EDS: Educational Differences Support

OGS EDS Parent Coffee SAVE the DATE!

Friday, Sep. 28th 2018 at 9am

285 Sound Beach Avenue

Greenwich, CT

As in past years, we will be hosting a number of Parent Coffees. 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.

OGS EDS Parent Representative: emilyhasen@gmail.com and cell is 980-297-2477

Welcome Back Letter

Dear Parents and Families,

Welcome back! It is my great pleasure to be a member of the Old Greenwich Team and both principal, Jennifer Bencivengo, 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.


We have a talented and caring team of professionals in the Pupil Personnel Services/Special Education department, which consists of our special education teachers: Jeanie Edwards, Denise Lotko, Lian Lam & Sarah Romaine; speech and language therapist, Jennifer Jaques; and our psychologist, Brenda Generazio. In addition, we welcome Colleen Yenke who will provide occupational therapy; and Chris Kish as our physical therapist. Our school is also supported by our school nurse Judith Finneran.

We are also very lucky to have a dedicated team of professional assistants who will be working in our classrooms supporting the students. They are assigned either to a specific grade, student or teacher for most of the day. For 2018-2019, our professional assistants are: Ryanne Brockley and Ryan Mayo.

By now, you should have been contacted by your child’s instructional monitor via a phone call to start the school year. By Friday, September 14th you will receive a finalized schedule of your child’s day. This date allows your child’s monitors to work out any unforeseen issues with the schedule over our new 5-day cycle. If you would like a draft schedule for these first two weeks, please contact your child’s monitor.

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 Emily Hasen. 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 mendelsohne@gmail.com

Audra O'Donovan Audracmd@aol.com

IEP Annual Review Meetings

Again, this year, we are attempting to lessen the impact of PPT/IEP meetings on the instructional day wherever possible. We will schedule Annual Review meetings for Tuesday’s at a time that is convenient for you. 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 the meeting approximately 10 days prior to the meeting but we are asking all families to make arrangements in advance to attend the scheduled meeting.

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 a 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 website (www.greenwichschools.org) 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 Caitlin Keane or Jennifer Bencivengo. 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, Carrie Borcherding. The next level of problem resolution would either be Mary Forde, Chief, PPS 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) 637-0150.

Procedural Safeguards

Copies of the Procedural Safeguards in both English and Spanish can be found on the district’s website, http://www.greenwichschools.org. 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 – Joan_pritchard@greenwich.k12.ct.us)

We hope you had a chance to relax and reconnect this summer. Everyone at Old Greenwich 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.


Katy Keane, Assistant Principal

Old Greenwich School

EDS Parent Representative's Welcome Back Letter


OGS PTA Educational Differences Support — EDS

Dear Old Greenwich School EDS Families,

Welcome to the 2018/19 school year!

First and foremost, in case you are new to the Greenwich Public School system or just haven't familiarized with EDS, it stands for Educational Differences Support. (But you should also know that it is synonymous with SES or Special Education Support and the name change took place two years ago so it's still referred to as both.) Every public school in town has one or two reps and we are here to make sure you:

  • Know all that you need to know with regard to your child's services

  • Have all of the support as a parent that you want or need

  • Are informed about upcoming lectures and available services for your child (inside and outside of school)

  • Know who we (your OGS reps) are in the event you have a question, concern, or any parents you would like to refer to us

We should first let you know that all of the correspondence that you receive from us will come directly from our Assistant Principal Katy Keane. You will be ANONYMOUS to us unless you choose to communicate with us directly (or sign something with Katy to directly communicate with us). While we embrace what we believe are simply “learning differences” that our children (and really ALL children) share, we understand that being open and public about it is a personal choice. Emily has a second grader this school year and Marcia a third grader, and we believe that networking, sharing stories, sharing resources, and openly showing support to each other and other Special Ed parents has been very beneficial for us, but clearly, that is for you to decide.

Either way, you will have our support and we will do our best to share everything we learn and receive access to as the year progresses including information from the monthly EDS meetings (including notices about local lectures). Lectures occur in and out of the district and we will share those with parents as the topics vary and are all relevant and fantastic for schooling a child with special needs and challenges. Finally, below is a list of the entire Special Education staff at OGS and their contact information (as well as ours). Please use it as your “go to” reference page.

We look forward to seeing you at the welcome coffee on 9/28. We would love for all of you to come so that we can meet and get to know one another!

See you soon!

Emily Hasen


Marcia Davis