Together We Make a Difference

HTSD Special Education Parent Newsletter

March 18, 2016 Volume 2 Issue 2

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Mark your Calendar

  • 3/19/16 EdCamp South Jersey
  • 3/21/16 Parent Teacher Conferences at Shaner and Hess 6-8 p.m.
  • 3/22/16 Parent Teacher Conferences at Shaner and Hess 1:30-3:30 p.m.
  • 3/24-3/29 Spring Break
  • 4/15 Schools Closed for Staff Professional Development
  • 5/4/16 Special Education Parent Advisory Group Meeting
  • 5/30 Schools Closed for Memorial Day
  • 6/14 Tentative Last Day of School
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Keeping Parents Informed

Progress Monitoring is part of each student’s special education program. Along with your child’s report card, each marking period you will receive a copy of your child’s Progress Report. This Progress Report explains the progress toward the goals and objectives in the IEP.

Parent Teacher Conferences are an excellent opportunity to meet with your child’s teachers to see how he/she is doing in school. These days are also a good time to touch base with your child’s case manager. We have many opportunities for parents to come to our schools throughout the school year to participate in meetings and events. However, it is at parent teacher conferences and annual reviews (IEP meetings) that you get to talk to the staff specifically about your child. Therefore, you have at least three opportunities during each school year to sit down with staff members and discuss your child’s progress. We encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities!

An Annual Review (also referred to as an IEP Meeting) will be held minimally once each school year. This meeting will include the parent, case manager, teacher(s), and related service providers. Your child's Annual Review should be coming up this spring to plan for the 2016-2017 school year.

Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

According to the New Jersey Administrative Code, “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.” 6A:14-1.2(h) The purpose of the SEPAG is to facilitate parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities. Our next SEPAG meeting will be held on 5/4 in the Davies School IMC. Generally meetings are held from 7-8:30 p.m. All parents of students receiving special education services are encouraged to attend!

NJ Department of Children and Families

Dear Colleagues,

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and New Jersey is proud of the many services and supports that we provide to children and youth with developmental disabilities.

Our Children’s System of Care is a lifeline for families who don’t know where to turn for help. Eligible youth receive needed services and families may receive in-home and out-of-home support services.

We also connect families – and mothers, in particular – caring for a child with complex needs to the Mom2Mom hotline. Staffed by trained peer counselors who are also mothers of children with special needs, Mom2Mom’s volunteers answer questions and provide emotional support to mothers. Parents may call the hotline at 1-877-914-MOM2 or chat online at

If you know a family with a special needs child, please encourage them to contact our Children’s System of Care at 1-877-652-7624 or

Warm regards,


Allison Blake, PhD LSW


New Jersey Department of Children and Families

Autism Awareness Month

If you have an older student with autism, you may want to look into the Autism Family Services of NJ Scholarship.

Each school will be Blowing Bubbles for Autism. Watch your April school calendars for the dates for each school.

Our Davies teachers are sponsoring an autism t-shirt sale. All proceeds go to Faces4Autism.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is offering four free mobile apps to help children and families.

Talk. They Hear You.

Underage Drinking Prevention App


Bullying Prevention App

SAMHSA Disaster App

Emergency Behavioral Health Response App

Suicide Safe

Suicide Prevention App

Mental Health Screening Tool

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Grief and Grieving

We have certified counselors in each of our schools. If your child needs assistance, please have him/her speak to a counselor.


Kelly Crowder- School Psychologist

Dotsi Schoenstein- Guidance Counselor


Ann Bucknam- Social Worker

Kate Cariss- School Psychologist

Laura Hackney- Guidance Counselor

Gail Siegelman- Guidance Counselor

Jeff Wellington- School Psychologist


Revaé Burton- Social Worker

Andrew Disque- School Psychologist

Mike Diorio- Guidance Counselor

Lynn Evangelist- Guidance Counselor

Wendi McKensie- Guidance Counselor


The NJ Department of Education has released a brief webinar about PARCC Accommodations this month. Click here to view- PARCC Accommodations PowerPoint. For more information you can review the PARCC ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES AND ACCOMMODATIONS MANUAL. PARCC testing will begin on 4/4. Please see your school calendar for more information about the specific dates for each grade level.

The Great Bike Giveaway

Our former student, Dylan T, is trying to win an adaptive bike. Please click on the link to vote for Dylan.

Lite Rock Teacher of the Month

"Congratulations to Kelly Filoon, the Lite Rock Teacher of the Month for March. Ms. Filoon is a Special Ed teacher at Hess School in Mays Landing. She was nominated by her student Samantha Hassa for helping to make her a better reader and inspiring her to be successful in school. Kelly wins a membership to Island Gym and a Lite Rock pizza party for her class from Capri Pizza in Northfield. For submitting the nomination,Samantha Hassa is now qualified for a $2000 scholarship from Lite Rock." -Eddie Davis

Listen to Kelly's interview with Eddie Davis.

Special Education Medicaid Initiative (SEMI)

Special Education Medicaid Initiative (SEMI) and Medicaid Administrative Claiming (MAC) are school-based federal Medicaid reimbursement programs. The purpose of SEMI and MAC is for the school district to recover a portion of costs for certain Medicaid covered services or activities provided to Medicaid-eligible students. As part of SEMI, the school psychologists, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapist, and physical therapist log counseling services, therapies, and IEP meetings for students who are eligible for Medicaid. This is not optional for the school district. It is mandated by the state. The state is reimbursed by Medicaid. The state keeps a portion of the reimbursement and disburses the rest to the school district.

The school district is required to obtain a one-time parental consent. The parents can choose to allow or disallow the state to bill medicaid for services received in school. Please know there is no cost to the parent AND the district does get funds if eligible families participate.