SEPAC / Administration Meeting  
with Dr. Faye Brady, Director of Student Services and Special Education.
May 28th 1PM-2PM

Middle School, Amherst

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 3.01.33 PM
1. Introductions – Meet the new SEPAC Executive Board
2. Brainstorming for the 2013-14 SEPAC/District Goals
3. Other Business

sepac may 2013 meeting May 9 7pm BangsCenter Amherst(Click image to enlarge.)

En Espanol tambien, aqui: sepac may 2013 Spanish flyer.

Elections! Come see how together we can be strong!

Next Meeting:

May 9th, Bangs Community Center

70 Boltwood Walk



Change a Student's Life Poster EventUPCOMING TRAINING Change spring Change a student’s life this spring SESP Orientation   Date: Thursday, May 9 2013 Time: 9:00am—12:00pm  NOTE the TIME Location: Scan 360 Family Center Address: 11 Wilbraham Road Springfield MA 01109UPCOMING TRAINING
Change a student’s life this spring
SESP Orientation

Date: Thursday, May 9 2013
Time: 9:00am—12:00pm  NOTE the TIME
Location: Scan 360 Family Center
Address: 11 Wilbraham Road Springfield MA 01109

Can you represent a student whose parents are unknown or unavailable? We’re looking for knowledgeable, compassionate volunteers willing to donate 10-20 hours PER YEAR to a child in DCF custody, and we’re coming to Springfield to meet you!

Hatfield S E P A C Event


Dr. Grandin’s new book, The Autistic Brain, will be released in May 2013.

Conference! Conference! Conference! April 19th in Fitchberg, MA

Dr. Temple Grandin, noted scientist and advocate for people with autism, and the author of The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, will present with Dr. Jed Baker, Director of the Social Skills Training Project, and author of No More Meltdowns and The Social Skills Picture Book.

Come to see Temple and Jed, network with other local parents, caregivers, therapists, counselors, special education teachers, general education teachers, psychologists, and caregivers within the various ASD/SPD related communities. Fees apply, registration required. For more information visit or call 800-489-0727.

group meeting

Meeting Friday, April 5th, held at the Bangs Community Center (70 Boltwood Walk) in Amherst, room 101, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.



  • Public comments: (10 minutes)
  • Racism in Special Education Service Delivery: disciplinary issues and recommendations for the administration (15minutes)
  • Plan for May 2013 Board election: set date, time, location, board recruitment strategies such as phone tree, word of mouth, newsletter AD, emails (10 minutes)
  • Discuss agenda for SEPAC/Administration Business Meeting (5minutes)
  • Review draft of By-Laws Addendum to be voted on at the May general meeting/Annual election (5minutes)
  • Newsletter and Brochure (5 minutes)
  • Adjournment

cup of coffeeAll are welcome to attend a Special Education PAC meeting to be held this coming weekend.

WHEN:  Saturday, March 16th, 2013, 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: Raos Coffee, 17 Kellog Ave, Amherst MA.

WHO: Open to the general public.

WHAT: The agenda is as follows:

  1. Updates needed to the SEPAC brochure – to be made after May elections
  2. Review of Bylaws – suggested changes/edits to be made at April meeting
    • Process for communication with the District – contact and protocol
    • Meeting attendance requirements for Board membership
    • Responsibilities and approvals process for minutes, web postings, newsletter articles and SC statements
  3. Meeting Dates times for April and May
    • How can we get many participants?
  4. Agenda Items for 3/18 meeting with Faye Brady, Director of Student Service
    • Items still outstanding from the last meeting
    • New topics to incorporate into the April meeting
  5. Status of the newsletter this year (no Fall newsletter agreed upon)
    • Establish a process for reviews and moving forward


LGO Hatfield Pac and surroundingt 03-28-13 (2)

Cutting Paras in ARPS?The following is a letter posted to the School Committee in anticipation of the coming (2/26/13) School Committee meeting.  On the previous day (2/25/13) the Executive Board of the Special Education PAC brought this issue to Dr. Faye Brady, whose response was that no paraprofessionals would be taken from students needing them for special education purposes.

Good evening Maria and members of the School Committee,

Thank you for offering the Community additional time to comment on the proposed budget cuts. The Amherst Regional Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) has some specific concerns regarding the budget and we request additional information.

Little public discussion has been heard about how the proposed budget cuts impact children with extra or special needs. The budget proposal mentions a reduction in paraprofessional staff by nine and a change in the service delivery model. These are substantial changes and require further explanation to the Community. We would ask that you please respond to this question specifically as you have other community questions.  

Parents of children with paraprofessionals should be part of the discussion regarding the proposed changes, if this impacts them directly. In SEPAC’s recent meeting with Faye Brady, it was indicated that special education para’s would not be effected and that there will be a shift towards a more inclusive co-teaching model. Can you describe what type of changes will be made to the service delivery and how this may impact special education? Some parents believe good could result from a change in the way services are delivered. However, many families would like to have transparency and be afforded the opportunity to provide feedback, families are concerned.

Thank you for all of your hard work, your time and your response.

Melissa Paciulli
SEPAC Co-President

Superintendent Maria Geryk made this speedy response:

Hello Melissa,
I would be happy to address the paraprofessional issue tonight. We currently have around 110 paraprofessionals and we are reducing by 9. There is only 1 special education para reduction because a student no longer needs this level of support. The other paraprofessionals are in general education intervention or ELE.
I hope you are well.

Sensory processing disordersDoes your Child have a Sensory Processing Disorder? Have you participated in the sensory-friendly films at Cinemark? Dylan at the Gazette would like to talk to you about it.

A sensory-friendly movie has the lights brought up, sound turned down, and is not in 3D. Some individuals with sensory processing disorders become easily overstimulated in theaters.

On February 19th, Dylan asked the Special Education PAC:

I am a reporter over at the Gazette and I am writing a story about the sensory-friendly films at the Cinemark–which are designed for children with sensory disorders like autism. I am looking to get in touch with parents who have taken advantage of the series, and I was wondering if any of your members have and are interested in speaking with me.

It would be really helpful to me if you could put the word out. If any parents are interested in speaking with me. My email address is

Thank you,

Dylan Peers McCoy
Daily Hampshire Gazette and Amherst Bulletin


The Special Education PAC will be meeting Tuesday, 2/19 at 9:00 a.m. in Thorne’s Guitar Studio, 233 North Pleasant Street,  Amherst (behind the Loose Goose).  All welcome!

We hope to discuss the following agenda items:

  • New business
  • Future potential workshops
  • Membership
  • Potential partnership with Umass master’s program students regarding inclusion in k12
  • Welcoming new families

Watch this video interview of Faye Brady!Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 12.32.38 PM

(ARPS Director of Student Services, Faye Brady,  forwarded this to Special Education PAC Board members, and asked that we share it with as many people as possible–enjoy!)

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

Posted on October 23, 2012 by Tim Shriver

John Franklin Stephens

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.

Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.

Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.

Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

Come join us someday at Special Olympics.  See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia

EDITOR’S NOTE: John has previously written powerful opinion pieces on the R-word. Read one here.

(Click here for  FAYE BRADY SEPAC PROMO)meet Faye Brady photo promo SEPAC

Basic_Rights_workshop_Spanish_version     Basic_Rights_workshop_English versionBasic Rights Workshop