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MassPAC in Action: Encouraging Parent Leadership and Parent-District Partnerships throughout the State
By Amanda Green, MassPAC Coordinator
MassPAC at the Federation

Quincy PAC Co-Chairs Jill Gichuhi (left)
and Linda Perry (right)Martha O’Brien (left) and Meri Allen (right), Co-Chairs of the Wilmington PAC

According to Massachusetts state special education regulations, each school district should have a Special Education Parent Advisory Council (PAC) which advises the district on “matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities” and also participates “in the planning, development, and evaluation of each district’s special education programs.”

The Massachusetts Association of Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (MassPAC) is celebrating its first year as a project at the Federation for Children with Special Needs. MassPAC’s mission is to help PAC leaders work effectively with schools in order to improve the education of students with disabilities. Highlights from the year include:

  • Parent leaders from 37 PACs attended trainings in Boston, Foxborough, and Holyoke.

  • Nearly 1500 e-mail messages were posted to the MassPAC listserve.

  • Two webinars about needs assessment surveys and outreach to diverse populations attracted parent leaders from around the state.

  • MassPAC established an Advisory Board with four experienced PAC Chairs and two experienced administrators of special education.

  • MassPAC Coordinator Amanda Green and Advisory Board member Candace McCann were invited to present at the Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education conference in March.

  • MassPAC partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on the final editing of the DESE Guidance for Special Education Parent Advisory Councils publication. Read this technical assistance document at www.doe.mass.edu/sped/pac, and share it with your district!

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, consider getting involved with the PAC in your district! You can make a genuine, positive difference for your child. If you are a PAC leader, consider getting involved with MassPAC! We are here to help you. For more information, visit the MassPAC web site, www.masspac.org, or call MassPAC Coordinator Amanda Green at 617-399-8307.

Here’s what people are saying about MassPAC...

“Being a member of MassPAC has given us a way to develop the focus and impact of our PAC. Thank you!” PAC Chair

“I really look forward to working with you to build a new, trusting relationship with the PAC.” Administrator of Special Education

“Through the training on Saturday I have realized what a critical role the PAC can play in shaping the Special Education program in our district and the importance of my role as the PAC Chair.” PAC Chair.