SSD/Normandy Monthly Communication

Staff and Family Newsletter February 2022

Greetings Families & Staff~

We are forging ahead towards the end of this school year. Can you believe we only have four months left of school? With that, let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the many accomplishments made thus far. Let’s also acknowledge how resilient our young men and women have been despite the many obstacles and unusual times. In these remaining months of school, let's continue to focus on our goals, growth, and accomplishments. To our families, students, and staff, thank you for continuing to show up!


I continue to be grateful for your partnership and the opportunity to serve.


As always, should you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We thank you for your continued commitment and partnership with us. We value your support and collaboration.


Educationally yours,

DeAndria Player, Director of Special Education dmplayer@ssdmo.org

Barbara Champagne, Special Education Coordinator bachampagne@ssdmo.org

Lynette Swift-Elliott, Special Education Coordinator lswift-elliott@ssdmo.org

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We appreciate your service to scholars

Ms. Ora Wilkins, paraprofessional at Barack Obama School, retired in December after 35 years of service in the district. She will be missed and we are forever grateful for her commitment to students.

Ms. Sunni Arcand, teacher at Washington School, retired in December. We will miss her humor and passion for students.

Mr. Garrick Mueller, teacher at Lucas Crossing, has taken another position in education. We wish him well on his new journey.

Ms. Keidra Pelloquin, paraprofessional at Lucas Crossing, has taken a position in higher education. We wish her well on her journey.

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Teaching & Learning

Professional learning will continue to emphasize high-leverage instructional practices. Last semester, the district focused on Explicit Instruction and Promoting Active Student Engagement. During the month of February, professional learning will support teachers’ ability to Create a Positive Learning Environment and Provide Feedback to Students. High leverage practices are evidence-based approaches designed to positively impact the educational success of our students.

The SSD Leadership Team will continue to develop action plans and provide district-wide, small group, and individualized support as we actively engage students, and continue to expand our teachers' educational toolkits.


To learn more about Teaching, Learning, & Accountability please visit https://www.ssdmo.org/Domain/292


~MaShyllia Minor, Instructional Coach

SSD Normandy Schools Collaborative

Click the banner to visit SSD's website for Normandy Schools Collaborative

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Normandy Schools Collaborative Upcoming Events

February 4 Early Dismissal-All Schools

February 8 JEGB Board Meeting 6:00pm

February 11 Early Dismissal -All Schools

February 18 Early Dismissal-All Schools

February 21 President's Day-District Closed

February 25 Early Dismissal-All Schools

Normandy Schools Collaborative Website

Click the banner to visit Normandy Schools Collaborative Website

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SSD's Staff Awards, Milestones, and Retiree Update

Would you like to shine a light on someone whose work supports the District’s mission so brilliantly, it deserves an award? SSD is excited to announce the opening of nominations for our annual awards which recognize the outstanding work of our classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, operations staff and community partners. 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!

Here are the links to each award nomination form:


SSD’s award winners and their nominators (that’s you) will be invited to attend the annual Salute to SSD banquet in the spring (date TBA). This year, all SSD retirees also will be invited to the Salutes banquet and recognized for their dedication to our District.

SWEP 2022 Application: Due February 7th

Attached, you will find the participant application for SWEP 2022. We're so grateful to the Productive Living Board, and to our partner agencies, for continuing to make this important transition opportunity available to residents of St. Louis county.


Please note: Applications are due by February 7. Any applications we receive after that date – even those from previous SWEP participants – will go on a waiting list. Because of the volume of applications we typically receive, we cannot make ANY exceptions to that policy.


Also note: if an applying student is age 18 or older, s/he/they must sign the application and releases. If a student is younger than 18, his/her/their parent or guardian must sign the application and releases. A signature from the wrong person will, at minimum, slow down the process of qualifying a student for the program. It may even prevent a student from being accepted, because we’re unable to secure necessary documentation of an applicant’s disability. Please pass this information along to families applying for the program; if you’re supervising the preparation of student applications, please check for correct signatures.


Please also note that not providing a Social Security number may slow down the process. We do understand that people want to be careful sharing this information, but it's critical to our ability to verify that an applicant is qualified for the program. If a student or family member prefers that I call them to get that information, that's fine - just have them note that on the application.


The guidelines and qualifications are listed on the application. Keep in mind that students must be returning to school (or a school program like VSP) next Fall, live in STL County, and have a qualifying disability to participate.


I do confirm the receipt of all applications. If you've sent me one, and haven't heard back from me for several days, do reach out. Scanning and emailing the application is the most reliable means of sending it, but fax and hard copy mail are fine, also.


My supervisor, Stephanie Guth, and I will coordinate the 2022 program. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call or email me (Stephanie is CC’d on this email).


Thank you for helping to get this application out to potential SWEP participants!


Jeff Strasburg

Assistant Coordinator of SWEP Services

MERS Goodwill

Lippman Center

2545 S. Hanley Rd.

St. Louis, MO 63144


Pronouns: he/him/his


Office: 314-646-5818

Cell: 510-529-6968

Fax: 314-982-8973

jstrasburg@mersgoodwill.org

SWEP 2022 Application

Click the banner to access application

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Parent Leadership Institute

SSD’s Parent Education and Diversity Awareness Program is seeking applicants interested in participating in the Spring 2022 SSD Parent Leadership Institute.

Parent Leadership Institute participants have the opportunity to:


  • Build understanding of future planning and problem-solving utilizing the 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 parents and school personnel.
  • Discover new resources and network with other parents.


This program, which is offered at no cost to participants, is designed for parents and family members who are the educational decision makers for a child with a disability.



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 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February 16, March 2, 9, and 16, at the SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. The institute is offered at no cost and dinner is provided. Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute


PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

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Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness (PEDA): PEDA has several workshops scheduled. The workshops can be found below and on PEDA's website.


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: https://SSDPEDA.as.me/CTLCwithSTLARC

PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Parent Education & Diversity Awareness Program

Click the banner to visit and learn more about PEDA

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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:


· The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis – Feb. 2

· Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK) – March 2

· St. Louis ARC – April 6

· St. Louis County Library – May 4

Family and Community Engagement Spotlight

  1. The Family Resource Hub – 1 min. video highlighting the features. Family Resource Hub Virtual Grand Opening. The Family Resource Hub Sattelite Food Pantry
  2. Variety Club – Free Camp Opportunities – Enrollment ends on 2.7.2022 Variety The Children’s Charity Camp Flyer
  3. Recreation Council Flyer – Summer Program Guides available on 1.21.22 The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis Summer Program Guide Announcement
  4. Youth Mental Health Training for Staff –Kickup registration link: https://pulse.kickup.co/events/browse/SKSWHzR83mUrJ7gpEPUpeh
  5. Youth Mental Health Training for Families – Google link: https://forms.gle/28CzBcceYgadDhJk6
  6. Assistance for families who may have challenges accessing the FREE Covid Tests FREE At-Home COVID Test


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.


You’re welcome to set an appointment to visit.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email FamilyEngagement@ssdmo.org

Family Engagement

Click the banner to learn more about Family & Community Outreach

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 pac@ssdmo.org with any questions.


Love and Light,


Dr. Camesha Carter, SSD PAC President

SSD Parent Advisory Council (PAC)

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.


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)

Get Involved with the SSD PAC

  • Network and communicate with other parents of children who receive special education service.
  • 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.
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Special School District Upcoming Events

February 2 Lunch & Learn with Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis 11:30am

February 8 Board of Education: Work-study Session 5:45pm

February 9 Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Meeting 7pm

February 21 Schools Closed in Observance of Presidents Day

February 22 Board of Education: Business Meeting 5:45pm

February 25 Board of Education: Policy Sub-Committee Meeting 1:30pm

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.