Empowering Parents and Students with Special Needs: Shen PTA Council Event Recap

In a remarkable gathering organized by the Shen PTA Council’s Special Education Sub committee, parents, committee chairs, and essential council members came together to discuss and address the unique needs of families with students who have special needs. The event, held on October 9th 2023 at the High School East Library was a pivotal moment in our ongoing effort to support these families and their children within the Shenendehowa School District..

Introduction by Marry Colleen, PTA Council President:

Marry Colleen, the esteemed PTA Council President, commenced the event by extending a warm welcome to all attendees. She highlighted the exciting planning phase for multiple events aimed at encouraging parents to collaborate and share their experiences. These events will serve as a platform to bolster not only our children but also the entire community.

Acknowledging Key Contributors:

Marry introduced the committee chairs and other crucial members of the PTA Council who are deeply committed to this cause. These individuals are essential in driving positive change within our district.

Inspiring Testimonials from Parents:

Several parents attended the event, sharing their experiences and needs. One parent, who recently moved from Long Island, shared the remarkable impact that SEPTA had on their children. This firsthand experience underscored the potential of a dedicated Special Education PTA (SEPTA) to be a valuable resource for our community. The parent also emphasized that such associations should be primarily run by parents, as they best understand the needs of their children. Furthermore, the parent highlighted that frameworks for SEPTA can be replicated from schools that have successfully implemented such associations. Their insights were invaluable in shaping our understanding of how SEPTA can thrive within our district.

Understanding the Scope:

Another parent brought to light a striking statistic: 12% of school enrollments for 2023 are children with special needs. That’s approximately 1100 children who could benefit from the creation of SEPTA. This statistic underscores the urgency of establishing such a platform for our community.

Parental Desires for Evening Programs and Friendships:


During the event, parents shared their heartfelt desires for their children. Many expressed the need for evening programs provided by the school district to cater to their children’s unique needs. They emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for their children to socialize and engage in meaningful activities in the evenings.

In addition, parents expressed a strong desire for their children to have friends who understand and share similar challenges. They stressed the importance of building a network of parents with children who have special needs but did not have contact lists for these parents in the district.     

 Addressing the Need for a Communication System:

In response to the parents’ concerns about a lack of contacts/Directory of families with special needs children, which is due to privacy concerns responded by the PTA Council, after getting the valuable feedback, the PTA Council shared that they can plan to develop a system to facilitate communication and information sharing between willing parents. This system could leverage platforms such as Facebook, Campus Messenger, or a dedicated portal, ensuring that parents can connect, share experiences, and support one another while respecting individual privacy preferences.

As we reflect on this event, we are reminded of the power of a community that comes together to advocate for its most vulnerable members. We are excited to embark on this journey with you, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that SEPTA becomes a vital resource for our district’s children and families.

Stay tuned for updates and future events. Together, we can make a lasting impact and create a brighter future for all students with special needs in the Shenendehowa School District.


Contact details for Shen PTA Council and School PTA’s

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