Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

October 13, 2020 Volume 3 Issue 2

If you are accessing this newsletter via the Parent Portal, please type this link into your browser so you can access the links in the newsletter- Or you can find the link on Facebook or Twitter @HTDSspecialed.

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Hamilton Cares

As an additional avenue to support our HTSD community, a hotline has been set up for all families to call if they are in need of any assistance. The number for the hotline is (609) 476-6138. If you or someone you know needs assistance with meals, wellness, or any other related service, please call the hotline, leave a message, and we will reach out as quickly as possible.

*The state has recently extended our free meal program until the end of the school year. ALL students eat free in Hamilton Township Schools this year.

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Important Dates


  • National Principals Month
  • National Physical Therapy Month
  • AAC Awareness Month
  • Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
  • Children's Health Month

2- National School Custodian Day

5- National Child's Health Day

5-9- Week of Respect

12- Columbus Day- No School

12-16- National School Lunch Week

13- Students Return to School!

19-23- School Violence Awareness Week

19-23- National School Bus Safety Week

26- Mid Trimester 1

South-Eastern NJ Special Education Parent Leadership Roundtable

Join parents, SEPAG leaders, educators, school administrators, and community members from
Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties!

Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Virtual Event. Register:

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).

Please contact Marylynn Stecher- if you would like to serve as a member of this group and you will be added to the email list to get reminders of meetings. Our first meeting for the 20-21 school year will be on Wednesday, October 21. It will be via a Google Meet.

Virtual Parent Roundtable Series from NJPTA and NJPSA

Educating our children during the current pandemic proves to be a daily challenge as schools shift from in-person to hybrid to virtual learning environments. Throughout this crisis, families are juggling many responsibilities that they never envisioned. Join us for this series of roundtables designed specifically for parents/caregivers to come together and share their experiences and those of their children, identify critical issues and give voice to the needs of families so that supports can be identified and implemented.

We’re in this Together! Educating Our Children During COVID-19 (Grades P-3)

Oct 21, 2020 06:00 PM

We’re in this Together! Educating Our Children During COVID-19 (Grades 4-5)

Oct 26, 2020 06:00 PM

We’re in this Together! Educating Our Children During COVID-19 (Grades 6-8)

Nov 9, 2020 06:00 PM

National Child Health Day


In the United States, National Child Health Day occurs each year on the first Monday in October. The day recognizes the care and guidance children need to grow strong and healthy.

Each child deserves to be the healthiest he or she can be. From the food they eat to the words they hear, children require support and opportunities to grow. Parents often worry about chronic disease, accidents or childhood illnesses. At the same time, they focus on a child’s mental health and general health. Whether it’s their environment, the food they eat or how much TV they watch, the day is an excellent opportunity to support the children in your life.

HOW TO OBSERVE #ChildHealthDay

Go for a walk, play in a park, do some yard work or participate in activities to promote child health. Other ways to participate in the day include:

  • Schedule your child’s next routine checkup.
  • Ensure vaccinations are up to date.
  • Schedule a routine dental checkup.
  • Add new healthy activities to your children’s routine.
  • Set an example by letting your children catch you in healthy habits.
  • Inspect your child’s toys. Are they broken or age-appropriate?
  • Share your best tips for helping your children live a healthy lifestyle.

While you’re celebrating, be sure to use #ChildHealthDay to post on social media.

Don't Forget by Andrea Green - a Covid 19 Social Distance Sing-A-Long

Mental Health and So Much More!

Please check out the 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.

Here is a helpful article- Anxiety in Kids and Teens

Here are helpful Resources from Sesame Street- Little Children Big Challenges

Physical Health

As our students get ready to return to our schools, it is so important for them to practice all of the things that will keep them safe and healthy in school:
  • wearing face masks
  • social distancing
  • handwashing

The teachers are working with the students on these skills to keep them healthy both at home and school.

Sesame Street has a lot of great resources for our youngest students.

‘Sesame Street’ Helping Kids With Autism Learn To Wear Face Masks


Each school year, some of our special education students ride on the small buses based on their needs. Please know that if your child has special transportation in his/her IEP, they will have special transportation. However, it may be in a regular sized bus as the small buses did not allow enough children on them to run the routes.

Accommodating Our Hearing Impaired Staff and Students

In Hamilton Township Schools, we have multiple people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This time of Covid-19 is especially challenging for them as part of their communication is speech (lip) reading. In an effort to best accommodate them, we have purchased clear masks. Students and staff members who work and learn with those with hearing loss will receive a clear mask. We hope that you will assist us by encouraging your children to wear these masks if they receive one.

Additionally, if you are purchasing masks for your children, consider purchasing masks with a clear window.

  • It is amazing how much of our communication is based on seeing others faces.
  • This will be helpful for our younger students who are learning letter sounds.
  • This will also be helpful if your child has speech therapy.
  • And we would love to see their smiles!

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

What Are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disabilities are challenges with reading, writing, and math. They’re caused by differences in the brain and other factors. And they can impact people at school, at work, and in everyday life.

People don’t outgrow most learning disabilities. But there are treatments, supports, and teaching approaches that can help people with a learning disability thrive. Lots of successful people have learning disabilities. They include celebrities and entrepreneurs.

Snapshot: What Learning Disabilities Are

What are learning disabilities? They’re lifelong challenges with reading, writing, and math. Between 5 and 15 percent of people have them. Some people struggle in only one of these areas. But it’s common to struggle in more than one.

Learning disabilities are caused by biological differences. Research has shown that brain structure and function is different in people who have them. Heredity also plays a role. Learning disabilities run in families.

Despite research, there are still many myths about learning and thinking differences, which include learning disabilities. A common myth is that they aren’t real, and that people are just being lazy.

Learning disabilities aren’t about laziness. They’re also not related to intelligence. People who have them have weaknesses in specific areas.

You may hear learning disabilities called learning disorders or specific learning disabilities. You may also hear terms that refer to a specific type of learning disability, like dyslexia or dyscalculia.

Dive Deeper

Learning Disability Signs and Symptoms

The signs depend on what the learning disability or area of difficulty is. Typically, they start showing up in childhood. But signs look different at various ages and in different people. And not everyone has the same level of difficulty.

You may also see signs that aren’t directly related to skills. People with learning disabilities are more likely to develop anxiety or low self-esteem. Kids may try to cover up their challenges by acting out at school or at home. And people of all ages may avoid tasks they struggle with.

There are other conditions that can impact how people learn and perform at school or at work. ADHD is a common one. But there are others that involve communication or motor skills. These conditions often co-occur with learning disabilities.

Possible Causes of Learning Disabilities

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes learning disabilities. But they do know that genes and brain differences play a role. Many studies have focused on dyslexia. But researchers are starting to look at other learning disabilities, too.

Genes and heredity: Learning disabilities run in families. People are 4 to 10 times as likely to have a learning disability if they have a parent or sibling with a learning disability. Researchers have found multiple genes that may play a role.

Brain development: Brain imaging studies have shown brain differences between people with and without learning disabilities. The differences have to do with how the brain is structured and how it functions in areas that are linked to learning skills.

How Learning Disabilities Are Diagnosed

The only way to know for sure if someone has a learning disability is through an evaluation. These can happen at school or privately.

There are a few types of professionals who can assess people for learning disabilities. These include school psychologists, clinical psychologists, and neuropsychologists.

An evaluation will look for specific strengths and challenges in reading, writing, and math skills. The evaluator will also assess other abilities that are important for learning. For example, many people with learning disabilities also have challenges with executive function.

It’s important to know there are teaching approaches and strategies that can help build these skills. Having a diagnosis (schools call it an identification) can lead to supports and services for kids at school. Adults with learning disabilities may get accommodations at work.

Having the right help and supports lets people with learning disabilities thrive in school, at work, and in their communities.

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

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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.

Administrative Team

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher

Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak

Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington

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



For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.