From the Desk of Mrs. Brush

JC's Assistant Principal

Welcome Back!

Welcome back! It is my great pleasure to be a member of the Julian Curtiss Team and both principal Trish McGuire and I are looking forward to a successful and productive year. I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some information that may be helpful to you this year.

2018-2019 Staffing

Special Education Teachers

  • Meredith Gillam
  • Anthony Oddo
  • Caroline Perez

School Psychologists

  • Kate Napoletano
  • Monica Rothstein

Speech/Language Pathologist

  • Yaneli Avila

Occupational Therapist

  • Melissa Danko

Physical Therapist

  • Laurie Swan

Professional Assistants

  • Eileen Brehm
  • Mahalia Ferguson
  • Darlene Gerald
  • Ceil Pelazza
  • Barbara Re
  • Kevin Sturzinger
  • Stacey Turpin

EDS – Educational Differences Subcommittee of the PTA

This subcommittee of the PTA focuses on the needs, issues and concerns of the families of students with disabilities. The representative from our school for the EDS committee is Kate Collins ( Together we will be planning and hosting several important and exciting events throughout the year. The central office will send out notices and reminders using the email address you provided when you registered. If this is not the best email to use, please call the school office and give the staff your preferred email for school/district communication.

For the 2018-2019 school year, the co-chairs of the EDS subcommittee of the PTA are:

Elizabeth Ann DeHaven (

Audra O'Donovan (

IEP Annual Review Meetings

Again, this year, we are attempting to lessen the impact of PPT/IEP meetings on the instructional day wherever possible. As in the past, we have scheduled all of our PPT meetings on Thursdays this year. Your child's team will let you know when your child's annual review is due. By scheduling meetings in advance, we are decreasing the time that staff will be pulled from classrooms and services. You will receive a reminder of your child's meeting date approximately 10 days prior to the meeting, but we are asking all families to make arrangements in advance to ensure that you are able attend the scheduled meeting. If you know now that the tentative date will not work for you, or need to have your meeting at a specific time of day due to work commitments, please call the office now so we can take that into account when scheduling. Please call Car Westbrook at (203) 869-1896. While we understand that there may be a need for an IEP meeting in addition to the Annual Review, our goal is to keep to the schedule as closely as possible to decrease the impact on instruction.

General Communication

Open communication between families and school staff is critical to the success of all children, but particularly crucial for students with disabilities. We continue to work with our parents to promote communication strategies that are effective but result in minimal impact on teachers’ instructional time with students. We ask you to use the following communication strategies in your contact with your child’s teachers. Please remember that the communication books and emails are considered educational records and may be shared with other school staff for legitimate educational reasons.

Routine information

The most effective way to communicate routine information with teachers is by email (for example, a sweater that was left in school, a note in a backpack). All such emails will be addressed promptly, typically within one school day. In some cases, additional time may be needed and if so, your child’s teacher will let you know if this is the case. In response to some communications, the staff will offer to speak with you directly about your concern or question. Email is NOT the best way to communicate serious questions or concerns about your child or your child’s program.

Questions or Concerns about IEPs/Services/Instruction

Questions about your child’s IEP, including accommodations, services, etc., are best addressed directly with your child’s teacher and/or special education monitor. As a school district, we value personal connections and communication with students and families. For this reason, we encourage parents and teachers to communicate in person or by telephone regarding questions or concerns about IEPs, services instruction, etc. In some cases, the monitor may need to follow up by email with parents or other members of the school team. In some cases, the monitor may need to schedule an IEP meeting to discuss any changes to your child’s program - no decisions can or will be made about the IEP outside of a IEP/PPT meeting unless the school has your written permission to do so.

Bus Concerns

Any issues with the bus should be reported to the district transportation office through the use of their on-line system. Go to the district web site ( and under the “Quicklinks” section on the left hand side of the home page, click on the heading, “Report Bus Issues.”

General Issues and Concerns

Please follow the process of “chain of command” when dealing with issues and concerns. Your first contact should be the general or special education teacher, depending on the nature of the concern. If you are unable to reach resolution through your contact with the teacher, you should contact me. If you are still not satisfied with the solutions/response at the school level, you may contact the Special Education Administrator for our cluster of schools, Karen Vitti. The next level of problem resolution would either be Mary Forde, Chief Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Officer, or Ann Carabillo, Deputy Superintendent. Please follow this hierarchy in attempting to resolve any concerns or issues you may have with your child’s program. This will allow the staff who are closest to the problem the opportunity to solve the problem before involving administrators outside the building.


In cases of emergency, please call the main office number: (203) 869-1896.

Procedural Safeguards

Copies of the Procedural Safeguards in both English and Spanish can be found on the district’s website, Also included, in English and Spanish, are the Safeguards regarding Restraint and Seclusion and the Transition Rights. If you would like to obtain a paper copy of any of the Procedural Safeguard documents, please contact me at the school or you can contact the district Office of Pupil Personnel Services and make your request (telephone – Joan Pritchard, 203-625-7493, fax 203-625-7490, email –

Parent Education and Communication Opportunities

As in past years, we will be hosting an introductory Parent Coffee. This is an opportunity to meet the staff and other parents and provides time to discuss issues that are important to your children in our school. You will receive an invitation in the next few weeks.

You will also receive periodic newsletter updates from me, as well as from our PPS staff, throughout the year with resources, local events of interest, and other pertinent information. Please let me know if there are any specific topics of interest during the year.

We hope you had a chance to relax and reconnect this summer. Everyone at Julian Curtiss School is looking forward to a wonderful 2018-2019 school year full of success and inspiration! Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns.

Mrs. Brenda Brush - Assistant Principal

Julian Curtiss Magnet School of World Languages

60 Countries, 30 Languages, One Great School!