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SEPAC to host workshop on ‘Accommodations for MCAS and Beyond’

Debra Ecker, Interim Administrator of Special Education for Westfield Public Schools. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) will be hosting a virtual workshop on “Accommodations for MCAS and Beyond,” led by Debra Ecker, special education supervisor for Westfield Public Schools, and Kerry Chapderlane-Cox, special education supervisor for Westfield Intermediate and Middle Schools.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. over Zoom.  The workshop meeting ID on zoom is: 527 108 1333. Password: 3uhtOR. For more information, email [email protected]

Ecker and Chapderlane-Cox will give an overview presentation on accommodations for individual IEPS, those used everyday in the classroom, and on custom accommodations, what students are eligible for and how they’re used.

The presenters will also discuss accommodations made for MCAS testing for students on IEPs. Ecker said that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is still looking at MCAS this year, and hasn’t set definitive dates.

“We’ve heard that the amount of testing time is going to be shortened, but there’s been no confirmation,” she said.

The presentation will also discuss the MCAS alternative assessment for children with more significant needs, which are still in place at this time.

Ecker said the district is currently going through a tiered focus monitoring review of the special education department, and parents will be asked to complete a survey designed to get parent input on how special education has been working for them.

“I would appreciate their input, to know how we can better serve their children,” Ecker said.

Ecker said she’s enjoyed working with the SEPAC, and said the monthly information meetings on a variety of topics help families gain knowledge about special education. This will be the second workshop that she has led.

SEPAC also hosts a monthly parent support group just for parents, to collaborate with and support one another, which she said is another resource and support for parents. In addition, Ecker sends out a monthly letter to update families.

“I can’t thank parents enough for their patience and understanding. This has been a very difficult year for parents, they’ve worked really hard for their kids. We ‘ve worked hard too. We know it’s been tough, and I want to thank them for that,” Ecker said.

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