SSD in Affton Monthly Dispatch

May 2022

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.

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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.

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

THE SUMMER RESOURCE PACKET IS HERE! Get tips and tricks to making this your child’s best summer yet.

To access The Summer Resource Packet, click here: PEDA 2022 Summer Resource Packet

To access the YouTube Video of our recent Summer Resource Fair, click here:

Other helpful resources:

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

SSD Family Leadership Institute Applications Coming Soon!: Applications will be available soon for the Fall 2022 semester SSD Family Leadership Institute FLI (Formerly Parent Leadership Institute PLI).

The Institute which has over 275 graduates to date, was created for families in 2007 to offer information, training, and resources. Participants gain the knowledge and skills to effectively collaborate with other families, school personnel and develop leadership for SSD and their home districts.

Participants will:

  • Build understanding of future planning and problem-solving, utilizing Charting the LifeCourse tools;

  • Learn to effectively participate in their child’s education and improve the educational climate for all children;

  • Learn how to positively interact and collaborate with other families and school personnel; and

  • Discover new resources and network with other families.

FLI Graduates have:

  • Served on School boards

  • Been elected as Parent Advisory Council (PAC) President(s)

  • Actively participated in SSD and/or local school district PACs

  • And further increased their leadership training in policy development and mentorship.

Some Quotes from graduates.

  • Thank you so much for everything! I feel very lucky to have found this opportunity.

  • It was helpful to learn how Charting LifeCourse Tools could play a part in every step of the way.

  • The topics and presenters made the program engaging and informative.

  • Learned a lot about planning for my child’s future and the IEP process.

  • I'm really glad I signed up for this program. I had no idea what to expect and learned so much about the available tools and all the SSD processes we will be experiencing during his life.

  • The deep dive on the IEP history/process was incredibly helpful to give a framework on my ability to participate since my family is very new to the IEP process.

  • The IEP information was incredibly helpful. It was a bit like pulling back the curtain on something that was previously a complete mystery.

  • I am so thankful for this workshop and for the information, and materials you’ve shared w/ me. Thanks for facilitating the training so well. It’s great to have a safe space to talk openly with experts and other parents about education, IEPs, 504, Inclusion, challenges, etc. The choice of speaker, topics, resources and lending library was all great.

  • Amazing group of people. Chance for honest conversations. Helps me be a better advocate & team member.

  • Amazing experience – tons of knowledge shared. Lots of great connections with families. Better understanding of the IEP process. I feel empowered to do more – create positive change. Opened my eyes to some realities approaching transition to adulthood.

  • We received a lot of great information in this class! It has made me change the way I look at the whole process, and how I approach things with my daughter. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity!

  • I am no longer feeling so alone & confused. Feel I can be a better advocate.

  • Attending this institute was an awesome opportunity. I turned out to be much more than I expected. It gave me a better understanding about the transition process & how I can best support my child through transition. It generated a lot of ideas for my child’s last IEP. I feel so much more equipped to navigate SSD=land, as well as help others navigate it too.

  • Amazing. Blessing. You’ve enabled me to think more positively and concretely about my son’s future. I have always said “there’s no outline for me to follow” – but you’ve given me the framework I desired, support & connections!

Contact us at or call 314.989.8460 if you have any questions or concerns.

How May I Prepare for an IEP Meeting?

We LOVE when you partner with us to help us make the absolute best plan for your student. Please consider utilizing this planning sheet prior to the IEP to help familiarize yourself with what will be discussed and how you think it could help your student.

Summer Work Experience Program

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.
  • You must be available for the entire 8 weeks of the program.
  • You must have your own transportation to participate in the program.
  • Not everyone who applies to the SWEP program will be able to participate this summer.

If your student is interested, please reach out to their case manager for the application OR download the application that is attached below ~


Application SWEP 2022.pdf


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Family and Community Engagement

I hope that you are well. I recognize that this year has been like no other and that you are all short on time. So, I am writing a brief message to share a few supports/opportunities from our department. Please feel free to share these documents and links with those that may benefit from these services. As always, let us know if there are any additional supports needed.

  1. The Family Resource Hub –

    1. Family Resource Hub Virtual Grand Opening Video

    2. Family Resource Hub Flyer

    3. Satellite Food Pantry Flyer

  2. Variety Club – Free Camp Opportunities – Enrollment ends on 2.7.2022

  3. Recreation Council Flyer – Summer Program Guides available on 1.21.22

  4. Youth Mental Health Training for Staff –Kickup registration link:

  5. Youth Mental Health Training for Families – Google link:

  6. Assistance for families who may have challenges accessing the FREE Covid Tests

Thanks for sharing! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. - Adrienne Eaglin

The Family Resource Hub located at North Tech High School is a space dedicated to families and our community stakeholders. The resource hub offers families computer and internet access, a satellite food pantry, and support navigating community resources. The space is also dedicated to supporting families by hosting learning labs, community events, and a safe and supportive environment to learn with and from one another.

Set an appointment to meet us there.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email

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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

Health and Wellness

With warmer weather on the way, you can boost your mood by being outside and connecting with nature. According to the American Psychological Association’s article Nurtured by Nature, research shows that spending time in nature (as little as two hours a week) can have cognitive benefits, increase happiness, and improve social interactions. During your daily time outside, try using a mindfulness strategy to help you to slow down and be present in a month that seems to fly by. Take a walk and practice this grounding technique to engage your five senses.

  • 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Grounding Technique

    • Acknowledge FIVE things you can SEE. This can be a flower, the roots of a tree, or anything around you.

    • Acknowledge FOUR things you can HEAR. This may be a car driving by, birds chirping, or your own deep breaths.

    • Acknowledge THREE things you can TOUCH. Perhaps you can feel the wind, the sun on your face, or dew on the grass.

    • Acknowledge TWO things you can SMELL. Stop to smell a flower on your walk or notice the smell of fresh-cut grass.

    • Acknowledge ONE thing you can TASTE. Maybe you can still taste your morning coffee or think of one of your favorite things to eat.

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SSD Virtual Lunch and Learn

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:

Your Feedback is Important to Us!

In February we reported on the results that you provided us regarding things that are going well and things that we can work on. I am happy to communicate with you all some changes that we have made and some communication regarding how related service providers in Affton are communicating with you below.

1. Monthly Newsletter of what we are working on

2. Canvas- monthly reminders about canvas activities, new activities posted

3. Positive Communicate- phone calls with student, emails, hand-written notes

4. Progress Notes Quarterly

5. Positive note every time a student fills their "star" behavior chart

6. Emails as needed- we always reach out to parents if there is something to be communicated (if a student is falling behind, when things are coming up, or when they do something amazing). Often it is through email, but we do call parents as well.

7. Parent Teacher conferences

8. IEP conferences

9. Letter at the beginning of the year providing contact information.

10. Holiday help communication

11. We complete behavior sheets as appropriate when students have them for our session as appropriate dependent on team decisions.

12. Communication with outside agencies.

13. Re-evaluation meetings

Not all related service providers are doing all of these things, but these are some examples of how our Affton related service providers are trying to communicate with you. If this is not meeting your current needs, please reach out to them directly so that we can do better to support your family.

Affton PAC Meetings

We hope you consider attending our monthly PAC meetings! There will not be one in the summer months, but we have them most months on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 via Google Meet to make them more accessible to all. These meetings are run by Stephanie Hand and Angie Hanks. Stephanie and Angie are amazing volunteers that care deeply about creating a community for everyone in Affton. We hope that you find an active role in this committee next year! More information will follow after the beginning of the school year!
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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.