The Rockwood Reader

February 2022 | Issue 14

Current Events

SSD Paraprofessional Appreciation

Congratulations Jo Ann Abell, SSD’s Paraprofessional of the month for January 2022! Jo Ann was recently surprised by her students, co-workers, administrators, and husband as she was recognized for her amazing work at Selvidge Middle School.

SSD Lunch and Learn Series

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:

We hope both staff and families are able to join these events!

What's Happening in Rockwood?

Rockwood Board of Education Unanimously Selects Dr. Curtis Cain as the Next Superintendent

The Rockwood Board of Education has selected Dr. Curtis Cain as the district’s new superintendent beginning July 1, 2022. Dr. Cain replaces Dr. Timothy Ricker, who has been serving as interim superintendent since July following the retirement of Dr. Mark Miles. The announcement follows a national search conducted by School Exec Connect, a consultant firm in Oak Park, Illinois. The search was based on student, staff and public input around Rockwood’s strengths, challenges, what the new superintendent's first priorities should be and the most important qualities, skills and experiences that the new superintendent should have.

Dr. Cain currently serves as the superintendent of the Wentzville School District, where he has worked since 2013. Prior to that, he was an associate superintendent for educational services in the Shawnee Mission School District in Overland Park, Kansas, for six years. Dr. Cain is a nationally certified superintendent who was named the 2022 Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) Superintendent of the Year and is currently one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year. In 2016, he was named the MASA New Superintendent of the Year for the St. Louis region. Dr. Cain is also a certified lead auditor with Curriculum Management Systems Incorporated (CMSi) and has served on audits across 11 states and in the nation of Bermuda. He is also currently serving as president of MASA.

Dr. Cain holds a doctorate degree and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Science in Social Science Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. While at Iowa State, he was named a George Washington Carver Doctoral Fellow and awarded the Jordan Larsen Outstanding Dissertation in Educational Administration Award. In 2009, he was also honored as the Iowa State University Outstanding Young Professional Award winner by the College of Human Sciences.

“Dr. Cain is a highly accomplished, visionary leader who is known and respected across the state and the country,” said Board of Education President Jaime Bayes. “His classroom focus and dedication to every student’s potential for success align perfectly with Rockwood’s mission, vision and values. Additionally, his qualities, skills and experiences are exactly what our stakeholders shared that they wanted to see in our next superintendent. We are extremely fortunate to have someone with his credentials, experience and integrity to lead our district going forward.”

“I am both humbled and honored to be joining the Rockwood School District,” said Dr. Cain. “This is a proud district with a noteworthy tradition of educational excellence. I look forward to moving into the district and becoming an active member of the community, building relationships and partnerships that will continue to support outstanding opportunities for students. I plan to spend a great deal of time listening and learning and bringing people together to focus on all students and their growth. I'm truly grateful and excited to join the Rockwood family.”

Dr. Cain began his teaching career at Dollarway Junior High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he taught social studies. From there, he was a senior research associate and then a program manager of the School Improvement Model Center at Iowa State. He also served five years as the director of curriculum and professional development at the Park Hill School District in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dr. Cain is a member of the Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Emerging Leader programs. In 2018, he completed the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent Certification Program. Nationally, he also serves on the PDK International Board and currently serves as the Chair of the PDK Foundation Board. Dr. Cain serves on the Missouri Commissioner of Education Advisory Council, the Kansas/Missouri Superintendent Leadership Forum Advisory Board and the Missouri State High School Activities Association Constitutional Committee. He also volunteers locally on the St. Charles Economic Development Council Board of Directors and serves on the St. Charles County Partners for Progress Education Committee, Compass Health Network Governing Board of Directors, the Partners for Progress Healthy St. Charles Leadership Council and the Barnes-Jewish St. Peters and Progress West Foundation Board. He also served as the president of the St. Charles County Centers for Advanced Professional Studies.

Dr. Cain was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he attended Milwaukee Public Schools and is a graduate of Rufus King High School. His wife, Dr. Tori Cain, is currently the director of student services for the Pattonville School District. They have two children: Kailey, a freshman at the University of Kentucky, and Kaden, a fourth-grader.

Rockwood Safe Together Update

Beginning Friday, Feb. 4, under the Rockwood Safe Together plan approved by the Board of Education on Dec. 16, schools and buildings with rates of positive cases and close contacts who are out with symptoms that are less than 4 percent will move from mask required to mask recommended.
Additionally, as a reminder, the following changes to the Rockwood Safe Together plan went into effect on Jan. 12:

  • A positive student/staff member needs to stay at home for 5 days, and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), they may return to school followed by 5 days of wearing a mask;

  • Students and staff who are close contacts and healthy may remain in school;

  • A close contact to a positive student/staff member who has multiple symptoms needs to stay home and may return after 5 days if they are asymptomatic and they have been fever-free for 24 hours. They may return sooner if they are well and have a physician’s diagnosis other than COVID-19 or produce a negative COVID test (not a home test).

Please note: Masks are currently required on all forms of public transportation across the country, including school buses. Therefore, masks will continue to be required on all Rockwood school buses, regardless of a school's mask status. Also, when students and staff travel to other schools or facilities, they are expected to respect and follow that district's or facility’s mask protocol.

You can see daily updates of your school’s status under Health Indicators on the district website, which shows the total number of students and staff out by building because they either have COVID or they are close contacts and exhibiting symptoms of COVID. This is the data we are using for our percentage thresholds for adjusting mitigation measures by building.

We want to assure you that we will continue to closely monitor COVID numbers in our buildings every day, and we will continue to work with building administrators to adjust mitigation strategies and provide staffing support where needed.

Our goal continues to be to keep students and staff healthy and in school.

As a reminder, please keep your child home if they are sick. We continue to encourage mask wearing, vaccination and boosters for those who are eligible. We will continue our additional Rockwood Safe Together mitigation measures that have been in place throughout the pandemic, including physical distancing to the extent possible, good hand hygiene and daily cleaning and sanitation protocols.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we continue to navigate this pandemic and work to keep our students and staff safe, healthy and in school.

Family and Community Engagement

The Family Resource Hub

Family Resource Hub Virtual Grand Opening Video

Family Resource Hub Flyer

Satellite Food Pantry Flyer

Variety Club: Free Camp Opportunities – Enrollment ends on 2.7.2022

Summer Program Guides: Recreation Council Flyer

Mental Health Training for Staff: Kickup registration link -

Youth Mental Health Training for Families: Google link-

Assistance for families who may have challenges accessing the FREE Covid Tests

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA)

Parent Leadership Institute

Our Parent Leadership Institute will be held via Zoom. If you have always wanted to participate but life made it too hard to get away from home, now is the time to enroll! 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 6:00 pm-8:00 p.m. on February 16, March 2, 9, and 16, via zoom.

Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute

Virtual Workshop: Meeting your child's needs using Charting the LifeCourse Tools in the IEP process

When: Tue, March 15, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Description: Your child’s school Individual Education Plan (IEP) can be intimidating and overwhelming at times. Find out how to utilize LifeCourse Tools to help prepare and communicate effectively with your child’s IEP team to determine the most successful goals and interventions to help your child reach their potential.

To register for this workshop, click here:

PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Information and Resources

Special School District Parent Advisory Council

SSD PAC New/Renewal of Membership Self-Nomination Forms information: Hello, SSD PAC members and potential members! We are approaching that time of year when we prepare to hold elections and renew membership. Nomination is through self-nomination. The self-nomination form is available to all parents of students receiving services through SSD.

Per the SSD PAC Bylaws, potential members must consent to make their names and contact information available to the public. Notices requesting self-nomination forms shall be received by parents no later than January 10th. Completed nomination forms must be returned to the Executive Committee no later than February 15th. The election of new/renewal of SSD PAC members shall take place no later than May 31st. We will hold the election at the April 13th General Meeting.

Elections are rotated each year. The following districts will hold elections in even-numbered years: Affton, Bayless, Brentwood, Clayton, Ferguson-Florissant, Hancock Place, Ladue, Mehlville, Normandy, Rockwood, University City and Valley Park.

Please complete and submit the self-nomination form linked above ASAP. Please note that even if you recently submitted a self-nomination form and were elected as a member of the SSD PAC, but are in a district that has an election in even-numbered years, you will need to submit another self-nomination form. Please reach out to us at with any questions.

Love and Light,

Dr. Camesha Carter, SSD PAC President

The mission of the Special School District (SSD) Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is to effectively collaborate with and advise its stakeholders (including parents/guardians, the SSD Board of Education, Governing Council, SSD administration and staff, and partnering school district administrators and staff) in order to improve the educational, self-efficacy, and social outcomes of each student served by SSD.

Please click here to access the PAC website which contains specific information about meetings, agendas & minutes, as well as parent resources.

Important Dates

No School | Professional Development Day

Friday, February 18th

No School | Presidents' Day Holiday

Monday, February 21st

No School | Spring Recess

Monday, March 21st - Friday, March 25th

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

Special School District

February 8th @ 5:45 PM - Work Study Session

February 22nd @ 5:45 PM - Business Meeting

March 8th @ 5:45 PM - Business Meeting

More info here

Rockwood School District

February 3rd @ 7:00 PM

February 17th @ 7:00 PM

March 3rd @ 7:00 PM - Awards Night

More info here

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.

Special School District of St. Louis County

Dr. Carmen Harris, Director of Special Education


Mandy Lloyd, Administrative Assistant