Together We Can
February 5, 2024
Happy February! Students and staff are busy getting in all their learning in before Winter Recess next week. I hope that you all get a chance to enjoy some quality family times with those you are closest to.
However, before we head to break, this Thursday, I will be presenting a Special Education update to the Board of Education. Although there is no public comment, you are welcome to watch virtually on Zoom or attend in person. As always, the meeting will be archived on the district’s YouTube page the next day, so rather than staying up late, you can watch, or rewatch, at a more convenient time.
Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.
Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports
What We Are Seeing 👀 Around the Schools
MAPS Experience at Parkway
Mr. Lovermi facilitated a MAPS (Making Action Plans) experience for one of Parkway School's fifth grade students. MAPS is a planning tool that is used to identify action steps to actualize the child's future dreams and visions. Within this MAPS experience, various members from both Parkway School and the student's soon to be middle school (Western Middle School) came together with the child's family and friends to celebrate the child's current successes and to craft meaningful goals for the years to come in both school and in life.
Workshops and Resources
Screenagers: Under the Influence
Join Greenwich Together on February 8 at 7pm for a virtual discussion panel following the viewing of "Screenagers" newest film. Exploring the latest research and learning more about the personal experiences of teens and families, the film highlights the changing landscape of the substances themselves, offering solutions for how we can best empower teens as they face decisions about what they will and will not be influenced by. Register online now.
Special Education Bridging Information Sessions
If your child is transitioning, or "bridging," from PreK to kindergarten, elementary to middle schools, or middle to high school and has a 504 or IEP, please join the SESS department's virtual information session to learn more about the bridging process.
Tuesday February 27 at 6:00 PM
Elementary to Middle School
Monday March 4 at 6:30 PM
Middle to High School
Wednesday March 6 at 6:30 PM
GPS Listening Community
Do you have a child with an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or a 504? Do you want to feel supported by other parents? Do you want to connect with other parents? Do you want to feel heard? The Greenwich Public School Listening Community may be the place for you.
Please join our Winter 2024 Listening Community.
Meetings will be held at:
Greenwich Town Hall
101 Field Point Road
Greenwich, CT 06830
Wednesday mornings 9:30AM- 10:30AM
2/7/24, Town Hall Meeting Room
2/21/24, Cone Room
2/28/24, Cone Room
We encourage you to read the last issue of the newsletter for dates, times, and locations.
by Rachel Rubin
In past Inclusion Corners, I have written about neurodiversity, or the diversity of human brains (my brain works differently than yours). Our classrooms, schools, and community are neurodiverse places. A person is considered neurodivergent when their brain works differently than what is considered “typical.” Neurodiversity is a fact, so how do we create environments that support our neurodivergent community members? The answer is we create neuro-affirming environments.
Our partners at PINE define “neuro-affirming" as “practices [that] anticipate, uplift, and celebrate all kinds of brains and mind-bodies as a positive part of humanity, in community, not just as individuals. Neuro-affirming practices reject deficit-based thinking for a strengths-based approach and assume competence.”
To create a neuro-affirming environment, social engagement should be understood in various ways, avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important that teachers, parents, and caregivers emphasize understanding, support, and appreciation for differences, encouraging neurotypical children to recognize and respect diverse social styles.
One place you can start is the area of communication and building the understanding that there are many different ways to communicate: some people speak, some use AAC divides (aka “talkers”), some sign.
Check out the infographic below! How will you start to build a neuro-affirming environment?
The Office of Special Education and Student Supports
Location: 290 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT
Phone: (203) 625-7493