Together We Can

February 6, 2023

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Last week, I attended Windrose's mid-year graduation ceremony. It was an amazing, special, and inspiring time for student's in that program. I am so proud of all the work our students do to accomplish this goal!

On Thursday, February 2, I provided an update on the Special Education Action Plan to the Board of Education. I am happy to say that the District has completed 13 of the 28 recommendations from the PCG report. You can view the PowerPoint presentation of the update or watch the meeting on the District’s YouTube channel.


Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports

What We Are Seeing đź‘€ Around the Schools

Congratulations Graduates!!!

The Windrose Program held its 2023 Mid-Year Graduation ceremony for three students. Dr. Jones, our Greenwich Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Kelly, Greenwich Board of Education Chair, Dr. Heiligenthaler, Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports and Mr. Mayo, Principal of Greenwich High School all shared inspiring and moving speeches to celebrate the three students’ accomplishments. Dr. Carabillo, Deputy Superintendent, Ms. Laura Newell and GHS House Administrator and English Department Chair, Ms. Brigid Barry were also in attendance to honor the students’ achievement. Windrose students as well as the graduates family were in attendance to support the graduating students special event.

The Windrose graduates received their letter of completion from the Windrose program, which will entitle them to receive their GHS diploma. Graduates also received a copy of Lisa Congon’s Whatever You Are Be a Good One: 100 Inspirational Quotations to take with them as they move on to the next phase in their life’s journey.

Dr. Garfield Charles, the Interim Program Administrator, reminded the graduates of finding their passion and putting their focus and energy into it.

Old Greenwich Preschool

Students in the Old Greenwich preschool are learning about the continent of Africa. Students went on "a safari" to see different animals that live in Africa.

What is the Weather Today?

Ms. O'Neill's preschool class at North Street School reports on the weather during circle time.

Anti-bullying Presentation

Dr. Fabian Boie teaches fifth graders at Hamilton Avenue School ways to stand up against bullying behavior and how to care for self and others.

Dr. Alina Boie teaches kindergartners at Old Greenwich School on self-advocacy. Students role-played strategies they can use to stand up for themselves and others.

Western Middle School

Mr. Ligouri and Ms. Rahaniotis' sixth grade English Skills class at Western MS has been reading "Wind in the Willows." The students have discussed character development and are learning about the four different types of conflict.

Poetry at Eastern Middle School

Eastern MS sixth graders enjoyed a visit from poet, Sarah Holbrook. Student poets created a list of words, then worked in small groups to describe the words in action. For example, "Happiness is a birthday party with all of my friends there to celebrate."

Greenwich High School

Greenwich HS hosted a technical school presentation this morning in the Wellness Center. Representatives from Porter and Chester Institute and Lincoln Tech discussed post high school technical training opportunities for students.

World Read Aloud Day

February 1 was World Read Aloud Day. World Read Aloud day is celebrated annually in over 173 countries and is all about bringing people together through the shared connection of reading aloud in our communities. Guest readers visited classrooms across the District to read to students. Ms. Fox, Special Education Program Coordinator, joined Ms. Pearson's PreK class at Old Greenwich School to read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."

Workshops and Resources

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Mental Heath Panel sponsored by SEAC

The Special Education Advisory Council is hosting a virtual mental health panel for parents around common concerns such as anxiety, big feelings, challenging behaviors and social issues. Come learn at-home strategies and resources from a panel of GPS social workers and psychologists on Tuesday February 7 at 7:00 PM.

Here is the zoom link to join

Meeting ID: 899 4818 1437

Passcode: 6srMFG

You can submit questions to the panel anonymously via this form through Monday, February 6. Please email with any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Bridging Process for Students with IEP's

The SESS Department will be hosting virtual information sessions on the Bridging process during the months of February and March. Please join us if you have a child transitioning in Fall 2023 from preschool to kindergarten, elementary to middle school, or middle to high school. We will be recording and posting the information on our Website if anyone cannot make it. Please see the dates and google links below:

Preschool to Kindergarten Bridging

Tuesday February 28

6:00 - 7:00 PM

5th to 6th grade Bridging

Wednesday February 22

6:00- 7:00 PM

8th to 9th grade Bridging

Thursday March 2

6:30 - 7:30 PM

Greenwich Public Schools Listening Community - Winter 2023

Please join our Winter 2023 Listening Community.

Meetings will be held at Greenwich Town Hall in the Gisborne Conference Room.

Wednesday mornings from 9:30 AM- 10:30 AM:

  • February 8
  • February 22
  • March 1
  • March 8

For those parents that would prefer to participate virtually, below is the meeting link:

Google Meet joining info

Video call link:

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 570-415-1046‬ PIN: ‪950 110 805‬#

More phone numbers:

Reading Lab by MaryPat Caldwell

It has been a great start to 2023 at GPS! In continuing with my goal of supporting parents at home, I would like to address another frequently asked parent question, “How do I help my

struggling reader at home?” Start with patience! Reading is a complex process that takes time and requires the development of five essential skills:

1) Phonemic Awareness - the ability to hear, identify and manipulate sounds

2) Decoding/Phonics - the ability to apply knowledge of letter-sound

relationships and patterns to recognize and pronounce words

3) Fluency - the ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression

4) Vocabulary - the understanding of word structure and meaning

5) Comprehension - the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows– the ultimate goal of reading!

As your child is learning to read, it is important that you support them with encouragement and praise. Be their cheerleader and leave the teaching to us! If they are struggling with decoding and/or fluency, choose easier books that they have practiced at school, so they can showcase their reading successes at home. Reading and re-reading text is a great way to build decoding and fluency skills as well as confidence. For more difficult books, buddy reading (taking turns) and echo reading are other ways to build fluency. Make it fun! Choose a high interest book to read aloud together. Reading to or with your child is a gift that builds vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, personal connection and a lifelong reading habit. Engage them in book discussions at the dinner table, in car rides or before bed. Oral discourse will develop both oral language and higher order thinking skills, which are key components of comprehension. Historical fiction is a great way to build background knowledge while enjoying wonderful stories together. Happy Reading!

This link provides suggestions for questions to use as you are discussing books. Make sure to encourage them to ask you questions as well, so you can model your thinking.

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The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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