Serving on Groups
By Leslie M. Leslie, MassPAC
No one has free time. Our fast-paced, increasingly complex society requires us to juggle family and work, follow community, state, and federal happenings, all while trying to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Never mind trying to keep up with Facebook. As parents of children with special needs, we know we need to step up to a higher level of advocacy to ensure that all children thrive. Our busy schedules require us to ask how we can be most effective, as our intentions to get involved are often sidelined by questions of survival, (eg: “who will make dinner”).
At the 2017 Visions of Community Conference, MassPAC highlighted a new national curriculum, Serving on Groups, in a workshop offered to assist those who seek to make a difference for children by serving as a member of a decision-making group. Family participation is central to school improvement – research has demonstrated that when families are involved in schools, students perform better.
The Serving on Groups curriculum is available in an online guidebook. It is a useful introduction to opportunities for participation, along with the types of groups commonly used in decision-making. The guidebook will show you how to organize your skills so that you can communicate effectively in a group, represent other families, and bring the voice of a parent or family member to the table. We need our voices to be heard.
MassPAC will offer webinars in the coming months to help parents better understand their role on these decision-making groups, especially their local special education parent advisory council or SEPAC.
Your time is valuable; it is important to find a group with either the authority to enact needed improvements or the ability to influence the decision-making body. Find a group that is meaningful to you.
You can make a difference.