Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

January 6, 2020 Volume 2 Issue 5

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Important Dates


1- Happy New Year!

9- SEPAG Meeting

20- Martin Luther King Day- Schools Closed


4-5- Parent Teacher Conferences

13- Early Dismissal for Students- Staff Professional Development

14- No School for Students- Staff Professional Development

17- Presidents' Day- Schools Closed

Upcoming Events

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Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)


Our SEPAG has been featured in the November issue of the SPAN Parent Leadership E-News! Here is a link to the article- The article is also printed in it's entirety below.

SPAN is the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network. If you would like to sign up for the e-news, you can do it here-

We have a Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) in the district. Each district board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.2(h).

Our first meeting of this school year occurred on 10/25/19. Many thanks to those of you who were able to attend. At our first meeting we determined other meeting dates for this school year. They are as follows:

  • January 9
  • March 5
  • May 7

All meetings will be held in the Davies IMC from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Please contact Marylynn Stecher- if you would like to serve as a member of this group and you will be added to the email group to get reminders of meetings.

Managing Behaviors

Easy, Friendly, and Effective: Behavior Tweaks That Really Work

Bad behavior kicks emotions — yours and your child’s — into high gear. Keep cool and calm instead, with these low-stress strategies that will improve your child’s behavior.


When our children misbehave, we want to know how to stop the misbehavior as soon as possible. Whether your children are ignoring your instructions, whining or crying when they don’t get what they want, begging to buy something each time you go to the store, climbing on furniture, throwing things in anger, being aggressive with you or with siblings, or breaking some other rule, these “stop behaviors” can make parents frustrated.

There is much we can do to influence our children — to keep the misbehavior from escalating, to defuse an emotionally charged situation, and to help them stop misbehaving. We know that shouting, ignoring, giving in, or bribing and threatening a child are lost causes when it comes to turning around our kids’ behavior.

Here are some strategies that will help put a stop to those misbehaviors:

Keep It Friendly

My first guideline, to stay friendly, may be the hardest. Practice speaking in a low, calm voice, even if you are feeling stressed or annoyed. Friendliness often calls forth willingness from our children, and they are likely to meet us halfway, gradually becoming less antagonistic and more willing to cooperate. Knowing this, we can spend a moment being friendly, showing our appreciation for any tiny positive part of whatever they are doing.

Find Something to Praise

For example, we could say: “Those ornaments are so pretty and shiny, and you’re being so careful with them. Now it’s time to put them back.”

Use your metaphorical magnifying glass to find some bits of OK behavior, or even a momentary pause in the misbehavior. If your child has spoken disrespectfully, wait a few seconds, until she pauses for breath, and say: “You’re not being rude or disrespectful now. I can hear that you’re upset, but now you’re controlling yourself. You’re using your words, not your body, to show how angry you are.”

Get Close

If your child is still misbehaving after you have praised him, immediately stop whatever you are doing, go to where he is, and stand very close to him. You may find that your close presence is enough to get him behaving properly again. In fact, many parents report that, as they are in the act of crossing the room, their child, who a moment ago seemed oblivious to everything except what he was doing, either stops the misbehavior altogether or de-escalates it considerably. When this happens, it gives parents the opportunity to praise some more. You might say, “I didn’t need to tell you to stop ripping that piece of paper. You stopped by yourself.”

Give Clues

Instead of giving direct instruction to a child who seems unlikely to comply, you can give a clue to help your child figure out what to do. Let’s say your daughter is jumping on the bed, and there is a rule in your house about not jumping on the furniture. She will probably have stopped jumping by the time you walk over to her and wait a few seconds. But if she is still jumping, don’t say, “Stop jumping!” or “How many times have I told you?” Say in a calm voice: “You know the rule about where you can jump.”

This generally makes children pause in their misbehavior, so seize the moment to praise and listen: “You’re remembering the rule. You probably wish we didn’t have this rule, but I’m glad you remember it.”

Offer Alternatives

When we need to stop our children’s fun, offer an alternative activity. You might say: “I can see you want to hold a sharp knife, but you know the rules. We do not play with knives. But tonight you can help me cut the quiche. I know you want to be careful, and I will be there to help you.”

Make It a Rule for Everyone

It can help to depersonalize our instruction by stating that something is a family rule that applies to all family members. You could say: “This family has a very important rule—no hurting or frightening the cat. We are gentle with our pets.” By now your child will probably be cooperating.


Another effective way to help our children want to cooperate is to show them that we understand how frustrated and annoyed they feel when we interrupt their fun. We imagine how the child might be feeling, and we reflect that feeling in words to the child: “You’ve got so much energy, and you love jumping. You wish you could jump on the sofa. What’s our rule about jumping? [Your child tells you.] Yes. You can jump on the trampoline, not on the furniture.”

Put It in the Positive

Your child may misbehave even after using all these techniques. In that case, you will need to tell him what he has to do. It is more motivating for children to hear what they should do, rather than what they should not do. “Put the salt shaker down, please” is an easier instruction to follow than “Stop playing with that.” “Talk quietly, please” is likely to get a better response than “Stop shouting.”


shared by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP):

The National Center on Improving Literacy developed two tool kits to help families take part in literacy experiences at home. The first toolkit, Supporting Your Child’s Literacy Development, provides strategies, tips, and activities for families to help their child develop as a reader.

The second tool kit, Supporting Students with Reading Needs, developed in collaboration with the Idaho State Department of Education, helps parents and families use everyday time together as an opportunity for learning and building reading skills.

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency."

For more information, click on this link.

Project Child Find

Parents of Hamilton Township who are concerned that their school age child (3 years to 21 years) may have special needs can receive assistance from the local school district's Child Study Team. In addition, the Hamilton Township Schools are organizing a Child Find campaign to locate and provide services for children ages three to five who may have physical, cognitive, language or emotional difficulties. Information also may be obtained on how and where to receive services for children with special needs who are younger than three. Professional guidance, assessment and an educational program are all available free for eligible children. For more information contact the Hamilton Township School District Child Study Team office at 476-6111.

The Project Child Find Fact Sheet

NJDOE Project Child Find Information


Administrative Team

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher

Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak

Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington

Notice of Nondiscrimination

The Hamilton Township School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, ancestry, disability, age, or social or economic status in its programs and activities.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Marylynn Stecher

Affirmative Action Officer



For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.