Together We Can

September 13, 2021

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And the school year has started....

It was so exciting to see all of the students and staff returning back to school. Although the weather was not cooperating, students were energized to be back in the building to see their friends and teachers. Take a look at the pictures below of some of the back to school and first day activities taking place around Greenwich.

In each Smore newsletter, I would like to showcase some of our District staff that you may or may not have had an opportunity to meet. This newsletter, I'd like to introduce the District Behavior Team. The Behavior Team works both on prosocial behavior, as well as works with students who are having difficulty in school. The team members work directly with students, staff and families to support the needs of our students.

Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Dr. Alina Agiurgioaei Boie

Dr. Alina is a bilingual school psychologist working on the Behavior Support Team. For the past nine years, Dr. Alina has been supporting schools with the implementation of Social Emotional Learning initiatives (i.e. District Norms Events, Mindfulness, Bullying Prevention, etc.) and the development of student behavior intervention plans. Dr. Alina has conducted numerous parent and teacher workshops on issues related to mental health, parenting, resilience and stress management.

Shantal Jackson

Shantal is a special education teacher and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She has worked for the Greenwich Public Schools for 12 years, four years as a special education teacher at Hamilton Avenue Schools and eight years as a Behavior Coach. Currently, She provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) support to school teams ranging from preschool to secondary for students with significant needs across various disabilities.

Dr. Fabian Agiurgioaei Boie

Dr. Fabian is a school psychologist and BCBA and a member of the Behavior Support Team. He has been working for GPS for nine years in several capacities. Dr. Fabian consults and assists school teams with implementing behavior plans for students, he also provides training and coaching around implementing PBIS and SEL programs and regularly delivers mental-health themed workshops and webinars for parents across the district.

Lisa Berluti

Lisa is a certified Special Education teacher and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She worked as a special education teacher for 11 years before moving into the role of a Special Education Coach and member of the Behavior Support Team for the last 6 years. She provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) support to school teams ranging from elementary to secondary age students, with significant needs, for a range of disabilities.

Back to School Activities

Reading Out Loud at Old Greenwich

Old Greenwich School students and parents participated in what is now a tradition on orientation day in which new students and their families are invited to gather on the plaza where they read aloud their favorite children’s books. Dr. Heiligenthaler made an appearance and read Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London.

You can access an article about the event covered by the Greenwich Free Press.

Preschool Across the District

Preschool is off to a great beginning. Students had both in person and virtual welcome video visits on August 31 at each site. Although students, and even some parents, were a little nervous about the first day day of school, students and staff alike have been so happy to meet new friends, play with new toys and sing new songs. A few good dance parties broke out with the excitement.

Welcome Back Windrose

Welcome back Windrose to the first day of school! Mr. Chew discusses Windrose norms and expectations for the school year in math class
Mr. Chew teaches at Windrose.

Reading Work at North Mianus' Stamford Campus

Ms. Megan Collins, a special educator from North Mianus' Stamford Campus, is working with her students on character descriptions. Students are learning to cite evidence from the text that supports their thoughts and opinions about the characters they have read about.
Ms. Collins is a special educator at North Mianus.


Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)

The purpose of the Greenwich Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) is to build full, equal and equitable partnerships between families, GPS and community partners, on a council that gives advisory opinions to the Board of Education on matters pertaining to the education and safety of students with disabilities.

General membership is open to any interested GPS parent or guardian of a child with a disability, previously known to have a disability, or suspected of having a disability, under the IDEA or Section 504, or who is currently eligible to receive Special Education or 504 accommodations and services, from ages 3-22, and who are both residents of the Town of Greenwich.

If you would like to be part of the Greenwich SEAC's general membership, please complete this short form to add your email to the distribution list. The first meeting of the 2021-22 school year is Tuesday September 14, 2021. The meeting will be held virtually; please see the attached link.

PCG Report

Dr. Heiligenthaler provided an update on the progress on the PCG report to the Board of Education on September 9, 2021. She shared that The Office of Special Education and Student Supports is making great progress in implementing the recommendations from PCG. Some of the accomplishments include English and Math co-teaching classes at Greenwich High, convening of MTSS committee, guidance on initial evaluation process, and professional development in the areas of UDL and co-teaching.

You can access the PowerPoint presentation to see all of the details.

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The Disruptors - Greenwich International Film Festival

ADHD is one of the most common neurological condition in children - affecting millions of kids, adults, and families - and the most widely misunderstood. This is the first feature length documentary film to comprehensively shed light on this brain type and reframe what we understand about ADHD - in particular, the very real and impressive strengths associated with the ADHD brain.
The Disruptors showcases:
  1. Five compelling stories of families currently in the struggle of dealing with ADHD: four children and one adult female
  2. The world's experts on ADHD (Ned Hallowell, Russell Barkley, Yamalis Diaz, Dale Archer, and others)
  3. A small army of public personalities testifying to the difficulties of having ADHD - particularly as children - as well as some of the "superskills" associated with the ADHD brain and how they were able to leverage them to achieve incredible success. These include Hall of Fame Astronaut Scott Kelly,, Paris Hilton, Steve Madden, Howie Mandel, Terry Bradshaw, jetblue founder David Neeleman, Fitness Guru Jillian Michaels, Olympian Michelle Carter, and many others

The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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