator at Braintree Municipal Golf Course
  • Jeff Timberlake, a Braintree Youth Basketball Girls Travel Director and Coach,
  • BHS Coach Steve Trocki, who is also a Special Education Teacher and Braintree Special Olympics Director

2014

  • Mary E. Flaherty Elementary School’s Entire 5th grade class
  • Dr. Mary Ford-Clark, BHS Psychologist and Super Saturdays Recreation Program Director
  • Amy Wallace Valle – Owner and Instructor at Amy’s Dance Dynamics in Braintree

2013

  • Doreen Brids, Braintree Special Services Out of District Coordinator
  • John Collier, Ed Fruth, Gerry Bouley, Derek Menadue, Jim Burke, Tom Walsh, Frank Morrissey, Braintree Boy Scout Troop 138 Leaders
  • Patrick Kwedor and Marina Ristuccia McHugh, Braintree South Middle School LINKS Program Staff
  • Mary Struzziero, Braintree Flaherty Elementary School Principal

2012

  • Braintree Special Services Staff member Noreen Devlin
  • Braintree High School Project Prove Teacher Mary Jane Farley
  • Braintree Martial Arts Center for Personal Development Owner, Ken Proctor and his staff: Jenn Eagan, Jeremy Mazzola and David Ringius
  • Braintree High School Project Prove Teacher Deanne Sullivan
  • Braintree High School Headmaster, David Swanton.

2011

  • Nancy Bucknam, a paraeducator at Braintree High School
  • Kerrie Doherty (a.k.a. “Coach Kerrie”), who started the Superstars sports league in Braintree,
  • John Hume, a parent and volunteer coach
  • Kevin Leahy, a Physical Education teacher at Flaherty

2010

  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s Religious Education program was honored including Fr. Kevin Sepe, Fr. Darrin Colorusso, Marge Donaher, Religious Education Director and Marie Manning, a religious education teacher
  • Kara Perkins at Alliance Rehabilitation Center in Braintree
  • Cathy Tomczyk, a member of the staff at Thayer Public Library

2009

  • Bob Beach, the Director of the Braintree Municipal Golf Course
  • Marilyn Seaver, a parent of two adult children with special needs
  • Tess Williams, a student at South Middle School
  • Donna Wise, a Special Education teacher at Flaherty

Each year, the committee receives so many wonderful nominations and although we are enlightened and moved by the many ways inclusion is working in our community, we sadly cannot recognize every single one. The committee encourages those who have submitted nominations that may have not been chosen to consider nominating a deserving member of our community again this year.

Local Support and Recreation Programs

Baseball

Challenger League Braintree

  • Hollingsworth Park, 348 Pond St., Braintree
  • Games on Sunday afternoon for ages 5 and over. No cost for this league.
  • Contact: Kathy Jordan ksjordan14@msn.com

Superstars of Braintree

Basketball

Superstars of Braintree

Birthday Parties

Cardinal Cushing School

  • 405 Washington Street, Hanover
  • Use of the recreation hall and during the summer beach entry pool.
  • Contact: Tom McElman, Recreation Director at (781) 829-1295

Camps

Check your local Rec Dept

  • First check with your local recreation department in your town. Almost all of the area towns offer and exceptional program to students and it’s a great way to meet other kids in town attending different schools.

Agassi Camp

  • Poland, ME is an Easter Seals Camp for ages 8 to 13.
  • Phone: (800) 244-2756 ext 410

The Bridge Center

  • 470 Pine Street, Bridgewater
  • Offers summer camp to kids with disabilities.
  • Phone (508) 697-8613

Camp Fatima, Gilmartin Iron Works, NH

  • Offers a fabulous overnight camp where each student has their own councilor.
  • This camp is the third week in August and is free of charge.
  • They also offer another week in the beginning of the summer for exceptional campers that don’t require a one-to-one ratio with staff.
  • Check their website for further information.

Dream Day on Cape Cod

  • A free family camp for seriously ill children and their families.
  • Camp is at Nickerson State Park in Brewster MA.
  • All meals and activities are provided in a rustic setting.
  • Phone: (774) 994-7346 or email at: dreamdayoncapecod@gmail.com

Dance

InSync Center for the Arts

  • 550 Adams St., Quincy
  • Me Too Program is open to ages 3 to adult children of all abilities.
  • 45 minute class on Saturday mornings for $45 per month
  • Contact: Teri at (617) 328-5678 or email at teri.insync@verizon.net.Basketball

Equipment

Pass It On

  • Accepts and lends out special needs equipment of all kinds.
  • Contact: George in Mashpee at (800) 267-6768 or (508) 477-6966

Scituate Etrusco Associates

  • One Common Street, Scituate
  • They have hospital beds, lifts, wheelchairs etc for loan.
  • Phone: (781) 545-4411

C.O.R.S.E. (Scituate Community of Resources for Special Education)

  • 600 Chief Justice Cushing Highway, Scituate
  • This is a group which started in 2007 by a group of parents.
  • They offer a large selection of educational and recreational programs to students in Scituate. They offer yoga, horseback riding, karate, sailing, movie afternoons, etc. If there are still available spots they open their programs to children from other towns.
  • Phone: (781) 545-8738

Golf

Ernie Els #GameON Autism Golf

Horseback Riding

Briggs Stables

Booth Hill Farms

The Bridge Center

Pleasant Meadow Farm, Hingham

North Star South Shore Therapeutic Riding

  • 49 Cross Street, Pembroke
  • Phone: (781) 826-4970

Mass Hospital School

  • 3 Randolph Street, Canton
  • Contact: Steph Barnes, Barn Manager at (781) 830-8752

Local Information/Resources

Mass Down Syndrome Congress MDSC.orgCerebral Palsy Clinic

  • 43 Old Colony Ave., Quincy
  • Provides recreation and rehabilitation programs including PT, OT, and speech.
  • Phone: (617) 479-7443
  • Website: http://masscp.org/

Quincy QPAC

  • They have a great resource room and will be putting all their information on line soon.
  • They have a great deal of information on Autism Spectrum disorders.

South Shore Therapies

  • 163 Libbey Industrial Parkway, Suite 302, Weymouth
  • Offers Speech-PT-and OT services
  • Phone: (781) 335-6663

Braintree Pedi Outpatient Rehab

  • 751 Granite Street, Braintree
  • Offers Speech-PT-OT services
  • Phone: (781) 380-4360

Communication Enhancement Clinic

  • 9 Hope Avenue, Waltham
  • Phone: (781) 216-2200

Commission for the Blind

  • 48 Boylston Street, Boston
  • Offers many support services
  • Phone: (800) 392-6450

Advocates for Special Kids

  • 139 Simon Hill Road, Norwell
  • Provides special education advocacy to families.
  • Phone: (781) 264-1257

Family Ties of Massachusetts

  • A statewide information and referral network. They run parent-to-parent support programs and have a great statewide directory available if you ask. A division of the Federation for Children with Special Needs.
  • Phone: (800)905-8437
  • Website: www.massfamilyties.org

Gyms/Fitness

The Bridge Center
470 Pine Street, Bridgewater

  • On Thursdays from 4-6pm and Saturdays from 1-3pm Open to ages 4 to 22.

Compelling Fitness, Hanover

  • Group and individual physical fitness training for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Phone: (781) 826-3313

Cole Public School

  • 81 High Street, Norwell
  • Sundays from 1-4pm

Cardinal Cushing School

  • 405 Washington Street, Hanover
  • Saturday morning activities and open gym to ages 10 to adult from 9:30 to 10:30.
  • $80 for 8 weeks. Includes fitness training.
  • Contact: Tom McElman at (781) 829-1295 or email at tmcelman@coletta.org

Super Saturdays

  • Liberty School, 49 Proctor Road, Braintree
  • Open to Braintree children.
  • Spring and fall sessions available.
  • Cost is $180 for 12 weeks.
  • Contact: Dr. Mary Ford Clark at (781) 848-4000 ext 2275

Childrens Physical Development Clinic at Bridgewater State College

  • Serves ages 18 mos to 18 yrs.
  • Provides physical motor and aquatic skills.
  • Phone: (508) 531-1776 or email at: cpdc@bridgewater.edu

Music

Choral/Community Voices

  • Open to ages 16 and over with developmental delay. Duxbury on Wednesday evenings from 7-8pm.
  • Contact: Eve Montague at (781) 934-2731 ext. 20

South Shore Conservatory of Music

  • One Conservatory Drive, Hingham
  • Offers Yoga and Music Therapy for Special Children.
  • Contact: (508) 591-7714

Rythmic Art Program

  • Cardinal Cushing Center, 405 Washington Street, Hanover
  • Drums and percussion instruments.
  • Open to all ages on Saturdays from 9:30 to 10:30
  • $80 for 8 weeks.

Respite

South Shore ARC

  • Saturday respite program runs two Saturdays a month from 10:30 to 3:30 for $50 per day.
  • Open to ages 6 and over.

Yawkey House of Possibilities at Stonehill College

  • 320 Washington Street, Easton
  • They offer a Saturday respite program for ages 8 and over. They also offer overnight respite. Check their website as they have many, many great programs.
  • Phone: (508) 205-0555

South Shore Support Services

  • 317 Libbey Parkway, Weymouth
  • They offer school vacation outings and programs.
  • Phone: (781) 331-7878

Friendship Home

  • 458 Main Street, Norwell
  • They offer friendship clubs, travel clubs and overnight respite to children 12 and over. This is a growing program so watch their website for future programs.
  • Phone: (781) 659-8202

The Bridge Center

  • 470 Pine Street, Bridgewater.
  • They offer Saturday respite for ages 4 to 22 with a staff ratio of 1:3. They also offer summer camp, horseback riding and many other programs.

JF&CS SundayRespite

  • Children with developmental delay including children with autism. Program includes swimming, music and art. Stoughton area from 1-4 pm on Sundays.
  • Contact: Doreen Cummings at (781) 647-5327 ext 1938

Agape Inn

  • 217 Plymouth Street, Holbrook
  • Provides short and long term respite program as well as center-based day program on Saturdays and school vacations. Evening programs for those over age 17.
  • Phone (781) 767-4358

Sibling Support

Sibshops of Greater Brockton

  • Recreationally based support programs for kids from ages 8 to 12 who have siblings with special needs.
  • Contact: Kathy Kerwin at (508) 583-8030 ext 224 or email at: kkerwin@brocktonarc.net

Cardinal Cushing Center

  • 405 Washington Street, Hanover
  • Meets the second Saturday of each month from 10:30 to !2:30
  • Cost is $15 and lunch is included.
  • Phone: (781) 829-1295.

Skiing

S.T.R.I.D.E. Program at Jiminy Peak Resort, Hancock, MA

  • Offers lessons to kids with all kinds of disabilities.
  • This program is available in many different locations and offers all kinds of sports and activities.
  • Maine Handicapped Skiing offers all kinds of recreational and leisure programs to people with disabilities during the summer as well as the winter. Check their website for a listing of all their programs.
  • Phone: (413) 738-5500 ext 5120.

Soccer

Top Soccer in Hingham

  • Contact: John Burrill at (800) 852-8111 ext 237

Superstars of Braintree

Social Skills

Cardinal Cushing School

  • 405 Washington Street, Hanover
  • Open to all ages Saturday from 11:30 to 12:30. $80 for an 8 week session.
  • Circles Program which promotes personal space, eye contact, tone of voice etc.
  • Phone: (781) 829-1295

Super Saturdays

  • Liberty School, 49 Proctor Road, Braintree
  • Open to Braintree children.
  • Spring and fall sessions available.
  • Cost is $180 for 12 weeks.
  • Contact: Dr. Mary Ford Clark at (781) 848-4000 ext 2275

The Bridge Center

  • 470 Pine Street, Bridgewater
  • Social skills program on Saturdays from 3:30 to 5:30 for ages 4 to 22.
  • This is for children with Aspergers Syndrome, High functioning Autism and other related social skills challenges.

House of Possibilities

  • Stonehill College 350 Washington Street Easton, 508-205-0555
  • Snack and Chat
  • Teens working together to cook a meal, set the table, and have dinner conversation
  • Contact is Amy Mirabito at (508) 697-8613

Swimming/Water Sports

Autism Swim

  • Autism Swim provides guided and supportive swim and safety instruction, practice and recreation to children on the autism spectrum so that they have the opportunity to become increasingly safe and independent in and around the water.
  • In addition to indoor heated lap pools, we have access to warm water therapy for children with sensory issues.
  • Classes are being held at a health club in Weymouth on weekends and weekdays. For more information, please visit www.autismswim.com.

Mass Hospital School

  • 3 Randolph Street, Canton
  • They offer water exercise with a certified aquatic exercise professional, Aquatic Therapy, R.A.S.P.-Recreational after school swim as well as a Saturday swim must have a parent or other caregiver with them. This is a beautiful, fully accessible pool.
  • Full information is available on their website.

New England Village

  • 664 School Street, Pembroke
  • Teen Swim Class from 11:30 to 12:15 for ages 15 and over.
  • $10 per class. Six week sessions.
  • Teens who are not independent will need an adult to go in the water with them. Swim and water fitness class open only to those who are not residential students. Many other swimming and fitness programs for those over 18 years of age.
  • Contact: Susannah Locketti, Aquatics and Wellness Coordinator at (781) 293-5461 ext 202.
  • *Other available programs such as art, cooking, etc for adults – contact Ginger Cameau at (781) 293-5461 ext. 204 or email at: gcomeau@newenglandvillage.org

Sailing

Accessail of Duxbury

  • Bay Maritime School, 457 Washington Street, Duxbury
  • Classes are 2 hours for $25.
  • Students can learn to sail or be sailed around Duxbury Bay.
  • Open to all ages. Check their website to book a time.
  • Phone: (781) 934-7555

High Challenge Water Sports

AccesSport America

  • They adapt and create equipment to accommodate every disability. They offer all kinds of water sports such as kayaking, windsailing, etc.
  • They are at Spaulding Rehab Center from May to October and at the Mass Hospital School from June to August.
  • Contact: Betty Miller at (978) 264-0985 or email at: Betty@AccesSportAmerica.org.

Meeting Minutes

The Role of SEPAC:  The Special Education Parent Advisory Council is a volunteer parent advocacy council whose role is to represent the student population in Braintree with special educational needs. The SEPAC works collaboratively with the district Administration and School Committee.  All advocacy efforts are for global improvement and do not represent any one student or disability category.

6/6/16

SEPAC MEETING MINUTES – 06/16/16

Attendees: Leah Nabstedt, Jeffrey Rubin, Kristen Zechello, Lyn McPhail

Minutes from the May19th, 2016 meeting went through final approval and is being forwarded on for submission to the School Committee.

New:

Project Prove/Wave Programs at BHS Staff vs Students ratio

Mr. Rubin stated there are 22 students in Prove/Wave this year with two special ed teachers, one speech therapist, four program aids and two 1:1 aids.  The ratio is about 3:1 student to teacher not including those students with a 1:1 aid.  Mr. Rubin stated that he requested an additional special ed teacher for Prove/Wave next year but they didn’t get the approval. 

Bus monitors for Special Ed Busses

Mrs. Zechello brought up the fact that some students in their IEP have a bus monitor assigned to them but some children who may be at risk to bolt in the event of an emergency on their bus may not.  Mr. Rubin stated he’d investigate how many special ed busses don’t have a bus monitor. 

SEPAC Executive Board 2016-2017

We had our membership meeting and the board voted to keep everyone the same except we have one more board member added, Brenda McGillicuddy.   

Subcommittee Updates/Goals for the school year 2015-2016

  • MCAS/PARCC (Eileen Donohue- Chair)
    • Mrs. Zechello stated that some parents are concerned that their children are not receiving some of their direct services because a therapist is pulled to help with administering tests.  Mr. Rubin stated that unfortunately the staff needs to be pulled for the testing, and services missed won’t be made up.
  • Anti-Bullying  (Linda Kokoros – Chair)
    • No update this meeting.
  • Community Inclusion Awards (Kristen Zechello – Chair)
    • We had another amazing evening and look forward to next year!
  • Community Outreach (Kristen Zechello - Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting
  • SEPAC Website ( Leah Nabstedt - Chair)
    • No update this meeting
  • SEPAC Facebook Page (Leah Nabstedt - Chair)
    • Mrs. Nabstedt continues to update with our meetings and workshops. 
  • Transition (Leah Nabstedt - Chair)
    • We are still looking for a parent to represent the special needs children in the middle school transactions committee. 
  • Social/Emotional/Mental Health Needs (Linda Kokoros & Leah Nabstedt - Co Chairs)
    • Mrs. Zechello stated we are still concerned that there is no structured programming for kids with anxiety/mental health issues at the elementary school level.  Mr. Rubin stated that a program would be very difficult at that level.  He stated most students with severe anxiety or mental health disorder is usually at an out of district placement. 

Open

  • School Building Committee/Space needs
    • No updates this meeting.

Next Meeting: September 22, 2016 11:45 at BHS Special Services Office

Minutes prepared by Leah Nabstedt

5/19/16

SEPAC MEETING MINUTES – 05/19/16

Attendees: Emily Holleran, Marybeth Sullivan, Pam Ten Eyck, Linda Kokoros, Leah Nabstedt, Tara Hyland, Jeffrey Rubin and Kristen Zechello

Minutes from the April 28th, 2016 meeting went through final approval and are being forwarded on for submission to the School Committee.

New

Anxiety/Mental Health Needs

  • Marybeth Sullivan, school psychologist at Ross gave us her perspective on what she’s seeing at the elementary school  level in regards to anxiety.  Mrs. Sullivan explained that they have constant communication between herself and the teachers regarding students with anxiety.  She stated that they treat each student on an individualized basis and try to alleviate stress and implement frequent breaks and check ins to help the child.  They try to be in tune with recommendations from the behaviorist and any outside specialists.  Emily Holleran, school psychologist at East spoke about the middle school level regarding anxiety.  She said that the guidance counselors are usually the first to be contacted if a student is struggling.  The principal, guidance counselors, assistant principal and nurses meet weekly to discuss students who may be struggling.  She said students will often come to guidance on their own because they recognize something is going on and they need some help.  She discussed the different levels of accomodations  that is available to help students whether it be just a small break from the classroom and check in with guidance to students in a program like Pathways that a drop in space on a regular basis.  Mrs. Ten Eyck said she is called in after all other accomadations have been tried and a student is still struggling.  She will create a behavior plan that will be implemented with strategies to help a child cope.

Status of Open BCBA Position for September

  • Mr. Rubin stated they have interviewed 8 candidates and 3 will be returning for second interviews.

SPARK Support by ESY staff for Inclusion on Fridays

  • Mr. Rubin stated there will be support staff on Fridays which is a half day. 

Subcommittee Updates/Goals for the school year 2015-2016

  • MCAS/PARCC (Eileen Donohue- Chair)
    • Mr. Rubin is going to research what MCAS tutoring at the High School level looks like.
  • Anti-Bullying  (Linda Kokoros – Chair)
    • Mrs. Fay-Beers emailed Kristen and stated Boston Vs. Bullies was sending us their second edition. 
  • Diversity (Suzanne Brouillard- Chair)
    • The board has decided to disband this subcommittee.
  • Community Inclusion Awards (Kristen Zechello – Chair)
    • Scheduled for May 26th!
  • Community Outreach (Kristen Zechello- Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting
  • SEPAC Website- ( Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • No update this meeting
  • SEPAC Facebook Page- (Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • Mrs. Nabstedt continues to update with our meetings and workshops. 
  • Transition- (Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • Mrs. Fay-Beers stated the Middle School Transition committee is being created and they’d like SEPAC representation on the committee. 
  • Social/Emotional/Mental Health Needs-(Linda Kokoros & Leah Nabstedt- Co Chairs)
    • See above for update.

Open

  • School Building Committee/Space needs
    • No updates this meeting.

Next Meeting: June 16th, 2016 11:45 at BHS Special Services Office

Minutes prepared by Leah Nabstedt

4/28/16

SEPAC MEETING MINUTES – 04/28/16

Attendees: Petra Platt, Jennifer Fay-Beers,  Lisa Heger, Linda Kokoros, Leah Nabstedt, Tara Hyland, and Jeffrey Rubin

Minutes from the March 17, 2016 meeting went through final approval and are being forwarded on for submission to the School Committee.

New

Combining BHS Special Ed Programs (Language Enrichment/School to Career)

  • Coordinator of Language base and School to Career  Mrs. Platt described the plan to combine the two programs.  Mrs. Platt stated that in combining the two programs to freshman and sophomore students will all get the rich language based curriculum in preparation for MCAS and introduce learning strategies curriculum which includes a lot of career awareness to students.  Then in 10th grade kids can be introduced to the idea that they have two options after 10 grade, one option is staying in the language base program and taking more mainstream classes and preparing to enter an associate’s degree program in college.  The other option for student who aren’t interested in college they’ll have the option to enter the language enrichment and career exploration program which will now be grades 11 & 12.  The 11th graders will take a career exploration class and an internship.  The 12th graders will take a career emergent class and continue in an internship.  Some examples of internships are a student interested in culinary has an in district job in the cafeteria at East Middle School and then another student has an internship doing medical billing at South Shore hospital.  Mrs. Platt provided an example of a schedule that gave us an idea of what the schedule will look like.      

Subcommittee Updates/Goals for the school year 2015-2016

  • MCAS/PARCC (Eileen Donohue- Chair)
    • No Update this meeting
  • Anti-Bullying  (Linda Kokoros – Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting
  • Diversity (Suzanne Brouillard- Chair)
    • No update at this meeting
  • Community Inclusion Awards (Kristen Zechello – Chair)
    • All of the recipients have been notified.
  • Community Outreach (Kristen Zechello- Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting
  • SEPAC Website- ( Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • No update this meeting
  • SEPAC Facebook Page- (Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • Mrs. Nabstedt continues to update with our meetings and workshops. 
  • Transition- (Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting

Open

  • School Building Committee/Space needs
    • Statement of intent from East and South have been sent out. 
  • Student Mental Health/Anxiety
    • Mrs. Fay-Beers stated that the district is continuing to send staff out to conferences and professional development.  Dr. Mary Ford Clark recently did a conference for staff on Anxiety.  She stated they’d arrange for staff from Elementary and Middle school to come talk at our next administration meeting to discuss what they are seeing. 

Next Meeting: May 19, 2016 11:45 at BHS Special Services Office

Minutes prepared by Leah Nabstedt

3/17/16

SEPAC MEETING MINUTES – 03/17/16

Attendees: Dr. Mary Ford Clark, Jennifer Fay-Beers, Eileen Donohue, Lisa Heger, Linda Kokoros, Leah Nabstedt, Jeffrey Rubin, and Kristen Zechello

Minutes from the February 25, 2016 meeting went through final approval and are being forwarded on for submission to the School Committee.

New

Anxiety and Mental Health Needs

  • Dr. Mary Ford Clark, School Psychologist from Braintree High School spoke to us about her experiences with Anxiety disorders at the high school.  Dr. Clark did an overview of the most common types of anxiety  disorders.  The primary anxiety disorders that are seen at the high school are separation anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.  The typical presentation is often seen in kindergarten with separation anxiety and 6th and 9th grade when students enter the middle school or high school and are incredibly overwhelmed.  The presentation often starts the night before school and students will have physical symptoms about going to school whether stomach aches or headaches and carries over to the morning when they refuse to get out of the car once they arrive at school.  When they do get into school they often have frequent visits to the school nurse or call home asking to be dismissed and picked up.  Unfortunately often time’s parents unknowingly reinforce the behavior by letting the student stay home from school or going to the doctor or becoming hyper focused on whether their child is being bullied and it can become a cycle.  Incidents tend to be worse after a weekend or a school vacation.  Communication between home and school is crucial so staff can help parents deal with the issues at home to ensure the child does go to school.  Teaching the child the skills to help them manage their anxiety is critical to ensuring they are able to be successful in school.  Figuring out in students what is triggering their anxiety is also crucial, is it changing for gym, sitting by themselves in the cafeteria, fear of being called on in class.  Teachers are great at making accommodation’s to work with students and make stressful situations manageable.  Bottom line is kids need to be in school so the district doesn’t have to go to court to mandate children attend school.  Dr. Clark stated that they meet with the eighth grade staff that identifies the kids that will be transitioning to the high school who suffer from anxiety.  Often times students will transition with an existing behavior plan that’s already in place and the high school will continue that plan.  Some students will see Dr. Clark on a daily basis some not so often and some kids are comfortable checking in with their guidance counselor or learning center staff.  Often times parents, teachers, or students themselves will approach guidance or Dr. Clark if they are experiencing any anxiety.  Dr. Clark stated that often parents are great advocates for other parents whose child is struggling with anxiety.  Mrs. Zechello stated that we are discussing starting an anxiety support group similar to the autism group BANDS in Braintree.    

BHS Schedule Change

  • Mr. Rubin stated that none of the special ed/alternative programs will be changing to a 6 day cycle.

Assistive Technology

  • Mrs. Zechello discussed how there are many more students using assistive communication devices in the district since out of district placements have decreased.  Mr. Rubin did an overview of the many different devices that are being used throughout the district.  Mrs. Zechello brought up our concern that some student’s devices are their means of communication and questioned the level of training and commitment to this.  Mr. Rubin said they are very committed to making sure there are staff members such as speech therapist that are very knowledgeable in this equipment and any future staff when being interviewed is asked about their experience with assistive devices.  Mr. Rubin also explained we have on consult Amy Wolfson from the collaborative 10 hours per week and she is excellent with communication devices.  Mrs. Fay-Beers also explained training is being planned for para’s in the fall during professional development in assistive technology.  She also stated the disticts desire to offer training for parents and students in the future. 

Subcommittee Updates/Goals for the school year 2015-2016

  • MCAS/PARCC (Eileen Donohue- Chair)
    • No Update this meeting
  • Anti-Bullying  (Linda Kokoros – Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting
  • Diversity (Suzanne Brouillard- Chair)
    • No update at this meeting
  • Community Inclusion Awards (Kristen Zechello – Chair)
    • Nominations are now being accepted.
  • Community Outreach (Kristen Zechello- Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting
  • SEPAC Website- ( Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • No update this meeting
  • SEPAC Facebook Page- (Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • Mrs. Nabstedt continues to update with our meetings and workshops. 
  • Transition- (Leah Nabstedt- Chair)
    • No Update at this meeting

Open

  • School Building Committee/Space needs
    • Next meeting scheduled for March 14th.
  • Language based HS program Equipment issues
    • Mr. Rubin stated he ordered a new printer for Mr. Flynn’s classroom

Next Meeting: April 28, 2016 11:45 at BHS Special Services Office

Minutes prepared by Leah Nabstedt

Preschool Parent Resources

Parent Guide for Special Education Programming - This guide contains an overview of all programs for students with special needs in the Braintree Public Schools.

Early intervention takes place from 0-3 years of age for children identified early as having special needs. This is a service provided by the state and eligibility ends when the child turns three, those services are covered under Part C of IDEA. If your child is under 3 years old the Department of Early Education & Care is the government contact for information on Early Intervention Services.

These sites are recommended for Early Intervention Information:

At three years old your child will be “transitioned” out of early intervention and if there is a continued need for services they will formally enter into the world of “special education”. Learn more about transitioning from early intervention in these article and brochures:

Some children, generally those that are high functioning, are identified after age three during their preschool years. Unfortunately, because the early intervention years are over, there is a lot less guidance available to parents. It is especially important for parents in this group to seek out reliable professionals, both medical and legal as well as through groups created to support your child’s specific disability. A child who appears high functioning can often be overlooked for appropriate services that will allow them to maintain that status. SEPAC can help to connect you with these professionals and groups.

The NICHCY website offers an overview of preschool information.

All states must have a Parent Information & Resource Center (PIRC) to answer parents’ questions relative to disabilities and special needs as well as lend guidance regarding special education procedure and law. Ours resides at the Federation for Children with Special Needs.

Sensory Integration Resources

Special Education Resources

Transition Information and Resources

"Think of transition like a trip in your future. When you pack your suitcase, you are well aware of where you are going on this trip because you need to have the right stuff when you get to where you are going. Look at Transition the same way; pack your Transition suitcase carefully. What is the student’s vision for their future? Where do they want to go with their life after high school? When you pack that Transition suitcase, consider what they need for transition planning/services to get there."

- Terri McLaughlin
Transition Projects
Federation for Children with Special Needs

For more information, see our list below with with wealth of information and resources. Also, please free to contact one of the SEPAC Board Members for additional information.

A Family Guide to Transition Services in Massachusetts
from the MA Federation for Children with Special Needs

Post Secondary Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about post secondary education

MA DOE Secondary Transition

This site has some great info and resources from April 2012 Secondary Transition Capacity-Building Conference.

MA Department of Developmental Services Eligibility Standards

Vocational assessment

Mass Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory on Transition Planning
The purpose of this advisory is to highlight a recent law passed by the Massachusetts Legislature.

Transitional Assessment

Transitional planning web resources
Web resources to aid in transitional planning.

2018-2019 SEPAC Parent Board

Kristen Zechello
Co-chair, Co-Secretary
(617) 922-7142
Kristen.Zechello@comcast.net

Leah Nabstedt
Co-chair, Co-Secretary
(617) 943-2452
lnabstedt@verizon.net

Vicki Griffith
Resource
(857) 939-1219
gikonyogriffith@yahoo.com

Flower Jaeger
Resource
(617) 447-3685
dominiquejaeger@comcast.net

Suzanne Brouillard
Treasurer
(978) 804-1323
brouillards@mac.com

Beth Brown
Resource
(781) 975-0130
Brown02184@gmail.com

Feel free to contact any one of our board members to ask a question, seek guidance or get involved. We are here to help you. Parents who have faces similar challenges can be a resource for other parents. All information shared will be kept confidential. We believe in working together to resolve issues and advocate for the students in the special needs community as a whole.

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SEPAC Facebook Link