START-Engaging Parent of Students with Disabilities (START-EPSD) is a project offering programs and services that support the engagement of families to improve outcomes for students, including developing and supporting Special Education Parent Advisory Groups (SEPAGs) in communities and school districts. Find out more by visiting: https://spanadvocacy.org/programs/start/
START-EPSD Project is currently looking for a self-motivated and self-directed individual who has a strong commitment to the importance and significance of the involvement of empowered and educated parents/caregivers in improving academic & health outcomes for children in New Jersey through the development of parent groups and participation in strong family/school partnerships. Key functions include:
- Building collaborative relationships to promote family-school partnerships.
- Establishing special education parent advisory groups and other parent groups.
- Maintaining the membership and effectiveness of existing groups at various stages of development.
Training and Technical Assistance
- Provide training and workshops on initiating and developing effective special education parent advisory groups, parent involvement in the IEP process, and additional topics as needed.
- Increase parental awareness regarding their role in improving special education systems within their district and at the state level through parent-professional collaboration.
- Inform parents about their rights to be involved in educational planning for their children.
- Identify and collaborate with parent and education leaders, SEPAGs, parent and community groups, networks, and/or formal organizations (FSC, CCYCs, FSO, RFSPC, PTAs/PTOs/HSAs, etc.) currently serving, supporting, or interested in supporting families with children with special education needs.
- Provide outreach to identified groups/networks/organizations to determine what resources or information may be needed to sustain their development.
- Coordinate opportunities for parents, parent group leaders, and professionals to network, share resources, engage in mutual problem-solving to increase parent leadership capacity, and help build family/school partnerships.
- Network with families, educators, and service providers as well as attend conferences and training in their counties, regions, and throughout the state regarding family-centered principles and practices.
- Maintain and update current knowledge related to project components, including parent groups, literacy development, the inclusion of students with disabilities, and NJTSS.
- Maintain a database of the district- and community-based groups to connect parents with the group(s) in their communities.
- Collect and maintain all required data for reporting and program implementation.
- Contribute content related to activities and relevant topics to the Project’s and organization’s publications, presentations, social media, and website.
- Attend necessary and mandatory professional development activities.
The successful candidate must be a resident of a county in the region they work - Counties of Essex (Districts), Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Somerset, and Warren. They must have experience working with their local district SEPAGs, and be aware of other parent and community organizations in this region. In addition, through experience, as well as training, the candidate will demonstrate the following knowledge, abilities, and skills:
- Bi-lingual English/Spanish preferred.
- Experience as the parent/caregiver or advocate of a child with disabilities.
- Demonstrated commitment to the goals of the project and organization.
- Experience in providing training to adult learners is a plus.
- Excellent outreach, family engagement and empowerment, and ability to partner with NJDOE-OSE partners, district personnel, and other professionals.
- Knowledge of state, regional, and local community resources.
- Demonstrated ability to exercise independent judgment and sound decision-making.
- Outstanding ability to work well with a wide spectrum of people.
- Excellent planning, organizational, leadership, and interpersonal skills are required.
- Proficiency working with MS Office Suite, Google Suite, Smartsheet, Eventbrite, social media, video conferencing platforms, and mobile apps.
- Ability to work flexible hours, including some evenings and weekends with reliable transportation. (SPAN employees are working remotely temporarily.)