SSD/Normandy Monthly Communication

Staff and Family Newsletter -December 2021

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Seasons Greetings

Tis the season. As we approach the end of the first semester, we want to wish you and your family an enjoyable and restful winter break.

On behalf of your SSD Leadership team, Happy Holidays!

DeAndria Player, Director of Special Education

Barbara Champagne, Special Education Coordinator

Lynette Swift-Elliott, Special Education Coordinator

SSD Normandy Schools Collaborative

Click the banner to visit SSD's website for Normandy Schools Collaborative

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Normandy Schools Collaborative Upcoming Events

December 3 Early Dismissal-All Schools

December 10 Early Dismissal-All Schools

December 14 JEGB Board Meeting 6:00pm

December 17 Early Dismissal -All Schools

December 20-December 31 Winter Break

Normandy Schools Collaborative Website

Click the banner to visit Normandy Schools Collaborative Website

SWEP 2022 Application: Due February 7th

Attached, you will find the participant application for SWEP 2022. We're so grateful to the Productive Living Board, and to our partner agencies, for continuing to make this important transition opportunity available to residents of St. Louis county.

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.

Also note: 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. Please pass this information along to families applying for the program; if you’re supervising the preparation of student applications, please check for correct signatures.

Please also note that not providing a Social Security number may slow down the process. We do understand that people want to be careful sharing this information, but it's critical to our ability to verify that an applicant is qualified for the program. If a student or family member prefers that I call them to get that information, that's fine - just have them note that on the application.

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.

I do confirm the receipt of all applications. If you've sent me one, and haven't heard back from me for several days, do reach out. Scanning and emailing the application is the most reliable means of sending it, but fax and hard copy mail are fine, also.

My supervisor, Stephanie Guth, and I will coordinate the 2022 program. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call or email me (Stephanie is CC’d on this email).

Thank you for helping to get this application out to potential SWEP participants!

Jeff Strasburg

Assistant Coordinator of SWEP Services

MERS Goodwill

Lippman Center

2545 S. Hanley Rd.

St. Louis, MO 63144

Pronouns: he/him/his

Office: 314-646-5818

Cell: 510-529-6968

Fax: 314-982-8973

SWEP 2022 Application

Click the banner to access application

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Scholarship Opportunities Open

High school seniors who plan to attend college or a post-secondary program should consider applying for one of several scholarships available only to students receiving SSD services. Scholarships include the James E. Westbury Memorial Scholarship, the Allison M. Haake Memorial Scholarship, and the Bonhomme Lions Club Scholarship, which all require applications to be completed by Dec. 17, 2021.

Qualifying students are those who will graduate this school year and receive at least one special education or technical education service from SSD. Services may be received in settings that include (but are not limited to) SSD schools, partner districts, private schools, parochial schools, and home. Students who plan to apply should review the applications soon and begin gathering supporting documents that are required (e.g., letters of recommendation, resume, student transcript, etc). All scholarships have essay requirements which can be written with support as IEPs permit.

Additional scholarship opportunities are available through the Special Education Foundation. For more information, contact Deana Parsons, internal communications coordinator, at or 314.989.8102.

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Parent Leadership Institute

SSD’s Parent Education and Diversity Awareness Program is seeking applicants interested in participating in the Spring 2022 SSD Parent Leadership Institute.

Parent Leadership Institute participants have the opportunity to:

  • Build understanding of future planning and problem-solving utilizing the Charting the LifeCourse tools.
  • Learn to effectively participate in their child’s education and improve the educational climate for all children.
  • Learn how to positively interact and collaborate with other parents and school personnel.
  • Discover new resources and network with other parents.

This program, which is offered at no cost to participants, is designed for parents and family members who are the educational decision makers for a child with a disability.

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA): PEDA has several workshops scheduled for December. The workshops can be found below and on PEDA's website.

Parent Education has a workshop scheduled for December 9th at 6:30 PM. The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the St. Louis ARC, will be on zoom. Please see the information below.

WORKSHOP: Supported Decision Making (In Collaboration with St. Louis ARC)

Dec. 9, 2021

Starts at 6:30 PM


When an individual with a disability becomes 18, they are legally an adult. This workshop is designed to help families understand the options they have to help their loved one make good decisions and build a circle of support. Using tools from Missouri Supported Decision Making Consortium and Charting the LifeCourse, Debra and Sharon will coach your family on how to access each of the six life domains (health, employment, safety, etc.) and create a plan that uses a variety of resources to build self-determination skills. This workshop is ideal for primary caregivers, their family member(s) with a disability, and siblings or other key people who support planning and problem solving in their lives. Small groups will use Zoom breakout rooms to start creating their own supported decision-making plans with templates from the Missouri Supported Decision Making Consortium.

Presenters: Sharon Spurlock, Director of Family Support, St. Louis Arc and Debra Fiasco, Administrator, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness, Special School District

Register for the Event through Zoom

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

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness Program

Click the banner to visit and learn more about PEDA

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Lunch & Learn Series

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:

· Behavioral Health Response – Dec. 1

· Easterseals Midwest – Jan. 5

· The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis – Feb. 2

· Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK) – March 2

· St. Louis ARC – April 6

· St. Louis County Library – May 4

Family Engagement

Click the banner to learn more about Family & Community Outreach

Parent Advisory Council (PAC)

The SSD Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is comprised of families advising and collaborating to improve the education, confidence and social outcomes of each student served by SSD. The PAC consists of five parents or guardians – one member and four alternates – from each of the 22 St. Louis County school districts and from each of the five SSD special education schools. The parents or guardians of students receiving special education services in that district or school elect SSD PAC members.

The SSD Parent Advisory Council has scheduled the following meetings for the 2021-2022 school year. All meetings are held virtually via Zoom, from 7-9 PM. Additional information about meetings, including agendas, can be found on the PAC's website.

  • Sept. 8, 2021
  • Oct. 13, 2021
  • Nov. 10, 2021
  • Dec. 8, 2021
  • Jan. 12, 2022
  • Feb. 9, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • May 11, 2022 (this meeting will be held virtually and in-person)

Get Involved with the SSD PAC

  • Network and communicate with other parents of children who receive special education service.
  • Become as informed as possible about special education services
  • Improve communication between your local school district and SSD
  • Create a positive understanding and awareness of students with disabilities
  • Establish a network of advocacy for local, state and national disability issues

Complete this online form to learn more about getting involved with the SSD Parent Advisory Council.

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.

Special School District Upcoming Events

December 1 Lunch & Learn w/Behavior Health Response (BHR) 11:30am

December 6 Governing Council Meeting 7pm

December 8 Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Meeting 7pm

December 9 Workshop: Supported Decision Making (In collaboration w/St. Louis ARC) 6:30pm

December 14 Board of Education: Business Meeting 5:45pm

December 17 Board of Education: Policy Sub-Committee Meeting 1:30pm

December 20-31 Winter Break

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.