Together We Can

September 12, 2022

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Welcome Back!


I hope that everyone had a great summer season. I am so excited to be starting my second year here in Greenwich Public Schools. As we start the school year, I am excited to reflect on what we accomplished last year and look forward to the work we will do together in the 2022-23 school year.


As a reminder, IEP and 504 documents will have a different look. Starting this past July 1, the new CT-SEDS system is now being used for all IEPs and 504s. During the summer, over 30 GPS teachers and administrators participated in the State's training to learn and support the implementation of the new system.


We know you have questions, so we will be posting a video webinar for you to watch at your leisure starting on Wednesday, September 28. In order for it to be the most informative and relevant to you, we are asking you to submit your general questions and we will answer and share as many as possible. Deadline to submit a question is Tuesday, September 20 at noon.


I wish everyone a great 2022-23 school year!!


Best,

Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports

stacey_heiligenthaler@greenwich.k12.ct.us

Meet Our Administrative Team Members

Cara Vitolo

Special Education Coordinator for Preschool and Elementary

Ms. Vitolo has been with Greenwich Public Schools since 2007, holding multiple positions, including: interim special education administrator; intervention specialist, special education and first grade teacher at New Lebanon School; and fourth grade teacher, learning facilitator, and special education co-teacher at Parkway School. This year, she is the special education coordinator for preschool at New Lebanon, Hamilton Ave, North Street, and Old Greenwich Schools.

Karen Vitti

Special Education Coordinator for Elementary

Ms. Vitti is our special education coordinator for elementary school. In addition to helping to oversee the special education students and programs in five of our buildings, she designs professional development opportunities for our department's certified staff and professional assistants. Ms. Vitti is starting her 17th year with Greenwich Public Schools and enjoys being a staff member as well as a GPS parent! Ms. Vitti will support Riverside, North Mianus, Cos Cob, Julian Curtiss, and ISD Schools.

Theresa Fox

Special Education Coordinator for Elementary and Middle School

Ms. Fox brings a wealth of experience to GPS, most recently as the special education and student support services department chair at Darien Public Schools since 2019, serving on the district’s curriculum leadership, administrative instructional, and building-based leadership teams. This year, she will be supporting Glenville and Parkway Schools as well as Eastern, Central, and Western Middle Schools.

Leah Zilich

Special Education Coordinator For High School and Transition

Ms. Zilich Joined Greenwich Public Schools on July 1 and was most recently the assistant principal for the Rye Lake Campus of Southern Westchester BOCES, serving students K-12+ with mild to severe disabilities. Prior, she held multiple positions at Norwalk Public Schools, including intervention coordinator, curriculum designer, assessment coordinator, assistive technology specialist, scientific research based intervention coordinator, first and fourth grade teacher, and special education teacher. This year, Ms. Zilich will be supporting Greenwich High School and the Community Connections program.

Daniel Katz

Special Education Program Administrator

Mr. Katz comes to GPS from Cooperative Educational Services’ Therapeutic Day Program in Trumbull, where he served as the program administrator since 2019, contributing to strategic planning and leadership team initiatives. This year, Mr. Katz will be supporting out of district placements in Grades K-8, as well as some high school programs. In addition, he will assist in supporting the District evaluation teams and will be the contact for private schools located in Greenwich.

Michele Iannello

Coordinator for School Counseling

Ms. Iannello has been a school counselor for the past 28 years, most recently at Portland (CT) High School since 2004, where she provided extensive academic and college advisement to students and families. Additionally, she provided special education leadership for teachers and staff as an administrator for 504 meetings and was the administrative representative in Planning and Placement Teams meetings. Ms. Iannello will be responsible for ensuring Greenwich Public Schools students enrolled in grades 6-12 receive the appropriate school counseling services, including developmental program, career counseling, personal counseling, academic counseling, and post-high school planning. In addition, she will serve as the District’s Section 504 coordinator.

Dr. Garfield Charles

Interim Program Administrator for Windrose

Dr. Charles has been with GPS since 2004, most recently as the assistant dean of GHS’ Bella House since 2017. As the assistant dean, he implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), worked closely with the house administrator and dean of students, chaired the Pupil Placement Team (PPT) and Pupil Support Team (PST) meetings for house-based students, and provided quality control for IEPs.

What We Are Seeing 👀 Around the Schools

Pre School Morning Movers

Morning Movers in Ms. Mancini and Ms. Micallef’s class enjoy some movement to start the day off right! Ms. Micallef leads the preK students at NSS in a direction game. You should have seen how high they “popped” when they pointed the arrow to the sky!

Welcome Back Julian Curtiss

Ms. McGuire and Mr. Hartigan visit Ms. Sandra Grandinetti's third grade classroom to welcome back students on the first day of school.

Cos Cob

Mr. Gavin is visiting the 1st grade co-teaching class with Ms. DiGiovanna and Ms. Rogers.


Cos Cob has a new sensory room!. Thank you to Greenwich Alliance and Cos Cob PTA for supporting the development of a sensory room for all students at Cos Cob. The students can't wait to start using the equipment.

Math at Central Middle School

Ms. Lisa Lamanto and Ms. Virgina Gasparakis' Collaborative Pre-Algebra 8th grade Math Class is working on problem solving, critical thinking and team building skills with their students.

Getting to Know each other at Eastern Middle School

7th grade students in Ms. Boracas' academic lab are working on “all about me” and getting to know each other to start the year. Its great to reconnect with friends. Welcome Back!

Greenwich High School

Students in Ms. Cafagno's Acadmic Lab Class got to know one another using the "Cardinal Directions" icebreaker. Students discover their learning style, each direction representing a different personality type.
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Workshops and Resources

IEP and 504 Webinar

IEP and 504 documents now have a different look. The new CT-SEDS system is now being used for all IEPs and 504s. During this past summer, over 30 GPS teachers and administrators participated in the State's training to learn and support the implementation of the new system.


We know you have questions, so we will be posting a video webinar for you to watch at your leisure starting on Wednesday, September 28.


In order for it to be the most informative and relevant to you, we are asking you to submit your general questions and we will answer and share as many as possible.


(deadline to submit a question is Tuesday, September 20 at noon)

Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)

The purpose of the Greenwich Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) is to build full, equal and equitable partnerships between families, GPS and community partners, on a council that gives advisory opinions to the Board of Education on matters pertaining to the education and safety of students with disabilities.



General membership is open to any interested GPS parent or guardian of a child with a disability, previously known to have a disability, or suspected of having a disability, under the IDEA or Section 504, or who is currently eligible to receive Special Education or 504 accommodations and services, from ages 3-22, and who are both residents of the Town of Greenwich.


If you would like to be part of the Greenwich SEAC's general membership, please complete this short form to add your email to the distribution list. The first meeting of the 2022-23 school year is Tuesday September 20, 2022 at 6:30pm. The meeting will be held virtually; please see the attached link.


Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86506479793?pwd=NTUzNUFreTZQcG01VHdGd01iL0I3Zz09

Meeting ID: 865 0647 9793
Passcode: 164252
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,86506479793#,,,,*164252# US (Chicago)
+16469313860,,86506479793#,,,,*164252# US

2022 Extended School Year Wraps Up

The Summer 2022 produced another successful Extended School Year (ESY) program. There were nearly 200 Pre-K through 12+ special education students who attend ESY. Special education teachers, paraprofessionals and related service providers worked hard to ensure that students continued to work on their IEP goals during the summer session. ESY was located at New Lebanon and Western Middle School.

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The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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