SSD Ladue Schools

November 2021

Celebrating you this week during National School Psych Awareness Week Nov. 8-12, 2021.

This week we would like to celebrate our amazing school psychologists.

Susan Bartels

Susan Easton

Jennifer Mueller

Rachael Woerther

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.

Best Buddies Club Sponsored by Kelly Gonzales and Maureen Rocco at Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Best Buddies is an inclusive club that helps students with disabilities make genuine connections to socialize with peers. Students are matched with another "buddy" who they talk to regularly, eat lunch with, text, hang out outside of school, and do club activities together with. There are also "associate" members who are not matched up who are there for the fun and inclusive environment. This is the 6th year for the Best Buddies Club.

Best Buddies is a National club. More information can be found on their website:

Interested families can reach out to Kelly Gonzales or Maureen Rocco

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Kindness is 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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Instructional Resource Center

Are you looking for resources to support your child’s education at home. Have you visited The Instructional Resource Center (IRC), located inside SSD's Central Office? Families and staff can check out instructional materials, software, professional books, and adaptive and assistive devices. Instructional Resource Center Please visit their website to see what they have to offer, the location and how to contact them.

Ladue staff and SSD staff are always working together to ensure instructional supports are in place to meet the needs of all students. One example of this collaboration is the instructional coaches from Ladue and Special School District working together to collaborate around best instructional practices for student learning. Pictured below: Starting at the far left and moving clockwise-Tricia Casalmir (Instructional Coach for SSD), Stacy Alvord, Robyn Haug, and Angela Kelly (Instructional Coaches for Ladue).

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Parent Education and Diversity Awareness Program (PEDA)

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:

Supported Decision Making: Hands On Toolkit to Build Capacity (in collaboration with St. Louis Arc)

December 9, 6:30 PM

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

When an individual with a disability becomes 18, they are legally an adult. This workshop is designed to help families understand the options they have to help their loved one make good decisions and build a circle of support. Using tools from Missouri Supported Decision Making Consortium and Charting the LifeCourse, Debra and Sharon will coach your family how to access each of the six life domains (health, employment, safety, etc.) and create a plan that uses a variety of resources to build self-determination skills. This workshop is ideal for primary caregivers, their family member with a disability, and siblings or other key people who support planning and problem solving in their lives. Small groups will use Zoom breakout rooms to start creating their own supported decision-making plans with templates from the Missouri Supported Decision Making Consortium.

Register online for this event through St. Louis Arc's online registration platform.

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

Lunch & Learn with SSD

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Communications, and Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) 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:

Special School District is Now Hiring!!!

Here is the link to all the postings for jobs in Special School District.

Stay Connected with Special School District Find us on Social Media

Special School District recognizes the value and increasing role of online social media in an education realm. To increase our communication efforts, we have accounts on four social media sites:


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