Special Education Services

Department of Educational Services

Ms. Susie Budine, Director of Educational Services
732-572-6990 ext. 1201
Ms. Didi Deitcher, Supervisor of Educational Services, ext. 3028
Ms. Elaine Donnelly, Administrative Secretary, ext. 1201

Ms. Nina Attanasio, Asst Administrative Secretary, ext. 1202
Ms. Susan Powell, Asst Administrative Secretary, ext. 1209

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 provides supports and services to parents of special education children within all four schools in the Highland Park School District as well as those in out of district schools. 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 Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Meetings are open to parents and community members.

SEPAC meeting schedule
Please reference the schedule at this link: 2017-2018 SEPAC Meeting Schedule

SEPAC Brochure

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 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is given to students in grades 3 - 11. In order for students graduating in 2018 - 2020 to meet their graduation requirements they must take and pass at least one high school English Language Arts (ELA) and one high school Math PARCC assessment. They can also take and pass an alternate assessment as determined by the State.  Students graduating in 2021 on must take and pass the ELA and Algebra I PARCC assessments. 

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 PARCC. Some students may be exempted from testing itself but, must participate in the alternate assessment, the Dynamic Learning Map (DLM).

Graduation Requirements
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 135 credits, and pass the PARCC as described above. 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 make any reference to special education classification, courses, or services.