Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

April 20, 2020 Volume 2 Issue 8

If you are accessing this newsletter via the Parent Portal, please type this link into your browser so you can access the links in the newsletter- Or you can find the link on Facebook or Twitter @HTDSspecialed.

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Autism Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

School Closures and Special Education

The governor has extended our school closures to at least May 15.

Please know that our special education staff is working hard from home to ensure that we continue to provide excellent services for our students! We are following the guidance of the US Department of Education and the NJ Department of Education as we implement distance learning.

  • Teachers, therapists and/or case managers should be reaching out to you regularly. Please communicate with them as to how your child and your family are doing at this time. We would like to tailor our services to the needs of your child and your family as best we can.
  • The teachers are providing distance learning based on the students' IEPs. Please go to the teachers' websites at and have your child participate in the instruction and activities.
  • The therapists have reached out to the families of students who receive therapy (i.e. speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling) in order to collaborate with you as to how to best provide therapies to individual students.
  • IEP meetings (annual reviews) are happening remotely. If you have not yet participated in your child's annual review, the case manager will soon be in touch with you to set that up.
  • At this time there are some portions of the evaluation process that we are not able to complete. For instance, we are currently unable to complete learning or psychological assessments remotely. We will continue or start evaluations as soon as possible upon the reopening of our schools.

Mental Health and So Much More!

Please check out the Mental Health webpage on our Hamilton Township School District website. There are a ton of great resources. I have included a button below to take you directly there if you are accessing this newsletter via Facebook or Twitter. If you are accessing this newsletter via a PDF copy on the parent portal, please go to our Facebook or Twitter page @HTSDspecialed so you have access to all the links contained in the newsletter.


Free Online: Mindfulness Class for Kids!

Check it out. You can sign up or just do the classes that are recorded. The videos are about 15-30 minutes long. Schedule mindfulness time in as part of your kids' day. It is always helpful, but should be even more helpful now. It helps with focus and anxiety reduction in addition to having many other benefits.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is so important for children and now it is more important than ever! The teachers are sharing SEL activities along with the academic instruction.

Check out The Imagine Neighborhood podcast- Also, see the posters below to see some of the skills your children have learned in school. These strategies will be helpful at home too!

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Doing School at Home

from the Love and Logic Institute:

Now that schools have closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, how can parents best help their children learn and complete work while avoiding counterproductive power struggles?

Much of the answer involves sharing control within the boundaries of firm yet loving limits. It’s an old concept made even more relevant by the current situation. Most of us feel that our lives have been turned upside down. We’re experiencing little or no control over so many things.

Do we all yearn for control? What happens when we feel like we’ve lost it?

Obviously our kids are also experiencing many difficult feelings, including a sense of losing much of their freedom. That’s why small choices around schoolwork represent one of the most powerful ways of minimizing the chaos during these already difficult times. Listed below are some examples. Please remember that the choices you provide will depend on your unique situation and value system.

Will you be starting your schoolwork now or in five minutes?

What do you want to start with? Math or reading?

Do you want to make a goal of working for 30 minutes before your break, or would 25 minutes be better?

Will you be doing your work while sitting or standing?

Do you think it would be best to draft something on pencil or paper… or begin your work directly on the computer?

Would you like my help or would you prefer working alone?

Do you want to learn in the kitchen or in the family room?

Will you be working while keeping your body still, or would you rather see how much you can wiggle while still getting it done?

Should we start with the hardest part first or the easiest?

Would you rather help me with chores or get started on your schoolwork?

The key to success with this technique involves remembering three things:

1. Give most of your choices before your child becomes resistant… not after.

2. With each choice provide two options, each of which you like.

3. Be prepared to choose for your child if they don’t select an option you provided.

While these ideas can’t solve all of the parenting challenges we face right now, they’ll increase the odds of getting through each day with fewer power struggles.

Thanks for reading. Thanks also for all of your support during these challenging times!

Dr. Charles Fay


Tools for Families: Partners in Supporting Our Children
Brought to you by FEA and NJPTA

Are you struggling with the new normal of life? Today, we are faced with juggling many new responsibilities that we never envisioned. How are you taking care of yourself? Join us in this webinar series designed specifically for families to explore strategies, resources, and supports to strengthen families as they navigate life today.

SESSION 1: Mental Health and Social and Emotional Well-Being: Addressing the Needs of Parents and Children Webinar (see below)

  • There is a lot of good info in this webinar. My suggestion is to listen as opposed to watching as the slides and speakers are out of sync.
  • Fun fact: Dr. George Scott, one of the speakers in this webinar, came to speak to both our staff and our families a few years ago:)

SESSION 2: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities
April 23, 2020; 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

SESSION 3: Using Social Media Responsibly to Engage your Kids
April 28, 2020; 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Mental Health and Social and Emotional Well Being Addressing the Needs of Parents and Children

Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

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).

Our next meeting date was scheduled for May, 2020. More info to follow as we learn more about the length of our district closure.

Please contact Marylynn Stecher- if you would like to serve as a member of this group and you will be added to the email group to get reminders of meetings.

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Prevent Child Sexual Abuse: Have the Hot Chocolate Talk
How to Talk with Kids About Sexual Abuse
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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.

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

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Administrative Team

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher

Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak

Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington

Notice of Nondiscrimination

The Hamilton Township School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, ancestry, disability, age, or social or economic status in its programs and activities.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Marylynn Stecher

Affirmative Action Officer



For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.