In Jessica Valeriani's article, "Questions arise over Special Education Advisory Group,” a waiver was sent to the Department of Education which excused the School District in creating a Special Education Parent Advisory Council, (SEPAC) for three years.
Ted Teichert, a former School Committee member and former liaison to SEPAC, expressed his surprise when he reviewed the waiver. He found that the waiver stated that the lack of a SEPAC was “discussed with the School Committee.” Ted asked each member of the School Committee if the waiver had been discussed with them. Each individual clearly and unequivocally stated that the issue had not been discussed. Surprisingly, not one of our elected School Committee members chose to address this issue of integrity with the superintendent and the assistant superintendent in the School Committee meeting.
Telling the truth is paramount to building a positive working relationship. The School Committee members are the elected voices of the parents and they were not included in the decision to apply for this waiver. How can parents trust a school administration that clearly misrepresented information on a waiver to the Department of Education? This is a very big deal.
The School Committee needs to make it a priority for the school administration to work collaboratively and honestly with parents of children with special needs. The school holds the privileged contact information of parents who have children who receive special education services. The contact information is needed to invite all families who are navigating the complicated world of special education. The support and encouragement of parents is integral to the success and health of the child. This is a missed opportunity of support for many families in Andover.
Trust is built on honesty. Our elected school committee needs to demand honesty, transparency and collaboration from the school administration. This is paramount to building a trusting working relationship with parents in the community of children with special needs now not in three years!
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