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The mission of the Special School District (SSD) Parent Advisory Council is to effectively collaborate with and advise its stakeholders (including parents/guardians, the SSD Board of Education, Governing Council, SSD administration and staff, and partnering school district administrators and staff) in order to improve the educational, self-efficacy, and social outcomes of each student served by SSD.
All meetings are held from 7-9 p.m.
Special School District Central Office Board of Education Room (upper level)
12110 Clayton Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63131314-989-8100
UPCOMING MEETINGS 2016-2017:
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Updated PAC Bylaws:
Executive Committee Nomination Form
Representative Self-nomination Letter & Form
PAC Committee Report Template
Parent Concern Form
Marketing & Branding Committee Report
History of Parent Advisory Councils at SSD
Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council
In the late 1980s, two parents in the Parkway school district asked the superintendent of SSD to start a Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. There was no formal membership, but the plan was to have representatives from each of the 23 partner districts and SSD schools to gather once a month to discuss issues. Two councils were formed: one for the parents whose children were served in the SSD schools (SSD Parent Advisory Council), and the other for parents of students in the 23 partner districts (LEA Parent Advisory Council). The councils met for several years and were productive on many issues, but never were able to get equitable representation from all of the districts.
Parent Planning Committee
In 1993, SSD’s parent program initiated the Parent Planning Committee (PPC) with representatives from the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. Derrick Dufresne, a facilitator who does consultative work throughout the country, was brought in to assist the committee with the planning phase. The committee adopted as its mission statement:
To develop a formal plan that ensures parents will have a strong and equal voice in special and local district issues, and will be involved in planning and decision making at all levels of the educational process of children with disabilities.
The plan had the following goals:
• To become a functioning entity with a strong representative voice and an established method of presenting concerns in order to effect change.
• To develop an organizational chart of the key audiences to be reached and a key plan to reach them
• To have parents sit in on administrative and committee meetings within SSD
• To have a written policy on parent involvement to be adopted by LEA and SSD boards of education
The PPC continued to meet and plan for approximately two years, but interest in the committee was difficult to sustain.
Parent Liaison Committee
In the fall of 1995, the SSD Board of Education asked the superintendent to start parent groups at the partner district level. The parent program was asked to coordinate this effort, which resulted in the Parent Liaison Committees (PLC). A plan was implemented whereby parents were to meet monthly or quarterly in their districts with SSD and partner district administrators. A representative from each district was to serve on a district-wide PLC that would meet monthly with the superintendent. The goals of the PLC were as follows:
• To assist parents in networking and communicating with other parents (because of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, districts cannot disclose personally identifiable information, making it very difficult for parents to connect with each other)
• To help parents become as informed as possible about their child's special education services and the school districts that serve them
• To improve communication and promote general goodwill between the partner districts and SSD
• To create a positive understanding and awareness for students with disabilities in all of our schools
• To establish a network for advocacy for local, state and national disability issues
The intent of the Parent Liaison Committee was to have SSD administrators develop and lead meetings until parents were comfortable enough to take over and continue on their own with district support. By second semester of the 1995-’96 school year, PLC had parents who had volunteered to be a parent liaison in more than 200 schools in 19 partner districts. In January through May of 1996, 60 PLC meetings were held.
Parent Liaison Committees ran successfully for several years with SSD administrative support. Unfortunately, only a few of the districts had parent groups strong enough to sustain themselves without SSD in the lead role.
Parent Advisory Council
In 1996, Missouri Senate Bill 687 changed the governance of SSD and along with the legislation mandated the formal creation of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC). An SSD Governing Council made up of board members from each partner district also was created by the legislation and it was given the responsibility of establishing a process for PAC members to be “independently selected by parents of pupils of the special school district” and to consult with them.
In April 1997, the Governing Council approved its process for selection of PAC members:
• An election in which all parents of pupils in the Special School District must have the opportunity to cast a ballot
• The Governing Council member in each LEA district shall serve as the election coordinator
• The election may be held at a general meeting of parents, by a mail ballot, or other process provided that all parents are notified of the election and given the opportunity to vote
• Beginning with the 1998-’99 school year, the election procedure will be determined by the SSD PAC
The first Interdistrict Parent Advisory Committee (originally called I-PAC, now SSD-PAC), made up of parents from each of the 23 partner districts and each SSD school, was elected in May of 1997 and represented a parent group that was for the first time independent of SSD. This committee became the foundation for the restructuring of the Parent Liaison Committees into the current Parent Advisory Council with three levels of participation:
Inter-District Level (SSD-PAC) — representatives are elected/selected from each of the 23 partner districts and each SSD school to represent their district/school at the SSD-PAC level (although elections may still be held in some districts, most representatives on the SSD-PAC have volunteered to serve)
District Level (D-PAC ) — parent representatives from each building (B-PAC) in the district come together to represent their school at the D-PAC district level
Building Level (B-PAC) — all parents whose children receive special education services may participate at the B-PAC level
The SSD-PAC has been meeting monthly since the fall of the 1997-’98 school year. More difficult, though, has been getting PACs organized and sustained at the partner district level (D-PAC). Through grants offered by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in 2002-‘03 and 2003-’04, district-level PACS were up and running in more districts, but is has been difficult to keep up the effort for a variety of reasons.