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Branch Out: Grow your Group

In 2009, the Federation worked with The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) to document the experiences of Massachusetts’ school districts that participated in the Advancing Parent Professional Leadership in Education (A.P.P.L.E.) Institutes from 2005-2009.  Research surveys and interviews with parents of children with IEP’s were used to develop a list of 9 strategies for creating and running successful special education parent advisory councils (SEPACs).

Effective strategies:

  1. Recruit parents who have leadership skill or potential
  2. Create a formal SEPAC structure and identity across the school district
  3. Capitalize on parents’ strengths to build SEPAC organizational capacity
  4. Collaborate with school and special education adminstrators and staff
  5. Provide input on school policy and programs relating to special education
  6. Raise disability and special education awareness at school and in the community
  7. Reach out and engage parents, including parents from diverse backgrounds
  8. Support parents through information, advocacy and resources
  9. Help parents differentiate between their roles as parents (personal) and as members of a district-wide committee (public)

Read the full APPLE Project Brief (PDF).

More Resources for Parent/Caregiver Leaders