We asked the City Public School Board Candidates!

In an effort to help our constituencies better understand how the School Board Candidates will represent our interests if elected, we partnered with The ARC and asked them seven questions:

  1. What do you view to be the most significant issues facing Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS)?
  2. What do you believe to be the most significant issue or challenges withing HCPS relating to students with disabilities?
  3. Describe your experience working with or on behalf of individuals with special needs?
  4. What steps should HCPS take to improve the education and overall welfare of students with disabilities in Harrisonburg?
  5. If elected to the School Board, one of your most important job duties will be to ensure that HCPS complies with the many laws governing students with disabilities.  Please describe your familiarity with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  6. If elected to the School Board, what will you do to ensure that neighborhood schools are able to include all children with disabilities?  What will you do to create additional, meaningful inclusion opportunities for Harrisonburg’s students with special needs?
  7. In Harrisonburg, we are fortunate to have different optional programs to choose from such as: foreign language immersion, STEM programs, and a Fine Arts Academy.  These programs, however,  can be challenging for students with disabilities.  What is your plan to support the students with disabilities in these programs so they can access the curriculum and succeed alongside their non-disabled peers?

Please see attached for the responses we’ve received so far.

Thomas Domonoske

Nick Swayne

Dany Fleming

Deb Fitzgerald

Kaylene Seigle

Lauren Penrod

SVAP Autism Scholarship Program (online application only)

SVAP is pleased to continue our autism spectrum disorders scholarship program. Because of the generous community support and our annual “Valley 5K Walk/Run for Autism” fundraiser, we continue to be able to offer monetary scholarships on a limited basis for individuals on the Autism Spectrum, as well as those who support and care for persons on the spectrum.

These funds may be used towards services such as respite, therapies, safety, sensory equipment, assistive technology, and personal/professional development. Scholarship requests are limited to a maximum of $500 per year. This allows us to help as many individuals as possible. As each scholarship is granted based on the need, occasionally requests for more than $500 will be considered. Preference will be given to those who have not previously been given a scholarship. Scholarships are limited to persons residing in the following counties/cities in the Shenandoah Valley: Counties of Augusta, Bath, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren, and the Cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, and Waynesboro.

Here’s online information.  And here’s the actual application.
Note: Once you have applied online you will get a notice that your application has been received.  Please allow 30 days for your application to be reviewed by the SVAP Scholarship Team. For inquiries regarding questions about the scholarship program or your application email SVAPscholarship@gmail.com

Transition plan update

The Departments of Medical Assistance Services and Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will conduct a Statewide Transition Plan WebEx on Thursday,June 25th from 9:30-11:30a.m.

This WebEx will serve as the first convening of the Compliance & Monitoring Team (C&MT) specified in the Commonwealth’s Statewide Transition Plan.  The Statewide Transition Plan was developed in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Home and Community Based Services final regulation: 42 CFR Part 430, 431, 435, 436, 440, 441, and 447 and the Final Rule under Part 430 et al. in the January 16, 2014 issue of the Federal Register.

Here’s the official announcement (click to enlarge):

Official announcement

Transition Plan


Precious Time Program – James Madison University


Do you have a child with special needs?  Precious Time is a pediatric respite care program that provides care givers a break.  JMU nursing students are matched with families who have children with special needs.  They come into your home to provide a much needed break.

Please visit their website to find out more information and learn how to participate in their program.