Together We Can

April 3, 2023

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Spring has Sprung! This is a busy time of year for all of us at Greenwich Public Schools, as we finish out the 2022-2023 school year and get ready for the Summer of 2023 and 2023-2024 school year.

The 2023 GPS Summer School will be in session from Monday, July 3 through Friday, August 4. In addition to Extended School Year (ESY) services for all eligible PreK-12+ special education students, our summer programs will offer academic support for invited K-8 students with priority needs in literacy and/or math. This year, we offer tutoring options in literacy or math for invited families who opt out of the full-day program. Summer School invitations were sent to families last week and ESY invites will be sent out this week prior to April Break.


Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports

What We Are Seeing 👀 Around the Schools

Thank You to the Greenwich United Way

The GPS Pre-K department is thrilled to have the support of the Greenwich United Way. Donations of furniture creates a pleasant physical setting and supports healthy social emotional goals. The setting makes a difference for our students, and we are extremely grateful!

Pre-K Foundations at New Lebanon

This year, our Pre-K classes have started to use the Foundations program. Students, like the ones at New Lebanon School, engage in learning letters and sounds while working within the Pre-K developmental framework.

North Street Coffee - Executive Functioning

This past week, North Street School hosted their third parent coffee. School Psychologist Ms. Jessica Jagde, discussed how executive functioning skills are taught and practiced in the elementary setting, while Central Middle School's principal, Mr. Tom Healy, shared how these skills are reinforced and supported at the middle school.

Topics, skills and concepts embedded within this presentation included inhibitory control, working memory, and mental flexibility. Ms. Jagde and Mr. Healy discussed the value of supporting the students in building independence in using their executive functioning skills to effectively function in settings both in and outside of school.

Universal Design for Learning in Action at CMS

Mr. Pirro and Ms. Berard's sixth grade co-taught English class at Central Middle School has been working on nonfiction. Students practiced their research, reading, and writing skills in a way that is super high interest to them, then shared their research through slides, posters, and books.

Be Here, Persevere SEL Event at Julian Curtiss School

Welcome to CMS

Fifth graders from Cos Cob, North Street, Parkway, and Julian Curtiss Schools joined the sixth graders at Central Middle School to watch the dress rehearsal of “Annie.” The audience was treated to incredible singing and acting !

Welcome to EMS

Eastern Middle School hosted a Parent Coffee on March 30 for parents of current fifth graders to discuss the bridging process and continuum of services. Mr. Duncan, Mr. Goldstein, Mrs. Cheney, Ms. Musilli, and Ms. Berkoff welcomed parents and shared information.

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21 2023 marked the 18th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day. Each year, the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

Parkway School observed and participated in WDSD activities.

3 Minute JLY-DS
MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT | March 21 World Down Syndrome Day | #MoreAlikeThanDifferent

Workshops and Resources

Inclusion Corner with Rachel Rubin

In my last “Inclusion Corner,” I shared some information and resources about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Put simply, the goal of the UDL framework is to break down barriers to create meaningful access, engagement, and learning. It stamps the idea that what is necessary for one will benefit MANY. While UDL does create access points for MANY students, some students may also require accommodations.

What is an accommodation?

Similar to UDL, an accommodation helps to remove barriers without changing expectations or content. Accommodations are tools, supports, or additions collaboratively designed to ensure that a student is able to to fully show what they have learned and what they can do. They are listed in students’ IEPs or 504 plans and may change the way a student gets information presented to them or how they can respond. Some students may have accommodations that help them with organization or time management. Some examples of accommodations include providing extra time, using text to speech technology, or having a scribe to write dictated responses.

What is an accommodation NOT?

An accommodation is NOT a change to the curriculum or to what a student is learning. It does NOT lower expectations. Finally, an accommodation is NOT something to be ashamed of having. In talking more about the concept of neurodiversity, we promote that EVERYONE has differences and may need some different things to learn successfully. The book “Once Upon an Accommodation," written by Nina G, does a great job of explaining disabilities and accommodations in simplified, child-friendly language. It also has some super cute illustrations! Take a look at some excerpts below.

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The Program for Inclusion and Neurodiversity Educations Summit Parent Session

The Program for Inclusion and Neurodiversity Educations (PINE) is hosting its 2023 PINE Summit. We are excited to share there is a FREE session on April 28 at 12:00PM called "PINE for Parents: Strategies to Support Our Kids at Home." During this virtual session, participants will learn about PINE, explore three core mindset shifts and how they relate to home and school, and learn about practical supports oftentimes used in school that can also be used at home.

Here is the link to sign up. Parents can also sign up for any of the other PINE Summit sessions, but will have to pay $25 per session. If families have questions, please email

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The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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