March 25th Meeting Notes

Board of Education (BOE) Liasion Report (Vicky Cutroneo)

The FY2020 budget has moved on to the County Executive (CE).  His proposed budget will be presented to the County Council (CC) on 4/22.  Public hearing on the budget will be 4/24 at 7pm at the George Howard Building.  Another BOE public hearing will be on 4/25 at HCPSS Central Office.  There will be more work sessions based on the CE and the budget will be adopted on 5/30.

HCPSS is seeking members for a Reading Intervention Working Group.  Already seventy people have signed up.

BOE report dates to note:

Middle and High School grading policy - 4/11.

Bullying report - 4/23. 

Reading program - 5/24.

Email her with concerns at vicky_cutroneo@hcpss.org


Different is the new Cool (Kathy Alfonso)

Parent Kathy Alfonso created a program at her sons’ school, Atholton ES, to help students understand disabilities and cultural difference in order to create empathy and prevent bullying.  The formal launch was Nov 2018 and was attended by some SECAC members and HCPSS staff. The idea behind this is to engage parents, staff and students by providing assemblies, classroom activities and afterschool parent nights.

Each month has a topic and information on that topic is sent home with students.  The information includes a summary of the topic and resources that can be used at home.  There has been good feedback from parents.

December’s topic was for Inclusive Education Week.  There was a puppet show assembly and discussions back in the classrooms.  For January the topic was Empathy.  The younger children watched a few videos from Sesame Street and the older children learning about prepping for middle school. Febuary was Kind Hearts.  Teachers gave hearts to kids that showed kindness and they were displayed for the school to see.  March they did mismatched socks for Down Syndrome.  The kids learned about the extra chromosome and they thought it was a super power.

April will be Autism Awareness.  There will be puzzle pieces each classroom will paint, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will do training for parents and Kathy is working with Janice Yetter on training for teachers.  May will be Social/Culture Differences and include an International Night.

A “playbook” is being complied with materials, resources, etc… It will be provided to HCPSS for other schools to model programs after.  

Because this is parent driven, the PTA was asked to fund it.  They agreed and have included it as a line item for next year.  

So far the results have been good.  There have been small changes with the children.  Some of the topics are being included during the Community Circle part of the day.


Special Ed Forum – April 6th 

There will be a special ed forum will be on April 6that Marriotts Ridge High School.  Keynote speakers will be Walter Suskind (Life, Animated and founder of SibStrong) and Denise Marshall, Executive Director of COPAA. More information on the agenda and breakout sessions can be found here: https://howardcountysecac.com/special-education-forum


Policy Committee Updates

Most policy committees have wrapped up for the year.  Please contact Lori if you’d like to represent SECAC on future committees. 


FY2020 Budget

The Superintendent requested $120 million, BOE is requesting $116 million.  That is still $13 million more than last year but a lot seems to be going toward the teacher health and dental fund deficit (from the previous supt).  

SECAC members are encouraged to testify, email and call the CE, CC and BOE members.


Legislation Update (Lori Scott)

The Ready to Read Act is in both the House and Senate.  Also a bill regarding education advocates at IEP meetings and development impact fees.


Special Education State Advisory Committee (SESAC) (Wendy Balda)

This past month’s meeting was about the Technical Assistance Bulletin (TAB) that was put out about MSDE regarding Curriculum, Instruction and Assessments.  It’s TAB 19-01.  It’s as a result of the Supreme Court case Endrew F and makes changes to how schools think about teaching our kids with special needs.  Dr. Savage, Department of Special Education (DSE) Executive Director, said there will be professional development created based on this TAB.  Each district is responsible for distributing this information to their principals and other staff.


Kim Pruim, Director of Constituent Services and Community Partnerships, Office of the County Executive

Ms. Pruim wants to hear from us to help the CE with priorities for this year.  Email the CC at councilmail@howardcountymd.gov.  

April 8th the county is hosting a veteran’s resource fair.  Success and Style will be there to provide suits and other professional attire. 


Upcoming Meetings

March 26th- community meeting with the BOE.  This replaces the periodic report appointment at the BOE meeting.

April 3rd– Suspension Forum

April 29th- elections for the SECAC Executive board.  Email secacnomination@gmail.com if you’d like to run for any of the positions.

May 1st– SECAC Awards at River Hill High School. Parents nominate staff.  Suggestion for bus drivers that are nominated to please include the bus number and bus company.