SSD/Maplewood Richmond Heights

September 2021

Thank you!

Dear MRH Families,

Thank you for your support and collaboration in getting the 2021-2022 school year off to a great start. It's been great to see students excited to be back.

The special education staff have been working diligently to reconnect with students and to make them feel welcome and safe at school. These positive relationships are the foundation on which students' academic and social/emotional learning will occur throughout the year.

If you weren't able to join the SSD Back to School webinar on August 23 you can access the recording:

Passcode: 1dNx&UtB

As always, if you'd like to discuss your child's special education services please contact your child's Case Manager. Additionally, I welcome your calls and emails.

In partnership,

Ben Gleason

Lead Special Education Coordinator


September 14- Early Release day

September 24- Professional Development Day/No School

October 5- Early Release day

MRH Parent Advisory Council

The MRH Parent Advisory Council had its first meeting last spring. This group offers an opportunity to connect with other parents of students with disabilities and to learn about topics of interest. The group is actively planning for this school year. Please contact MRH parent Mrs. Kim Gifford if you are interested in participating.

Virtual Lunch and Learn

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA), and Communications Department 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 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:

· The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County (CAASTL) – Oct. 6

· Operation Food Search – Nov. 3

· Behavioral Health Response – Dec. 1

· 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

Each event is held virtually through YouTube Live and will remain on our channel for future viewing.

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness

The Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) Program invites families and community members to visit our Family and Community Resource Center at the Learning Center in Hazelwood. The program is excited to offer a diverse collection of materials, including many new books that are ready to be shared.
  • Please contact PEDA to visit and/or request a resource at or 314.989.8460.

The Parent Education & Diversity Awareness program also provides a variety of workshops throughout the year for families, staff, and community members. The workshops that have been scheduled can be found on our website at Be sure to check back periodically, as we will continue to add new workshops to the calendar.

PEDA will be hosting the Parent Leadership Institute (PLI) this Fall. 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. The three sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, Sept. 29, and Oct. 6, 2021, at SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. To learn more about this program and/or apply to be part of it, please visit this link: Parent Leadership Institute | Fall 2021.

PEDA is also happy to announce that there will be a second Parent Leadership Institute in the Spring of 2022. We will be announcing dates in the very near future. Please check in with us if you have any questions!

Wellness Corner

Often times the start of a new school year can bring an increased feeling of anxiety for families and students. It’s normal for families to have a tough time transitioning themselves when their kids begin kindergarten, move on to the next grade, or transition to a new school. For many families, they are experiencing the loss of some control. It is important for families to remember they can’t control experiences and stress for their kids. Instead, families should be focused on helping their kids understand how they feel, talk it through, and learn how to cope with whatever’s going on. There are a number of ways that families and children can manage the stress that can come with the start of a new school year:

· Differentiate stress from stressors. Stressors are what activates the stress response in your body. Stressors can be anything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine could do you harm. Stress is the neurological and physiological shift that happens in your body when you encounter one of these threats. The stress response = fight / flight / freeze.

· Just because you’ve dealt with the stressor doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with the stress itself.

· The key is to “complete the stress cycle” - i.e. to remove stress from the body in ways that work for YOU. Below are 7 evidence-based strategies for completing the stress cycle

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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.