SSD Ladue Schools September 2021

Community Engagement Newsletter

Ladue Schools Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan 2021-22 School Year

The Ladue School District worked to create a “Return to Learn Plan” that would not prevent disruption to instruction, which included a tiered system to allow the district to move between instructional tiers as the pandemic evolved and as directed by the CDC and local health agencies.

The district created a Medical Task Force, composed of local doctors and other medical experts, who provided invaluable advice and helped us navigate through the pandemic. In addition, we received public input through stakeholder surveys from both staff and families. COVID-19 updates were also included in the Board of Education meetings. School Health information was provided to the community through weekly updates on the district’s website under the COVID Data Dashboard.

Our plan will continue to be reviewed and adjusted throughout the school year based on current trends, data, federal and local health guidance as well as staff and community input. In addition, district administrators continue to meet with our Medical Task Force and work with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health throughout the school year to ensure our students and staff are in a safe environment. As adjustments are made to the original plan, we will communicate to our parents and staff through emails, newsletter and video messages, and social media.

More information regarding the safe return to in-person plan can be found at

If you have questions specific to special education, please reach out to the special education administrator as listed below:

Sonia Shelton

Special Education Coordinator – Elementary Schools


James Sievers

Special Education Coordinator – Secondary Schools


Catina Lyles, Ph.D.

SSD Director of Special Education

Ladue Schools

The First Week!

Big picture

The first week of the 2021-22 school year was filled with many smiles as teachers and students reunited over fun getting-to-know-you activities. Ms. Wilkinson is enjoying connecting and reconnecting with her students at Old Bonhomme Elementary.

Welcoming New Staff

Big picture
A new school year brings new experiences for both students and staff. Reed Elementary welcomes Ashmika Ramsingh to her first year as a resource teacher for SSD. Ashmika is originally from South Africa, but has been living in St. Louis for the past seven years. She received her degree from University Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) in December 2020, completed student teaching at Parkway School district, and worked for Parkway as a teacher assistant. When she is not working with students, she enjoys spending time outdoors, playing pickleball, hiking, and traveling with her husband.


Often times the start of a new school year can bring an increased feeling of anxiety for families and students. It’s normal for families to have a tough time transitioning themselves when their kids begin kindergarten, move on to the next grade, or transition to a new school. For many families, they are experiencing the loss of some control. It is important for families to remember they can’t control experiences and stress for their kids. Instead, she says families should be focused on helping their kids understand how they feel, talk it through, and learn how to cope with whatever’s going on. There are a number of ways that families and children can manage the stress that can come with the start of a new school year:

  • Differentiate stress from stressors. Stressors are what activates the stress response in your body. Stressors can be anything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine could do you harm. Stress is the neurological and physiological shift that happens in your body when you encounter one of these threats. The stress response = fight / flight / freeze.

  • Just because you’ve dealt with the stressor doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with the stress itself.

  • The key is to “complete the stress cycle” - i.e. to remove stress from the body in ways that work for YOU. Below are the 7 evidence-based strategies for completing the stress cycle
Big picture

Learning Routines at Fifth Grade Center

Big picture

In the first week of school, Fifth Grade Center students are working hard on learning their new routines and schedule. Fifth Grade Center teachers are enjoying building a rapport with the students. They shared, "We have begun addressing student goals and looking at data collection tools. The team looks forward to gathering more baseline data and starting our new curriculum." Those routines and schedules are one of the ways the special education staff work to build community with the fifth graders. Pictured above, you will see some of the routines posted in our classrooms.

Big picture

Lunch & Learn

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:

Business Spotlight

Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) is a St Louis nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. KEEN St. Louis' local Board of Directors is comprised of community leaders, parents and volunteers with the purpose of providing skills and expertise to the organization helping to ensure that it remains true to KEEN’s mission: providing free recreational opportunities to children and young adults with disabilities by pairing them with trained volunteers for fun, noncompetitive activities.

If you would like to find out more about KEEN, visit their website:

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: