Together We Can

June 12, 2023

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WOW! This is the last newsletter for the school year and 2022-23 has just flown by. There has been so much going on during these last few weeks of school. Take a look at all amazing photographs we are sharing today.

I want to thank all of the school staff, parents, and community members for all their work in supporting our students. This collaboration is what is helping our students succeed.

Have a great summer! I look forward to reconnecting with you all in the fall.


Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports

What We Are Seeing 👀 Around the Schools

Dreams Come True

High school students in the Windrose program delivered an amazing interactive play to PreK students at New Lebanon School.

"Dreams Come True" is an interactive play, designed by the high school students where they dressed up as Disney characters and superheroes and taught the preschoolers at New Lebanon how to believe and follow their dreams. Cinderella, Superman, Belle, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh's friends, Batman, and Green Lantern were some of the characters in this presentation that taught students the value of friendship and preserving when following your dreams.

This event was possible with the help of Greenwich Alliance for Education.


Have you ever wondered what it was like living in one of the original 13 American colonies? Fifth graders in Mrs. Cooke's, Mrs. Bartlett's, and Mrs. Levine's classes are doing their research. Students selected a colony and worked in small groups to research and create a project to convince Europeans to settle in the colony.

Riverside SESS Parent Coffee

Social workers Valerie Saltz and Stephanie Lopez presented on Executive Functioning at the Riverside Coffee and Conversations at Riverside School.

Animal Research at Riverside

Students in Ms. Cullen’s first grade class are working on their animal research group projects. Each group is researching an animal from a different animal classification

Speech and Language at New Lebanon

New Lebanon School’s Speech & Language pathologist Ms. Kraemer engaged a group of third grade students in a session which focused on supporting them in expressing their thinking. In one activity, the students played a game of Headbands where they needed to provide clues to each other in order to support them in identifying the object on their headband. In another activity, the students made their way through a maze by describing similarities and differences to various illustrations throughout the path. The students did a fabulous job working together and supporting each other with their thinking!

Field Day at Parkway School

Parkway Pride was on full display for Field Day 2023 on June 6! Students enjoyed the gaga pit, water relay, obstacle course, knock out, and sack races as teachers and parents cheered them on! What a wonderful day for all!

Hamilton Avenue Fun Run Fundraiser

Hamilton Avenue School's Fun Run Fundraiser is in full effect! All students, K-5, have the opportunity to showcase their skills, run hard and have fun in this event! This fundraiser raises money for enrichment programs and to strengthen the overall community of the Hamilton Avenue School!

English at Eastern Middle School

Students in Mrs. Cheney's and Mrs. Gardner's English class at EMS analyze power dynamics in relationships. After reading a selection, students annotate and underline evidence to support the dynamics on each side of a relationship. Students work in pairs to take a deep dive into the story to find evidence to support their view and then share information with the class.

Call of the Wild at Central

Ms. Kane's reading class at Central Middle School is reading "Call of the Wild" by Jack London. The class uses leveled reading books to ensure that everyone has just the "right" level to enjoy this classic.

Predicting at Western

Do you like spiders? Have you ever walked through a spider web? Mr. Ligori’s English class at Western Middle School is reading about spiders and what it feels like to walk through spider webs, while practicing skills and strategies they have learned.

Before reading, students share their background knowledge and make predictions. During reading, students make inferences, identify the main characters and their feelings, ask questions, and share thoughts with each other about spiders. Following the reading, students answer comprehension questions related to the story and discuss with each other.

Welcome to the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) Lab

Students in the ADL class at Greenwich High School utilize the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) Lab, a pre-vocational program to expose students to different vocational opportunities giving them experience in different fields.

AP Testing is Over!

Special thanks to all who helped with this monumental undertaking, especially school counselors, psychologists, social workers, media specialists, department substitutes, and GHS administrators, for finding time to help proctor these tests.

In case you were curious...GHS AP Testing by the Numbers:

  • 2,565 tests administered in 13 days of testing (10 days of regular testing and three days of makeup/conflict testing)
  • 993 students took AP exams
  • 30 different subject exams administered
  • 66 GHS staff members proctored (many more than once!)
  • Four different testing platforms: paper and pencil, plus three different digital testing platforms dependent on exam!
  • Our biggest exam was English Language with 295 exams administered
  • Did you know that GHS has no choice on which days and times tests are offered?

We added another AP Course to our COSG for next year, so these numbers are bound to increase! We will continue to look for efficiencies and mechanisms to reduce disruption while still providing the best possible testing environment for our students.

Workshops and Resources

Inclusion Corner with Rachel Rubin

In last month’s Inclusion Corner, I shared some information and resources on a topic that impacts us ALL– Executive Functioning (EF). As a reminder, Executive Functioning (EF) is “A set of cognitive skills that act together to help you achieve a goal” (PINE, 2023). These skills develop at different times throughout a person’s life. When one hasn’t yet developed certain EF skills, they may struggle with starting, sustaining, or completing certain tasks, especially when given time constraints or there are added stressors. But remember, EF is a set of skills that can be taught. In a podcast called “Full PreFrontal”, child clinical psychologist and co-author of “Smart but Scattered”, Dr. Peg Dawson, shared 3 strategies to develop these “crucial ‘habits of mind’” while not lowering expectations.

Strategies to support EF skill development:

  1. Adapting the environment or time frame to set your child up for success. For example, break a task into smaller chunks.

  2. Create routines that explicitly teach specific skills that compensate for deficits. For example, if a child often forgets their school materials, create the routine of using a checklist to ensure they have their materials before leaving the house. When appropriate, engage with your child to collaboratively talk through the struggles and create a plan/ routine together.

  3. Find ways to motivate your child to practice the strategies that you’re trying to teach them. Yes, this may include incentivizing and definitely includes giving them specific positive feedback. For example, if a child is working on sustaining a task (such as homework) to complete it in a timely manner, you may tell them, “If you do get your homework done by 6 o’clock, then you get to [do/ play preferred activity]”. Once they complete their homework, you may give them positive feedback by saying, “That assignment was tough for you but you showed persistence (or you stuck with it). I’m impressed with how hard you worked”. While not everyone agrees with using incentives as motivation, Dr. Dawson says, “if incentives enable them to get that practice time and then to me, they’re worth considering.”

For more information, to listen to the podcast, and to read the podcast transcript, head to the website dedicated to the podcast.

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The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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