West Orange SEPAC holds meet and greet

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Special Education Parent Advisory Council held its first meeting of the school year on Oct. 17 at Liberty Middle School; the meet and greet proved enthusiastic and informational.

Leading WOSEPAC this year are Chairwoman Ellen Gilio; Co-chairwoman and educational events Chairwoman Joanne De Simone; recording secretary Martha Singer, Web Committee Chairwoman Gina Fondetto; resource Chairwoman Gina Velazquez; school liaison Jason Davidson; and corresponding secretary Amber Newsome.

Gilio welcomed attendees, which included Board of Education President Sandra Mordecai, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and Child Study Team members. Newly-appointed Director of Special Services Kristen Gogerty introduced herself and staff members in attendance.

“I have always been amazed at the team effort and partnership between school staff and parents/guardians in working to ensure that each students’ individualized needs are being addressed, and I think we can all agree that we are all sitting in this room with one common interest, which includes the students of West Orange,” Gogerty said. “I would like to emphasize the importance of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council and its role in establishing a partnership between parents/guardians and the school district.

“It is my hope along with members of SEPAC to establish a positive advisory organization, which provides resources and educational opportunities to our staff members and parents/guardians in the West Orange community,” she continued.

School liaison Jason Davidson agreed, saying, “We are a non-adversarial group. We are here to work with the school district.”

Resource Chairwoman Gina Velazquez discussed the upcoming meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m., which will be held at Edison Middle School and be an educational event with various providers. A special Statewide Parent Advocacy Network START Project roundtable meeting will also be held on Tuesday, Nov. 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Liberty Middle School Cafeteria.

Recording secretary Amber Newsome discussed the purpose of WOSEPAC and the benefits and goals they hoped to accomplish. She also discussed the difference between an individual issue, such as a child, and a systemic issue, which would impact a broader spectrum of students.

WOSEPAC will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, in the Edison Middle School Cafeteria; on Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the St. Cloud Elementary School Multipurpose Room; on Monday, Jan. 15, in the Kelly Elementary School Gymnasium; on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the Gregory Elementary School Cafeteria; on Tuesday, March 6, in the Mt. Pleasant Elementary School Gymnasium; on Thursday, April 26, in the Hazel Elementary School Multipurpose Room; on Tuesday, May 15, in the Redwood Elementary School Gymnasium; and on Tuesday, June 5, in the Washington Elementary School Gymnasium.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD