Would you like to become proactive in working with your Special Education Department within your District instead of feeling isolated and helpless regarding your child’s IEP? Are you having difficulty having a successful IEP meeting or have concerns about your child’s educational program? A great way to approach this is to become involved with your CAC or Community Advisory Committee.
The California Code of Regulations – Title 5 mandates each SELPA to establish a Community Advisory Committee in every Local School District (LEA). The CAC serves as an avenue of communication between parents or guardians of exceptional needs students and school district personnel. The CAC also supports, sponsors and develops programs that increase district wide understanding of the needs and rights of exceptional individuals within the school district and SELPA. The CAC also encourages community involvement in the development and review of the local plan.
The CAC is composed of primarily parents of individuals with exceptional needs enrolled in public or private schools, but also pupils and adults with disabilities, regular education teachers, special education teachers and other school personnel, representatives of other agencies, and persons concerned with the needs of individuals with exceptional needs. In other words, as a parent of a child on an IEP, the CAC is your meeting that the state has provided you to be involved and work with your Local School District (LEA).
The committee also strives to maintain communications between District and State legislative and administrative personnel for the purpose of keeping informed of new developments in special education, and to advise local, county, and state legislators of the special needs of exceptional students within each SELPA.
Another key objective of the CAC is to make available a forum to individuals with exceptional needs and or their parents or guardians where they may express their needs and concerns regarding the educational progress of special education students and to obtain support for improved educational opportunities for all individuals with exceptional needs. The committee also functions as a support group for students and/or parents or guardians of students with exceptional needs by providing informal orientation and informational programs.
I encourage every parent who has a child with an IEP or any person who is concerned for individuals with exceptional needs, become involved with their local CAC. I served on my CAC board for many years when my daughter, Chanel, was still going to school. Being involved in your local CAC will allow you to develop relationships with your district administrators and school site educators. When you work alongside district staff, you will see a change in your IEP meetings and your student’s education because of your reputation as an involved parent. Become a parent who takes action and helps to proactively further the cause of meeting the individual needs of students IEP’s.