Together We Can
December 6, 2021
It it hard to believe that December has started and we are only a few weeks away from winter break. I want to take just a minute and wish everyone a happy holiday season and say how thankful I am to have joined the GPS team. I look forward to our continued work together.
I also want to thank everyone for all of your comments and input into the final version of the Special Education Action plan. I appreciate the time it took to review the document and to provide input. The plan with be presented at the December 16 Board of Education meeting.
Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports
Meet Our Evaluation Team
Julie Webster, M.A., CCC-SLP (left) is a Speech-Language Pathologist who is licensed in Connecticut and holds national certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Julie received a Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University, and a Bachelor of Health Science degree from Governors State University. During her 20+ years of experience, she has provided treatment to a wide range of age groups from preschool through geriatrics, as well as clients with developmental or acquired communication disorders. Prior to joining the evaluation team, Julie served as a speech-language pathologist for Central Middle School in Greenwich, the Bedford Central School District, and the Chicago Public Schools. She values and enjoys collaborating with other professionals, and students and their families, in order to plan and support their communication needs in the educational setting.
Taylor Bonano, M.S., NCSP (center) is a School Psychologist who holds Connecticut and national certifications. Taylor received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Manhattan College and a Master of Science and Sixth Year Certificate in School Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University. Prior to her role on the evaluation team, she served as an elementary school psychologist within Greenwich and previously worked in the Newtown Public Schools. Taylor enjoys working with adolescents and hopes to provide a deeper understanding of their psychological functioning as it pertains to their learning.
Kathy Mulaire (Right) is an Educational Evaluator who holds an M.Ed. in Special Education and a sixth year certificate in Educational Evaluation from Bank Street College in Manhattan. During this time, she served a year-long practicum at Bank Street evaluating students in both private and public schools in New York City. Kathy has also served a year's internship at the Developmental Unit of Yale Child Study. Prior to working in Connecticut, she evaluated preschool children for Westchester County as part of Family Court. In Connecticut, Kathy has been a resource room teacher, as well as, an evaluator in Fairfield County public schools. Additionally, she has training in Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood Bell approaches to reading instruction.
What We Are Seeing 👀 Around the Schools
Diwali Celebration at Old Greenwich
Ms. Pearson’s preschool class at Old Greenwich celebrated Diwali with the expert assistance of a class parent virtually. What a wonderful cultural experience. The children were able to share in cultural dress, traditions, music and crafts. Thank you to our families for sharing with our preschool community. We are tremendously grateful to learn and grow alongside you.
Julian Curtiss Assistant Principal Mr. Hartigan and School Psychologist Ms. Peters met with Ms. Vitti to discuss data from Functional Behavior Assessments. Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is a process schools use to figure out what is causing challenging behaviors. Due to behavior challenges, some students struggle to learn and an FBA leads to a plan with strategies to improve the behavior.
Getting ready to Read at Parkway
Ms. Vera Kirikades’ first grade class takes a Brain Break on GoNoodle. GoNoodle helps teachers get kids moving with short interactive activities. Desk-side movement helps kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day. Ms, Kirikades' students are dancing their way into reading work.
Workshops and Resources
Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) Membership Update
Be on the lookout for the application in the Superintendent's Family Note to fill vacant seats on the Special Education Advisory Council. The vacant seats are: Community Member, GPS Administrator, Alternate Parent, and Alternate Educator.
A random lottery will be held on Wednesday, December 15 at 4:00 PM to determine which applicants will fill these vacant seats. A full description of these positions can be found in SEAC's bylaws.
The purpose of a Special Education Advisory Council is to build full, equal and equitable partnerships between families, the school District and community partners, on a council that gives advisory opinions to the Board of Education on matters pertaining to the education and safety of students with disabilities.
Please note that general membership is open to any interested GPS parent or guardian of a child with a disability, previously known to have a disability, or suspected of having a disability, under the IDEA or Section 504, or who is currently eligible to receive Special Education or 504 accommodations and services, from ages 3-21, and who are both residents of the Town of Greenwich.
Visit the SEAC website for details
TWICE EXCEPTIONAL (2E) COMMITTEE
Twice Exceptional (2E) refers to students who are both advanced or “gifted” and have a learning disability/difference (SES).
Are you a parent of a Twice-Exceptional student?
Please come join us for one of our PTAC 2E Roundtable discussions this school year!
The PTAC 2E Committee Roundtable provides an opportunity for parents/guardians to share information and resources to help each child realize his/her fullest potential.
ROUNDTABLES 2021/22 SCHOOL YEAR:
All meetings are from 9:30-11:30 and will feature a topic, to be announced in advance.
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