graduate with parents

The mission of SUPAC is to promote meaningful parent involvement in the inclusive education of their children with disabilities. SUPAC works to involve and empower parents by informing them as well as their children of their rights within the educational system. By so doing, the SUPAC enhances the ability of parents to advocate for a meaningful education within an inclusive setting for their children and for supports that are appropriate, gentle, and respectful and which enable their children to maximize their unique abilities. The SUPAC also educates parents and school personnel (teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals), who share the responsibility to create inclusive schools and classrooms, about the potential of every child to succeed in school.

The Core Values of SUPAC

  • Valuing all children of all ages for their unique abilities and as essential members of the school community;
  • Envisioning “belonging” as an essential component of learning;
  • Promoting meaningful student involvement in their own education by helping children to develop the skill of advocacy so they can have a say in the type and level of support they receive;
  • Promoting meaningful parent involvement in their children’s education;
  • Promoting inclusion not as a place but as a way of thinking about education;
  • Believing that all children of all ages have the potential for success in inclusive settings;
  • Supporting fully inclusive settings for all children of all ages and presuming competence of all children;
  • Advocating for the use of supports that are gentle and respectful to the student;
  • Educating school personnel to promote the dignity and sense of belonging for all children;
  • Recognizing that parents, school administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals share the responsibility to provide a meaningful education to all children within the context of general education curriculum and instruction; and
  • Recognizing that the work of creating meaningful education and inclusive schools and classrooms is not essentially a matter of resources, but rather how we think about the abilities and potential of all children, including children with disabilities.


The SUPAC is funded through a contract with the New York State Education Department: Office of Special Education and is a project of the SU Center on Human Policy and is located on the Syracuse University campus.


The SUPAC will provide training and information that meets the needs of parents of children with disabilities living in the Mid-State region. Underserved parents and parents of children who may be inappropriately identified as having a disability, including parents of children attending high poverty schools and the State’s persistently lowest-achieving schools will be the focus of SUPAC.

The goals of SUPAC include assisting parents to:

  • better understand the nature of their children’s disabilities and their educational, developmental, and transitional needs;
  • understand strategies to support their child’s academic and social growth;
  • communicate effectively and work collaboratively with personnel responsible for providing special education, early intervention, transition, and related services;
  • participate in decision-making processes, including those regarding participation in State and local assessments, and the development of individualized education programs under Part B of IDEA and individualized family service plans under Part C of IDEA;
  • obtain appropriate information about the range, type and quality of:
    • options, programs, services, technologies, practices, and interventions that are based on scientifically based research, to the extent practicable; and
    • resources available to assist children with disabilities and their families in school and at home, including information available through the Office of Special Education Programs’ (OSEP) technical assistance and dissemination centers (www.tadnet.org) and through communities of practice;
  • understand the requirements of IDEA and State regulations related to the provision of education and early intervention services to children with disabilities; and
  • participate in activities at the school level that benefit their children.

The SUPAC will also:

  • promote communication between parents and districts to resolve concerns through nonadversarial processes;
  • provide information to parents on their procedural due process rights, including the right to mediation, impartial hearings and appeals and the State complaint process;
  • improve parent participation in the State’s measure of the percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities; and
  • assist NYSED to identify and promote effective practices for positive parental involvement in the special education process.

The Board of Regents Parent and Family Partnerships Policy acknowledges:

  • improved student achievement is linked to engaging parents and families in the education process;
  • federal and State laws and regulations require plans, policies and practices that support parental and family involvement in the education of children;
  • schools and districts are responsible for implementing plans, policies and practices that support parental and family involvement in the education of children;
  • education is the shared responsibility of schools, parents and families, and the community; and
  • NYSED is responsible for monitoring school and district implementation plans, policies and practices that support parental and family involvement in the education of all children.