Department of Educational Services
Ms. Susie Budine, Director of Educational Services
732-572-6990 ext. 1201
Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
The purpose of the Highland Park Schools
Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is to:
- Advocate for high-quality special education programs and services.
- Advise the school district regarding special education issues.
- Assist the Director of Education Services in identifying needs.
- Encourage and facilitate communication and mutual support among family, school and community.
SEPAC functions similarly to a PTA/O and provide supports and services to parents of special education children within all four schools in the Highland Park School District. The main focus of SEPAC is to help involve parents in their child’s educational experience and provide peer assistance to questions and concerns. Another objective of SEPAC is to host free monthly workshops on a variety of topics relating to the child with special needs. SEPAC functions as an information network of parents and guardians sharing information, experiences, and resources in a warm and supportive atmosphere.
A critical function of the council is to develop working relationships and to create open lines of communication with the school administrators and the Highland Park Board of Education.
SEPAC members include parents of children with special needs, community members, students and staff members. SEPAC will meet monthly throughout the school year; generally on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Meetings are open to parents and community members.
SEPAC meeting schedule
All meetings are held at the Irving Primary School Media Center.
Click here for an application form to join SEPAC or if you would like to be a volunteer on the Executive Board.
Ms. Susie Budine
Highland Park School District
Getting Started: Child Find
"Child find" refers to the process of locating, identifying, and evaluating children with disabilities to ensure that they receive services to which they are entitled. Children and youth, 3 to 21, living in the Highland Park School District, who are suspected of having a disability, may be referred for a possible evaluation to determine if they are eligible for special education services.
An effort is made to provide special education students with programs in their home schools. Where the program is not available in the home school or where students' physical problems prevent them from walking or taking the regular bus, special transportation is provided by the school district to and from the student's home. An aide will be assigned to the bus, if necessary.
District Testing Program
The High School Proficiency Test (HSPA) is given to students in high school and must be passed in order for the student to graduate. This test is administered in October and April of their junior and senior years. Students in third through eighth grade take the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (ASK).
All classified students must participate in state testing. Most take the same tests in the same manner as other students unless they are exempted from passing one or more sections because the IEP does not contain the full range of proficiencies tested. Other classified students may take the state testing with modifications. These modifications may include extended time and small group administration. A classified student can be exempted from passage of the HSPA. Some students may be exempted from testing itself but, must participate in the Alternative Proficiency Assessment (APA).
Most special education students in Highland Park graduate with their class. In order to receive a high school diploma from the Highland Park Schools, a student must take and pass required courses, accumulate 120 credits, and pass the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). Exemptions from these requirements can be made for students who because of their disability cannot meet these requirements. Again, this is a matter to be addressed at the IEP meeting and in the IEP document. Most special education students are required to meet these requirements. Any special education student who graduates by meeting either the standard graduation requirements or the alternate requirements detailed in the IEP will receive the same high school diploma given to any other student and can participate in the regular high school graduation exercises and related activities. Neither the high school diploma nor the school transcript makes any reference to special education classification, courses, or services.