Why do SEPACs Exist?
SEPACs that have a clear mission tend to be productive and effective. Your SEPAC should review the Massachusetts laws regarding SEPACs to help define their role in the community. A mission statement can guide the actions of the group, provide a path for activities, and inform decision-making.
Using the Massachusetts statute authorizing SEPACs as guidance, the content of a SEPAC mission statement could include the following language:
- advise the School Committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities;
- meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of the School Committee’s special education programs; and
- assist the district in coordinating the presentation of at least one workshop annually within the school district on the rights of students and their parents and guardians under state and federal special education laws.
The mission statement can also include other areas of interest to the SEPAC:
- increase disability awareness in the community;
- provide a forum for parents and staff to share ideas, identify concerns, and support families of children with special needs; and/or
- promote inclusion of students with disabilities in all district and community activities.
Setting Realistic Goals
SEPACs should take some time early in the school year to define what they would like to accomplish during the year. The group should meet to identify both short-term and long-term goals to help meet the SEPAC’s mission.
Very often, a SEPAC sets out to accomplish too much and gets discouraged. Meeting small goals helps bring a successful identity to the SEPAC and will attract new parents as members. Two to three goals identified each year will keep the SEPAC focused on key issues affecting the district or help build the organization. Remember to ask for help from the community in realizing your goals!