SSD Pattonville Dispatch

January 2022

Update from the Pattonville Superintendent

Dear Pattonville families and staff,


As we begin our second half of the school year, we are excited to see students and staff back in our classrooms, even as the COVID-19 pandemic dominates the news and requires continued precautions. Our goals remain to keep our schools open and to protect the health and well-being of our students and staff. Our board-established safety net requiring all schools with positivity rates of 2% or higher to wear masks has been activated at all schools, and we continue to work with the county health department on protocols regarding positive cases. As we move forward, here are a few important things to know:


Positive cases

Pattonville updated its protocols for positive cases to align with new guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and recommendations by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH). Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, are required to stay home for at least five days. After five days, the individual may return to school wearing a mask if the individual has no symptoms or the symptoms are resolving, including being fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, no runny nose and an unproductive cough. The DPH also recommends that individuals get an antigen test on day five if possible to confirm that they are not highly infectious. The individual must wear a mask consistently and correctly for five additional days after leaving at-home isolation. Positive individuals will work with their school nurse on specifics for returning to school.


Keeping schools open

Our focus remains on keeping schools open and students learning. With the current surge of COVID-19 cases in our county and region, keeping individual schools operating will depend on our ability to adequately staff our classrooms and support roles when individuals become sick. Closing a school and transitioning to distance learning will be the last resort. You can help by keeping your children home if they are sick and by helping us find more substitutes to fill in the gap when needed. If you or someone you know is interested in working as a substitute in classroom or support roles, please contact our human resource office at (314) 213-8065 or go online at hrc.psdr3.org.


Prepared for inclement weather

Pattonville schools close only in case of emergency or extremely bad weather. Pattonville may use a virtual learning day or a delayed start on inclement weather days. Any decision to close schools due to weather will be announced using Pattonville's automated messaging system (email, texts and/or phone calls). Announcements will also be made on local television stations, the district website and Pattonville’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. For more details, go online at bit.ly/PattonvilleSafety.


Vaccine interest

Vaccines remain an important tool in keeping individuals healthy, as they are the most effective way to reduce hospitalizations and deaths. In order to gain an understanding of how many Pattonville students have received a COVID-19 vaccine and whether we should host another clinic, we are asking parents to voluntarily update us on their children’s vaccine status. Providing this information is voluntary, but greatly appreciated. To assist us, please complete a short survey in your Parent Portal. Instructions for completing the online form are as follows:

  • Use a web browser to visit the Parent Portal and log in.
  • Select the student you wish to fill along the top.
  • Select the Forms icon on the left side.
  • Click on the form called COVID-19 Vaccine Status.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Click Submit. (Follow these instructions for each student.)
  • If you have any technical issues completing the form, please call our technology help desk at (314) 213-8146.


For more information on COVID-19 resources, including where to get tested or receive a vaccine or to view our COVID-19 dashboard, go online at bit.ly/PSDCOVIDinfohub. We thank you for your ongoing support and assistance as we navigate the challenges and changes related to living, learning and working during this global pandemic.


Sincerely,

Tim Pecoraro, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Big picture

Strategies to manage your student's devices at home

Please visit the Parent University site for information about managing your students device at home. Learn how to block web sites, view their internet activity, and set time limits for Internet use.

Parent University site: Parent University
Filtering Internet: Filter Internet

SSD Student Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

Many opportunities for scholarships and awards are now open for SSD students!


The Special Education Foundation (SEF) sponsors the John Cary Scholarships for high school seniors. Applications are due Jan. 24, 2022.

For more information, please contact Deana Parsons, SSD internal communications coordinator, at dmparsons@ssdmo.org or 314.989.8102.

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 which 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 the more information about summer programs please contact, the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program at 314.989.8460 or email ssdpeda@ssdmo.org

PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

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:

Submit Nominations for Staff, Community Awards

Shine a light on someone whose work brilliantly supports the District’s mission! SSD has awards designed for staff in every work area—Key to the Classroom Awards for classroom teachers; Building Block Awards for paraprofessionals; and Lasting Impressions Awards for operations staff.


The District also sponsors the Special Ambassador Awards for community partners and SSD staff. Nominations will be accepted from SSD and partner district staff and students, as well as community members. The deadline for submission is Feb. 7, 2022, but don’t wait to begin thinking about what you’d like to write about your nominee. Great nominations take a bit of thought! Click here to access the nomination forms.



Learn More or Submit a Nomination

Summer Work Experience Program 2022

Summer Work Experience Program, or SWEP is currently accepting applications until February 7, 2021. Through the program, students hold a summer job in their community and receive job-coaching support. They are paid an hourly wage for their work. SWEP is funded by the Productive Living Board of St. Louis County, and is open to county residents with a qualifying disability. It is conducted through a collaboration of six area agencies - MERS/Goodwill is the Lead Agency.


A few important things to remember about eligibility for the SWEP program:

  • You must be a resident of St. Louis County.

  • You must be between 16 and 20 years of age and planning to return to a school program in the Fall of 2022.

  • You cannot participate in SWEP while participating in the Extended School Year Program.

  • Your teacher needs to submit a Teacher Input form before the program begins. Upon receiving your application, we will contact your teacher about this requirement – you do not need to do anything.


A few important things to remember about the SWEP program:

  • You must be available for the entire 8 weeks of the program. Tentative dates for SWEP 2022 are June 6 to July 29. These dates are subject to change.

  • All SWEP participants will need to present appropriate identification – normally, a social security card and photo ID -- at intake. These documents are used to complete the I-9 form and prove identity and eligibility to work in the US.

  • You must have your own transportation to participate in the program. Transportation options to consider: getting rides from family members and friends, using the METRO bus system, using Call-A-Ride, driving yourself, riding a bike, using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.

  • Students who participate in the SWEP program will earn the minimum wage of $11.15 an hour.

  • Not everyone who applies to the SWEP program will be able to participate this summer. Students who are eligible and send in completed applications by the deadline will be selected in age-order, with older students taking priority.

  • Students who are selected to participate will be informed via mail that they have been selected. This letter will arrive by mid-March. Students who are not eligible or who are on the wait list will not be contacted.


A few important things to remember about the SWEP 2022 application:

  • Applications received on or by February 7 will be given first priority. All applications received by February 7 will be treated equally. All candidates turning in applications after this date will be put on a waiting list.

  • Please print neatly so that all of the information on your application is legible.

  • Please fill out the application completely and accurately (including the release forms). Any information that is missing or incorrect, including your Social Security number, could delay or prevent the processing of your application.

  • You must sign and return the Participant Application (page 2) and both Authorizations for the Release of Protected Information (pages 3 & 4). These authorizations give the SWEP Lead Agency, MERS/Goodwill, permission to request documentation of your disability from the St. Louis Regional Office, and the Special School District. This is necessary to prove your eligibility for the program. Parent/guardian must sign application and releases if student has not reached the age of 18.

SSD Parent Advisory Council

The SSD Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is comprised of families advising and collaborating to improve the education, confidence and social outcomes of each student served by SSD. The PAC consists of five parents or guardians – one member and four alternates – from each of the 22 St. Louis County school districts and from each of the five SSD special education schools. The parents or guardians of students receiving special education services in that district or school elect SSD PAC members.


Get Involved with the SSD PAC:

  • Network and communicate with other parents of children who receive special education services

  • Become as informed as possible about special education services

  • Improve communication between your local school district and SSD

  • Create a positive understanding and awareness of students with disabilities

  • Establish a network of advocacy for local, state and national disability issues


Complete this online form to learn more about getting involved with the SSD Parent Advisory Council.


Meeting Dates

The SSD Parent Advisory Council has scheduled the following meetings for the 2021-2022 school year. All meetings are held virtually via Zoom, from 7-9 PM. Additional information about meetings, including agendas, can be found on the PAC's website.

  • Jan. 12, 2022
  • Feb. 9, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • May 11, 2022 (this meeting will be held virtually and in-person)


Please contact the Superintendent's Office at 314.989.8419 or 314.989.8281 by noon on the Wednesday before the meeting and an American Sign Language interpreter will be provided.

For more information about the SSD PAC or who represents your district, e-mail pac@ssdmo.org.

SSD Parent Leadership Institute – Spring 2022

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 February16, 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

SSD Spotlight

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 crisis. 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 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 FamilyEngagement@ssdmo.org

Upcoming Dates

January 14

No School for staff development day


January 17

No School for Martin Luther King Day holiday



Pattonville District January Calendar

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.

Pattonville School District

Dee Byrnes, SSD Director of Special Education

Latoria Cain, Director of Student Services

Deidre Smalls, Special Education Coordinator - Bridgeway, Parkwood, Rose Acres

Carla Addoh, Special Education Coordinator - Remington, Willow Brook, Robert Drummond

Dee Byrnes, Special Education Coordinator - Holman Middle

Leigh Ann Richelman, Special Education Coordinator - Pattonville Heights & Pattonville High