Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

April 2, 2020 Volume 2 Issue 7

Big picture

April

Autism Awareness Month

2- World Autism Day

Occupational Therapy Month

Paraprofessional Appreciation Day- Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Assistant Principals Week 4/6-4/10

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Big picture

School Closures and Special Education

Please know that our special education staff is working hard from home to ensure that we continue to provide excellent services for our students! We are following the guidance of the US Department of Education and the NJ Department of Education as we implement distance learning.

A few important notes:


  • The teachers have implemented distance learning. Please have your child participate in the lessons/activities assigned by the teacher each day. These can be accessed via the teachers' webpages.
  • If you are in need of technology, requests should be made by calling 609-476-6137 and leaving a message with all pertinent identifying information or by filling out the Student Technology Request Form which can be found on the homepage @ hamiltonschools.org.
  • We continue to hold as many of our IEP/Annual Review meetings as possible. These are being held mainly via phone conference. The meetings to date have been going quite well. If you have not yet had an annual review for your child, the case manager will reach out to you to schedule the meeting and you will receive a meeting notice via email.
  • You can reach the teachers, therapists, and case managers via email or their office phone numbers. They are able to access their voicemail remotely.
  • Therapies will be starting in the next few days. You should have a letter regarding related services in your parent portal. Additionally, the therapists will be reaching out to you to determine how to best provide services to your child.
  • Progress reports for the second marking period have been posted to the Genesis Parent Portal. This is new for our department, so please let us know if you have any difficulty accessing your child's progress report.

Mental Health and So Much More!

Please check out the new Mental Health webpage on our Hamilton Township School District website. There are a ton of great resources. I have included a button below to take you directly there if you are accessing this newsletter via Facebook or Twitter. If you are accessing this newsletter via a PDF copy on the parent portal, please go to our Facebook or Twitter page @HTSDspecialed so you have access to all the links contained in the newsletter.

Mindfulness

Free Online: Mindfulness Class for Kids!

Check it out. You can sign up or just do the classes that are recorded. The videos are about 15-30 minutes long. Schedule mindfulness time in as part of your kids' day. It is always helpful, but should be even more helpful now. It helps with focus and anxiety reduction in addition to having many other benefits.

Kids at Home All Day Long

from the Love and Logic Institute:

With the kids home all day, now might be a good time to take a tip from the best teachers.

I have been working with teachers for over 65 years. I've learned from them, I've supervised them, I've observed them as a consultant, and I've noticed that they all have one thing in common.

What is that? It's routines.

The best run classrooms depend on routines. These teachers start the year establishing routines that include how we greet each other in the morning, where we put our stuff, how we move from one place to the other, how we take out our books and materials, how we put them away and clean up, how we line up, how we ask questions, etc. They lock these routines in with practice.

These teachers know that the more routines the class has, the fewer discipline problems they will have to deal with. Kids feel safer, calmer and are more focused, and as a result there is more time spent on learning and less time spent dealing with problems.

Do yourself a favor during these trying times. Establish and maintain routines for the home. Set time schedules regarding getting up, dressing, eating, learning time, snack time, TV and screen time, chores, fun, play, and exercise. And, of course, bedtime. Be sure to include age-appropriate breaks from online learning and plenty of family relaxing. These are tough times.

You'll be surprised. Your kids can handle this. They will thrive on it. Many parents discover that they tend to expect much less of kids than what they can really handle. But, expect that they may rebel for a short time. That will go away if you consistently hold them to the routines and schedules.

It's important to remember that this works best when we involve the kids in setting these schedules. Sit with them, plan it out, and negotiate this together.

This usually fails and households become war zones when the parents simply announce, "There are going to be some new rules around here." I know it's tempting, but don't fall into that trap.

It's very possible that you may all look back on these times as something that tightened the love and bonding in your family.

Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

We have a Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) in the district. Each district board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.2(h).


Our next meeting date is May 7, 2020. More info to follow as we learn more about the length of our district closure.


Please contact Marylynn Stecher- stecherm@hamiltonschools.org- if you would like to serve as a member of this group and you will be added to the email group to get reminders of meetings.

Big picture
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention—Hot Chocolate Talk

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency."

For more information, click on this link.

Project Child Find

Parents of Hamilton Township who are concerned that their school age child (3 years to 21 years) may have special needs can receive assistance from the local school district's Child Study Team. In addition, the Hamilton Township Schools are organizing a Child Find campaign to locate and provide services for children ages three to five who may have physical, cognitive, language or emotional difficulties. Information also may be obtained on how and where to receive services for children with special needs who are younger than three. Professional guidance, assessment and an educational program are all available free for eligible children. For more information contact the Hamilton Township School District Child Study Team office at 476-6111.

The Project Child Find Fact Sheet

NJDOE Project Child Find Information

Big picture

Resources

Administrative Team

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher stecherm@hamiltonschools.org


Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak kozakd@hamiltonschools.org


Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington wellingtonj@hamiltonschools.org

Notice of Nondiscrimination

The Hamilton Township School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, ancestry, disability, age, or social or economic status in its programs and activities.


The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Marylynn Stecher

Affirmative Action Officer

609-476-6313

stecherm@hamiltonschools.org


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE


For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit https://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.