SPrEaD the word

Vol. 2 Iss. 2 (09.03.2020)

Welcome back!

I hope you have found the professional development and planning opportunities helpful. I know that you all have many unanswered questions about special education: service delivery models, COVID-19 Learning Plans, data collection, etc.. I do hope that you will take the time to add your questions to the Sped Dept Meeting form that I sent out. I am hopeful that I will be able to answer some of those questions in this edition of "SPrEaD the word" and/or at that meeting. I am also open to hosting drop-in sessions to be available for questions that come up once we get back with our students.

Today, I joined the Special Education Director's Zoom with Russell Johnston. I can honestly say that he and his team are listening to the feedback they are getting from districts. For example, the initial fall remote learning plan was still called an Individualized Remote Learning Plan and it was 9, yes NINE pages long. Boy did the chatbox explode!! After those comments and separate emails directors sent, the following Zoom presented some positive changes:

  • we aren't all remote so the plan needed a more applicable name
  • because this plan does not change the IEP or placement, it is important to document the services during this "new normal"
  • the plan was modified to include the specifics

Our plan is very similar to DESE's final revision. This was done for a few reasons:

  1. Many districts chose to use this version because it was posted to the DESE website and thinking is if advocates and families see that it was born in Malden, then districts are starting in the right place.
  2. DESE mentioned they would be working to get this version translated!

Also during this Zoom, Russell and his team also released the revised "COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for Schools and District Regarding Special Education" document. You might find some of the answers to your questions here, or at least some clarification. I am also working on an FAQ document for our special education department that will be shared with you and our families. I had hoped to have that done when we released the cohort assignments; however, there were unanswered questions (quite frankly, there still are! This is still the first pandemic for MA, DESE, your administrators, and all of you.

Just as I did during the spring, I do plan to release a "SPrEad the word" at least weekly, or sooner if updates are released. Many of the topics and resources that are included in these smore newsletters come directly from questions and conversations with all of you. So please continue to reach out to your Team Chairperson or me. I will do my very best to get back to you as soon as possible. Please know that I am also working to advocate for our out of district students (who are extremely high need) and there are some who are still remote and others who are returning for only two days per their hybrid model.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility as we embark on this new journey. We are in this together!

Enjoy the long, holiday weekend,


Top Priority!

We all know how important relationships are. We all know that communication is the key to successful relationships. With that said, it is my expectation that by Friday, September 18th, you will all have reached out to and connected with your families via telephone, email, Class DoJo, Remind, or Google Classroom. Please introduce yourself and let them know that you will be contacting them for a more in-depth conversation about their child's service delivery and the hybrid learning model because their input is important. PLEASE NOTE: This does not mean the COVID-19 Service Learning Plans are due by then! We will discuss this more during our meeting.

COVID-19 Service Learning Plans

Please refer to the special edition "SPrEaD the word" that featured this learning plan. I will be addressing your questions during next Friday's Department Meeting. Additionally, I will be holding voluntary Service Learning Plan drop-in Q& A sessions via Zoom. The Zoom link is hyperlinked to the date listed the below.

Tues., Sept. 8th 3:00-4:00PM: Meeting ID: 770 2451 5023; Passcode: m23Mee

Wed., Sept. 9th 3:00-4:00 PM: Meeting ID: 770 2451 5023; Passcode: m23Mee

Thurs., Sept. 10th 3:00-4:00PM: Meeting ID: 770 2451 5023; Passcode: m23Mee

Wed., Sept. 16th 12:30-2:00PM: Meeting ID: 798 6795 0444; Passcode: 33146d

Thurs., Sept. 17th 3:00-4:00PM: Meeting ID: 712 5526 7310; Passcode: R87272

Special Education Department Meeting

On Friday, September 11th from 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM, we will "gather together" as a department. To make the most of our time together, I am asking that you share any questions you have in this form. I will leave this open until Thursday at 10AM.

Accommodation Resources for Virtual Implementation

Activities/Lesson Planning Resources and Ideas

How do I.....