START-Engaging Parents of Students with Disabilities

Offering programs and services that support the engagement of families to improve outcomes for students.

 

SEPAGS in NJ

SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY GROUPS

Special Education Parent Advisory Groups (SEPAGs) are required for all school districts in New Jersey. The purpose of these groups is to provide opportunities for parents and community members to offer input to their districts on critical issues relating to students with disabilities.

New Jersey Administrative Code states:  Each board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities. 6A:14-1.2(h)


OUTREACH MATERIALS

The following documents are available for parent leaders/groups to share with their districts to provide more information about SEPAGs and the role START-EPSD plays in supporting families and districts as they start and run SEPAGs:

RESOURCE MATERIALS


The following documents are available for parent leaders/groups to use during meetings or to help familiarize SEPAG members on the ins and outs of running and participating in a parent group.
  • Developing & Implementing an Effective Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)  |  This chart includes the steps and questions to consider when developing a SEPAG. Use this tool as a guide for discussion when forming your group. English: DOC / PDF  |  Español: DOC / PDF
  • Action Minutes—Organizational tool for taking minutes  |  Use this form at meetings to quickly and effectively take minutes, document a group discussion, and create an action plan. It can also be copied into a Google Doc and made interactive so anyone with a link can add comments or suggestions. English: DOC / PDF  |  Español: DOC / PDF
  • Input Tool for SEPAG Meetings—Organizational Tool for collecting input at SEPAG meetings  |  Use this chart to organize input, identify systemic issues, and include suggestions for possible resolution. It can also be copied into a Google Doc and made interactive so anyone with a link can add comments or suggestions. English: DOC / PDF  |  Español: DOC / PDF
  • Webinar: Special Education Parent Advisory Groups in New Jersey l Guide to Developing and Conducting an Effective Group  |  Developed for parents and professionals to present an overview of the structure, content, and use of the Special Education Parent Advisory Groups in New Jersey l Guide to Developing and Conducting an Effective Group
  • Serving on Groups—Webinar Series and Resources  |  Developed by the WI Family Assistance Center for Education, Training, and Support (WI FACETS), this training enables individual or group users to learn how to:
    • confidently and actively participate in decision-making groups,
    • recognize personal leadership skills,
    • build an understanding about decision-making groups, and
    • develop skills essential for active and meaningful participation in groups.

Cover page of SEPAG Guide-image of adults holding signs reading "Inclusion, Tools, Tips, Parent Input, Collaboration, Student Centered Learning, Strategies"Special Education Parent Advisory Groups in NJ: A Guide to Developing and Conducting an Effective Group  |  This guide was developed utilizing best practices to assist parents and professionals interested in starting and running effective groups.

screen shot of SEPAG Guia-espanol cover pageGrupos Consultivos de Padres en Educación Especial en Nueva Jersey  l  Una guía para desarrollar y dirigir un grupo efectivo  |  Esta guía se desarrolló utilizando las mejores prácticas para ayudar a los padres y profesionales interesados en crear y manejar grupos efectivos.

START-EPSD Quick Guides  |  Helpful information about different topics, in an easy-to-digest format  |  English & Spanish (PDF)

#1 – Engaging the School District during a Change in Administration

#2 – What are the Results of an Effective SEPAG?

#3 – What is the Process for Starting a SEPAG?

#4 – How Can SEPAGs Turn Input into Action


OTHER HELPFUL LINKS

Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School PartnershipsPresents a new framework for designing family engagement initiatives that build capacity among educators and families to partner with one another around student success

New Jersey Department of Education Office of Special Education: Information and updates on Special Education from NJDOE

NJ State Special Education Advisory Council: The purpose of the advisory council is to provide guidance on special education and related services

Ensuring Collaboration Between Special Education Parent Advisory Groups (SEPAGs) and Boards of Education (BOEs)

A SEPAG gives families the opportunity to provide direct input to their school district about policies, programs, and practices that impact students with disabilities. At the same time, a strong partnership between SEPAGs and BOEs is important for developing and maintaining meaningful family engagement in schools. Together SEPAGs and BOEs can make a positive difference in improving special education programs and services for students with disabilities and their families.

Please provide feedback on the survey’s best practice statements for ensuring effective collaboration between SEPAGs and BOEs. If this is not a best practice in your school district, please provide comments and possible solutions.

 

Link to the SEPAG-BOE Survey in English and SEPAG-BOE Survey in Spanish.

SPAN’s START-EPSD Project is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education Professional Development.