Westfield school district parents invited to workshop

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – This month’s SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Committee) meeting on effective communication, especially when dealing with conflict, is open to all parents in the Westfield school district. “Cool tips for hot topics” will take place this Thursday, Jan. 5 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the South Middle School cafeteria. Childcare and refreshments will be provided.

Samantha Armer, a clinician from the Carson Center who works primarily with middle and high school students, will be the speaker. She will be tackling the tough subject of how to better manage conversations with conflict in them, with people – your child, partner, school officials – who don’t agree with you. How can you find common ground, and make yourself be heard?

Armer will discuss using communication skills, such as how to keep a good calm head, take a breath, and stay in control.

Founded in 1963, The Carson Center for Human Services is a private, nonprofit agency that provides behavioral health and rehabilitation services in communities throughout western Massachusetts. Carson Center clinical programs are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and provide services for children, adolescents, adults, families, and couples.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring examples from their own lives, to explore what worked and what didn’t work.

“People have more skills than they think,” Armer said. She said sharing helps especially when it’s something other parents have gone through. Armer said she will also talk about the stress parents face when communicating on difficult topics, and how to remember to regroup. The focus will be on learning how to state important viewpoints, experiences and suggestions in a way that will increase collaboration and problem-solving.

“This month we will be discussing communication which I know can sometimes be difficult,” said Michele Douglas, one of the parent leaders of SEPAC. Douglas said all parents and caregivers in the district are invited to this free event.

The last half hour of the meeting will be for parents and caregivers only (childcare continues through 8:30 pm). “Come enjoy a snack and a drink, socialize, and get support and help from other families as we get 2017 off to a great start,” Douglas said.

For more information, email westfieldsepac@gmail.com. Upcoming events are listed on the district website at http://bit.do/westfieldsepac.

Related: Westfield’s year in review