Family Support Services

We missed you!
Somerset County families with students who have IEPs (of all ages) were invited to attend a family bowling night at the Eastern Shore Lanes in Pocomoke City, MD on Sunday, February 23, 2020.  A nice turnout of 10 families bowled the night away in a sensory sensitive-encouraged environment and they were all given a discount by the bowling alley management.  Thank you, Tommy and Brandon, for inviting us with open arms!
The families enjoyed it so much that another evening is slated for the month of April.  Keep a lookout for information posted on our Facebook group page (SCPS Family Support) or through the mail.  Wouldn't it be awesome to pack the place with Somerset County families?
Judy Center and Early Intervention families were also invited to attend.


How to effectively communicate when you don’t agree with your IEP


Every parent, who has a child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), receives a copy of the Parental Rights: Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice.  However, most parents probably have not had the time to read through the  thirty-some pages of information; and if they reach page 18, most of the information has most likely become a blur.  Page 18 is important.  This is where the document tells a parent/caregiver what to do when they disagree with their child’s IEP and the decisions made by the school system in regards to their individualized education. 


Once an issue is identified or a parent has a complaint, the following steps can be taken until your issue has been resolved.


Step 1  Contact your IEP team:  There are many members on your team.  Reach out to your child’s teacher, the special education instructor, or the case manager.  You can also contact the administrators at your school, i.e. principal or assistant principal. 


Step 2  Contact the special education supervisor at the central office:  Currently, this is Cheryl O’Neal and she can be reached at 410-651-1616 or by email at


Step 3  Request mediation by using a form available from the Special Education office or the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) website at or by calling 410-767-7770.  Mediation may now be used without having to file a hearing and is an informal and confidential voluntary process conducted by qualified and impartial mediators.


Step 4  File a state complaint:  Parents have the right to file a state  complaint with the MSDE.  The state complaint must include a statement that the school system has violated a requirement of federal or State law or regulation; the facts upon which the statement is based; and the signature and contact information of the person filing the complaint.  The complaint must also include information regarding the child, i.e. name and address, school attending, description of the nature of the problem or facts relating to the problem; and a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the complainant at the time of filing.  (Page 19-20 of Parental Safeguards)


Step 5  File a due process complaint:  Parents have the right to file a due process complaint on any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, and early intervention services, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to a child.   To assist in the filing of the complaint, a Request for Mediation and Due Process Complaint Form is available from the school system and on the MSDE website.  The same information needed for a state complaint will be needed for the due process complaint.


There is a timeline built into these processes and all of that information can be found on pages 18-30.  Also found in this section is information on attorneys, hearing rights, resolution process and settlement agreements, and how to  appeal.  


If you have more questions or need a copy of the Parent Rights, contact Joy Hale at 410-999-1016.  She is available to help you through this process as well.


Parents/ Caregivers & and interested community members are Invited to the
April 2, 2020
5:30 pm
Give-A-Way Party
Food! Fun! Gifts!
JM Tawes Campus
Conference Room A
7982 Crisfield Highway
For more information on SECAC (Special Education Citizens Advisory Council) and how you can be involved in improving the education for the children of Somerset County who have disabilities, contact the Parent Support Coordinator at
For information on activities and early childhood development, contact:

To contact the Family Support Program:


Phone: 410-999-1016





Office & Lending Library

located at:


11576 Lankford Street

Princess Anne, MD 21853

SECAC Members
Rebecca Pratte,
Somerset County Library Youth Program Coordinator
Vice Chairperson
Jennie Marshall,
Ashley Arndt
Elizabeth Chamberlain
Jerrie Crockett
Dalisha Dickerson
Sheryl Eni
Denise Mertz
Melody Morgan
Tracey Warthen
Ashley Walters
Somerset County Public Schools Personnel
Cheryl O'Neal,
Supervisor of Special Ed
Joy Hale,
Family Support Program Coordinator
Jenson Long,
WES Assistant Principal
Katie Klein, 
Infants & Toddlers
Karen Karten,
Judy Center
Cindy Taylor,
Transition Spec Ed Teacher
Tony Hayward,
Unified Sports
Community Representatives
Daniel Sabo,
DDA Eligibility Counselor
Linda Prochaska,
ARC Central Chesapeake Region
Carolyn Terrell,
Eldon Willing,
Somerset County Commissioner
Fran Jones,
Chesapeake Health
Lauren Hawke,
Somerset Recreation & Parks
Nicole Sterling,
Local Management Board