SSD in Affton Monthly Dispatch

November 2021

SSD Student Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

Many opportunities for scholarships and awards are now open for SSD students! SSD scholarship applications for graduating high school seniors are active and due Dec. 17, 2021. Students applying for The James E. Westbury/SSD Board of Education Scholarship, The Allison M. Haake Memorial Scholarship, or The Bonhomme Lions Club Scholarship must receive at least one service from SSD and plan to go to a college, university, or postsecondary program. All scholarships require a letter of recommendation. Visit for more information.

The Special Education Foundation (SEF) sponsors the John Cary Scholarships for high school seniors, as well. Applications are due Jan. 24, 2022.

For more information, please contact Deana Parsons, SSD internal communications coordinator, at or 314.989.8102.

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SSD Virtual 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:

November Parent Advisory Council Meeting for Affton SSD Parents

Please come to our meeting on November 18, 2021 at 6:30 on Google Meet. This is a meeting for all SSD in Affton parents. It is a great time to build our community, have a little bit of learning time and a lot of conversations. We hope you all can join!

Join with Google Meet

Health and Wellness

World Kindness Day is Saturday, November 13, 2021. Kindness can take on many forms from Pay-It-Forward in the drive-through line to volunteering at an event to saying hi to 10 people each day. Kindness can be found everywhere in big and small ways. One way we often miss showing kindness is to ourselves. There has been a lot of talk in the world and especially here in schools about giving each other and ourselves grace through this pandemic. We are heading into the heart of the 3rd school year impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and our brains are not wired to handle this much uncertainty. In Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead she states “Connection is why we're here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” In this age of social distancing, we have lost comfort in making connections. In safe ways, we can find ways to get back to connecting with others and ourselves through kindness and grace.

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Grace is defined as courteous goodwill. Extending kindness and grace to ourselves first will carry over to others, then our community then in grand ways our world. As we head into World Kindness Day and the holiday season, let’s strive to find ways to show ourselves kindness so that we can extend kindness and grace to those in our home which will cause ripples into our schools and community. Being kind to yourself promotes happiness and confidence, how you treat yourself sets the tone for how others will treat you.

Here is a quick first step - Give yourself a high five in the mirror to start your day positively. We can start each day fresh with new intentions and kindness. “Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.” Brené Brown.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a wealth of resources and ideas. Here is a fun Bingo Board with tangible ways families can practice kindness throughout the month.

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Discounted Home Internet Access

Home internet access is important for student success, whether learning in-person or at home. To provide all families with the opportunity to access the internet, the FCC has launched a temporary program, Emergency Broadband Benefit, to help families struggling to afford internet service. The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible families and households who are struggling to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible households can also receive a discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. For more info, please visit:

Parent Education Diversity Awareness

PEDA has several workshops scheduled for November. These include:

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders Two Part Series

Session 2 | November 15, 6:30 PM

Identify and understand the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders and learn effective and practical strategies that will support your child’s success at home and school. The second session will focus on strategies. Both sessions will have time for discussion and questions.

Presenter: John Bruno, Ph.D., SSD Autism Effective Practice Specialist

Zoom Meeting Information

Meeting ID: 982 8634 6135
Passcode: 103277

Introduction to Charting the LifeCourse

(Workshop in Collaboration with St. Louis ARC)

November 18, 2021, 6:30 PM

Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) is a set of eight principles developed to support people with IDD and their families so they can have their best lives. In this workshop, we will learn about the CtLC principles and work together to create planning and problem-solving tools. Participants will also receive updates about LifeCourse Connect Missouri, which is a new online platform that can be used by individuals and family members to access tools. This workshop is for everyone but especially self-advocates, families, and support staff.

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

Zoom Webinar Registration:

PEDA is happy to announce that we are taking applications for our Spring Parent Leadership Institute (PLI). PLI will occur over 4 evenings in February and March. You can learn more and download the application here: Parent Leadership Institute

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

IEP Corner

What is an IEP?

  • An IEP – or Individualized Education Program – is a term used to describe the official documentation of special education services that will be provided for your child as well as the meeting where these services are determined. Here are some key points to help you become more familiar with an IEP:

    The IEP is:

    • A meeting where parents, students when appropriate, and school personnel jointly make decisions about an educational program for a student with a disability
    • A document that is a written record of the decisions reached at the meeting for a student who will receive special education and related services
    • A management tool used to implement an educational program

    The IEP has a number of purposes and functions:

    • The IEP meeting serves as a communication opportunity between parents and educators and enables them, as equal participants, to jointly decide what the student’s needs are, what services will be provided to meet those needs, and what the anticipated outcomes may be.
    • The IEP process provides an opportunity for resolving any differences between the parents and the school concerning the special education needs of a student with a disability – first, through the IEP meeting, and second, if necessary, through the procedural protections that are available to parents.
    • The IEP sets forth in writing a commitment to provide services and resources necessary to enable a student with a disability to receive needed special education services.

    The IEP is not:

    • The IEP is not a daily lesson plan, but it does cover an entire year.
    • The IEP is not an evaluation report. An evaluation report describes your child’s strengths and needs. The information from an evaluation report is used to help write the IEP.
    • The IEP is not a contract. It does describe things you and the school have agreed to do for your child, but it cannot guarantee that all the special help will be successful.
    • The IEP is not a comprehensive curriculum. It relates to special considerations within your child’s overall education.
    • The IEP is not timeless. As your child grows and learns and changes, the IEP will need to reflect these changes.

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SSD Staff Appreciation Form

Do you have a teacher or staff member who has gone above & beyond for you or your child - supporting them, encouraging them to do their best or being a listening ear when they need someone? Take a minute to write a note of thanks by sharing your appreciation with them. You may fill out this form as many times as you would like for different school personnel.

Who Should I contact?

Katy Meers - Affton Special Education Director K-12 and Special Education Coordinator for Mesnier and Gotsch - or call at 314-633-5912

Ky Schlundt - Special Education Coordinator for Gotsch and Rogers -

Tim Orr - School Psychologist for Mesnier and AHS -

Marie-France Castor - School Psychologist for Gotsch and Rogers and assists with EC

Beckie Rainbolt - SSD Social Worker for Mesnier and AHS -

Deanna Wright-Coffman - SSD Social Worker for Gotsch and Rogers -

Pam Miller - SSD Social Worker for Rogers and AHS -

What if I would like to get more frequent or less frequent data on goals? Please contact your child's case manager or service providers.

What if I would like information regarding a class assignment? Please contact the teacher for that assignment.

What if I have a concern? Please contact the students case manager. If you have already contacted the case manager and you have not received results, please contact Ky or Katy.