SSD/Parkway Newsletter

January 2022

Dear Parkway Families,


Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that the calendar has turned and we’re already in 2022. While celebrating the start of a new year is always exciting, within education, when we hear the words Happy New Year, we can’t help but think of August and the excitement of a new school year, a fresh start, and the opportunity to watch students grow over the 9-10 months. This bonus ‘new year’ celebration during the school year is a time for us to pause, take note of the progress already made, and plan for what’s to come during this second half of the school year. As you send your students back to us for this second half of the year, I’d like to express my gratitude for your trust in us. The team of special educators assembled in Parkway is filled with dedicated, determined, and compassionate individuals that are here to support your students and your families. Thank you for partnering with us to help your students reach their potential.


We are still actively looking to fill our current vacancies. Each recommendation you make of a potential staff member is appreciated. I’m including the link again to share for the Paraprofessional position posted on the SSD Website. Please share the name of the potential employee you are recommending with the Special Education Coordinator assigned to your student’s school so that we can continue to have the opportunity to fill Parkway with outstanding staff that care for and challenge all of our students to reach their greatest potential.


In collaboration,

Dr. Amy Blumenfeld

Director of Special Education

314-989-8435 / ablumenfeld@ssdmo.org

314-415-5297 / ablumenfeld2@parkwayschools.net

SSD Student Scholarship Deadline Approaching!


The Special Education Foundation (SEF) sponsors the John Cary Scholarships for high school seniors, as well. Applications are due Jan. 24, 2022.


For more information, please contact Deana Parsons, SSD internal communications coordinator, at dmparsons@ssdmo.org or 314.989.8102.

LUNCH AND LEARN SERIES

Join us for SSD's 2022 Lunch and Learn Series.


All sessions will take place from 11:30 - 12:00 pm and can be accessed by using the unique link provided below or by subscribing to the SSD YouTube channel.


Wednesday, February 2nd Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis

https://youtu.be/RyQUnYmtsmI


Wednesday, March 2nd Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK)

https://youtu.be/N9-vSsUSNtk


Wednesday, April 6th St. Louis ARC

https://youtu.be/I9fglUYCj7o


Wednesday, May 4th St. Louis County Library

https://youtu.be/F8_l5gJbom8


These resources have been identified within our community and our sharing of them via the Lunch and Learn series is not an endorsement of services by SSD.

WE SALUTE OUR STAFF AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Special School District has a long history of celebrating outstanding teachers, paraprofessionals, community members, and other SSD employees who stand out for their tremendous work in helping our students succeed. Each spring, the District honors these individuals with a number of awards.

If you know an SSD employee or a community member deserving of an award, please consider nominating them. The nomination deadline is February 7, 2022.


Key to the Classroom Award

The Key to the Classroom Award recognizes the achievements of SSD classroom teachers who have demonstrated exceptional skill, dedication, and learning success with students. The qualities sought in teachers for this award reflect those required for Missouri Teacher of the Year. These teachers are often the key to learning for their students and are resourceful in finding ways to reach students of all abilities and backgrounds. They often are ambassadors for their school or district in the community, as well.


Click here to submit a nomination for the Key to the Classroom Award.


Building Block Award

The Building Block Award recognizes paraprofessionals from around the District who show outstanding skill and dedication to SSD students. Paraprofessionals include teacher assistants, teacher aides, certified occupational therapy assistants, and physical therapy assistants. Their work is like an essential block in a larger structure, built by many hands and shaped by many talents.


Click here to submit a nomination for the Building Block Award


Lasting Impression Award

The Lasting Impression Award recognizes SSD staff whose work has made a positive impact in SSD in ways that are not directly associated with student support. These staff members are often people whose work is done either outside the classroom or as support for teachers, counselors, and therapists. Much like a leaf can create an imprint in stone, their contributions can leave a lasting impression that shows how much they care about the District and its mission.


Candidates for this award are part of the team of professionals that includes: administrative professionals, administrators, audiologists, bus drivers and aides, equipment modifiers/fabricators, homebound staff, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, sign language interpreters, social workers, Special Non-Public Access staff, speech/language pathologists and other operations or support staff.


Click here to submit a nomination for the Lasting Impression Award


Special Ambassador Award

The Special Ambassador Award is the highest recognition given by SSD. The award is presented to community members (or in special circumstances, SSD staff members) who have demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment to SSD and its mission. Recipients of this award can be compared to the beachcomber who returns stranded starfish to the sea where they will thrive, in spite of the advice from others that he will never gather them all. He agrees, but adds that for those he has managed to gather, he has made an important difference.


This award is designed to recognize individuals as well as groups and organizations. Recipients may include educators in other school districts (and sometimes SSD staff - see Guidelines below), employees of local agencies that support SSD students, or volunteers in SSD schools or classrooms.


Click here to submit a nomination for the Special Ambassador Award.

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PEDA

Join us Tuesday, January 18th at 6:00 PM to learn about summer recreation programs available to school-age children with developmental disabilities and funding options to assist in paying for those programs. The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis, will be on zoom.

Presenter: Susan Fleming, Executive Director of the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization which serves as a "clearinghouse" for information on leisure, recreation, and socialization opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the Greater St. Louis Area. The Council works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are aware of and have access to activities and programs of their "choice."

To register or request more information about summer programs please contact, the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program at 314.989.8460 or email ssdpeda@ssdmo.org


Parent Leadership Institute


If you are a parent or family member who makes the educational decisions for a child with a disability, investing the time to attend these four Wednesday evening sessions will provide:


  • Vision for the future of your child.
  • Knowledge to help you to effectively participate in your child’s education.
  • Leadership skills to improve the educational climate for all children.
  • Access to new resources, friends and experts to help you on your journey.


The Institute will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February 16, March 2, 9, and 16, at the SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. The institute is offered at no cost and dinner is provided. Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute


PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

SPOTLIGHT

Mental Health First Aid Training for SSD Families - Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and others to help adolescents experiencing mental health and/or addictions challenge or crisis. It is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.


Nationally this course is valued at $170; due to a grant from Missouri's Department of Mental Health and a collaboration with the Ferguson Community Center, you have the opportunity to attend at no cost.


Saturday, March 19th from 9 – 1:30 PM at Ferguson Community Center. 1050 Smith Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135


Space is limited. To register click here. Registration will close on Monday, March 7th or when all seats are filled.



The Family Resource Hub located at North Tech High School is a space dedicated to families and our community stakeholders. The resource hub offers families computer and internet access, a satellite food pantry, and support navigating community resources. The space is also dedicated to supporting families by hosting learning labs, community events, and a safe and supportive environment to learn with and from one another.


OPEN HOUSE January 18- January 21, 2022 from 9 – 4 PM


You’re welcome to visit during these times or to set an appointment to meet us there.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email FamilyEngagement@ssdmo.org

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PACCD CORNER

Networking is an essential component of parent advocacy. PACCD meetings provide parents the chance to ask questions and share information that benefits both students and families. If you have not had a chance to join a PACCD meeting yet this year, it’s not too late to join! Topics vary by month and all parents and guardians are welcome and encouraged to join. We look forward to seeing you at our January 18th meeting! Please email contactpaccd@gmail.com to register for the upcoming meeting.


Best,

Laura Hoff

PACCD President

Let's Talk!

Let’s Talk is an open invitation from Special School District (SSD) to tell us what’s on your mind. ​Let’s Talk is an easy way to submit feedback at your convenience directly to the SSD staff member who can help.

UPCOMING DATES

January 11: SSD Board of Education Work Study Session 5:45 pm


January 13: Parkway Board of Education Meeting 7 pm


January 19: Parkway Board of Education Meeting 7 pm


January 25: SSD Board of Education Business Meeting 5:45 pm


February 8: SSD Board of Education Work Study Session 5:45 pm


February 16: Parkway Board of Education Meeting 7 pm


February 22: SSD Board of Education Business Meeting 5:45 pm


March 7: SSD Governing Council Meeting 7 pm

Special School District of St. Louis County

Amy Blumenfeld, Director of Special Education