Clarke County’s Special Education Advisory Committee met on Tuesday evening to discuss plans for the coming year. The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) works with the school board, administrators, parents, and teachers who are responsible for students receiving special education services.
Nearly twenty teachers, parents, and students gathered at the school annex building on the campus of Berryville Primary to chart SEAC’s 2011 activities including guest speakers and parent education aimed at strengthening the working relationship between parents and the school system in ways that benefit special education students.
SEAC is actively working to raise its profile in Clarke County and make parents aware of the support it can offer to the special education community.
“Getting the word out to parents is the key,” said SEAC Chairperson Jeff Wiltrout. “Were considering a range of ideas that we think will get people’s interest in attending our meetings.”
SEAC has a wide-range of official duties that range from advising CCPS in the formulation and development of plans for improving performance of children with disabilities as specified in state regulation to reviewing policies and procedures for the provision of special education and related services prior to submission to the Clarke County School Board.
However, a fundamental purpose of SEAC is to help parents better understand how to work with the school division and how special education can meet the needs of their child.
SEAC is made up of eight voting members nominated by the school board chairman and confirmed by the full school board. School board member Emily Rhodes (Buckmarsh) is the school board’s appointed, non-voting representative to SEAC.
At last night’s meeting much of the discussion revolved mutual support and advice between the groups members.
For example, Catherine Burzio discussed an IEP Checklist app for the i-Phone. Burzio said that the app supported expanded capacity to record and print notes, link to the language in the federal regulations, and check off important items during an IEP meeting.
IEP is the acronym for Individual Educational Plan (IEP), a plan developed for an individual child who through educational testing is determined to have learning disabilities.
The IEP app is available at no charge from the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center at http://www.peatc.org. PEATC is a leader in the development, communication and dissemination of state-of-the-art education, training, outreach and support services for children, particularly children with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who serve them.
The SEAC members discussed plans for both an IEP speaker and possibly an IEP workshop for parents. Identifying a guest speaker to discuss methods for increasing Clarke County student participation in local Special Olympics is also being planned.
“We’re really focused on finding speakers to discuss topics that parents are interested in,” said Chairperson Wiltrout.
SEAC meetings are open to the public and the group welcomes anyone interested in special education. Each meeting includes a designated time for comments where the public may share successful educational experiences or express general concerns regarding educational issues for students with disabilities.
If you would like to speak with someone about the SEAC, or to discuss membership, please contact Jeff Wiltrout, Chairperson at 540-955-1595 or Audrey Brown, Co-Chairperson at 540-869-7820, or Steven Wolford, Pupil Personnel Services at 540-955-6143.