Find your SEAC. Attend a meeting and observe. Discover how your participation on your local SEAC can make a difference for children and families in your school district.
Special Education Advisory Councils (SEAC)
Join your local SEAC! It's a great opportunity to work with other parents of children with disabilities to effect change across the district. You feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself!
- Rose Quintero
What is a SEAC?
- A SEAC (pronounced “seek”) is an acronym for Special Education Advisory Council.
- The purpose of a SEAC is to provide input on special education issues to the local school district, to advise and to advocate, not to decide policy.
- Minnesota law requires every school district in the state to have a SEAC.
In order to increase the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in district policy making and decision making, school districts must have a special education advisory council that is incorporated into the district's special education system plan.
- This advisory council may be established either for individual districts or in cooperation with other districts who are members of the same special education cooperative.
- A district may set up this council as a subgroup of an existing board, council, or committee.
- At least half of the designated council members must be parents of students with a disability. When a nonpublic school is located in the district, the council must include at least one member who is a parent of a nonpublic school student with a disability, or an employee of a nonpublic school if no parent of a nonpublic school student with a disability is available to serve. Each local council must meet no less than once each year. The number of members, frequency of meetings, and operational procedures are to be locally determined.
- At least half of the designated members of a SEAC must be parents of students with a disability.
Why are SEACs Important?
Local SEACs advise school districts on the development of programs and services to meet the special educational needs of children and families. By sharing their unique perspective of what it is like to use these services, parents can help the district to be more effective. As a result, outcomes for children with disabilities should improve.
Why Might I Want to Participate on a SEAC?
Parents give many reasons for joining a SEAC, including these:
- I may be able to help other families and children with disabilities in my school district.
- I can share what I’ve learned since my child began his education.
- I can support the school professionals in my district.
- I will be a good role model for my child.
- I feel good when I make a contribution to this community.
- I will learn information and skills that may help me work more effectively with my school district.
- I will meet others with similar goals, both parents and school professionals.
- I may build positive relationships with others in my district.
- I will become more knowledgeable about special education.
- By sharing my unique perspective and insights as a parent, I may help the school district work more effectively with families and improve outcomes for children.
Becoming familiar with your school district will help you to be a more effective member of your local SEAC. Gaining a big picture perspective on why and how policy decisions for all students are made at the district level will put you in a better position to work toward meaningful outcomes.
One of the most important tools you have as a parent to maximize your effectiveness while serving on your local SEAC is to ask the right questions. Use questions to start productive conversations that lead to an analysis of changes needed and possible paths forward.
The success of your local SEAC depends on the strength of the relationships among all those working to achieve it. A productive parent-school partnership will pay big dividends for its primary beneficiaries – students with disabilities in your school district.
Now that you’ve found your own unique role on your local SEAC, you’re ready to dedicate your energies to collaborating with fellow members and making your SEAC stronger than ever.
Charter schools are public school districts, and as such, Minnesota statute requires each to have its own SEAC. Like all SEACs, the charter school SEAC is responsible for giving advice about special education policy and decisions.