Friday, October 24, 2014

"Psychological & Emotional Abuse"

 A benign Calvin Terrell appears before angry parents 10/3/14 at the Middle School

The Special Education Parent Advisory Council, a state mandated organization whose charge is to give advice to the District and advocate for children with special needs, heard members brand Calvin Terrell's 10/2 presentation at Amherst Regional Middle School "psychological and emotional abuse" at their 10/15 meeting.

The advisory group members expressed dismay with Amherst Public School officials response to the fiasco saying, "This slow and anemic response is not acceptable."  Indeed!

Interestingly the schools did launch an Internet survey of Middle School parents but refuse to release the actual ANONYMOUS responses, citing privacy concerns.

But their "analysis" shows a majority (54%) had problems with the presentation and only 15.5% thought his work "should continue".


Anonymous said...

It's time for M Geryk to resign.

Anonymous said...

Where is the school committee in all this? Is there any school official who gives a damn about the safety of our children?

Anonymous said...

M Geryk just got a 5 year contract. She ain't goin' anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled that Ms Geryk is our superintendent.

Larry Kelley said...

Sarcasm requires its own special font.

Anonymous said...

Well then they must be white, so they must be racist, and don't even know it. How dare they try to say such things. This must be because he is black and they want to keep him down. I'm heading over to Red Lobster to see if he is working so I can give him a big warrior hug.

Anonymous said...

Dammit, where did I put my good rocks for the public stoning?

Larry Kelley said...

True warriors die but once (stoning or otherwise) Cowardly Anon Nitwits like you die a thousand deaths, all of them embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

I'm begin' ya--enough already with the "warrior" bullshit, For this we paid? $38K?

Larry Kelley said...

Amherst College got suckered into paying him the $38K.

We paid him around $3K last year when he first got his foot in the door.

Anonymous said...

Larry- is it true that AC got "suckered by him" or is it the case that ARPS pitched AC the idea of having him facilitate a partnership and thus they bought ARPS's sales pitch (at a price tag of $38K, which as I understand it comes out of what they normally give ARPS and thus could have gone to some other purpose)?

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, sadly, that sounds about right.

Dr. Ed said...

"It's time for M Geryk to resign."

No, that way she is allowed to keep her pension -- if she did something as egregious as it appears, she shouldn't be permitted to quietly retire into obscurity.

If she actually was stupid enough to permit children with an "Autism" diagnosis to attend this thing -- she should be facing criminal charges in addition to being stripped of her pension and being fired for "good cause" (her lack of a superintendent's certificate perhaps being the most expedient -- and I think that even Mitchell Chester's DESE would have to act on something like this.)

She is a SPED expert -- initially certified in SPED she came up through SPED administration and then (somehow) used that to get her Superintendent's certificate. While we don't know what her CAGS is in, she had been in the "School Psych" program at UMass and had she remained there to earn her Ed.D., it would have been in "School Counseling" and she'd been eligible to continue onward to becoming a licensed psychologist.

Doctorates are in things -- mine is in "Teacher Education & School Improvement" -- my point being that she took a lot of the "closed" grad courses in psych & mental health and hence has a knowledge of Autism that is vastly above and beyond that of the average person.


This is like Jeff Parr -- a trained & certified paramedic(?)-- nonchalantly ignoring the clear fluid coming out of the ear of someone with a head injury. some of us may know that is a really bad thing, but he's supposed to know -- and supposed to know what to do and not do when he sees it.

Now let's say he decided to go into administration - say Chief of a large department where he's supervising the people making command decisions -- kinda like Maria G. And in that capacity, observes cerebrospinal fluid draining out of the ear of someone lying on the ground -- and doesn't say anything when those under his command ignore that. Or worse, orders them to ignore it (and the related protocols).

What would the firefighter's union be saying if a Chief (who had all the licenses/training/experience Jeff Parr has) was to do something this stupid? What would the union's position be if members had ignored the order (i.e. followed appropriate medical protocol) and were facing discipline for insubordination?

That's my point.

"While the teacher's earrings distract the child with ADHD from the lesson, the child with Autism is unable to distinguish between the two." That's what I was taught about Autism, the child can't tell the difference between what the teacher is writing on the chalkboard and the shiny pieces of metal moving through her hair as she does.

Children with Autism take things literally -- anyone with a scintilla of knowledge of Autism knows that -- and if the child has an IEP then the school knows this child both is Autistic and will interpret everything literally.

It's the same thing as requiring a child with a nut allergy to eat peanut butter -- not permitting but forcing -- and that definitely would be criminal.

If Team Maria was stupid enough to let the kids with IEPs attend that event --- it's time for a criminal investigation...

Anonymous said...

Glad the wheels of "moral" justice are starting to roll!

Anonymous said...

Larry, do you know the name of the Amherst College employee who made the decision to hire and pay Mr. Terrell?

Dr. Ed said...

Three other things:

1: IEP stands for "Individualized Education Program" -- it's a contract and any IEP involving an Autism diagnosis ought to have something in it about accommodating the child's inability to think other than literally.

I can't believe that the Calvin Stunt wasn't in gross violation of every one of these IEPs -- and that's a serious legal issue.

2: Notwithstanding that, if the children are showing the trauma that they apparently are, the case can be made for a new IEP -- and that would include out-of-district placement being the only possible option. Out-of-district placement is exceedingly expensive -- and if you are required to do this for ALL the SPED kids because of this, that will bust the budget big time.

3: I'm wondering what OCR's take on this would be. Some may remember the question I asked Maria G at her public interview meeting -- her interpretation of the 2010 "Dear Colleague" memo which she clearly hadn't read -- well that's what this is all about.

I'd start here:

Both the 2010 and 2000 Dear Colleague memos are referenced and I'd read them too, but this is where to start.

And with this:

"When a student who receives IDEA FAPE services or Section 504 FAPE services has experienced
bullying resulting in a disability-based harassment violation, however, there is a strong likelihood that the student was denied FAPE. This is because when bullying is sufficiently serious to create a
hostile environment and the school fails to respond appropriately, there is a strong likelihood both that the effects of the bullying included an impact on the student’s receipt of FAPE and that the school’s failure to remedy the effects of the bullying included its failure to address these FAPE-related concerns."
(Emphasis added)

FAPE is "Free & Appropriate Public Education" which is the Federal standard -- IDEA and Section 304 (of the Rehab Act of 1973) are Federal laws relating to disability -- IDEA and not ADA applies in K-12 because it goes much further -- unlike in higher ed, the school is required to educate the child.

(NB: I wrote the above with the intent of parents being able to understand it, it technically is quite a bit more complicated than this and hence the above is 99% accurate, there are exceptions.)

Larry Kelley said...

Don't know who the point person was at AC but I would imagine it had to be signed off on by President Biddy Martin.

Anonymous said...

"I would imagine it had to be signed off on by President Biddy Martin."

I would not be surprised if she was in favor of it. She has an "interesting" background -- run her name through Google Scholar...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ed. The U.S. Office for Civil Rights advisement, written just a few days ago on October 21, 2014, suggests School Administrators are dangerously engaged in the wholesale violation of our children's rights. Pathetically, very few of us give a damn!

Anonymous said...

Larry said But their "analysis" shows a majority (54%) had problems with the presentation and only 15.5% thought his work "should continue".

The Bulletin reports that "...of the 103 respondents, 46% said their children reported an 'overall positive' experience, 30% said it was 'overall negative', and 24% said it was mixed..."

Why did Larry lump the "mixed" responses in with the "overall negative" rather than the "overall positive"? Don't the numbers speak for themselves, why did he find it necessary to manipulate the tenor of the responses in his report?

Larry Kelley said...

Mainly to show little suck ups like you are out there.

Anonymous said...

The Special Education Parent Advisory Council...branded Calvin Terrell's 10/2 presentation at Amherst Regional Middle School "psychological and emotional abuse."

Doesn't surprise me, the president of Amherst's SEPAC, Lani Sherlock, a teacher(!), is a constant foe of all things school administration and school officials, also a leader of OASIS who childishly disrupted many business meetings last year. She is the speaker in the first video of this post:

Oh, and by the way, SEPAC, for the second year in a row you somehow failed to notify and invite most parents of kids with special needs, including me, to the annual elections, which once again was a meeting designed to be attended by only the few people who elected each other to the committee. Thanks again for denying me my right and opportunity to vote for the officers of the council that is supposed to represent me.

Anonymous said...

Terrell strikes me as the kind of guy who can't admit responsibility for his mistakes. The content was age inappropriate, and he says that he bases what he says to kids he's about to talk to on what he perceives their "maturity level" to be. Did you misjudge the kids "maturity level", Terrell? If you decided then and there what you were going to say to the kids based on your perceptions of the group you're about to speak to, how could content be vetted by admin., if you don't even know for sure what you're going to say?

Be a man and a true "warrior" and take some responsibility for your actions rather than heap blame on everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Anon October 24, 2014 at 4:15 PM: Shame on the School Administration! If you were not informed of the SEPAC meeting when we voted for officers, it is because the special needs director, who controls the school database of children with disabilities, chose not to inform you. Thank you Lani for having the courage to speak up in defense of our children with disabilities, and us parents who fear for our children's safety!

Anonymous said...

"Be a man and a true "warrior" and take some responsibility for your actions rather than heap blame on everyone else."


And then can you tell us what the specials are tonight? Do you still offer "all you can eat shrimp"? Oh and can we get water for the table.

Anonymous said...

@4:15 PM: Well of course you're gonna say "shame on the administration", that's your whole m.o., everything is everyone else's fault, especially our professional educators. The people who have dedicated their lives to helping kids with disabilities--teachers, paras, administrators--are the ones speaking up for the children with disabilities every single day, like they have their whole lives, not just when it affects them personally, not just when it fits into some pseudo-activist persona people like Lani want to cultivate. That's the problem with the current and recent SEPAC's in Amherst, the officers have an "us vs. them" mentality toward the people who have spent the better part of their lives trying to give kids with disabilities what they have a right to, including an equal education. Where were you, anon 4:15 PM, 25 years ago when many of our admin. and teachers were working hard for these kids in the public schools? You were nowhere to be found, until YOUR kid needs something, isn't that right? Just like the way Sherlock behaved at SC meetings, her bad attitude, inability to cooperate with the adults, and angry accusatory approach will undermine her efforts and marginalize the people SEPAC is supposed to be working for. If I was a parent of a kid Sherlock teaches, and I saw her behavior at the SC meeting online, I'd be at the school FAST making sure my kid did not spend another moment in her classroom. The current SEPAC officers do NOT represent me and I am not alone in that regard. 4:15 PM you are an angry, bitter outlier.

Anonymous said...

So the SPED Director decides when the SEPAC officers election takes place? That doesn't sound right to me. Shame on the SEPAC for not engaging the majority of SPED parents who are not angry. Shame on Lani for jeopardizing a positive relationship we ALL need to have with the SPED administration, her militant and childish approach.

Dr. Ed said...

"The U.S. Office for Civil Rights advisement, written just a few days ago on October 21, 2014."

Ummmm. facts matter.

This document is not the US Office for Civil Rights:

Note the -- this is the US Department of Education -- and it is their Office of Civil Rights -- see

The US Office of Civil Rights -- actually the US Commission on Civil Rights -- is a completely different agency. It's an independent commission that reports to Congress. See

Anonymous said...

Proof Calvin should be fired:

From Facebook...

Calvin Terrell aka Social Centric
20 October
The only way to be a "master" of anything is to work like a "slave."

How come white electricians get fired for using an electrical term but a brother is considered a sage if he uses it.

Anonymous said...

Depends on how you use it (intentionally provocative) and toward whom (a black secretary) and when and where (at her workplace during work hours) and why (tell us the WHOLE story, Steve...)

Dr. Ed said...

"How come white electricians get fired for using an electrical term but a brother is considered a sage if he uses it."

A troubling question -- and the more troubling one is the message that sort of thing gives to young people of all races.

I also made a mistake above -- I posted the wrong URL for the US Commission on Civil Rights -- the right URL and then a link to their summary of what they do is below:

Anonymous said...

Don't you remember growing up with the expression "without regard to race, creed, color, religion, or national origin?" Nowadays, it seems all we do is regard these things. Look how far it's gotten us. We are always at each other's throats. Pity.

Anonymous said...

I think the most important data from the parent survey are that only about 16% of respondents think the schools "should continue the work begun by Mr Terrell". How this question was interpreted is debatable but I think it clearly tells the district they aren't happy with the direction (whether it is Mr Terrell per say or his message)...and they should change course.

Larry Kelley said...

Oh, I'm sure our little suck-up CAN will have a way of spinning that.

Anonymous said...

Will an officer from SEPAC (preferably the president) please post when and where the announcement, to parents with kids with special needs, was made regarding when and where the SEPAC officer elections would take place? I don't think it was ever made public, and I'm wondering how the elected officers knew when and where the election would take place.

Thank you, a parent of a special needs student.

Anonymous said...

You are correct 10:24, fifteen parents and guardians--could be 7 or 8 households--believe the schools should discontinue their work with Terrell. The sixteen middle school parents who would like to see Terrell's work discontinued equals about .03% of the middle school parent population. Yes, you are correct, those fifteen parents clearly aren't "happy with the direction".

Anonymous said...

Hey stupid, read the comments, this is what's known as a modern public stoning. Kelley you're not as smart as you think and never will be.

Anonymous said...

What we need in this community is a dialog, a 'conversation, about race'

Larry Kelley said...

But first let's publicly stone all the CANs.

Anonymous said...

heh anon@12:13: I hope you are NOT an ARPS admin evaluating the responses cuz your interpretation is WRONG. Its not that 16% say discontinue, it is that only 16% said to CONTINUE (perhaps the other 84% are undecided or don't want it continued or don't care). Are you going to own your mistake?

I don't know how in the world our ARPS administrators would consider for one second inviting a "leader" whose main message is that our students should become "warriors". A warrior is a person who goes to war; war is violent. Really, in this age of school shootings, do we really want to encourage our students to become "warriors"? I don't!

Anonymous said...

You're right anon, in fact 87 parents, or .174% of all middle school parents, did NOT say continue Terrell's work. We don't even know if that .174% responded to that question. Point taken.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever heard of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior?

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a special needs student and therefore a member of SEPAC, and Lani Sherlock's statement does not represent my opinions or feelings, and she did not solicit the opinion of the several hundred SEPAC members before she issued her statement. The statement reflects her feelings and opinions, and she should have issued that statement on her behalf personally, not on behalf of the rest of us who are overall pretty content with services and don't carry a grudge against the school board and the administration. Lani, do not assume you speak for the majority of us, you don't, not even close.

The current SEPAC officers need to work on engaging more parents, finding out what their concerns are, and representing those concerns.

Larry Kelley said...

I think you're confusing minutes of a meeting (draft minutes) with a "statement".

I am not aware SEPAC has issued an official statement of any kind regarding the terrible Terrell fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Peaceful warrior? Wouldn't A peaceful warrior generally lose in a battle?

Anonymous said...

It's time for the SEPAC parents to take their organization back from the anti administration radicals who have been running it for several years now.

Anonymous said...

agreed, 5:46 PM. how do we do it?

9 out of many hundred parents were present at the meeting where some pretty serious allegations and potential actions were bandied about; the 9 people who were present are the 9 who didn't make other parents aware that an election was going to take place, and they are the 9 who voted each other into "office". their angry and radical agenda does not reflect the desires and concerns of the overwhelming majority. the sepac has become an instrument for a very small number to formalize the despicable types of behavior that the "president" (lani) and others displayed at sc meetings. they are disruptive and negative and their involvement will not not help us all move forward positively for our kids.

seriously, how do we take our sepac back from these anti-school fools?

Anonymous said...

The so-called officers of our SEPAC wrote in their minutes:

"SEPAC worked with the school committee in the past to have Jenny Tate fired. Maria G. brought her back."

Didn't the SC "bring her back"? I don't think the supt. hired her back or even has the power to do so. In fact I'm sure of it. (And thank God the SC brought her back so the tax-payers have an advocate to protect us from the small handful of parents who make unreasonable demands.)

SEPAC, Maria G. didn't "bring back" Tate, the SC did, so take it up with Trevor and Shabazz et al.

Sad that they don't even know what they are talking about, this crew simply has an axe to grind.


Anonymous said...

Maybe some one can sue this scam artist for the 38K and detonate it to charity or something.

Anonymous said...

Dear school disinformation officer "MIC check" October 25, 2014 at 8:57:

You just set off the school bullshit detector! The super and her attorney are best buds. After the super and her cronies divided and conquered the school board in 2010, the super annointed herself "dear school leader" and rehired her old bud attorney Tate, students and parents be damned. Lani did a wonderful job desribing the minutes of a SEPAC meeting where parents were free to speak up against this Terrell guy. As a school employee, you are well aware that only the admin controls the private school database of parents of children with disabilities. Without the admin's support, SEPAC has no way to reach out to these parents and inform them about SEPAC meetings. So, everything you and your fellow school disinformation officers (staffed by a reported $250,000.00 yearly budget) write on this blog is bullshit. And, I believe "dear leader" has decreed the word "bullshit" may be used because it can describe any person's conduct regardless of sex, race, age, or tendency to abuse the power of her office!

Larry Kelley said...

And I shudder to think what the little suck up disinformation officer brings home annually in tax dollars.

Dr. Ed said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't SEPAC have to announce its meetings, have public meetings, and have available minutes thereof? (How did Larry get a copy of the minutes if they aren't public?)

If you know who the President of SEPAC is, exactly how difficult is it to ask her when/where the next meeting is and to go to it? If she doesn't tell you, that's an open meetings violation and pursue it as such -- but you don't even have to do that...

You know who the reporters are who cover the Amherst Schools -- their names and email addresses appear in all the stories that they write about the schools (at least in the dead-tree version).

So how hard is it to send a polite email to, say, Diane Lederman ( asking her if she knows when the next SEPAC meeting is?

How hard is it to ask one of your elected School Committee members if he/she/it knows -- or could find out for you? (You may have to explain what SEPAC *is*, and I would, but once you have done that, this is a legitimate request.) Any SC member who isn't able/willing to do this for you doesn't deserve to be re-elected -- as long as your request is polite and you give the person a reasonable period of time to respond, it's an issue if he/she/it doesn't.

Let's have a reality check, boys 'n' girls -- there is nothing preventing *you* from finding out when/where those meetings are and there is nothing preventing *you* from publicizing them.

Dr. Ed said...

I will say this -- objectively and professionally -- having Autistic children exposed to the Calvin T event is grounds for extreme concern.

It is the same thing as feeding Peanut Butter to children with nut allergies, or not taking precautions with a child whom you know is allergic to bee stings.

It DOES not make one scintilla of difference who the parents are -- if Autistic children were exposed to the Calvin stunt, THAT IS AN ISSUE!!!!

Larry Kelley said...

A trusted source who invited me to the meeting forwarded the minutes a couple days ago.

They are still in "draft," form and will not be final until the next meeting, but I don't anticipate any major revisions.

I was covering a Regional Agreement Working Group meeting a couple doors down from the SEPAC meeting that night, otherwise I would have been there.

And as such I would be free to report whatever I heard.

Anonymous said...

The SEPAC web site ( showed announcements from Jan until Oct, and the announcement for the SEPAC election appeared just two days before the election was held.

That does meet the requirements of the open meeting law, but is not much time for most parents. I am on the SEPAC email list & never received notice of the meeting and elections..... and by the looks of the current list of executive board members, parent engagement may be an issue with this current board. Only 4 seats are filled, and 9 are open.

Anonymous said...

If SEPAC parents are unhappy with the officers they need to start going to SEPAC meetings and make themselves heard. Also start going to SC meetings and make themselves heard there as well. Comment during public comment. Let the SC know you don't agree with what is going on or what the officers are saying.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is nothing will every change. The system is directly and unintentional corrupt. It is corrupted in this way from Town Meeting Members, to the SC, to the superintendent, to our local state rep and state senate rep. Everyone knows everyone else. If you make waves you will be discredited all the way up to DESE who will ignore you.

Your best bet is to suck it up or get out of town. If you leave sell to a developer who can rent out your house to students. At least that way, those left behind can weigh the value of a school system whos reputation is long since diminished vs. lots of loud parties on the weekend.

Anonymous said...

"...a school system whose reputation is long since diminished..."

You should hear what real people with integrity are saying, such as state reps and real people at the DOE and law enforcement officials and town government leaders and select board and finance board directors and intelligent parents about how things are's opposite of what you say. Go ahead, ask some of the people mentioned above, because it seems like you've been reading and believing everything Larry writes for too long now.

Literally hundreds of thousands of positive things happen every week in the schools that you never hear about, but you focus on what Larry and Lani and Kathleen Anderson and WHMP tell you. You trust the media, and that's your first big mistake. Sadly.

Larry Kelley said...

"Hundreds of thousands of positive things happen every week ..." Really?

"Literally". Really?

Cite the first 100,000 (or so).

Anonymous said...

It's the SEPAC officer's responsibility to tell the admin. what they want them to send out to parents and guardians of students with special needs via email. It appears the SEPAC did NOT inform the admin. to inform parents about upcoming elections, because they either a) didn't want them to know, or b) they are too disorganized and inept to get the important info about upcoming elections out to parents via the admin.

The minutes of the meeting posted on this post says that the SEPAC board discussed the flyer on Oct. 15th and that "Outreach Flyer To Learn about SEPAC that is happening at Crocker Farm at 9AM on Oct. 23rd was approved."

The SEPAC provided this flyer:

which states the agenda:

We are fortunate to host this informal gathering and plan to
do the following:

...Introduce you to some members of staff that help
support your child on an IEP or 504C:

...Learn more about how the Special Education Parent
Advisory Council (SEPAC) supports families and on
an IEP or 504c.

...We will share basic special education information to
help you advocate for your child.

The flyer clearly omits the fact, that a few people including Lani Sherlock obviously knew, that elections would be taking place at that meeting as well. Why wasn't that important piece of information included on the flyer to parents of students with special needs? Seems like the most important info that should have been included to me. I would have attended had the invitation included the whole agenda.

Anonymous said...

Are members of the public allowed to video record SEPAC meetings without the the SEPAC officer's permission?

Anonymous said...

SEPAC elections were October 8th

Dr. Ed said...

"The bottom line is nothing will every change. The system is directly and unintentional corrupt. It is corrupted in this way from Town Meeting Members, to the SC, to the superintendent, to our local state rep and state senate rep. Everyone knows everyone else. If you make waves you will be discredited all the way up to DESE who will ignore you."

Yes. I guess this probably is right.

Look what happened to me -- and the schmucks went a lot higher than DESE in discrediting me. It's going to come back and bite some people shortly because some folk at a high level, who believed the crap they were told, got burned badly because they did -- and folks at high levels really don't like that sort of thing.

The problem is that there is neither meaningful check nor balance on this power clique -- and that's what leads to vigilanteism and other forms of extra-legal action.

Anonymous said...

if our schools are so great then how come, despite them spending almost $20,000 per student, far over the state average, our MCAS scores are only mediocre at best, and some are below the state average.

Anonymous said...

re: SEPAC's meetings this fall, did SEPAC's officers do anything to let families know about the meetings other than posting the notice on the SEPAC web site. My child goes to Crocker Farm & has an IEP, & I received no notice about the SEPAC workshop at Crocker Farm last week.

I am curious how many parents did attend the workshop, or the meeting where the SEPAC elections were held.

Anonymous said...

SEPAC has no 'legal' right to the mailing list or the email list of parents/guradians who have children on IEP's or 504 plans. The director of student services has these lists--she was asked to notify parents about the election--she is the only one who can do this--SEPAC was going to the principals of each school to ask for notifications to be put in the school newsletters--I am not sure if this happened. If my child, on an IEP/504 plan or not, was traumatized by the idiotic presentation of this man--I would sue the school--you bet your bottom dollar, I would sue this school! Only thing is--the poor among us do not have the kind of $$ to do this ~ and so sadly they get away with this kind of emotional abuse--Yes--the poster who stated that hundreds of thousands of positive things occur every single day in the schools is absolutely right! But these things--the caring--the compassion--the ability to accept all children and teach to all children--to raise their growing self-esteems--and discipline them with a love and understanding that leaves the child with a good postive feeling is indeed happening--I only wish these adults, which I have found to be few and far between--could reach out and mentor the other adults who are causing irreparable harm to our children. It is good that SEPAC is finally being recognized-too often the schools hide the children receiving services from sped and 504 plans--too often teachers have little or no idea how to 'teach' or deal with children who are labled this way--and they become the scapegoats of a dysfunctional, corrupt administrative entity. :( And giving these admistrators raises is simply mind boggling. I've got a great suggestion for the 38 thousand dollars wasted on this presentation--take it back and give it to a poor family living in Amherst--struggling to feed their family! or--ah--find 19 families and give them $2,000 each to contribute to their food budget! And warrior does evoke violence. I don't want my children to become warriors--I want them to become children--with a positive self-esteem, and a love and intellect they can share with the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

The director of student services has these lists--she was asked to notify parents about the election

Who is stating this? Can you produve the email that asked the sped director to notify the parents about sepac elections? I don't think you can. sepac officers have made it a habit for many years now to not notify parents when/where elections are taking place, and they have typically been attended by less than 10 people each time, people who somehow know in advance, and it's typically people from the same clique of angry, protesting parents that really do not represent the rest of us.

Let's make sure we understand this: someone who must be a sepac member is saying here that the sped director was asked to notify parents about the sepac elections held 10-8. They are also saying that sepac reps went around to principals asking them to put notifications into newsletters, but they're "not sure if that happened."

We can look at newsletters, ask principals via email if anyone asked them to put notifications into newsletters, and ask the sped director if she was notified to let parents know when the elections were to take place.

Anonymous said...

SEPAC member posting above: would you please answer the question regarding how many people attended the workshoips and sepac elections meeting?

Anonymous said...

"corrupt" administrative entity? can you provide examples of corruption?

I've got a great suggestion for the 38 thousand dollars wasted on this presentation--take it back and give it to a poor family living in Amherst--struggling to feed their family! or--ah--find 19 families and give them $2,000 each to contribute to their food budget!

I don't think Amherst College is in the business of making private donations to individual families in Amherst. I would suggest that any family short on food money visit the family center, they will certainly make sure you know how to access the sysytems set up that ensure children have enough to eat.

Nina Koch said...

The SEPAC meeting was announced on the front page of the district web site:

It's still there. It was also on the calendar:

When I was working on the district website, I frequently received things to post from SEPAC.

Maybe it would be possible for them to send a robocall out too, although I know some people get annoyed about the frequency of robocalls. Another idea would be to use something like MailChimp for the SEPAC newsletter and then inform people of the upcoming meetings through the newsletter.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how many people voted in the elections for 2014-15 SEPAC officers, and how many parents of special needs children there are in the ARPS total.

I would have liked to know that the elections were taking place and I don't frequent the ARPS website or the SEPAC website. I guess I should because communicating with and engaging the greater number of parents does not seem to be the SEPAC officers strength or priority.

The opinions noted in the SEPAC meeting minutes can hardly be called "representative" of all SEPAC parents if only nine people were at the meeting and probably that many or less, probably the same people, voted in the officers.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of interesting to me, after reading the minutes, that the SEPAC made a point of going after the school's attorney at their Terrell meeting, trying to figure out how to get rid of her, only days before it became more widely known that the school's attorney is calling Carolyn Gardner's discrimination suit "baseless". The president of the SEPAC, Lani Sherlock, attended several rallies with and in support of Gardner, and acted out at school committee meetings that she attended with Gardner and her crew.

Anonymous said...

Nina, how do the schools do outreach for events such as curriculum nights and other important gatherings of parents who want to be involved? I assume simply listing those things on the district website calender wouldn't be acceptable to parents, wouldn't you agree?

Nina Koch said...

I think the most effective outreach comes with the PGO email blasts. People subscribe to the email and it comes out once a week on Friday (at least at the high school it does). Our PGO does a great job with the email blast; it's very informative. I don't know how it works at the other schools but I think it's similar.

I know people don't necessarily frequent the district website on their own and sometimes there is a need for a "push" of information.

We can't do robocalls for everything because we need to reserve those for things that are more unusual, where we really need to get someone's attention.

Maybe SEPAC could set up a Twitter feed and then people could choose to follow it. That way, the messages would appear in your personal feed.

If they have set up a list of meeting dates for the year, then maybe that could be sent out on a piece of paper that goes home. Actually it looks like they have that list on the SEPAC site:

You have to scroll down to see it. So, I guess the best thing would be to go to the SEPAC site once at the beginning of the year to get that list and then put it on your personal calendar.

Anonymous said...

It appears there are no more SEPAC meetings scheduled for the 2014-15 school year, or they're not listed, or I just can't find a calendar of meetings on the site for the rest of the year.

Anonymous said...

from ARPS-SEPAC website: "Meetings are held roughly once a month, year-round, are open to all observers, and time for non-board members to speak can be arranged with prior notice.

So, the SEPAC president Sherlock wants to be able to grab the mic out of order, speak whenever she wants, for as long as she wants, at school committee meetings, but if you attend one of her SEPAC meetings, as an "observer", and you'd like to speak but you're not a board member...get in touch ahead of time to see if that can be arranged.

Another SEPAC member contacted the board for me and sent me this response from them: "There were 8 PAC members present and 7 PAC members voted [at the Oct. 8th 2014 SEPAC election meeting]." So out of approximately 1,200 members, 7 members voted for officers, and 4 of those members voted for themselves. Leaving 3 non-board members out of 1,200 who voted in the 2014-15 SEPAC officer elections.

Yet they have meetings and discuss issues and make recommendations and plot strategy as "SEPAC", as if they represent all 1,200+/- members concerns and opinions.

Again, this is NOT a representative board!

Anonymous said...

Anon: 5:31

Corruption, Lets start with a SC that against the will of the parents and voters of Amherst hired A-Rod as the superintendent. The administration was scared of Sklarz so the SC picked someone the administration thought was weak and could be controlled.

Next the Administration learns that A-Rod can't be controlled. They write up a scathing review and pressure him to resign before they make it public record at an SC meeting.

The SC knows he will resign and appoint Maria as interim after letting only School administrators speak to her abilities. The SC refuses to let the pubic speak.

During the course of the search for a super it is clear that Maria is the most unqualified but the most popular. She gets moved up by her cronies on the search committee ahead of much better candidates.

A U-mass professor speaks of Maria's wonderful abilities at a SC meeting, who later gets awarded $90K after Maria gets the full time job as the superintendent.

There is an email campaign to attend all of the candidate Superintendent talks and discredit the other candidates. They also request that people write letters to the paper with discrediting information.

The SC hires Maria because the people want her. The same people who wanted Sklarz 2 years earlier, hypocritical at best.

Maria Geryk has a proven track record of building up an administration with employees paid above the Western mass standard.

Higher level people in town government, who have long relationships with reps, have requested that our state representatives ignore the dissent in Amherst. I can't be more specific without opening a can or worms, sorry.

Look at the treatment Steve A. just got from Kathy Mazur, who does not have the credentials to be in her position. She violated his rights. She is highly biased and nothing happens to her. Clear corruption.

It is corrupt. How else could a system with a proven track record or mediocrity continue to spend crazy amounts of money year after year. They hold on high the kids of professors who tutor their kids help get them into good schools as insiders. They ignore the minorities and poor who fair just as bad year after year.

The place is hypocritical and corrupt. It is clear and simple.

Anonymous said...

2:50 pm anon--couldn't agree with you more.

Nina--Here is a twitter account
But don't you have to have a computer to access this?

Funny thing-- in every one of these posts nobody talks about the hidden children of sped services--behind doors--literally in a janitor's closet turned 'classroom' where everyone had to leave their coats on in the winter--storage rooms that held alll the extra stuff nobody really wants anymore--behind large petitions tucked away from the 'general' student population in the backs of the class rooms--one school actually had a glassroom specially designed to bring these students in--sort of like a zoo, but instead of actual cages with bars to look through you can look directly through the glass walls to see what they don't want you/the 'regular' children to 'associate' with. Yet the federal government and state governments give the schools millions of dollars to 'educate' our 'special needs' children--and this is the best they can do? :(

Anonymous said...

Next the Administration learns that A-Rod can't be controlled. They write up a scathing review and pressure him to resign before they make it public record at an SC meeting.

If only you knew...and you will eventually, be patient. You'll get to see what the SC members at that time----the one's that knew he had to leave, as well as the one who supported him even after seeing his evaluations and after he resigned----got to see. You'll be able to do your own evaluations of his detractors and his supporters then.

You're interpretations of past events and supt. hires reveal a complete ignorance of what really happened, you live in a fantasy world where everyone and everything is corrupt and you're righteous, anon 3:44 PM.

They keep their thermostats at a toasty 70... said...

" live in a fantasy world where everyone and everything is corrupt and you're righteous, anon 3:44 PM."


-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Man, the new hundred dollar bills are *really* friggan cool to look at!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Squeaky, some people have good jobs that they make a good living at. Go live in a communist country if you don't like it.

Nobody likes you Squeaky and you're wacky posts prove that it's better that you're not around our children anymore.

Anonymous said... administration bullshit detector! How much money does an Amherst school disinformation officer make to sell her soul? At least Squeaky, in a roundabout and sometimes strange way, seeks the truth.