Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

March 13, 2014

Survey aims to get pulse on SPED program

Parent advisory council wants feedback on district's services

The school district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council is looking for feedback on all aspects of special education throughout Andover.

The council is slated to launch an online survey on Tuesday, March 18, to collect information and observations on the quality of special education in town, according to Jeanne Teichert, chairwoman of a survey subcommittee made up of SEPAC members.

“Part of the function of SEPAC is to advise the School Committee on the needs of the district relating to special education,” Teichert said. “I read that and thought, ‘How do you do that?’ You need to find out from parents what the needs are, which can be very difficult.”

The survey is expected to be circulated online. Answers will be anonymous, and all parents, both those with and without special-education students in their families,will be invited to respond.

“It’s going to be set up so that there’s some general questions for any parent to give feedback on the school system in general,” Teichert said. “It will skip to different questions so you can answer for parents with children with disabilities ... or maybe parents who may not be in special education yet, but believe (their child) has a disability. Maybe they haven’t been diagnosed yet.”

In addition to collecting data, the survey is also aimed at highlighting the existence of SEPAC to parents with children who might require unique services.

“We find a lot of parents don’t really know what SEPAC is, and when they hear it, they lump it together with the PTOs,” she said.

Teichert said from talking to other parents, she has found that many “don’t necessarily feel confident that they do have a voice to be able to make changes in the schools.”

“I’m hoping this will perhaps change that perception, that there is a way,” she added.

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