Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

January 21, 2019 Volume 1 Issue 1

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Important Dates


23- Food Pantry (see below)


5- Parent Teacher Conferences- Early Dismissal

6- Parent Teacher Conferences- Early Dismissal

14- Staff Professional Development- Early Dismissa

15- Staff Professional Development- School Closed

18- Presidents' Day- School Closed


11- 10th Annual Ricky McAvaddy Blood Drive

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Parent Teacher Conferences

This year Parent Teacher Conferences have been scheduled differently. Last year the conferences were at the end of Trimester 1 and Trimester 2. Based on teacher feedback that December was too late for the initial conference, we changed them to mid Trimester 1 and mid Trimester 2. Hopefully this has worked well to support your children.

Please take advantage of the conferences. This is a great opportunity to talk to the teachers about how your child is progressing. Here is an article to help get the most out of your conference- Overall Tips to Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Special Education Parent Advisory Group

We have a Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) in the district. Each district board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.2(h).

Generally we meet 4 times per year, though we decide the schedule at our first meeting each school year. Our next meeting is scheduled for March 14, 2019 in the Davies Library. Please contact Marylynn Stecher- if you would like to serve as a member of this group.

Helping Your Child

In each issue of the newsletter, resources will be provided to assist you in helping your child at home.

Helping Your Child Behaviorally

  • The 15-Day Fix to Stop Defiant Behavior in its Tracks

  • Time for Plan B? 10 Tips for Dealing with an Explosive Child

Helping Your Child Academically

For tips about reading and books-

Tips for Home

"...research conducted recently at the University of Minnesota concluded that the best predictor of young-adult success is not IQ or even internal motivation, but rather chores. The earlier a child starts doing chores, the more successful he will be."

Learning Ally

With over 80,000 titles, Learning Ally is the largest library of human-read audiobooks. These books include literature, popular fiction and curriculum-aligned titles. Learning Ally allows all students to have access to grade-level content. Highlighted text provides a multi-sensory reading experience that enables readers to easily absorb content.

Our district has a subscription to Learning Ally for students who require access to audiobooks in order to learn and read more effectively. This is an accommodation we have for students with a disability that affects reading and comprehension skills. Many teachers are using audiobooks with their students. Our subscription to Learning Ally allows students to not only access their audiobooks at school, but at home as well. Hopefully many of you are already using Learning Ally with your children at home. If you would like to know more about using Learning Ally at home, please contact your child's teacher.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

IEP season is fast approaching. Although we have IEP meetings throughout the year as needed, we also schedule IEP meetings for all special education students in the spring (mid March through mid June) to prepare for the next school year. As the parent, you are a critical member of the IEP Team. More information will be shared as we get closer to IEP season. In the meantime, you can call an IEP meeting at any time if you feel a change needs to be made to your child's IEP. Simply contact your child's case manager to set up a meeting.

This graphic is helpful in understanding how an IEP is built.

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Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency."

For more information, click on this link.

Activities in the Community

The Upper Township Challenger Sports Program is a nonprofit co-ed recreation program that adapts sports and social events for people with special needs.

The LRC South on the Rowan University Campus is hosting a free family math event (pictured below). To register go to

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Project Child Find

Parents of Hamilton Township who are concerned that their school age child (3 years to 21 years) may have special needs can receive assistance from the local school district's Child Study Team. In addition, the Hamilton Township Schools are organizing a Child Find campaign to locate and provide services for children ages three to five who may have physical, cognitive, language or emotional difficulties. Information also may be obtained on how and where to receive services for children with special needs who are younger than three. Professional guidance, assessment and an educational program are all available free for eligible children. For more information contact the Hamilton Township School District Child Study Team office at 476-6111.

The Project Child Find Fact Sheet

NJDOE Project Child Find Information

Administrative Team for Student Services

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher

Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak

Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington

Child Study Teams


Physical Therapist

Vanessa DeCesari

Occupational Therapist

Ashley Galbiati


Adetokunbo Ajayi

  • Ms. Ajayi is currently on maternity leave. We have consultants assisting us at this time.

Child Study Team Administrative Secretary

Denise Greenberg 609-476-6314

Shaner School

School Psychologist

Kelly Crowder

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant

Jessica Crawford

Speech Therapist

Kelli Pinnix

Child Study Team Secretary

Debbie Fiamingo 609-476-6111

Hess School

School Psychologists

Brynn Sissman

Samantha Wilson

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant

Kelsey Thompson

School Social Workers

Catherine Anema

Ann Bucknam

Speech Therapists

Diana Evans

Karen Fink

Anne Nelson

Caitlin Ponticello

Occupational Therapist

Jessica Goldstein

Child Study Team Secretary

Debbie Fiamingo 609-476-6111

Davies School

School Psychologists

Andrew Disque

Gabriella Spinella

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant

Toni Riccelli

School Social Worker

Revaé Burton

Speech Therapist

Lindsay Combs

Child Study Team Secretary

Jayne Carmen 609-476-6246

Additional Counselors

In addition to the school psychologists and social workers on the Child Study Teams, we have school counselors (formerly known as guidance counselors) and additional social workers.


School Counselor

Lynn Evangelist-

  • 504 Coordinator for both Hess and Davies


School Counselor

Dotsi Schoenstein-

  • 504 Coordinator for Shaner

School Social Workers

Sara Leonelli-

Dymir Tatem-


School Counselors

Laura Hackney-

Dan Bryz-Gornia-

Megan Sherman-


School Counselors

Mike Diorio-

Wendy McKensie-

Marylynn Stecher

I have been an educator for over 30 years. The Hamilton Township School District has been my home since September of 1992 when I was hired as a special education teacher at the Hess School. That was a very exciting time as it was the first year that the Hess School was opened. I was a special education teacher at both the Hess and Shaner Schools for many years. I taught students in pre-k through grade 2. Prior to coming to New Jersey, I taught for four years in Pennsylvania. I taught students ages 3 to 21. In my heart, I am a teacher.

My undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education is from LaSalle University. I received a Masters Degree in Special Education from Temple University. Additionally, I took the classes for my Supervisor's Certificate at Rutgers University. I took the classes for my Learning Disabilities Certificate (LDT-C) at Stockton University. I love being a student.

I have been in my role as Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams since December, 2012. I am also the 504 Compliance Officer. Therefore, if you have a student with special needs, I am involved with your child at some level. Every day I learn more. I am very blessed to have amazing people with whom to work, learn, and collaborate. This role has allowed me to be a teacher, a member of the Child Study Team, a member of the administration, and a liaison with parents, all in an effort to create and expand programs and practices to meet the needs of all learners. I am honored to be a leader and determined to make a positive impact on the lives of our students.

Coming in Future Issues

  • A peek at our Trauma-Informed, Responsive, Mindful Model Classroom
  • Information about our Mental Health Initiative and Educating the Whole Child
  • Preparing for your child's IEP meeting