February 6, 2020 Meeting

Minutes taken by Lisa Walter

James Caldwell High School Library Meeting began at 7:00 pm

  • Review of procedures and ground rules

  • Self-introductions of all in attendance

Approximately 12 in attendance, including several new attendees

Discussion included the following topics:

  1. Special Education Department analysis:

  2. The analysis has been completed; anticipating that the results will be shared with the public at the 2/10/2020 Board of Education meeting

  3. Continued discussion about the responsibilities and training of student aides:

  4. What training is required/provided?

  5. Some districts require aides to take the support personnel Praxis exam

  6. Concern expressed over the fact that aides are told not to speak to parents

  7. It is necessary to hire people for aide positions that have specialized training to assist and interact with students who have specific behavioral/academic needs

  8. Perhaps the district BCBAs could be asked what type of training would be most beneficial and possible; perhaps use professional development time to provide training

  9. Inclusion of out-of-district placed students: Each child’s case manager should be asking the family if they wish to be placed on mailing lists from school office which will alert the family to school events

  10. Continued discussion from last month regarding HIB procedures and concerns about student safety

  11. Question: What Social/Emotional Learning programs are in place at each school as part of HIB education?

  12. Inclusion: Some participants expressed interest in finding out which schools and grades have inclusion classes

  13. Home instruction: Staffing issues and frustration discussed


Sensory Hallways: Through the work of the Occupational Therapists, a grant was received from the Education Foundation to install sensory hallways in all of the elementary schools. This is an exciting development and will be used to help so many students!

Sensory Garden at Harrison School: Emily Birchler received a $1,000.00 grant from the Kiwanis Club to revamp the garden at Harrison.

  • She has enlisted the help of a local Boy Scout troop that is designing the garden bays and will be volunteering time to help with the gardens. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to volunteer at the garden!

Tuesday, February 11: Our group is sponsoring a county workshop entitled “Basic Rights in Special Education.” The event is free and is open to anyone in Essex County. The speaker will be Kim Rivers from the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network.

Meeting adjourned at approximately 8:30.

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