Category Archives: Resources

Darien SEPAC Reading Buddy Program

Darien SEPAC is pleased to present a new Reading Buddy Program. The program, piloted successfully in the winter of 2016/17 with space and books provided by Darien Library, is now open to student volunteers.

What is a Reading Buddy Program? It’s older kids (“Big Reading Buddies”) paired with younger kids (“Little Reading Buddies”) for one-to-one reading time. Research has shown that academic performance, motivation to read, reading skills, and self-confidence are all gained through participation in these programs. Two SEPAC Representatives; Lynne Andren, who has a MA in Reading and Kara Callahan, who has a MS in Special Education, run the program, with some assistance from SEPAC co-chairs Courtney Darby and Tricia Bresnahan. Both Andren and Callahan are thrilled with the idea of helping parents through the sometimes dreaded daily reading homework requirement while helping the buddies develop new friendships and foster a love of reading. The group meets once a week on Thursday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 PM. Either buddy can require support; in fact this program is perfect for a teen who is struggling with reading.  For program information or to sign-up, contact Lynne Andren (lynneandren@yahoo.com) or Kara Callahan (kwcallahan@icloud.com).

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Is My Child Making Progress?

Understanding Progress Monitoring

Monday, October 5th, 11 am, Royle Common Room
Please RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com

Dr. Susie Da Silva, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, K-12 will discuss the purpose and components of a strong Scientifically Research-Based Intervention (SRBI) model. She will outline how an effective program supports students in the most meaningful way.

Find out the answer to your questions including:
What are the assessment tools the district currently uses?
How will I be notified of my child’s progress in SRBI?
How do I know if my child is reading on grade level?

Catch up on Recent SEPAC Presentations!

Two of SEPAC’s most popular Spring events are now available online. Both events were co-sposored by the Darien Library and have been added to their special website called Darien Library TV.

http://darienlibrary.tv/categories/childrenslibrary.html

ADHD and Mood Disorders:
New Strategies & Treatments
Dr. Wachtel discussed medication options, treatments and strategies to help children who struggle with mood and attention. He covered school-based accommodations and strategies. Research has shown that parents and teachers need to foster a child’s focus to maximize their ability to learn. In addition, Dr. Wachtel addressed the benefits and risks of available treatments and when to commence or postpone treatment at various stages of a child’s life. A board certified psychiatrist, Dr. Wachtel is the author of The Attention Deficit Answer Book.

Meaningful Inclusion Benefits All Students by William Henderson, Ed.D.
Dr. Henderson is a nationally recognized inclusion expert and author of The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made the School Better for Everyone. Dr. Henderson discussed approaches to develop a culture of inclusion, to provide instruction with universal design and specialized supports, and to build a community that collaborates and problem solves. He also highlighted how including students with disabilities can be a catalyst for improving teaching and learning for everyone.

Meaningful Inclusion Benefits All Students

Darien SEPAC and Darien Library are pleased to present:

William Henderson, Ed.D.
Inclusion Expert and Author

Monday, April 27th

12:00 – 1:30 PM — Public Meeting
RSVP: https://dlchildrenslibrary.wufoo.com/forms/meaningful-inclusion-benefits-all-students/

3:30 PM– 4:45 PM — Educators Only Session
RSVP: https://dlchildrenslibrary.wufoo.com/forms/bill-henderson-educator-visit/

Darien Library Louise Parker Berry Community Room
Light refreshments will be served.

William Henderson, Ed.D., author of “The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made the School Better for Everyone,” will present practical strategies for developing successful inclusive schools.

Dr. Henderson will discuss approaches to developing a culture of inclusion, to provide instruction with universal design and specialized supports, and to build a community that collaborates and problem solves. He will also highlight how including students with disabilities can be a catalyst for improving teaching and learning for everyone.

As a first-year teacher, Dr. Henderson learned he was gradually losing his vision and was advised he “should get out of education.” Instead he continued to persevere and went on to become principal of the Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School which is now renamed the Dr. William W. Henderson K- 12 Inclusion School.

“In an age when the word ‘hero’ is overused, Bill Henderson clearly deserves the title. Long before most educators embraced the concept of inclusion, Bill built a school that became a model of equity and excellence.”
— Thomas Hehir, professor of practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education & Author of ”Effective Inclusive Schools, Designing Successful Schoolwide Programs.”

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CANCELED DUE TO BLIZZARD: ADHD & MOOD DISORDERS: New Strategies and Treatments

CANCELED: Monday, January 26, 7-8:30, Darien Library

NEW DATE TO BE DETERMINED

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Darien SEPAC and Darien Library are pleased to present Alan Wachtel, MD on ADHD & Mood Disorders: New Strategies and Treatments.

Dr. Wachtel will discuss medication options, treatments and strategies to help children who struggle with mood and attention. He will cover school-based accommodations and strategies. Research has shown that parents and teachers need to foster a child’s focus to maximize their ability to learn. In addition, Dr. Wachtel will address the benefits and risks of available treatments and when to commence or postpone treatment at various stages of a child’s life.

A board certified psychiatrist, Dr. Wachtel is the author of The Attention Deficit Answer Book. He is founder and director of Familyhealth Associates, which specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of attention, behavior, mood and learning disorders. He is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

RSVP at https://dlchildrenslibrary.wufoo.com/forms/adhd-and-mood-disorders-new-strategies-treatmen/

Resolution of Special Education Disputes

To resolve special education issues and concerns in an expeditious and fair manner the following two procedures are in place in the Darien School District:
Local Dispute Resolution Process
IEP Facilitation, to comply with
The Connecticut State Department of Education

SEPAC Update 10/1/13

SEPAClogo

Below you will find important upcoming deadlines, dates and procedures for parents in the Darien School District. This information has been previously communicated by the District and on the Darienps.org website. We thought it would be helpful for parents to have this information in one central place so you do not miss anything that is relevant to you and your family.

 

Parent-only meeting TOMORROW NIGHT  with Attorney Gamm

On Wednesday, October 2, 2013, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m in the BOE room at 35 Leroy Ave., parents of children with disabilities (special education and/or Section 504 plans) are invited to attend a parent-only meeting with Attorney Sue Gamm, the Board’s independent investigator, for the purpose of sharing any information relevant to the investigation into special education/Section 504 practices, policies and/or procedures. The meeting is open to parents of those exited or denied services during the SRBI and referral process. You are welcome to provide Attorney Gamm with any information that you have previously submitted to the state. If you cannot make the meeting, you may submit your summary to Attorney Gamm by email and attach any supporting documents. Her email is SueGamm@aol.com. Alternatively, you may mail your materials to the address in Chicago listed below in this email.

 

Investigator’s Survey

Deadline to Complete the Independent Investigator’s Survey regarding policies and practices in Special Education, 504 and SRBI is 10/8 at Midnight!

Parent Survey –  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dpsparentsurvey
Staff Survey – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dpsstaffsurvey
For those who remain concerned about the confidentiality of their survey responses, please note that your survey (with no personally identifiable information) may be accessed on a laptop belonging to another individual, at a public library, etc. In addition, below are the surveys in a pdf format provided through links to my private dropbox. You may print out the appropriate survey and manually complete it; please then provide it to me through my email ( SueGamm@aol.com ) or by mail (1115 W. Altgeld, Chicago, IL 60614.)

 

 

Parent Trainings:
All parents in the Darien Public Schools and Board of Education members are invited to attend special education training sessions hosted by Theresa DeFrancis on Tuesday, October 8th from 9 am – 11:30 am and on Thursday, October 10th from 7 pm – 9 pm in the Board of Education Meeting Room at 35 Leroy Avenue.  Her presentation will parallel those sessions provided for school district administration and staff.  Ms. DeFrancis’ efforts are designed to have all in the school community understand the federal and state procedures in special education.

Local Dispute Resolution Process: 

Please see the following link for detailed information and the form to complete to initiate this process.

http://www.darienps.org/current/general/2013-14/20130925PRESS-RELEASE.PDF

 

State Reports: 

You can view the July and September reports from the State Department of Education by clicking SDE Report July 18 and SDE Report September 25. Please take time to read these reports. The second and most recent report contains important deadlines and procedures for parents including the opportunity to request a PPT facilitator for PPT meetings occurring between 10/21/13 and 3/21/14.  In addition, the State has required that all families receive the most current copy of their IEP by October 9th. You may also find these reports on the Darienps.org website. The second report is on the homepage on the top entry titled “From the Superintendent”. The first report is listed under the announcement entry titled “From the Superintendent” on the third page of entries

Thank you,
Darien SEPAC