GPS Newsletter

October, 2022

Octoberfest

Octoberfest 2022 was an amazing event sponsored by the PTO. A huge shout out to the PTO board for planning and coordinating Octoberfest! Thank you to all the volunteers for making this a huge success. Hundreds of families interacted with games, at arts and crafts tables, and enjoyed the many food trucks. Thank you to the entire GPS community for helping to make this event such a great success.

Grafton High School Homecoming and Spirit Week

Students at Grafton Highschool participated in spirit week last week which culminated in the Homecoming weekend activities. Spirit week is designed to highlight each grade's unique personality as they dress in their class colors, favorite characters, and Grafton green while promoting school spirit. The staff and students enjoyed the week. Thank you to the class advisors, class officers, building administrators, staff, and students for such a great experience!

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability (SLD) that is neurological in origin that is caused by a different wiring of the brain.


Dyslexia can be characterized by:


  • Deficit in the phonological component of language (identifying and manipulating units of language - for example, trouble rhyming)

  • Difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition

  • Poor spelling

  • Decoding abilities


Indicators include, but not limited to:

  • Mispronouncing words

  • Difficulty using new vocabulary

  • Trouble recognizing and remembering sight works

  • Trouble understanding the difference between sounds in words

  • Problems copying and writing at an age-appropriate level

  • Tendency to spell phonetically

  • Poor letter formation and placement

  • Poor oral reading fluency skills


In the spring of 2021 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the Massachusetts Dyslexia Guidelines. Those guidelines can be found here.


No one is born knowing how to read—we all have to learn how. When you read, your brain has to do a lot of things at once. While dyslexia can make reading more difficult and there is no cure for dyslexia, with the right instruction, almost all individuals with dyslexia can learn to read.


Here is a highlight of what Grafton Public schools has implemented to support students with a weakness / disability in reading.

  • Once again this fall GPS teachers will be attending the virtual International Dyslexia Association (IDA) annual conference. These teachers will then share what they have learned with their colleagues.

  • Many SPED teachers and reading specialists are now Orton Gillingham trained. We continue to support our SPED teachers and reading specialists in the following programs:Wilson, Just Words, LindaMood Bell programs.

  • We use the Fundations, and explicit phonics program, for all students in grades K - 3.

  • We use the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Program for all K and grade 1 students. We also use the Heggerty programs with those students needing additional support in grades 2+.

  • We have a strong tier 2 program for reading interventions as well using many of the resources listed above.

  • We have been using DIBELS for many years and this is the assessment tool that we use as our Early Literacy Screener per DESE guidelines. DIBELS 8th edition is an approved DESE early literacy screener.

For families looking to further awareness about dyslexia, visit the International Dyslexia Association's webpage. There you will find many resources including the IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know for families.


Recommended resources/references:


The International Dyslexia Association https://dyslexiaida.org/


Learning Ally: https://www.learningally.org/


Massachusetts Dyslexia Guidelines


The Yale Center: Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D http://dyslexia.yale.edu/

Big picture

Parents Learning with Parents Program


Parents Learning with Parents (PLP)

FREE Virtual Speaker Series for ALL CAREGIVERS of students in K-12


The Bryt Family Engagement Team warmly invites you to participate in our Live Monthly Caregiver Speaker Series


Learn from community members with expertise in areas most requested by parents.


IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:


  • Parents/caregivers are not on camera -- only the speaker is

  • Parents/caregivers have the option of typing questions into chat


Need additional supports? check out our

Family Support Resources and free weekly virtual support groups


Parents Learning with Parents (PLP)

FREE Virtual Speaker Series for ALL CAREGIVERS of students in K-12


2022-2023 SCHEDULE


November 16th, 7pm All the Questions You’ve Ever Wanted to Ask about Crisis Services. Navigating mental health systems.

Speakers: Lauren Kimble, Mobile Youth Crisis & others TBD

Link: https://youtu.be/NOIGEfnWLK0


December 14th, 7pm Navigating white-centered services and systems as a BIPOC parent/caregiver *For BIPOC parents/caregivers

Speaker: JaLisa Williams, Smith College School for Social Work and Soul Shift Consulting

Link: https://youtu.be/_sQ7ncpwoXs


January 18th, 7pm Parenting While Grieving. Helping yourself and

your child cope with grief and the grieving process.

Speaker: Dr. Jessica Griffin, PysD. Executive Director of the UMASS Children Trauma Training Center

Link: https://youtu.be/QyLQyZhYs0c


February 8th, 7pm Adolescent Substance use- what every parent needs to know about substances, use, and how to support kids. Speakers: Lisa Blanchard, Chief Clinical Officer of Spectrum Health services

Link: https://youtu.be/dme0495hwtU


March 15th, 7pm Ready [or not] to Launch: Preparing for your Child’s

post-high school chapter

Speakers: TBD

Link: https://youtu.be/8zCDIg18V6k


April 26th, 7pm Parenting Kids and Teens on the Spectrum

Speakers: TBD

Link: https://youtu.be/lE_vNaSXJ2k


May 10th, 7pm What Your LGBTQIA++ child most needs from you

Speakers: TBD

Link: https://youtu.be/IVyEldgzLXU

Massachusetts Public Health Officials Urge Vaccinations for Flu and COVID-19 as Flu Season Begins

From the Massachusetts Department of Public Health– With flu season underway, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging residents to get their flu shot and get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster for which they are eligible.


October is an ideal time to get a flu vaccine before the flu season reaches its peak. Every person over the age of 6 months is recommended to get a flu shot annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that people 65 years and older get a high-dose flu vaccine this season. Individuals can receive flu and COVID-19 vaccines in the same visit, including from many retail pharmacies. Both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines are safe and effective, and have been shown to reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

“Every flu season is different, and while it is difficult to predict severity, vaccination remains the best way for people to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities against flu,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Now is also a good time for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccines and updated bivalent booster if they haven’t yet, particularly those who are at increased risk of developing serious illness. This includes people with certain chronic health conditions.”


DPH began its statewide surveillance reporting for the 2022-2023 flu season the first week of October. Beginning today, October 14, weekly data will be reported every Friday, including metrics measuring the severity of influenza-like illness, hospital visits, and flu-related hospitalizations across Massachusetts. Since October 2, 96 lab-confirmed flu cases have been reported in Massachusetts. The majority of individuals with influenza-like illness are not tested; therefore, the number of positive test results does not reflect the total number of influenza cases in Massachusetts.


Federal public health officials are expecting higher flu activity this season as compared to the previous years based upon the high number of cases recorded this past winter in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly in Australia.


The flu can be very serious. Nearly every year in the United States, millions of people get the flu, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die from flu-related illnesses. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, cough, and sore throat. Symptoms can also include body aches, headaches, chills, runny nose, and fatigue.


Flu vaccination is especially important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, such as those with a chronic respiratory condition, heart disease, a weakened immune system, or who are pregnant. Because flu and COVID-19 are both expected to be circulating this fall, and may have similar symptoms, people with flu-like illness should get tested for both COVID and flu.


COVID and flu vaccines are both widely available for everyone 6 months and older. Other actions that people can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like flu and COVID-19 include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and practicing good hand hygiene.


“It’s important that everybody over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine annually, and even more so this year because the lack of infection over the past couple of flu seasons likely means there is less immunity to flu than in prior years,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, Medical Director of DPH’s Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “The flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine or booster can be given during the same visit. We really urge people to get vaccinated to protect themselves, those around them, and to help prevent the circulation of flu on top of COVID, which could cause a strain on our health care system.”


DPH has launched a new seasonal flu public awareness campaign for television, online, and on billboards across the state encouraging residents to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19 to keep themselves, their family, and community healthy. People who have questions about getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines during the same visit should speak with a health care provider. See more information on how to find a flu and/or COVID-19 vaccine site near you.


For more information on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, visit mass.gov/covid19. For more information about influenza, visit mass.gov/influenza or call your health care provider, local board of health, or DPH at (617) 983-6800.