Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

March 8, 2019 Volume 1 Issue 2

Big picture

Important Dates


National Social Worker Month

Developmental Disabilities Month

Read Across America Month

Music in Our Schools Month

Youth Art Month

Women’s History Month

11- 10th Annual Ricky McAvaddy Blood Drive

12- Davies Student Art Exhibit at Atlantic County Library

14- Early Dismissal for Students

14- Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) Meeting

14- Books in Your Backyard

20- IEP Progress Reports

26- Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness


6- Resources Fair

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
This message is on the reverse side of the t-shirt flyer. Thank you so much to Rachel Ficken for sharing her family's story!
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Special Education Parent Advisory Group

We have a Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) in the district. Each district board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.2(h).

Generally we meet 4 times per year, though we decide the schedule at our first meeting each school year. Our next meeting is scheduled for March 14, 2019 in the Davies Library. Please contact Marylynn Stecher- if you would like to serve as a member of this group and you will be added to the email group to get reminders of meetings.

Epilepsy Awareness

We are encouraging staff and students to wear purple on March 26 to build awareness of epilepsy. Staff will also be encouraged to share some basic information about epilepsy with the students.

Purple Day-

Big picture

IEP Season is Starting!

IEP season is starting. IEP meetings for all special education students will be scheduled in the spring (mid March through mid June) to prepare for next school year. As the parent, you are a critical member of the IEP Team. The case manager will be in communication with you to set up a date and time for the IEP meeting. Here are a few tips for a successful IEP meeting:

  • Remember that you are a critical member of the IEP Team. You are the premier expert on your child.
  • Assume that the rest of the IEP Team also wants what is best for your child. We are here because we are advocates for children.
  • Feel free to bring a family member, friend, or advocate to the meeting. Sometimes this is helpful in remembering all the information shared.
  • Bring a list of your questions and concerns, then discuss each one.
  • Review the Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE)-

Binder Project

If you have a child with special needs, you are aware of how much paperwork is generated about and for your child. It might be helpful to you to keep all of this information in a binder for easy reference. Consider creating a binder containing the following:

  • Evaluations done by the school district
  • Evaluations completed by other doctors and therapists
  • Previous IEPs
  • Report Cards and IEP Progress Reports
  • Other pertinent information

Happy hole-punching!

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency."

For more information, click on this link.

Learning Ally

With over 80,000 titles, Learning Ally is the largest library of human-read audiobooks. These books include literature, popular fiction and curriculum-aligned titles. Learning Ally allows all students to have access to grade-level content. Highlighted text provides a multi-sensory reading experience that enables readers to easily absorb content.

Our district has a subscription to Learning Ally for students who require access to audiobooks in order to learn and read more effectively. This is an accommodation we have for students with a disability that affects reading and comprehension skills. Many teachers are using audiobooks with their students. Our subscription to Learning Ally allows students to not only access their audiobooks at school, but at home as well. Hopefully many of you are already using Learning Ally with your children at home. If you would like to know more about using Learning Ally at home, please contact your child's teacher.


Project Child Find

Parents of Hamilton Township who are concerned that their school age child (3 years to 21 years) may have special needs can receive assistance from the local school district's Child Study Team. In addition, the Hamilton Township Schools are organizing a Child Find campaign to locate and provide services for children ages three to five who may have physical, cognitive, language or emotional difficulties. Information also may be obtained on how and where to receive services for children with special needs who are younger than three. Professional guidance, assessment and an educational program are all available free for eligible children. For more information contact the Hamilton Township School District Child Study Team office at 476-6111.

The Project Child Find Fact Sheet

NJDOE Project Child Find Information

Administrative Team for Student Services

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher

Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak

Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington

Child Study Teams


Physical Therapist

Vanessa DeCesari

Occupational Therapist

Ashley Galbiati


Adetokunbo Ajayi

  • Ms. Ajayi is currently on maternity leave. We have consultants assisting us at this time.

Child Study Team Administrative Secretary

MaryEllen Tantum 609-476-6314

Shaner School

School Psychologist

Kelly Crowder

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant

Jessica Crawford

Speech Therapist

Kelli Pinnix

Child Study Team Secretary

Debbie Fiamingo 609-476-6111

Hess School

School Psychologists

Brynn Sissman

Samantha Wilson

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant

Kelsey Thompson

School Social Workers

Catherine Anema

Ann Bucknam

Speech Therapists

Diana Evans

Karen Fink

Anne Nelson

Caitlin Ponticello

Occupational Therapist

Jessica Goldstein

Child Study Team Secretary

Debbie Fiamingo 609-476-6111

Davies School

School Psychologists

Andrew Disque

Gabriella Spinella

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant

Toni Riccelli

School Social Worker

Revaé Burton

Speech Therapist

Lindsay Combs

Child Study Team Secretary

Jayne Carmen 609-476-6246

Additional Counselors

In addition to the school psychologists and social workers on the Child Study Teams, we have school counselors (formerly known as guidance counselors) and additional social workers


School Counselor

Lynn Evangelist-

  • 504 Coordinator for both Hess and Davies


School Counselor

Dotsi Schoenstein-

  • 504 Coordinator for Shaner

School Social Workers

Sara Leonelli-

Dymir Tatem-


School Counselors

Laura Hackney-

Dan Bryz-Gornia-

Megan Sherman-


School Counselors

Mike Diorio-

Wendy McKensie-

Big picture

National Social Worker Month

March is National Social Workers Month. "Children today are increasingly victims of many social forces that negatively affect their role as students. Many families are in a state of change and until it becomes stabilized, in whatever form, children's unmet physical and emotional needs will continue to interfere with their ability to learn and adjust in school...School Social Workers are trained mental health professionals who can assist with mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents and administrators as well as provide individual and group counseling/therapy." Pictured from left to right: Dymir Tatem, Ann Bucknam, Catherine Anema, Revae Burton, and Sara Leonelli.

Previous Newsletter

Coming in Future Issues

  • A peek at our Trauma-Informed, Responsive, Mindful Model Classroom
  • Information about our Mental Health Initiative and Educating the Whole Child