GLEAN START Coaches Newsletter

April 2020

Tips for engaging students with a school routine at home

Establish a Routine

Developing structure and routine benefits everyone. Routines help our student(s) understand what the expectations of the time and day are. Routines also help reduce anxiety because they understand what's happening now and next. Another huge benefit of routines is that they help build independence. Here are some simple tips:

  • Your daily routine does not need to be school work all day long.
  • Figure out a routine that works for your child and family.
  • Alternate between school/work tasks and movement/fun activities.
  • Be sure to develop some sort of visual to show the routine and refer to it at transitions.
  • Additional routines you can build into the day include chores, reading, puzzles or creative time, outdoor time or exercise, snack and more.

Create a school space

Structured teaching promotes establishing designated areas for certain tasks/routines. Apply this to home to help increase understanding of expectations in the environment and also increases independence! Visual expectations can also be included to increase understanding. Adapt the space to be appropriate for age and reduce distractions. Many teachers use flexible seating at school and you can at home, too (standing desks, bean bags, etc).

Set small goals

For some students, a whole day's schedule is overwhelming. Break it down into smaller parts. Consider setting small goals for the hour or morning. Token systems are a great way to break down tasks and reinforce work completion. Also, be mindful of developmentally-appropriate time frames when establishing goals and routines.

Use a Timer

Using a timer helps a student manage their time and also helps them understand that "work" time doesn't last forever. Likewise, it also helps to navigate them away from preferred activities and back to other tasks. Timers help prepare students for transitions.

Create opportunities for Independence

Sometimes, it feels easier for parents to just do something for our kids - either because its faster or because we can do it better - but giving our children opportunities for independence is critical for their life-long success. Students at all ages can have opportunities for independence. Younger students can make choices for and get snacks, look at a book or navigate a learning app on their own. Slightly older students can log in to their school stuff on their own, complete a task on their own and learn a chore. Older students can practice daily living skills including laundry, dishes and completing school work independently. Visual supports are a key tool in all of this - write down steps or make a picture schedule for a task.

Covid-19 School Closure Resources

Each of the resources and sites below continue to be updated with new and additional resources. Be sure to check back often and share with colleagues and families when appropriate.


GLEAN March Newsletter with Resources


START Information & Resources in response to Covid-19


Genesee ISD Educator Resources


Genesee ISD K-8 Learning Packets

* Now includes Infant and Pre-K as well as ESL. Answer keys also included!

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Students or parents can call this line and be connected with a licensed professional from the GISD (social workers, counselors, therapists) during the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. Callers are able to leave a message after hours and will receive a call back during operational hours.


The licensed professional answering the call may assist in the following areas:

  • Provide support to assist students and parents dealing with stressful situations.
  • Provide assistance in accessing resources and getting the help students/families need.
  • Refer students/families to other local and county agencies for additional support.

Teacher Consultants and Coach Leaders

Teacher Consultant, ASD:

Laura Henry - lhenry@geneseeisd.org

Alex Keesling - akeesling@geneseeisd.org

Barb Olszewski - bolszews@geneseeisd.org


Angie Grindel, Consultant for Behavior Support - agrindel@geneseeisd.org

Kelli Pierscinski, TC for students with Disabilities - kpierscinski@geneseeisd.org


GISD's Regional Collaborative Network (RCN) has partnered with Livingston ESA to strengthen our resources and collaborate to bring your MORE amazing things from START. We are GLEAN (Genesee-Livingston Educational Autism Network).

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