Ensuring Collaboration Between Special Education Parent Advisory Groups (SEPAGs) and Boards of Education (BOEs)
The New Jersey Administrative Code for Special Education mandates that:
"Each district board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities" (N.J.A.C. 6A-1.2(h)).
A SEPAG gives families the opportunity to provide direct input to their school district about policies, programs, and practices that impact students with disabilities. At the same time, a strong partnership between SEPAGs and BOEs is important for developing and maintaining meaningful family engagement in schools. Together SEPAGs and BOEs can make a positive difference in improving special education programs and services for students with disabilities and their families.
Please read the best practice statements below. Based on your personal experience as a parent, SEPAG member, district leader, BOE member, or community representative on a group, please provide feedback on the statements below. If this is not a best practice in your school district, please provide comments and possible solutions to ensure effective collaboration between SEPAGs and BOEs.
1. Local Board of Education members are aware of the NJ Special Education Code requiring each school district to have a parent-led SEPAG and recognize the SEPAG's advisory role.
2. A member (or members) of the local BOE attend the SEPAG meetings, and a SEPAG representative serves as a liaison between the SEPAG and BOE’s special education subcommittee.
3. The BOE shares information about district policy and practices, annual school budget, and solicits input on other special education related areas with the SEPAG before making decisions or proposing changes that impact special education programs and services.
4. The SEPAG submits and presents its annual report to the BOE on SEPAG activities and discusses the SEPAG recommendations at a BOE meeting.
5. The SEPAG makes their meeting agendas and minutes publicly accessible on the SEPAG's section of the school district’s website, SEPAG’s social media account, or the SEPAG’s website.
6. The SEPAG and BOE have developed a way to communicate with each other to discuss challenges and issues impacting students with disabilities and their families and find solutions to resolve them collaboratively.
Please feel free to provide any additional information you think is beneficial to ensuring collaborative partnership between SEPAGs and BOEs. Thank you very much for your participation!
Download the SEPAG Guide: tiny.cc/SEPAGguideEnglish and tiny.cc/SEPAGguideSpanish
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This form was created inside of Statewide Parent Advocacy Network.