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Special Education

Guidance For Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (PACs)

To:Special Education Administrators and Other Interested Parties
From:Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education
Date:March 26, 2010

I am pleased to announce the completion of a new technical assistance document entitled Guidance For Special Education Parent Advisory Councils . I want to particularly thank the many individuals, parents, PAC chairpersons, special education administrators, school committee members, school superintendents, and representatives of various organizations who have been involved in special education and who worked closely with the Department in the development of this document.

As many of you know, The Massachusetts special education law requires a school district to establish a PAC, and assigns both an advisory and a participatory function to the PAC. This guidance document is designed to help place these requirements in context. This PAC guidance discusses a full range of topics relating to PACs - from examining their central purpose to identifying the characteristics and practices that help make PACs most successful. One key principal we hope that readers receive from this guidance is that in order for PACs to be most effective in improving special education in the district, there must be true collaboration between the PAC and the school district leadership.

It is the Department's intention over the course of 2010 to provide additional technical assistance focused on improving the parent-school connection. The research is compelling that both the outcomes for students and the satisfaction of families is highly increased by positive relationships between the school and parents. We encourage school districts to share this document with their PAC members and promote a dialogue focused on identifying action steps to take that promote a welcoming environment for parents as partners in the education of their children. As always, thank you for your work on behalf of students with disabilities.

Last Updated: March 26, 2010

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