SSD/Maplewood Richmond Heights

October 2021

Six Weeks and Counting

Dear MRH Families,

It's hard to believe we've been in school six weeks already! Students and staff have reconnected. Students have learned routines and expectations and they are actively engaged in lessons. Whether it's a young child working to learn the letters of his/her name or a high schooler writing a well researched essay, it's an honor to witness their learning and growth. Each day our teachers, related service providers, and paraprofessionals put their heart and soul into ensuring each child feels valued and is learning and growing. All MRH staff are committed to meeting the learning needs of each student. We welcome your support and collaboration as, together, we help students realize their full potential in life and learning.


Ben Gleason

Lead Special Education Coordinator


October 21- End of 1st Quarter

October 22- Professional Development Day/No School

November 8 & 10- ECC and ELEM parent/teacher conferences

November 9 & 11- MS and HS parent/teacher conferences

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:

· 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

PEDA has several workshops scheduled for October. These include:

WORKSHOP: Planning for the Future - Augmentative Communication Funding

Oct. 14, 2021

Starts at 12:30 PM


Augmentative Communication facilitators from Special School District will discuss ways that families and students can pursue funding for augmentative communication devices. An additional discussion will include what the process is for families to purchase dedicated communication systems for their student when considering transition and post-secondary outcomes.

WORKSHOP: Why is my Child Misbehaving? (This is a workshop for families who have early childhood aged children)

Oct. 20, 2021

Starts at 12:30 PM


This training will focus on early childhood specific positive parenting strategies to manage challenging behavior. Parents will leave with hands-on strategies that can be implemented in the home setting.

Along with workshops, PEDA also has a Family and Community Resource Center at the Hazelwood Learning Center that has books and resources available for check out. Families and community members are welcome to visit the center and/or contact PEDA with inquiries. In the Spring of 2022, PEDA will be hosting another Parent Leadership Institute and will begin taking applications soon. Please contact us at 314.989.8460 or if you have any questions and visit our website at

Wellness Corner

There has been much guidance and resources around supporting students through COVID-19. We have noticed students have shown a tremendous amount of resilience in their ability to adapt to changes in the school setting and daily practices to ensure safety. Routines have supported our students in their transitions into the school year. Below are examples of some of the strategies that students benefit from in order to cope in times of adversity. Challenge yourself to explore these strategies and try them out. Remember, progress is slow, and even if you practice 1 minute a day, this is still progress! According to Medium small increments get BIG results.

1. Evaluate and identify your core values:

Core values are the personal standards that guide our choices. Ask yourself what is most important? Then start making choices that align with these core values to live a life full of meaning and purpose. Indeed will walk you through the “6 Steps to Discover Your Core Values.”

2. Set daily Intentions:

Intentions, a commitment to yourself, can help increase productivity and maintain a positive outlook despite daily adversities. We cannot stop the waves but we can learn to surf! So set an intention to be more aware, listen more, or be open to changes that occur in your day. This helps set you up to be more resilient throughout your day. You can learn more about how to set daily intentions at

3. Mindfulness:

Wherever you are in your life, mindfulness can meet you there. Mindfulness, according to, is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Do you ever feel like you are on auto-pilot? Do you arrive at your destination only to realize that you can’t recall your drive, only your arrival? Mindfulness is evidenced-based and can decrease stress/ anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, symptoms of ADHD, and emotional regulation. Begin using mindfulness during daily routines to practice. Check out the mindful website for ways you can practice daily mindfulness.

Give one of these a try.

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.