The Albany Disability Squad is a new group of families working collectively with each other and collaboratively with the Albany Unified School District to provide students with disabilities with the free and appropriate public education that they are entitled to under the law. We formed in the spring of 2020 when it the AUSD Board of Education eliminated a large number of positions from Special Education, disproportionally affecting students with IEPs and 504 plans. We began informally with letter writing campaigns, but soon realized that there was a greater need for a more permanent group of parents to advocate for the needs of students with disabilities in Albany and to provide mutual support to each other.
In the short time since we banded together, we have established relationships with the District administration and the members of the Board of Education. We have successfully argued for the restoration of a Director of Special Education position and the rescinding of many Special Education staff layoffs.
Now, we have turned our attention to the pressing issues of the COVID-19 era:
- ensuring that the services, accommodations and modifications in all students’ IEPs and 504 plans are delivered in remote learning
- advocating for paraeducators (also known as “paras” or “aides”) to be deployed effectively in remote learning
- supporting families as we all struggle to meet the needs of our students with disabilities
- building community
Please check out the our website (albanydisabilitysquad.org). We know that not everyone will have the time or inclination to get involved, but if you do, we hope that you will get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.