Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in SEPAC/ attend workshops?
All parents and guardians of Franklin students receiving special education services are encouraged to become involved in SEPAC. Participation is also open to other interested parties such as teachers, service providers, students studying special education, and families from other towns. All workshops are open to the public.
What are ways I can get more involved with SEPAC?
We are always looking for volunteers to help with our Community Outreach Committee and our Fundraising Committee. These are great ways to get involved with our organization and have fun doing so! If you are interested, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How I join your mailing list?
Fill out the form on the right of screen or email us at email@example.com
I missed a workshop, can I get copies of the hand out?
Check the meeting minutes from that date. Very often the information from that workshop will be posted. If you do not find the information you are looking for, please contact us.
I’m not from Franklin, can I attend the workshop or the Parent Support Group?
Yes. All Franklin SEPAC workshops and Parent Support Group meeings are open to the public
I want to suggest/present a workshop
Our workshop schedule runs September - June. Generally, we schedule all the workshops prior to the beginning of the school year. If you would like to make a suggestion or offer to present, please contact us.
Who is my Team Chair/Liasion?
Franklin Team Chairs are arranged as follows:
Director of Student Services...... Deborah Dixson
Davis Thayer..............Ginny Edwards
Oak Street...................Kathleen Gerber
Horace Mann...............Kerry Fanning
Franklin High School.....Jennifer D'Angelo
How is a child’s placement determined in Franklin?
Students who access their curriculum with the support of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) have a team meeting each year. This team will analyze data, discuss progress, plan and propose an appropriate IEP and placement for the student to access his/her education in the following year. The federal law requires the school to consider the least restrictive environment in all placement discussions and decisions. Below is an outline of the continuum of services provided by the Franklin Public Schools, from least to most restrictive. This is not an exhaustive list as it only specifies Special Education services available to students after they are determined eligible for special education. There is a vast continuum of general education services available within each school building available to allstudents.
What Inclusive Services are available in Franklin?
- Consultation:consultation to general education teachers from special education teachers and related service providers
- Inclusive supports:special education faculty (certifiedteachers or trained educational assistants) supporting implementation of accommodations for access to the curriculum and modifications to the curriculum within the general education class as determined by special education and general education teachers during consultation time.
- Co-Teaching:general education teachers and special education teachers working together within the general education classroom. Services can include accommodations for access to the curriculum, modifications to the curriculum within the general education class, and shared teaching responsibilities.
What Separate Services are available in Franklin?
- Content Area Instruction:subject matter taught by a special education teacher in small groups separate from general education classroom. Curriculum is modified and parallels the strands and standards from the frameworks appropriate to that subject, grade or course. This is often referred to as resource room class or replacement class.
- Sub-Separate Programs:continuum of very small classes specifically designed to service students presenting with intensive needs that require modified content curriculum delivered in a modified environment with significant related services supports. These classrooms are designed to serve students with significant impairments which require intensive specialized instruction to the extent that time with general education peers is quite limited.
What are the Sub-Separate Programs in Franklin?
- Intensive Needs Continuum: Currently, there are four classrooms spanning grades K-12+ which serve students who contend with cognitive and communication impairments and require a functional approach to specialized academic instruction, rich language instruction and therapy that supports development of communication skills and life skills. Students are placed in this setting when the Team has determined that this intense level of service provision is appropriate to ensure progress as specified within the IEP. Alignment with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks guides the instructional focus. Specific and essential curriculum standards are targeted based upon the instructional needs and levels of each student within the program. Standards are addressed at access, entry, or modified levels. Within this developmental model, the instructional strategies of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) are utilized throughout the school day. Analyzing behavior and applying specific instructional strategies based upon the analysis are integral components of an ABA model. Discrete trials (instructional technique based upon repetitive provisions of clear presentation, clear instructions, and clear consequences) may also be implemented, as needed. Instructional techniques also include specialized multi-sensory strategies and strategies that include systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction. Assistive technology is integrated into the instruction and curriculum to support students’ learning needs. Due to the profiles of these students, language is a constant emphasis. All areas of language are directly and intensely addressed throughout the school day. The classroom special education teacher and assistants work closely with the speech/language pathologist to design instruction, develop instructional methods, and increase social skills through directed and incidental opportunities. The High School classroom is a substantially-separate class for students with moderate to severe disabilities in grades 9 – 12 and for students ages 18 – 22. The program is designed to provide a full-continuum, comprehensive curriculum experience for students in grades 9 – 12 and a transition to adult life component for ages 18 – 22. In both components of the program, pre-vocational/vocational opportunities are explored within the high school setting and/or in community-based job sites. The vision and development of the transition to adult life process begins at age 14. Life skills activities, including pre-vocational and vocational, are woven into the school program as determined appropriate to the transition planning. A full-time Job Coach works closely with the student and the student’s family to determine appropriate pre-vocational and vocational opportunities. Collaboration with the Franklin community and surrounding communities has been established, resulting in meaningful opportunities for students to participate in volunteer or job experiences.
- Social Emotional Continuum: serves students who contend with significant social, behavioral disabilities and require a structured therapeutic approach to academic instruction rich with interventions that support problem solving skill development, self- regulation and the ability to handle frustration in an age-appropriate manner. Students are placed in this setting when the Team has determined that this level of service provision is appropriate to ensure progress in academic and social/behavioral skills. The program provides a highly structured setting with very consistent expectations and routines. Most students in the program have Positive Behavioral Intervention Plans that are individually designed based upon the unique needs of the student. Group and individual counseling are available as determined by the Team and consultation is provided on an on-going basis with an experienced counselor. The counselor is also available for consultation with parents. Often students are involved in private counseling. The school counselor may consult with the outside service providers to coordinate strategies and offer feedback.
- Language-Based Continuum: serves students who have cognitive skills within the average range, but contend with significant language impairments and require direct instruction in language and reading. Instructional methods include specialized multi-sensory strategies and techniques that include systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction. To support the retention of skills and knowledge, reinforcement and practice opportunities are an integral aspect of the program. Curriculum language and vocabulary are specifically and directly taught in an integrated approach, crossing all curriculum areas. Assistive technology is available to meet the specific needs of students. Instruction is delivered within small groups and/or individually. Due to the profiles of these students, language (both receptive and expressive) is a constant emphasis. All areas of language are directly and intensely addressed throughout the school day. The classroom special education teacher and educational assistants work closely with the speech/language pathologist to design instruction, develop instructional methods, and increase social skills through directed and incidental opportunities.
How do I contact Franklin Pupil Personnel Services?
How do I request that the school evaluate my child for special education services?
Submit a formal request in writing to your special education liasion. It is recommended that you also also submit copies to your child's teacher and the principal of your child’s school. State law requires school districts to proceed and conduct a special education evaluation within 30 days after a parent refers the child for testing. School districts do not have the option to refuse or delay testing for any reason.
The timelines for evaluations suggest:
- Referral - Parent or professional identifies a child as possibly needing special education and related services.
- Consent - Within 5 school days of the receipt of a referral, the school district notifies the parent and asks for written consent to evaluate.
- Evaluation - Withing 30 school days of written parent consent, credentialed trained specialist complete the evaluation.
Parents can start with written consent to the school. The Team Meeting should occur within 10 school days from receiving the evaluations. You have a right to receive copies of the evaluation reports at least 2 days prior to the team meeting by making a written request.
What types of evaluations can I request?
Parents may request that their children be evaluated once per year in any area of disability or suspected disability. Some examples include: functional behavioral assessments, assistive technology, speech and language, and vocational evaluation. Educational evaluations includes information about educational history and progress in the general curriculum. School districts cannot refuse to do an initial evaluation. Evaluations continue to be required prior to a finding of no eligibility. Language of evaluations must be provided in the child's native language or other method of communication or in the method most likely to provide accurate information unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
Can I view my child's education records?
Yes. Parents can access their child's school records at any time.
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. This is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services your child will receive and why. It will include your child's classification, placement, services such as a one-on-one aide and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and progress reports from teachers and therapists. The IEP is planned at an IEP meeting.
The individualized part of IEP means that the plan has to be tailored specifically to your child's special needs -- not to the needs of the teacher, or the school, or the district. Goals, modifications, accommodations, personnel, placement, all should be selected, enforced and maintained with the particular needs of your child in mind.
What is a 504?
A 504 Plan helps a child with special health care needs to fully participate in school. Usually, a 504 Plan is used by a general education student who is not eligible for special education services. A 504 Plan lists accommodations related to the child’s disability and required by the child so that he or she may participate in the general classroom setting and educational programs. For example, a 504 Plan may include:
- Plans to make a school wheelchair-accessible
- Your child’s assistive technology needs during the school day
- Permission for your child to type assignments instead of writing them by hand
- Permission for your child to hand in assignments late due to illness or a hospital stay
Your child may be eligible for accommodations under a 504 Plan if he or she has a physical or mental health disability that limits one or more major life functions. A 504 Plan is supported by the federal civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A 504 Plan is to be provided in programs that receive federal funds, such as public schools.
Each school is required to have a Section 504 Coordinator. Developing any plan requires working together as a team. Work with your child’s school nurse, primary care provider (PCP), and the Section 504 Coordinator to create a 504 Plan. In developing a 504 plan, the process should include:
- A school evaluation
- A letter from your child’s PCP describing the disability, related problems, and needed medications and/or treatments
- Identification of the accommodations to be provided – physical and instructional
- Your child’s Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP)
- A copy of the Emergency Information Form for Children with Special Health Needs
What is the difference between an IEP and a 504?
A 504 plan, which falls under civil-rights law, is an attempt to remove barriers and allow students with disabilities to participate freely; like the Americans With Disabilities Act, it seeks to level the playing field so that those students can safely pursue the same opportunities as everyone else. An IEP, which falls under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is much more concerned with actually providing educational services. Students eligible for an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, represent a small subset of all students with disabilities. They generally require more than a level playing field -- they require significant remediation and assistance, and are more likely to work on their own level at their own pace even in an inclusive classroom. Only certain classifications of disability are eligible for an IEP, and students who do not meet those classifications but still require some assistance to be able to participate fully in school would be candidates for a 504 plan. The 504 Plan does NOT require a written plan, progress reporting, transition planning and discipline protections, where an IEP DOES.
My child did qualified for special education, when should I get a copy of my child's new IEP?
Parents should receive at least a summary of their child's goal areas and a completed service delivery grid describing the types and amounts of special education and/or related services being proposed. If parents receive this in hand at the close of the meeting, they can expect the full proposed IEP in no more than two calendar weeks. If parents prefer to not wait 2 calendar weeks for the IEP, the district must respond to such requests with a completed IEP within 3-5 days of the team meeting.