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The thoughts below were written by Roxi Harvey, an ABC and FLS alum who assumed a leadership role in the Boston SpEd PAC during COVID and recently published an article she co-wrote with Emma Fialka-Feldman. The link to the OpEd is below.

What new leadership roles have you stepped into in this pandemic? What has driven you to be a leader or inspired you during this pandemic?

During the pandemic, I was the co-chair of Boston’s SpEd PAC and our chair was a lawyer who led the group for 11 years. We had our elections for officers in May of 2020 during our first virtual meeting and hundreds of people showed up to a meeting that tended to have about 50 people on average attend. Our chair was stepping down and we needed to ensure that SpEd PAC continued to be there to advise the district and provide support for families that included students with disabilities.

The struggles I had with our district when they tried to force my child into a sub-separate setting and label him unmotivated while not providing the services my children needed and seeing the ramifications of that push me to be a leader. My experiences and the countless other experiences that have been shared with me continue to inspire me during the pandemic to support other families and push our district to provide FAPE to all our students. I never thought I would be speaking at Boston City Council, meeting with superintendents, DESE members, drafting formal letters to raise concerns of some of our 11,000 members or speaking at rallies or co-writing an op-ed, but I do.

I am inspired by the creative ways that families and some teachers are working to support children and each other. When you have a child focused mindset, it starts to be normal to have to remind those in power that our children are not an afterthought and their special education services need to be prioritized.

Op-Ed direct link: https://schoolyardnews.com/partnering-in-a-pandemic-d71f6c662bb6

Thanks to Roxi for sharing your insight and expertise! How has your leadership changed or developed thanks to our “new normal?” Drop your thoughts in the comments below ??