By Cindy Zomar, Education Coordinator
NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – The Special Education Parent Advisory Council of the Northborough/Southborough School District (NSPAC) held its annual Go the Distance Awards on May 20.
NSPAC is an all-volunteer group of parents of students from age 3 – 22 who have medical challenges, learn differently, or have special needs in the Northborough/Southborough school district. It is a state-mandated advisory group that works with administrators and school committee members to shape special education programs.
For eleven years, NSPAC has ended the school year by recognizing outstanding staff and community members who have gone above and beyond for their special needs students.
The 2020-2021 school year, however, posed challenges for educators that had never before been encountered.
Although finally transitioning into a somewhat more traditional format, teachers were forced to be more creative, innovative and flexible to embrace technology with a passion and to effectively hold down two jobs as they taught both in-person and remote classes.
Presentation takes place over Zoom
Each student/family was allowed to nominate only one team member. The recognition ceremony has traditionally been held at the high school, allowing each school’s nominees to come on stage to be recognized. But this year took place virtually on a Zoom webinar May 20.
Fifty-six team members were nominated and named a recipient of the Go the Distance award. Each person was highlighted with submitted photos and videos where possible and was given a print-out of their written nomination, identifying who nominated them.
Those were hand-delivered to their school the week of the ceremony. Another twenty-six team members were listed as an Honorable Mention and had their names read aloud.
“For the first time, we are including Honorable Mention awards as well,” announced Alyssa Degon, the NSPAC President. “This was such an unusual year, we felt it was the best time to expand the awards. Many of our students needed more help from their Student Support Services team than ever and we want these awards to be really special!”
The event was recorded and posted to the NSPAC website and can be viewed by clicking “2021 Go the Distance Presentation” on the homepage (as well as below).
Awards feature largest recipient list ever
The presentation also featured a performance by the Algonquin Unified Singing Club, led by Lori Diamond.
Likewise, Andrew Roberts, an Algonquin junior, was the presentation’s Student Spotlight.
“He has been instrumental in assisting with the Awards for the past seven years,” Degon said. She added, saying, “Although this was a very different year for both students and teachers, we at NSPAC feel that our community is definitely feeling understood and cared for by our Student Support Services team (SSS), led by Marie Alan, our Director.”
Degon thanked Northborough/Southborough Schools’ Superintendent Greg Martineau, calling him a “big factor in helping NSPAC communicate with families.”
“This is our biggest list [of recipients] ever, which goes to show that people want to give back and recognize their support team members.”
Additional News from NSPAC…
Thank You Fundraiser
Help NSPAC build out a lawn display at each of the 10 Northborough/Southborough schools to show appreciation for all that the district staff and Medical Advisory Team have done to support families and students through the pandemic this school year.
Purchase a lawn sign sign from your family to be displayed at the Northborough and Southborough Public Schools. Each sign is $20 and you can pick up the sign for display at your house at the end of the school year. Pictures and a dedication will be celebrated at the last joint school committee meeting of the year.
Click here to purchase a sign (deadline is Thursday, June 3). Proceeds from NSPAC’s “Thank You Fundraiser” will go support NSPAC events and community outreach.
On June 10 at 10 a.m. NSPAC will have its general parents meeting along with the election of its 2021-2022 officers. NSPAC will also be voting on updated by-laws.
Click here to RSVP for the Zoom link.
Please email Alyssa Degon at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in running for office!
Below is the current election roster:
President/Recording Secretary: Alyssa Degon
Vice President/Technology Officer: Johanna Sheyner
Vice President/Communications Coordinator: Kim Tolander
Treasurer: Lisa Jackman
Visit NSPAC.org for more information.