Topics for the General Meeting – January 23, 2014
2013 SpedPac Champion Award – John Connolly
Thank You – Mary Tamer
At the January general meeting, the entire SpedPac community recognized City Councilor John Connolly and School Committee member Mary Tamer for their work on behalf of students with disabilities in BPS. John and Mary both left their respective positions this January, and we wanted to publicly express our sincere thanks to each of them for their incredible leadership and advocacy for all of our children.
SpedPac was proud to present City Councilor John Connolly with our Champion of the Year award. During his time on the City Council and as the Chair of the Education Committee, John consistently gave SpedPac representatives a seat at the table and a direct voice at all of the City Council Education hearings he chaired. John took the time to educate himself on special education issues, to meet with individual families to assist them with IEP and program issues in BPS, and he established and maintained a solid working relationship with SpedPac and the Special Education Department in BPS. John was an advocate for inclusion, transition, ABA services, and appropriations for special education. John and his staff also worked tirelessly throughout his years on the City Council to help countless families of children with special needs. John and his staff fielded calls from parents of children with disabilities in need of support, and facilitated communications between families and BPS to obtain resolution for each family’s issues. John and his staff also worked to connect parents to one another for on-going network support throughout the special education community. John made it a priority of his to have someone from his staff attend every SpedPac meeting to ensure that he was aware of any changes or issues that needed his support. SpedPac and its members are grateful for John’s constant direct work and on-going support for special education issues throughout his tenure on the City Council. We will miss having him on the City Council and as the Education Chair but we also know that he will continue to support all of Boston’s children.
SpedPac also thanked School Committee Member Mary Tamer for all of her work on behalf of students with disabilities in BPS during her tenure on the School Committee. Mary was an incredible advocate for families of children with special needs. Mary was vigilant in asking questions about BPS and SC decisions and the impact of those decisions on students with disabilities. She worked directly with SpedPac, and backed our requests for improvements and equity for students with disabilities in accessing quality programs and opportunities in BPS. Mary served as a member of the External Advisory Committee and Co-Chaired the Inclusion task force. She made special education her priority as a school committee member, and she served as a voice for all families of children with special needs in BPS. We are grateful to Mary for all that she has done to improve outcomes and programming for our children.
Presentation – The iPad: A Tool, Not Just a Toy!
Guest Presenter – Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, SpeechTechie
Sean will demonstrate a variety of apps useful in the home with students with language, social learning, and executive function challenges. Apps useful for language building and organization, visualizing and emphasizing social situations and scripts, and support of planning and organization skills will be covered, along with resources for learning more on your own!
BPS Update – Superintendent John McDonough