SSD/Valley Park Monthly Dispatch

October 2021

Staff Spotlight

We will continue to celebrate some of our amazing team members each month! I have asked them to share some of their professional and personal highlights. Please check out 2 of our staff below: Ms. Sachs and Ms. Gail!!!

Ms. Sachs - I am always so impressed with your ability to make high school math accessible for all of our learners. AND the focus on post-secondary planning for your students!

Ms. Gail - You are the queen of scheduling and figuring out how to meet the needs of students grades 4-12. AND you then personalize their therapy sessions to meet each need.

Thank you both for your years of dedication.

~ Julie ~

Corrin Sachs, HS teacher


This makes my 25th year in education 🙂

Undergrad-Southeast Missouri State- Exceptional Child 1996

Masters-Webster University-Educational Technology 2003

I love traveling with my husband and my son all over our beautiful country. I enjoy hiking, biking, cooking, and landscaping.

What is your favorite part of being a SSD team member in Valley Park?

Valley Park is my family. I love my students, my families, and all of the wonderful staff I get to work with! My career has taken me to many different places and settings-VP is my favorite by far 🙂

A highlight of your career ~ I have many students that keep in touch and I am so proud to hear how well they are doing. I couldn't be prouder of what they are accomplishing. Whether they are moving up in their chosen career field, serving our country in the military or continuing their education, they have a bright future ahead of them. It always makes my day to hear from them!

Jill Gail, SLP

Education/Professional Back Ground – MS in Communication Disorders from Fontbonne University

Over 20 years in Education:

Franklin County Co-op: Itinerant Early Childhood and Functional Students

St. Clair School District: Self-contained Language Classroom K-3, Itinerant Middle and High School and grades 3-5 Functional Students

SSD: Rockwood 2 years self-contained Language Classroom K-5

This is my 13th year at Valley Park

I have been married for 10 years to Charles. My daughter is 37 and lives in Washington, MO. My son is 34 and lives in Chicago, IL. I enjoy working with all of my students. Hobbies include cooking, reading, gardening, and travel.

What is your definition of Limitless Learning?

The opportunity for ALL students to be given the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways in all environments that suits each individual’s learning style. True differentiation for all students not limited by disabilities.

What is your favorite part of being a SSD team member in Valley Park?

The SSD teachers at Valley Park all work together to help each other and to provide the best services we can for our students. The SSD teachers at VP are truly there for each other and have each other’s backs.

A highlight of your career ~

Having one of my students win the Rosemary Zander award. Several students that have earned the A+ award and gone on to attend two or four year colleges. I have never case-managed a student that did not graduate.

SSD Parent Advisory Council

We do currently have a parent representative (thank you Shanna!) - however - if you are also interested in this opportunity, please email me! ~ Julie

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.

Message to Families - from Valley Park

One Community. One Campus. Limitless Learning.

The Valley Park School District is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment of belonging where personalized learning experiences prepare our students holistically for limitless opportunities, empowering them to make the world a better place.

Please keep up to date with Dr. Dilg's communications in regards to our Return to Learn Plan:

VP: To access key school information, please go to the following sites:

Valley Park Elementary School:

Valley Park Middle School:

Valley Park High School:

Valley Park Early Childhood Center:

Health and Wellness

There has been much guidance and resources around supporting students through COVID-19. We have noticed students have shown a tremendous amount of resilience in their ability to adapt to changes in the school setting and daily practices to ensure safety. Routines have supported our students in their transitions into the school year. Below are examples of some of the strategies that students benefit from in order to cope in times of adversity. Challenge yourself to explore these strategies and try them out. Remember, progress is slow, and even if you practice 1 minute a day, this is still progress! According to Medium small increments get BIG results.

  1. Evaluate and identify your core values:

Core values are the personal standards that guide our choices. Ask yourself what is most important? Then start making choices that align with these core values to live a life full of meaning and purpose. Indeed will walk you through the “6 Steps to Discover Your Core Values.”

  1. Set daily Intentions:

Intentions, a commitment to yourself, can help increase productivity and maintain a positive outlook despite daily adversities. We cannot stop the waves but we can learn to surf! So set an intention to be more aware, listen more, or be open to changes that occur in your day. This helps set you up to be more resilient throughout your day. You can learn more about how to set daily intentions at

  1. Mindfulness:

Wherever you are in your life, mindfulness can meet you there. Mindfulness, according to is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Do you ever feel like you are on auto-pilot? Do you arrive at your destination only to realize that you can’t recall your drive, only your arrival? Mindfulness is evidenced-based and can decrease stress/ anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, symptoms of ADHD, and emotional regulation. Begin using mindfulness during daily routines to practice. Check out the mindful website for ways you can practice daily mindfulness.

Give one of these a try.

Virtual Lunch & Learn series for SSD families and stakeholders

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:

SSD Parent Education (PEDA)

The Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) Program invites families and community members to visit our Family and Community Resource Center at the Learning Center in Hazelwood. The program is excited to offer a diverse collection of materials, including many new books that are ready to be shared.

PEDA has several workshops scheduled for October. These include:

WORKSHOP: Planning for the Future - Augmentative Communication Funding

Oct. 14, 2021

Starts at 12:30 PM


Augmentative Communication facilitators from Special School District will discuss ways that families and students can pursue funding for augmentative communication devices. An additional discussion will include what the process is for families to purchase dedicated communication systems for their student when considering transition and post-secondary outcomes.

WORKSHOP: Why is my Child Misbehaving? (This is a workshop for families who have early childhood aged children)

Oct. 20, 2021

Starts at 12:30 PM


This training will focus on early childhood specific positive parenting strategies to manage challenging behavior. Parents will leave with hands-on strategies that can be implemented in the home setting.

Along with workshops, PEDA also has a Family and Community Resource Center at the Hazelwood Learning Center that has books and resources available for check out. Families and community members are welcome to visit the center and/or contact PEDA with inquiries. In the Spring of 2022, PEDA will be hosting another Parent Leadership Institute and will begin taking applications soon. Please contact us at 314.989.8460 or if you have any questions and visit our website at

VP Upcoming Events

Valley Park Families! As you plan for this school year - here is the calendar. Click in to to see all the important dates for your hawk! As always, dates are subject to change. #VPPride

Contact Us

Special School District of St. Louis County

12110 Clayton Road

Town & Country, MO 63131

Phone: 314‐989‐8100

Julie Schroeder

Dana Evans

Christy Mirth

SSD Valley Park Feedback

Families - we want to hear from you! If you have a celebration, concern, or idea for our SSD team - please add it to this survey. I will do my best to consider all feedback ~

Big picture