The Rockwood Reader

October 2021 | Issue 10

Current Events

Disability Awareness Month

On September 16th, 2021, the Rockwood Board of Education approved a motion to continue to recognize the month of October as Disability History and Awareness Month as outlined in Missouri House Bill 555. Throughout the month of October, we celebrate the successes of our students and highlight some of our amazing special education programs and staff. One of our upcoming activities is our Special Olympics bowling events. Here are some of our middle school athletes practicing their skills!

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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What's Happening in Rockwood?

UPDATE September 23, 2021

Interim Superintendent Dr. Tim Ricker met this week with district leaders and shared information related to COVID-19 in our buildings. He thanked principals for their flexibility and creativity when they have had positive cases in their schools. “You have been precise in your pivots when you have had multiple cases, and it shows,” shared Dr. Ricker. “Your flexibility and adjustments - whether it be at lunch, recess, or in the classroom - have proven to be yet another mitigation strategy that is helping to keep students and staff in school.”


Over the past two weeks, Rockwood has had 79 student positives and 127 student quarantines across the district. An additional 459 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 a decrease in both positive student cases and student quarantines when compared to the first two weeks of school (94 student positives and 257 student quarantines). Additional data reviewed by Dr. Ricker and his team includes Community Health Indicators (regional transmission rates, positive test rates, a seven-day average of new daily case rates, 14-day comparison of the change in new cases, as well as the rate of cases by age group) and vaccination rates by age, as well as guidance offered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.


Rockwood Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Director Glenn Hancock shared data this week related to student and staff positives and student and staff quarantines compared to the first weeks of PK-12 in-person learning last school year. Rockwood has fewer positive cases and fewer resulting quarantines over the same period last year. “We should feel good about this data,” shared Dr. Ricker. “Thanks to our mitigation efforts, we are keeping more students and staff in school despite the transmission of the Delta variant in our community. Those numbers appear to be trending down as well, and with word that more students may soon be eligible to receive the vaccine, we should all feel hopeful and encouraged that we may be moving closer to a mask-optional setting.”

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Rockwood’s top priority is to keep as many students and staff members safe, healthy, and learning in an in-school environment as possible. To that end, we are continuing the Rockwood Safe Together mitigation strategies that 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. This week, we learned that as a nation we are moving closer to having the vaccine approved for children aged 5-11, and Rockwood is making plans to host vaccination clinics in the district once the vaccine is approved for younger students.

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.


https://sites.google.com/a/ssdmo.org/ssdpac/

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

This October, our PEDA department is offering several workshops for families:


WORKSHOP: Planning for the Future - Augmentative Communication Funding

Oct. 14, 2021

Starts at 12:30 PM

Description:

Augmentative Communication facilitators from Special School District will discuss ways that families and students can pursue funding for augmentative communication devices. An additional discussion will include what the process is for families to purchase dedicated communication systems for their students when considering transition and post-secondary outcomes.


WORKSHOP: Why is my Child Misbehaving? (This is a workshop for families who have early childhood aged children)

Oct. 20, 2021

Starts at 12:30 PM

Description:

This training will focus on early childhood-specific positive parenting strategies to manage challenging behavior. Parents will leave with hands-on strategies that can be implemented in the home setting.


Along with workshops, PEDA also has a Family and Community Resource Center at the Hazelwood Learning Center that has books and resources available for check out. Families and community members are welcome to visit the center and/or contact PEDA with inquiries.


In the Spring of 2022, PEDA will be hosting another Parent Leadership Institute and will begin taking applications soon. Please contact us at 314.989.8460 or ssdpeda@ssdmo.org if you have any questions and visit our website at www.ssdmo.org/PEDA

Important Dates

No School | Professional Development Day

Monday, October 4


No School | Conference Compensation Day

Monday, November 1


No School | Professional Development Day

Tuesday, November 2

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

Special School District

October 12th @ 5:45 PM - Work-Study Session

October 26th @ 5:45 PM

November 9th @ 5:45 PM

More info here


Rockwood School District

October 7th @ 7:00 PM

October 21st @ 7:00 PM

November 18th @ 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

314-989-8268


Mandy Lloyd, Administrative Assistant

314-989-8249