The Rockwood Reader

December 2021 | Issue 12

Current Events

Summer Work Experience Programs (SWEP)

The mission of the SWEP Program is to provide a meaningful work experience that will assist students in a smoother transition into the world of work. SWEP is designed to provide the experience of working to those who have limited or no work experience or who need extra support in being successful on the job.

Click HERE to access the application.

Please note: Applications are due by February 7. Any applications we receive after that date – even those from previous SWEP participants – will go on a waiting list. Because of the volume of applications we typically receive, we cannot make ANY exceptions to that policy. If an applying student is age 18 or older, s/he/they must sign the application and releases. If a student is younger than 18, his/her/their parent or guardian must sign the application and releases. A signature from the wrong person will, at minimum, slow down the process of qualifying a student for the program. It may even prevent a student from being accepted, because we’re unable to secure necessary documentation of an applicant’s disability.

The guidelines and qualifications are listed on the application. Keep in mind that students must be returning to school (or a school program like VSP) next Fall, live in STL County, and have a qualifying disability to participate.

SSD Hosting Hiring Events This Fall for Paras

Do you know someone with a caring, supportive skillset who should join our outstanding paraprofessional team? Be sure they attend one of our events this fall!
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SSD Board Information:

Filing for SSD Board of Education Opens Dec. 7

Candidate filing for two open seats on the Special School District of St. Louis County Board of Education opens at 8 AM on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, and continues until 5 PM on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. The terms of current Board members Ms. Katie Pottroff, Subdistrict 3 and Mr. Scott Moeller, Subdistrict 4 expire in March 2022.

The two open seats are for three-year terms beginning in March 2022 in the following subdistricts:

  • Subdistrict 3 – Parkway School District
  • Subdistrict 4 – Ferguson-Florissant, Pattonville, and Riverview Gardens school districts

Learn more about the filing process and eligibility requirements on the SSD website.

What's Happening in Rockwood?

UPDATE: December 1, 2021

Interim Superintendent Dr. Tim Ricker met this week with the EdPlus workgroup, other area superintendents, Rockwood attorneys and district leaders to review and discuss data related to COVID-19 in our community and in our buildings, as well as the Cole County Court ruling.

COVID-19 in Rockwood

From Nov. 15 through Nov. 28, Rockwood had 99 student positives and 262 student quarantines across the district. An additional 622 students were determined to be close contacts during that time, but because both the positive individual and the student were masked and/or vaccinated, those students have been able to remain in school. This represents an increase in both positive student cases and student quarantines when compared to the previous two-week period (89 student positives and 193 student quarantines).
Additional data reviewed by Dr. Ricker and his team included Community Health Indicators (regional transmission rates, positive test rates, seven-day average of new daily case rates, 14-day comparison of change in new cases, as well as rate of cases by age group) and vaccination rates by age.

Cole County Court Ruling

Since the ruling, district leaders have been working closely with our attorneys to fully understand its implications on our Rockwood Safe Together Mitigation strategies. “We have been advised that the district has the authority to make needful rules and regulations to protect Rockwood students and staff, which is why there have been no immediate changes to our mitigation strategies and procedures,” said Dr. Ricker. “Having said that, we are consulting with health advisors, other area school leaders, our attorneys and the Board of Education to consider next steps. Rest assured, we are all looking to return to more familiar settings in our schools. But we want to be thoughtful and thorough as we consider any changes to safety measures that impact the welfare of thousands of students and staff.”

Moving Forward

Rockwood’s top priority is to keep as many students and staff members safe, healthy and learning in an in-school environment as possible. Our Rockwood Safe Together mitigation strategies have served us well, including indoor masking; practicing social distancing and good hand hygiene; maintaining strict cleaning regimens for our facilities; encouraging students and staff members to stay home when they’re not feeling well; and encouraging staff and eligible students to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.

All K-12 students are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Rockwood held its first pediatric vaccine clinics on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, and more than 800 students received a first dose of the vaccine. We are also asking our parents to voluntarily share the vaccination status of their students, to aid in contact tracing procedures as well as providing a measure of vaccination status in our buildings.

As we move closer to the winter break, we will certainly keep you apprised of any changes to our Rockwood Safe Together plan.

Information and Resources

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) and Communications departments 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 in order 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:

We hope both staff and families are able to join these events!

Special School District Parent Advisory Council

The mission of the Special School District (SSD) Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is to effectively collaborate with and advise its stakeholders (including parents/guardians, the SSD Board of Education, Governing Council, SSD administration and staff, and partnering school district administrators and staff) in order to improve the educational, self-efficacy, and social outcomes of each student served by SSD.

Please click here to access the PAC website which contains specific information about meetings, agendas & minutes, as well as parent resources.

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA) provides a variety of workshops throughout the year for families, staff, and community members. Workshops through first semester and other valuable resources can be found on PEDA's website. November's workshops include:

PEDA is happy to announce that we are taking applications for our Spring Parent Leadership Institute (PLI). PLI will occur over 4 evenings in February and March. You can learn more and download the application here: Parent Leadership Institute

Finally, PEDA would love your feedback! Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Important Dates

No School | Winter Break

Wednesday, December 22nd through Friday, December 31st

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

Special School District

December 14th @ 5:45 PM

January 11th @ 5:45 PM

More info here

Rockwood School District

December 2nd @ 7:00 PM - Awards Night

December 16th @ 7:00 PM

More info here

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.

Special School District of St. Louis County

Dr. Carmen Harris, Director of Special Education


Mandy Lloyd, Administrative Assistant