• SEPAC/District Parent Orientation

    The Special Education Parent Advisory Council, in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be hosting a parent orientation to learn about the upcoming Special Education and Civil Rights review in our district. The parent orientation will be held on Tuesday, March 5th, at 6pm and be offered in a Hybrid model. You may join virtually using this link:  meet.google.com/udm-engi-qzp or in person at South Hadley High School. Please join us!

    You may contact Beth Cooke at 413-538-5072 with questions about the parent orientation or the review.  You may also find this information on our district website.

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  • The purpose of special education is to allow a student to successfully develop their individual educational potential. Special Education is intended to serve students with disabilities so that such students are able to have the same full educational opportunities as their non-disabled peers.

    Special education services are specifically designed instruction and related services that are necessary to allow the student to access the general curriculum. The instruction is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual.

    Children receiving special education services may have a disability in any of the following areas: autism, health, physical, developmental, sensory, intellectual, neurological, emotional, speech and communication, or specific learning issues.

    The requirements regarding special education are based on state and federal law. The relevant laws are as follows:

    State Law:  The State special education law, popularly known as "Chapter 766" is contained in the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) at Chapter 71B. The regulations implementing the statute are found in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) at 603 CMR, Section 28.00.

    Federal Law: The federal special education law is known as "IDEA" (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.)  It is contained in the United States Code at 20 USC Sec. 1400. The implementing regulations for IDEA can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at Chapter 34, Section 300. For additional information on Chapter 766 and IDEA go to www.doe.mass.edu/sped/laws.html.

    "The role of special education is to minimize the impact of the disability and to maximize the opportunities for children with disabilities to participate in general education in their natural community."   Thomas Hehir, New Directions in Special Education: Eliminating Ableism in Policy and Practice 

    The district office coordinates services for students who have IEPs, speak English as their non-native language, or who require services due to homelessness.  This office also assists with the transportation needs of students riding special transportation vehicles.