The Watertown Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) will once again honor those who have dedicated their time to help students with special needs in the Watertown Schools at the annual SEPAC Awards.
The group formed in the late 1990s as a requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), but it was always a challenge to get parents to come out to meetings, said Michelle Fallon, Hosmer Elementary School Evaluation Team Chair and parent of a student who received special education services from the Watertown Public Schools.
The SEPAC awards began as a way to bring more attention to the people who dedicate their time to help students with special needs in Watertown, as well as to get more participation in SEPAC events, said Fallon, who had created a similar awards program when she was a member of the Watertown Historical Commission.
“We came up with the idea to give some awareness for some of these wonderful people working with kids,” Fallon said.
The awards go to people who work in the district’s special education program, but they also are given to parents of students with special needs and even students who have volunteered to work with students in the special ed program.
“We have honored so many over the years, but we are never at a loss to find people to honor,” Fallon said.
The 2018 SEPAC Award Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. at Watertown Free Public Library. Light refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. and the Keynote speaker, Dr. Pamela Varrin, Ph.D., will speak at 6:30. The Award presentations will begin at 7 p.m.
A mini-ceremony will be held this week for two students and a teacher from Watertown Middle School who will be on the trip to Washington, D.C. over spring break when the main awards ceremony is held.
The students, including Fallon’s daughter, volunteered after school with students in the Community Explorers Club, a program that exposes students with special needs to take part in skills they will use in life, such as cooking and shopping, as well as taking field trips and participating in recreational activities.
This year’s award recipients are: