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Special Education Committee
(a.k.a. "Special Ed Parents")


The Special Education Committee, nicknamed "Special Ed Parents" (, is a sub-committee of the Westfield Parent-Teacher Council . We are dedicated to bridging the gap between special and general education. We act as an information resource, a support network, and a watchdog on local issues for parents of classified children and other concerned individuals. We advise the Westfield Board of Education on Special Ed matters.

This webpage is organized as follows. Click on any item below to hop to that part of the page.




Membership in the Special Education Committee is open to parents and other concerned individuals.  For schedule updates:

  • keep visiting our web site, or
  • receive updates via email by subscribing to this web page [scroll to bottom of page for instructions], or
  • check your school PTO's weekly newsletter, or
  • contact your school's representative on the Special Education Committee.




The Special Education Committee sponsors monthly presentations and workshops on a variety of issues such as:

  • Diagnosis, treatment, and educational accommodations for specific Special Ed classifications (e.g., Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD);
  • Areas of concern common to all Special Ed parents (e.g., Legal Rights, Advocacy and Negotiating Skills, IEPs, College Programs, Estate Planning); and
  • Topics relevant to all parents and all children (e.g., Organizational Skills, Homework Management, Reading Skills, Bullying, Anxiety, Discipline).

The presentations and workshops are open to the public and free of charge.

This year various workshops will offer Professional Development Credit Hours. (Check the individual meeting notices. Most workshops last 1.5 hours, from 7:30-9:00pm. Advance registration is not required.)

We also hold periodic "round table" meetings to enhance communication on Special Ed issues among parents, teachers and school administrators, or to discuss other topics of interest or concern.

Our meetings are held at Edison Intermediate School, 800 Rahway Avenue, Westfield. We convene in the Library on the 2nd floor. The first part of each meeting, starting at 7:00 pm, is devoted to committee business and our informal parent "support group". A presentation or workshop then follows at 7:30 pm. (Check the individual meeting notices to confirm the exact times, locations and agendas.)

The meeting dates for the 2013-14 school year are as follows:




Every year, the Special Education Committee sponsors an AWARENESS EXPO, consisting of multiple workshops presented by the professional community. The Expo is open to the public and free of charge. This year's Expo will be held on March 19, 2014. The Expo Planning subcommittee is headed by Julie Steinberg ( Please contact her if you would like to help.




The Inclusion Working Group was recently formed within the Special Education Committee.This working group aims to promote Inclusive Education in the Westfield Public Schools. "Inclusive Education" means thatstudents with disabilities are supported in chronological age-appropriate general education classes in their neighborhood schools;the students receive the specialized instruction described in their individualized education programs (IEP's) within the context of the core curriculum and general class activities.For more information and to get involved, visit the Inclusion Working Group's webpage ( or contact Miruna Stratan (




The Special Education Committee sponsors this fund to provide: Scholarship awards to high school seniors receiving special services, Barrier-free initiatives, and other Special programs. The committee conducts an annual fundraiser to support the fund.  For more information about donating to the Cuthbertson Memorial Fund, click here. For more info about applying for a Cuthbertson Scholarship Award, click here. Last year's application deadline was May 1, 2013. The next round of scholarship applications will be accepted in April or May 2014. New forms will be available shortly before then.The Scholarship subcommittee is headed by Gina Totino (




The school representative serves as a liaison with that school, its PTO and the Special Education Committee. It is anticipated that the school representative will:

  • Serve as a contact person for special education parents/educators at your school for the committee.
  • If parents or students are having a special education related problem or concern at your school, you can contact the committee and provide contacts within the committee for the parents.
  • Additionally, the committee will keep you updated and you can keep your school and PTO updated on meetings, presentations, and concerns.
  • Assist when possible on a volunteer basis with committee activities.

The current School Representatives are listed below:

OUT OF DISTRICTClaudia Frankel
LINCOLNKalina Warmington
FRANKLINAmy Kolchinsky
 Emma Schwartz
JEFFERSONJulie Steinberg
TAMAQUESKristen Carrero
WILSONMiruna Stratan
EDISONJanet Spinardi
 Gina Totino
ROOSEVELTAmy Kolchinsky
 Noelle Mora
WESTFD HIGHHelene Bergman
 Kathie Caminiti




We advise the Westfield Board of Education on Special Ed matters. Our Liaison on the Board of Ed is
Rosanne Kurstedt ( ).




The Special Education Committee need volunteers for our Kindred Spirits List. From time to time every parent has questions and feelings about the choices they made or are about to make regarding their child's growth and development, education, and alternatives. Therefore, we put together a short list of local resource parents available upon a parent's request. The information will not be posted on the web site, but will be provided to a parent upon request.

If you are willing to be contacted, please e-mail our committee co-chairs at: . The following information is needed if you will be on our list:

  • Your name, telephone number(s) and email address.
  • Best time to reach you at the listed number.
  • The special education classification(s) that you feel comfortable speaking with a parent about.
  • Note whether you are willing or unwilling to attend an IEP meeting if requested (either is fine).
  • Note whether you have any familiarity with out of district placements for that disability.

Parents frequently discover the need for an out of district placement and have no time to investigate schools so we really need input from parents who have had experience outside the school district. It does not have to be experience as a parent of an out of district child; it can be as an educator, advocate, professional, etc.

Thank you for your help.







For further information, email

Chair Lisa Kops-Wendel ( )
Advisor Helene Bergman ( )

Or both at once:



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