Together We Can

January 9, 2023

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Welcome 2023! I hope that everyone has a Happy New Year.

January and February are busy months. The Office of Special Education and Student Supports has partnered with the Connecticut Parent Advisory Center (CPAC) to host three parent training that takes place in January, February and March.

Tomorrow, January 10, there is a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting and on February 2, I will be presenting an update on the PCG action plan to the Board of Education. I hope that you have the opportunity to attend some of these opportunities.


Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports

What We Are Seeing đź‘€ Around the Schools

Reading at Julian Curtiss

Mrs. Harrison first grade class at Julian Curtiss School is learning about nonfiction. Nonfiction books are real stories that tell, inform, teach, and explain. Just like Mrs. Harrison!

ALP at Riverside

Mrs. Hancock’s fourth grade ALP Math class at Riverside School works on division word problems. Groups collaborate and discuss their strategies then complete their Connect Four board!

Mindfulness at North Mianus

North Mianus School's first grade students practice deep breathing mindfulness strategies to help them manage stress and enhance their attention.

Military Panel at Greenwich HS

The United States Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Army as well as the Connecticut National Guard were at the Greenwich High School Wellness Center and gave a presentation on education and career opportunities in the military to our students

Expansion of Community Connections Work Sites

Community Connections has expanded their worksite options and students have started their work experience at Sally's Apizza on Summer Street in Stamford.

GHS Professional Development

Professional assistants engage in some “Pocket Professional Development” with Program Coordinator Ms. Leah Zilich. Activities were ones they could bring back to use with their students.

504 Parent Coffee

Dr. Heiligenthaler and Mrs. Iannello hosted a 504 parent coffee. Please see the PowerPoint presentation for information that was shared about the 504 process and supports provided through GPS.

Workshops and Resources

Upcoming Greenwich Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) Meeting - Tuesday January 10th

The Greenwich Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) is scheduled to virtually meet on Tuesday, January 10 at 6:30 PM. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for families and the community to advise the District on Special Education successes and challenges. You can join the meeting via zoom:

  • Meeting ID: 863 8549 1918
  • Passcode: 018063

I hope to see you online.

Special Education Parent Workshops

Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) has partnered with GPS’ Department of Special Education and Student Supports to offer three upcoming in-person parent workshops at Greenwich High School’s media center, including: “ABC’s of Special Education” on January 18, “Getting to Know Your Child’s IEP” on February 8, and “Excuse Me, What Did You Say?” on March 15. For more information, including details on registration please see the flyer below.

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Fifth to Sixth Grade Transition Process Virtual Meetings

Middle school counselors, middle school principals, and curriculum coordinators will go live to talk about what goes on in the spring and summer to help prepare students for the next school level. During this session, there will also be information regarding the placement process for Advanced Studies in Grades 6-8.

Join us virtually on Tuesday, January 17

Reading Lab by MaryPat Caldwell

Hello! I am MaryPat Caldwell, the District’s new Reading Lab teacher.

With a passion for teaching reading and literacy, I am excited to be working with children across the District and sharing information with parents who would like to learn more about supporting their child at home.

To start, I would like to address one of the most frequently asked parent questions: “How do I choose the right book for my child?”

When choosing a book, always start with your child’s interests! Next, you will want to identify your child’s independent reading level. Your child’s classroom teacher has the most up to date information on your child’s level using an alphabetic system from A-Z.

The appropriate leveled book will eliminate a lot of frustration and promote successful, fluent reading. For books that are not at their independent reading level, but are of high interest, an audio book could be a great way to promote their love of reading. Scholastic offers a "Book Wizard" to help match your child’s reading level and interest to an appropriate book.

If your child is still learning to decode the language, they would greatly benefit from additional practice with decodable texts. Decodable books typically focus on a specific sound pattern and include only learned patterns and sight words. With these books, students are able to practice particular sound patterns as they gain confidence in the predictability of the structure of language.

Your child’s teacher is the best resource for choosing an appropriate decodable text as they will know the sound patterns that your child has learned and the patterns they are currently working on.

How Section 504 Applies to Post-Secondary Schools

College admissions can be very confusing, and students who have disabilities need to make sure they have the facts about what their college of choice will be able to offer them in terms of accommodation.

Eastern Connecticut State University has a great article about how 504 plan accommodations may be addressed at the collegiate level.

Preschool Parent Chat

Come listen to other parents who are dealing with many of the same challenges and find ways to make life easier at home!

Topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Why doesn't my child listen to me?
  • How should I respond when my child does not listen to me?
  • Why won’t my child go to bed?
  • Why will my child only eat chicken nuggets and fries?
  • How can I get my children to stop fighting?
  • Why can’t we seem to get out of the house in the morning?
  • How can I support my child’s learning at home?
  • How can I help my child learn to calm down when they are feeling big emotions?

Each chat will be an hour long and include a specific topic based on input from all of you with 20 minutes at the end to tackle other challenges you bring to us that day.

Please read the preschool parent chat newsletter with dates, locations and contact information

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The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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