The Rockwood Reader

January 2022 | Issue 13

Current Events

What To Do This Summer?

Join us Tuesday, January 18th at 6:00 PM to learn about summer recreation programs available to school-age children with developmental disabilities and funding options to assist in paying for those programs.

The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the Recreation Council of Great St. Louis, will be on zoom.

Presenter: Susan Fleming, Executive Director of the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization that serves as a "clearinghouse" for information on leisure, recreation, and socialization opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the Greater St. Louis Area. The Council works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are aware of and have access to activities and programs of their "choice."

To register or request more information about summer programs please contact, the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program at 314.989.8460 or email

SSD Lunch and Learn Series

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

We hope both staff and families are able to join these events!

The John Cary Scholarships

NOTE- NOT DUE UNTIL JANUARY 24, 2022: The John Cary Scholarships are given in honor of John Cary, former Superintendent of Schools for the Special School District. As superintendent, John gave tirelessly of his time to students, staff and parents. A hallmark of John’s leadership was the caring and generous hand he extended to the Special Education Foundation. The John Cary Scholarships will be given to graduating students who receive services from the Special School District of St. Louis County – special education and/or technical education. The selected students will reflect the characteristics most admired by John Cary – resiliency, courage, and determination.

The Special Education Foundation’s John Cary Scholarships are for $5,000 and can be used for tuition only. The scholarship must be used during the upcoming school year.

All applications must be complete for consideration and must include a copy of pages 1 and 2 of Form 1040 from the family’s most recent tax return. Selection is determined by a committee comprised of SEF Board, SSD Board, SSD Superintendent, former superintendents, and Carol Cary.

Apply here for the John Cary Scholarship

We Salute Our Staff and Community Members

Special School District has a long history of celebrating outstanding teachers, paraprofessionals, community members, and other SSD employees who stand out for their tremendous work in helping our students succeed. Each spring, the District honors these individuals with a number of awards.

If you know an SSD employee or a community member deserving of an award, please consider nominating them. The nomination deadline is February 7, 2022.

Click here to learn more.

What's Happening in Rockwood?


On Thursday, Dec. 16, the Rockwood Board of Education approved an update to the Rockwood Safe Together plan for COVID-19 mitigation in our schools and communities. Changes to the plan include:

  • Masks being recommended at all Rockwood buildings beginning Jan. 18, 2022 (the first day of second semester);

  • Allowing healthy students who are deemed close contacts to remain in school;

  • Ending building-wide notifications of a positive case. (Close contacts of a positive case would still receive a notification, and the Health Indicators by school on the website would continue to be updated daily);

Masking on public transportation, which includes buses, will continue per federal requirements.

The plan has a mechanism for buildings to return to a mask requirement for a period of two weeks if the building has a 4 percent or more positivity and/or exclusion rate (number of staff and students home with multiple symptoms).

For several weeks, Dr. Ricker and his leadership team have been consulting with health advisors, legal advisors, other area school leaders and the Board of Education to consider possible adjustments to the Rockwood Safe Together Plan for the second semester. “We have examined this update from every level and carefully considered the impact on our students and staff,” said Dr. Ricker. “The consensus has been that this updated plan is a practical and responsible approach to continue to mitigate the pandemic in our buildings while keeping healthy students and staff in school. Our mitigation strategies over the past year have served us well as we have seen very little transmission in our schools and we are now ready to move forward with the next phase of our plan. By giving adequate notice, this will also give more staff and students an opportunity to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so. Having said that, it is important that we are all willing to pivot quickly if we have a significant uptick in cases at the building level.”

Family and Community Engagement

Mental Health First Aid Training for SSD Families

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and others to help adolescents experiencing mental health and/or addictions challenge or crises. It is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Nationally this course is valued at $170; due to a grant from Missouri's Department of Mental Health and a collaboration with the Ferguson Community Center, you have the opportunity to attend at no cost.

Saturday, March 19th from 9 – 1:30 PM at Ferguson Community Center. 1050 Smith Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135

Space is limited. To register click here. Registration will close on Monday, March 7th, or when all seats are filled.

The Family Resource Hub

The Family Resource Hub located at North Tech High School is a space dedicated to families and our community stakeholders. The resource hub offers families computer and internet access, a satellite food pantry, and support navigating community resources. The space is also dedicated to supporting families by hosting learning labs, community events, and a safe and supportive environment to learn with and from one another.

OPEN HOUSE January 18- January 21, 2022, from 9 – 4 PM

You’re welcome to visit during these times or to set an appointment to meet us there.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email

Information and Resources

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

Parent Leadership Institute

If you are a parent or family member who makes the educational decisions for a child with a disability, investing the time to attend these four Wednesday evening sessions will provide:

Vision for the future of your child.

Knowledge to help you to effectively participate in your child’s education.

Leadership skills to improve the educational climate for all children.

Access to new resources, friends and experts to help you on your journey.

The Institute will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February 16, March 2, 9, and 16, at the SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. The institute is offered at no cost and dinner is provided.

Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute

PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Special School District Parent Advisory Council

The mission of the Special School District (SSD) Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is to effectively collaborate with and advise its stakeholders (including parents/guardians, the SSD Board of Education, Governing Council, SSD administration and staff, and partnering school district administrators and staff) in order to improve the educational, self-efficacy, and social outcomes of each student served by SSD.

Please click here to access the PAC website which contains specific information about meetings, agendas & minutes, as well as parent resources.

Important Dates

No School | Teacher Work Day

Friday, January 14, 2022

No School | Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Holiday

Monday, January 17, 2022

Second Semester Begins

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

No School | Professional Development Day

Friday, February 18, 2022

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

Special School District

January 11th @ 5:45 PM - Work Study Session

January 25th @ 5:45 PM - Business Meeting

February 8th @ 5:45 PM - Work Study Session

More info here

Rockwood School District

January 4th @ 6:00 PM - Special Closed Session

January 11th @ 4:30 PM - Special Closed Session

January 12th @ 8:30 AM - Special Closed Session

January 12th @ 1:00 PM - Special Closed Session

January 20th @ 6:00 PM

January 21st @ Time TBD - Special Closed Session

More info here

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.

Special School District of St. Louis County

Dr. Carmen Harris, Director of Special Education


Mandy Lloyd, Administrative Assistant