SSD/Normandy Monthly Communication

Staff and Family Newsletter January 2022

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Hello 2022!


Happy New Year to all!


We welcome you back to the second semester of the 21.22 school year. We hope that you have had an enjoyable winter break!


This month, we will spend time reconnecting with students. That will look like practicing rules, routines, and expectations in classrooms and hallways. Additionally, we will continue to learn and grow academically.


As always, should you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We value your support and collaboration.


Educationally yours,

DeAndria Player, Director of Special Education dmplayer@ssdmo.org

Barbara Champagne, Special Education Coordinator bachampagne@ssdmo.org

Lynette Swift-Elliott, Special Education Coordinator lswift-elliott@ssdmo.org

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Teaching & Learning Greetings

Staff participated in Explicit Instruction and Active Student Engagement Professional Learning during the first semester of 2021. These research-based approaches facilitate a positive impact on the emotional and academic outcomes of our students. The SSD Leadership Team has established a plan to support teachers’ application and implementation of these methods of instruction and action steps that will assist in developing curricular strategies to enhance student learning.


To learn more about Teaching, Learning, & Accountability please visit https://www.ssdmo.org/Domain/292


~MaShyllia Minor, Instructional Coach

SSD Normandy Schools Collaborative

Click the banner to visit SSD's website for Normandy Schools Collaborative

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Normandy Schools Collaborative Upcoming Events

January 3 Classes Resume

January 7 Early Dismissal-All Schools

January 11 JEGB Board Meeting 6:00pm

January 14 Early Dismissal -All Schools

January 17 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day-District Closed

January 21 Early Dismissal-All Schools

January 28 Early Dismissal-All Schools

Normandy Schools Collaborative Website

Click the banner to visit Normandy Schools Collaborative Website

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SSD's Staff Awards, Milestones, and Retiree Update

Would you like to shine a light on someone whose work supports the District’s mission so brilliantly, it deserves an award? SSD is excited to announce the opening of nominations for our annual awards which recognize the outstanding work of our classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, operations staff and community partners. The deadline for submission is Feb. 7, 2022, but don’t wait to begin thinking about what you’d like to write about your nominee. Great nominations take a bit of thought!

Here are the links to each award nomination form:


SSD’s award winners and their nominators (that’s you) will be invited to attend the annual Salute to SSD banquet in the spring (date TBA). This year, all SSD retirees also will be invited to the Salutes banquet and recognized for their dedication to our District.

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Awards & Student Scholarships

Deadlines for scholarships and awards are getting closer. Please take a moment to review the following information and click the links for details.

  • Applications for The John Cary Scholarship, sponsored by The Special Education Foundation, are due Jan. 24, 2022. Additional opportunities for students and staff are listed on the SEF website.

  • SSD also sponsors several awards for staff and community partners - nominations are due Feb. 7, 2022. Please consider who you can nominate for the following awards:

If you have questions about any of these opportunities, please contact Deana Parsons, internal communications coordinator, at dmparsons@ssdmo.org or 314.989.8102.

SWEP 2022 Application: Due February 7th

Attached, you will find the participant application for SWEP 2022. We're so grateful to the Productive Living Board, and to our partner agencies, for continuing to make this important transition opportunity available to residents of St. Louis county.


Please note: Applications are due by February 7. Any applications we receive after that date – even those from previous SWEP participants – will go on a waiting list. Because of the volume of applications we typically receive, we cannot make ANY exceptions to that policy.


Also note: if an applying student is age 18 or older, s/he/they must sign the application and releases. If a student is younger than 18, his/her/their parent or guardian must sign the application and releases. A signature from the wrong person will, at minimum, slow down the process of qualifying a student for the program. It may even prevent a student from being accepted, because we’re unable to secure necessary documentation of an applicant’s disability. Please pass this information along to families applying for the program; if you’re supervising the preparation of student applications, please check for correct signatures.


Please also note that not providing a Social Security number may slow down the process. We do understand that people want to be careful sharing this information, but it's critical to our ability to verify that an applicant is qualified for the program. If a student or family member prefers that I call them to get that information, that's fine - just have them note that on the application.


The guidelines and qualifications are listed on the application. Keep in mind that students must be returning to school (or a school program like VSP) next Fall, live in STL County, and have a qualifying disability to participate.


I do confirm the receipt of all applications. If you've sent me one, and haven't heard back from me for several days, do reach out. Scanning and emailing the application is the most reliable means of sending it, but fax and hard copy mail are fine, also.


My supervisor, Stephanie Guth, and I will coordinate the 2022 program. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call or email me (Stephanie is CC’d on this email).


Thank you for helping to get this application out to potential SWEP participants!


Jeff Strasburg

Assistant Coordinator of SWEP Services

MERS Goodwill

Lippman Center

2545 S. Hanley Rd.

St. Louis, MO 63144


Pronouns: he/him/his


Office: 314-646-5818

Cell: 510-529-6968

Fax: 314-982-8973

jstrasburg@mersgoodwill.org

SWEP 2022 Application

Click the banner to access application

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Parent Leadership Institute

SSD’s Parent Education and Diversity Awareness Program is seeking applicants interested in participating in the Spring 2022 SSD Parent Leadership Institute.

Parent Leadership Institute participants have the opportunity to:


  • Build understanding of future planning and problem-solving utilizing the Charting the LifeCourse tools.
  • Learn to effectively participate in their child’s education and improve the educational climate for all children.
  • Learn how to positively interact and collaborate with other parents and school personnel.
  • Discover new resources and network with other parents.


This program, which is offered at no cost to participants, is designed for parents and family members who are the educational decision makers for a child with a disability.



If you are a parent or family member who makes the educational decisions for a child with a disability, investing the time to attend these four Wednesday evening sessions will provide:

  • Vision for the future of your child.
  • Knowledge to help you to effectively participate in your child’s education.
  • Leadership skills to improve the educational climate for all children.
  • Access to new resources, friends and experts to help you on your journey.

The Institute will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February 16, March 2, 9, and 16, at the SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. The institute is offered at no cost and dinner is provided. Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute


PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

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Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA): PEDA has several workshops scheduled. The workshops can be found below and on PEDA's website.


Join us Tuesday, January 18th at 6:00 PM to learn about summer recreation programs available to school-age children with developmental disabilities and funding options to assist in paying for those programs. The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the Recreation Council of Great St. Louis, will be on zoom.

Presenter: Susan Fleming, Executive Director of the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization which serves as a "clearinghouse" for information on leisure, recreation, and socialization opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the Greater St. Louis Area. The Council works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are aware of and have access to activities and programs of their "choice."

To register or request the more information about summer programs please contact, the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program at 314.989.8460 or email ssdpeda@ssdmo.org


PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

PEDA would love your feedback! Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness Program

Click the banner to visit and learn more about PEDA

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Lunch & Learn Series

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) and Communications departments have teamed up to offer a virtual Lunch & Learn series for SSD families and stakeholders. The series, which will involve community organizations sharing information about their work, will take place on the first Wednesday of each month during the 2021-22 school year, from 11:30 AM - Noon.

Representatives from nine community organizations will participate in order to increase awareness about their agency and make connections with those in our SSD community who may benefit from their programs and services. Organizations represented in the Lunch & Learn series include:


· Easterseals Midwest – Jan. 5

· The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis – Feb. 2

· Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK) – March 2

· St. Louis ARC – April 6

· St. Louis County Library – May 4

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Family and Community Engagement Spotlight


Mental Health First Aid Training for SSD Families

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and others to help adolescents experiencing mental health and/or addictions challenge or crisis. It is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Nationally this course is valued at $170; due to a grant from Missouri's Department of Mental Health and a collaboration with the Ferguson Community Center, you have the opportunity to attend at no cost.

Saturday, March 19th from 9 – 1:30 PM at Ferguson Community Center. 1050 Smith Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135

Space is limited. To register click here. Registration will close on Monday, March 7th or when all seats are filled.


The Family Resource Hub located at North Tech High School is a space dedicated to families and our community stakeholders. The resource hub offers families computer and internet access, a satellite food pantry, and support navigating community resources. The space is also dedicated to supporting families by hosting learning labs, community events, and a safe and supportive environment to learn with and from one another.


OPEN HOUSE January 18- January 21, 2022 from 9 – 4 PM

You’re welcome to visit during these times or to set an appointment to meet us there.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email FamilyEngagement@ssdmo.org

Family Engagement

Click the banner to learn more about Family & Community Outreach

Parent Advisory Council (PAC)

The SSD Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is comprised of families advising and collaborating to improve the education, confidence and social outcomes of each student served by SSD. The PAC consists of five parents or guardians – one member and four alternates – from each of the 22 St. Louis County school districts and from each of the five SSD special education schools. The parents or guardians of students receiving special education services in that district or school elect SSD PAC members.


The SSD Parent Advisory Council has scheduled the following meetings for the 2021-2022 school year. All meetings are held virtually via Zoom, from 7-9 PM. Additional information about meetings, including agendas, can be found on the PAC's website.

  • Jan. 12, 2022
  • Feb. 9, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • May 11, 2022 (this meeting will be held virtually and in-person)

Get Involved with the SSD PAC

  • Network and communicate with other parents of children who receive special education service.
  • Become as informed as possible about special education services
  • Improve communication between your local school district and SSD
  • Create a positive understanding and awareness of students with disabilities
  • Establish a network of advocacy for local, state and national disability issues


Complete this online form to learn more about getting involved with the SSD Parent Advisory Council.

Special School District Upcoming Events

January 3 School Resumes

January 5 Lunch & Learn: Easterseals Midwest 11:30am

January 11 Board of Education: Work-study Session 5:45pm

January 12 Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Meeting 7pm

January 17 Schools Closed in Observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 25 Board of Education: Business Meeting 5:45pm

January 28 Board of Education: Policy Sub-Committee Meeting 1:30pm


Let's Talk

Let’s Talk is an open invitation from Special School District (SSD) to tell us what’s on your mind.​Let’s Talk is an easy way to submit feedback at your convenience directly to the SSD staff member who can help.