SSD Ritenour Dispatch

February 2022

The Family Resource Hub

The Family Resource Hub is where families and educators develop effective partnerships to improve student outcomes.

For more information visit the The Family Resource Hub.

To view the 1 minute highlight video click the link below.

Virtual Grand Opening

Family Resource Hub Virtual Grand Opening

The Family Resource Hub Satellite Food Pantry is located at North Tech High School which supports families with access to non-perishable food items and household supplies.

The Family Resource Hub Satellite Food Pantry

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Variety the Children's Charity

Variety's Adventure Camp Program provides a FREE day camp experience for kids and teens with special needs throughout the St. Louis region.

Adventure Camp is available to children ages 4-16 and Teen Camp is open to those ages 14-20.

Enrollment opens February 7th.

For more information please visit Variety The Children’s Charity Camp.

Recreation Council

The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis provides individuals with developmental disabilities an opportunity to have fun, be active, socialize and enhance their quality of life.

The 2022 Summer Resource Guide is available starting Friday, January 21st.

To sign up for the Recreation Council newsletter and Guide, go to

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Free At-Home COVID-19 Test

Residential Households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 FREE at-home tests from To order the free tests visit

Special School District is providing assistance to those who need help accessing or completing the online form. For assistance, visit FREE At-Home COVID Test.

Lunch and 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 each agency and make connections with those who may benefit from their programs and services throughout the SSD community.

Organizations represented in the Lunch & Learn series include:

Submit Nominations for Staff, Community Awards

Shine a light on someone whose work brilliantly supports the District’s mission! SSD has awards designed for staff in every work area—Key to the Classroom Awards for classroom teachers; Building Block Awards for paraprofessionals; and Lasting Impressions Awards for operations staff.

The District also sponsors the Special Ambassador Awards for community partners and SSD staff. Nominations will be accepted from SSD and partner district staff and students, as well as community members. The deadline for submission is Feb. 7, 2022, but don’t wait to begin thinking about what you’d like to write about your nominee. Great nominations take a bit of thought! Click here to access the nomination forms.

Learn More or Submit a Nomination

Summer Work Experience Program 2022

Summer Work Experience Program, or SWEP is currently accepting applications until February 7, 2021. Through the program, students hold a summer job in their community and receive job-coaching support. They are paid an hourly wage for their work. SWEP is funded by the Productive Living Board of St. Louis County, and is open to county residents with a qualifying disability. It is conducted through a collaboration of six area agencies - MERS/Goodwill is the Lead Agency.

A few important things to remember about eligibility for the SWEP program:

  • You must be a resident of St. Louis County.

  • You must be between 16 and 20 years of age and planning to return to a school program in the Fall of 2022.

  • You cannot participate in SWEP while participating in the Extended School Year Program.

  • Your teacher needs to submit a Teacher Input form before the program begins. Upon receiving your application, we will contact your teacher about this requirement – you do not need to do anything.

A few important things to remember about the SWEP program:

  • You must be available for the entire 8 weeks of the program. Tentative dates for SWEP 2022 are June 6 to July 29. These dates are subject to change.

  • All SWEP participants will need to present appropriate identification – normally, a social security card and photo ID -- at intake. These documents are used to complete the I-9 form and prove identity and eligibility to work in the US.

  • You must have your own transportation to participate in the program. Transportation options to consider: getting rides from family members and friends, using the METRO bus system, using Call-A-Ride, driving yourself, riding a bike, using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.

  • Students who participate in the SWEP program will earn the minimum wage of $11.15 an hour.

  • Not everyone who applies to the SWEP program will be able to participate this summer. Students who are eligible and send in completed applications by the deadline will be selected in age-order, with older students taking priority.

  • Students who are selected to participate will be informed via mail that they have been selected. This letter will arrive by mid-March. Students who are not eligible or who are on the wait list will not be contacted.

A few important things to remember about the SWEP 2022 application:

  • Applications received on or by February 7 will be given first priority. All applications received by February 7 will be treated equally. All candidates turning in applications after this date will be put on a waiting list.

  • Please print neatly so that all of the information on your application is legible.

  • Please fill out the application completely and accurately (including the release forms). Any information that is missing or incorrect, including your Social Security number, could delay or prevent the processing of your application.

  • You must sign and return the Participant Application (page 2) and both Authorizations for the Release of Protected Information (pages 3 & 4). These authorizations give the SWEP Lead Agency, MERS/Goodwill, permission to request documentation of your disability from the St. Louis Regional Office, and the Special School District. This is necessary to prove your eligibility for the program. Parent/guardian must sign application and releases if student has not reached the age of 18.

SSD Parent Advisory Council

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.

Get Involved with the SSD PAC:

  • Network and communicate with other parents of children who receive special education services

  • 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.

Meeting Dates

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.

  • Feb. 9, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • May 11, 2022 (this meeting will be held virtually and in-person)

Please contact the Superintendent's Office at 314.989.8419 or 314.989.8281 by noon on the Wednesday before the meeting and an American Sign Language interpreter will be provided.

For more information about the SSD PAC or who represents your district, e-mail

SSD PAC New/Renewal of Membership Self-Nomination Forms information

Hello, SSD PAC members and potential members! We are approaching that time of year when we prepare to hold elections and renew membership. Nomination is through self-nomination. The self-nomination form is available to all parents of students receiving services through SSD.

Per the SSD PAC Bylaws, potential members must consent to make their names and contact information available to the public. Notices requesting self-nomination forms shall be received by parents no later than January 10th.

Completed nomination forms must be returned to the Executive Committee no later than February 15th.

The election of new/renewal of SSD PAC members shall take place no later than May 31st. We

will hold the election at the April 13th General Meeting.

Elections are rotated each year. The following districts will hold elections in even numbered years: Affton, Bayless, Brentwood, Clayton, Ferguson-Florissant, Hancock Place, Ladue, Mehlville, Normandy, Rockwood, University City and Valley Park.

Please complete and submit the self-nomination form linked above ASAP. Please note that even if you recently submitted a self-nomination form and were elected as a member of the SSD PAC, but are in a district that has an election in even numbered years, you will need to submit another self-nomination form. Please reach out to us at with any questions.

Love and Light,

Dr. Camesha Carter, SSD PAC President

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Parent Leadership Institute will be held via ZOOM

If you have always wanted to participate but life made it too hard to get away from home, NOW IS THE TIME TO ENROLL!!!

If you are a parent or family member who makes the educational decisions for a child with a disability, investing the time to attend these four Wednesday evening sessions will provide:

Vision for the future of your child.

Knowledge to help you to effectively participate in your child’s education.

Leadership skills to improve the educational climate for all children.

Access to new resources, friends and experts to help you on your journey.

The Institute will be held on Wednesdays from 6:00 pm-8:00 p.m. on February 16, March 2, 9, and 16, via zoom.

Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute

Virtual Workshop: Meeting your child's needs using Charting the LifeCourse Tools in the IEP process

When: Tue, March 15, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Description: Your child’s school Individual Education Plan (IEP) can be intimidating and overwhelming at times. Find out how to utilize LifeCourse Tools to help prepare and communicate effectively with your child’s IEP team to determine the most successful goals and interventions to help your child reach their potential.

To register for this workshop, click here:

PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Mental Health First Aid Training for SSD Families

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and others to help adolescents experiencing mental health and/or addictions challenge or crisis. It is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The course will be held on Friday, March 18, from 11 AM-3:30 PM. Due to a grant from Missouri's Department of Mental Health, you have the opportunity to attend at no cost.

Register Online

For SSD Staff interested in the Youth Mental Health First Aid training, please use this link to register in kickup.

Registration for Youth Mental Health Training for Staff

SSD Spotlight

Upcoming Dates

February 10

Early Release Day K-12

February 18

NO SCHOOL PreK-12 Professional Development

February 21

NO SCHOOL PreK-12 Presidents Day

Ritenour District Event Calendar

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.

Ritenour School District

Leslie Mueller, Special Education Coordinator - Kratz, Marvin & Wyland

Emya Williams, Special Education Coordinator - Iveland, Marion & Buder

Gloria Perry, Special Education Coordinator - Hoech & Ritenour Middle

Nathan Dwyer, Special Education Coordinator - Ritenour High