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Advocacy Alert – Your Voice Matters!

Next Monday,  January 27th, SEPTA needs YOU to advocate on behalf of our community! 

Where: Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA

Time:

  • CIP Testimony starts at 5:30, meet SEPTA in the lobby at 5:15 wearing blue
  • Budget Testimony starts at 7:00, meet SEPTA in the lobby at 6:45 wearing blue

The School Board will be hearing public comment on two issues on Monday, January 27th beginning at 5:30pm:  The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and the FY2021 Budget. It’s not too late to sign up to speak, or you can attend and stand in solidarity as an advocate. To speak, go to FCPS.edu click on school board tab, then click on “Register to Speak” button. We welcome parents, educators, and students to make statements supporting our positions:

Capital Improvement Program (5:30 pm – 7:00 pm) 

The CIP deals with structural development in FCPS

  1. SEPTA encourages the development of alternative, sensory-friendly spaces such as alternate lunch spaces, sensory rooms etc, to accommodate our growing neuro-diverse population in all educational settings as well as the investigation into exploring the possibility of using existing facilities to accommodate a self-contained program for neurodiverse students of average to advanced academic achievement abilities. This priority should be reflected in future Capital Improvement Planning. No current programming in FCPS is tailored to address the needs of neurodiverse students with high academic ability who require a smaller, self-contained setting.  
  1. SEPTA supports the consideration of the safety of limited-mobility and other disabled students in the event of fire or other emergency when planning for and renovating facilities
  1. SEPTA acknowledges that the early childhood education population is growing and that non-traditional spaces are currently being used to house preschool programs.  We ask that the CIP take this into account, and ensure that these spaces are adequately equipped – both inside the building and in the building’s recreational areas – for the population of students they are now serving. 

    If you have specific building concerns, please feel free to testify about them at the CIP hearing.

FY 2021 School Year Budget (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) 

  1. SEPTA supports and thanks FCPS for the proposed increase in Special Education funding
  2. SEPTA supports the addition of a Special Education Chairs at every school leading to 70 new SpEd Chair positions in elementary schools.  While we believe this will help in continuity and accountability and also assist with lessening the burden on SpEd teachers, we believe additional staff members will be needed to improve academic and social-emotional student outcomes across the county.
  3. SEPTA Supports a full INDEPENDENT audit of the administration and execution of Special Education programming in FCPS.  We believe it is imperative that parent and school-based educator voices be heavily involved in this process. We believe the audit should be performed by Special Education specialists with knowledge of best practices and that comparative samples be drawn from a wide variety of systems nation-wide, not limited to the Metro DC area and neighboring states. Of note are highly regarded NJ and PA systems that administer Special Education very differently than VA.

You can show your support by speaking and/or  by showing up, wearing SEPTA Blue and standing in support of speakers who are raising our issues through their testimony.

This will help ensure that our presence is felt from the beginning of the process with the school board, on to funding decisions of Fairfax County government, and finally, with the final approval of the budget on May 5th. Please note that student testimony is particularly encouraged!

THANK YOU! Your voice matters!

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