Communications from the Executive Director of Special Education

Welcome Back Letter to Parents and Guardians, August 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,

On behalf of the Needham Public Schools Special Education Department, we want to welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year. We hope that you found some time for rest and relaxation this summer. As we begin a new school year we want to emphasize our commitment to your children and to providing an inclusive, safe, and supportive school environment where all students can learn and thrive as individuals. Below, you will find a few updates, as well as contact information for the special education administrators assigned to your child’s school. 
We are excited to start the school year in a fully in-person learning model where we will continue to provide specially-designed instruction and related services in alignment with each child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). This school year, our special educators will further their professional learning around IEP development and how to increase equity and access for all learners through universal design for learning. We are excited to collaborate with general educators to provide a high quality educational experience for all students. Given our priority to maintain the health and safety of students and staff and the positive feedback from parents and educators about virtual team meetings, we will continue to hold IEP team meetings virtually this school year. For any family who would like to meet in person, please let your child’s Special Education Coordinator or Liaison know and we will be happy to accommodate your request as long as it is consistent with the district’s policy on visitors into the school buildings. Additional updates about health and safety requirements for the upcoming school year will be provided by your child’s school.
Finally, as we begin another school year, we want to take this opportunity to thank our SEPAC. Needham SEPAC is a parent group that acts as a resource for families and advises the district. This group provides education, support and networking opportunities for parents and guardians of children with special educational needs. SEPAC meets regularly with school administrators to give input on the policies and programs affecting their children. The Needham Public Schools has an active, positive, and collaborative relationship with this organization and we are grateful for the support, guidance, and feedback they provide. SEPAC holds business meetings and educational presentations, both of which are open to the public. The first business meeting is set for Thursday, September 28th at 12:00pm. The first educational presentation, “Needham’s Special Education Services and Programs,” will be held on Wednesday, October 13th at 7:00pm. We look forward to presenting alongside our special education coordinators for this event. A full schedule of this year’s presentations and business meetings is enclosed and will be available on the SEPAC website: www.NeedhamSEPAC.org. For the time being, all SEPAC meetings will be held virtually (Zoom Link information will be provided prior to the meetings and posted on the SEPAC website). 
As a district, we are proud of our accomplishments and the comprehensive special education programs we provide here in Needham, and we recognize there is always room to improve. We welcome your feedback and your participation in your child’s educational planning and programming. As always, please do not hesitate to contact any one of us with questions or feedback. 
Our best to you and your family as you prepare for the upcoming school year. Enclosed you will find the required annual notice of Procedural Safeguards from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Our Needham Public School website (http://www.needham.k12.ma.us/) also has a lot of helpful information. 
Respectfully, 
Julie Muse-Fisher Patricia Mullen Rebecca Sparrell 




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