Curriculum & Instruction, Special Services and Instructional Technology Update
Curriculum and Instruction
Supporting Your Child in 2023
We hope that your parent teacher conferences this week were insightful and helpful to continue your child's educational journey this year. Here are a few important tips to help best support your child:
- Encourage reading on a daily basis. Try to tap into their areas of enjoyment, so they can build a love of learning.
- Model reading at home or on the go for your child.
- Encourage them to bringing reading material in the car.
- Use travel time as an opportunity to practice math fluency facts.
- Put closed captions on when your child is watching television, so that they can read along.
- Don't hesitate to reach out to your child's teachers with questions or concerns.
- Take advantage of supports in the district.
- Virtual Homework Support- https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HnqymnYEjeorSyORbNux8MRgXZLb10Ka7TjB4nsCziY/edit?usp=sharing
- Afterschool activities and family engagement opportunities
Parent Workshops and Family Connection Opportunities in the New Year
Thank you to those who have already completed our parent survey that went out with parent teacher conference sign up. We have close to 400 responses already. If you have not had a chance to complete the survey, it will remain open through Monday, December 19, 2022
Survey Link: https://forms.gle/obygo96YWrMD8GFs7
The development of this survey came from one of our teacher professional learning communities that is focusing on family engagement. Ms. Ashley Lemmo, assistant principal of Shaw Avenue is working with this team to facilitate discussions and planning. Once the survey closes the results will be shared in January and plans for upcoming workshops. Based on the data we currently have the top three topics families would like to receive support with; reading at home, math strategies and supporting social and emotional learning.
We will also be sharing our marking period 2, virtual family connection activities upon our return from winter break. We will continue to offer a monthly activity that is curriculum based, and an opportunity for families to engage in together. Information will be shared via Parent Square.
Enrichment for All Update
As we move into marking period 2, Ms. Galgano will be shifting gears and grades. During marking period 2 she will be working with Kindergarten, 1st grade and 5th grade . Students will receive this push in opportunity once per cycle for the entire marking period. Kindergarten students will be learning about what it means to have a growth mindset, and how to apply perseverance to hands on challenges. 1st grade students will be applying their engineering and design skills to save some of their favorite fairy tale figures. Our 5th graders will be taking coding to a new level as they code Ozobots and use this as a vehicle for storytelling. Our 3rd and 4th grade students are currently finishing up their Book Creator culminating projectors to showcase their work from marking period 1. We will share out some examples in next month's newsletter.
Self-Care Tips for the Holidays
It is very easy to forget our own self-care during the holidays. Take extra care to tend to your overall health and wellness during this holiday season. 64% of people say they experience a case of the holiday blues at some point throughout the season (NAMI, 2021). However, the holiday blues are short-lived and there are certain things that you can do to help avoid the holiday blues such as:
- Care for your body and get enough sleep
- Take time for yourself
- Stick to normal routines as much as possible
- Practice mindful eating
- Get exercise as little as a short walk
- Practice letting go of expectations
- Listen to music
- Read a book
- Practice guided meditation (i.e., Calm app, Headspace app)
- Spend time with caring and supportive people
- Say No, Don't over-stretch yourself
- Take things week by week or day by day
- Pamper yourself to something
- Ask for Help
How to Make the Holidays Kid-Friendly Click Here
Handling Holidays When Your Child Has Special Needs Click Here
9 Ways to Beat The Holiday Blues Click Here
District-wide Parent Workshops starting in January
Dr. Grace Lee, District School Psychologist is planning a series of interactive workshops for parents who have children in grades preschool thru 1st. These workshops are anticipated to begin next month. Does your child have difficulty following routines at home and are you looking for some strategies/resources? If yes, please complete the survey if you are interested in signing up for one of these workshops and/or to provide feedback of other topics of interest. There is limited availability for the first series so please don't wait!
Link to Survey: https://forms.gle/UjRzRsfPLKGtwuC87
Preparing and Feeling Confident about your child's Annual Review CSE Meeting
What is the Annual Review?
Each year the Committee for Special Education (CSE) is required to annually review your child's existing Individual Education Program (IEP) and present special education program/services. During this process, the CSE will make recommendations upon review of records &/or updated evaluations that will continue, change, revise or end the student's special education program based on your child's current needs. Parents are part of the CSE that develops and reviews the IEP. The proposed IEP goals for the following year should be specific, measurable, and tailored to the unique needs of your child. Annual Review meetings are held from January - May. Please know that you don't have to wait for an Annual Review CSE meeting if there's a concern earlier in the school year and you can request a meeting at any time.
Things To Expect:
- You will receive a minimum of 5 day notice of your child's CSE meeting and the Special Services Office will do our best accommodate date/time that you are available.
- The CSE packet consisting of teacher reports &/or evaluations is provided to you prior to your child's scheduled CSE meeting.
- 6th Grade meetings are scheduled for the month of January. These meetings will include your elementary school team and members from the Valley Stream High School District. If you did not receive an invite with your child's date/time, please contact Mrs. Terry Deeks, CSE clerical firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kindergarten to 5th Grade meetings will be held the months of February thru May.
- Preschoolers transitioning to Kindergarten meetings will be held the months of March and April.
- Meetings will be offered in person or remote via Google Meet for convenience purposes. For school-aged students, please share with your IEP case manager (who is your special education teacher) if you are requesting an in-person meeting. If not, the Special Services will assume a remote meeting is acceptable. For transitioning preschoolers, please contact Mrs. Patricia DiStefano email@example.com.
- Before the meeting, if you require or prefer to have a translator in your native language at your meeting, please communicate that to your IEP case manager and the Special Services Office will make the necessary arrangements. You also can also bring a friend or family member to serve as a translator. Please inform Special Services @ 516-434-3600, ext. 5233 (school-aged level) or 5232 (preschool level) in advance if you plan to bring anyone to the meeting so we can add them to the invitation.
- At the meeting, the CSE will ask you to share your feedback of your child's growth, strengths, and any concerns. Teachers and related service providers working with your child will share your child's current levels of performance and progress with current IEP goals based on data collected. Proposed IEP goals will be discussed and recommended together for next year. Supplemental aids and testing accommodations will be tailored for your child's unique needs. Program and related service recommendations will be made. If updated testing was conducted, test findings will be discussed and your child's classification revisited.
- After the meeting, the Special Services will work on finalizing the IEP for 23/24 school year. You will receive prior to the first day of school. You will also receive a Prior Written Notice Letter with the IEP outlining the CSE recommendations, other options considered and any changes made from your child's current IEP. Once in receipt of the finalized IEP, if you have any questions or concerns please contact Dr. Schimpf firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-434-3600, ext. 5233. It is recommended to annually maintain copies of your child's IEPs and reports in a binder for future reference. If you require at any time additional copies of your child's special education documents, please feel free to call the Special Services Office.
Helpful Parent Resources:
Support the Special Education PTA (SEPTA)
Attention Parents and Teachers:
Please consider joining on Memberhub! using this link https://vssepta.memberhub.store/ for $10.00. The Valley Stream SEPTA comprises of VS#30, VS#13, VS#24, and VSHSD. SEPTA provides informative guest speakers, annual Scholarships for our 6th grade special education students, and a great support system of fellow special needs parents. You are not alone! Let's work together!!
SEPTA met this Wednesday, December 14, 2022 for a "6th Graders Transitioning to High School District" presentation to learn about the secondary level special education programs. If you missed this meeting and would like to receive the video recording, please contact Rachael Aiello, SEPTA President email@example.com or view the attachment for the VSCHSD presentation slides.
Afternoon Tea Time with Dr. Schimpf, Director of Special Services
Bring your questions and join me on Monday January 9, 2023
Here is the link: meet.google.com/ddx-nofc-wsv
Our first meeting was recently held on December 12, 2022 with 14 attendees! Topics discussed included Preschoolers transitioning to Kindergarten next year, the
different district special education programs, Homework Extra Help, referral process for special education, and RTI counseling & speech services for all struggling students. It was great chatting with both special education and general education families!!
21st Century and Instructional Technology
The Forest Road Morning Show - ACTION!
This month marked the first episode of the Forest Road Morning Show, a student-led broadcast of school news, highlights, and entertainment. Mrs. Haynesworth and Mrs. Ryan guided a group of children through the broadcasting process, where specific career-related skills, such as scripting, editing, and filming were learned firsthand. This type of authentic learning opportunity really captures the district's commitment to not only providing students with equitable access to state-of-the-art technology, but leveraging that technology to develop essential 21st Century skills! Click HERE to view the Morning Show!
4th Graders Take on Podcasting!
Ever wonder what it was like to host a podcast? This month, 4th graders across the district participated in a podcasting activity and learned the fundamentals of scripting, recording, editing, and exporting audio. Students collaborated with their classmates to create a podcast of their choice within Apple's GarageBand app. Click HERE to check out one of the finished products from Mrs. Eberle's class at Shaw Avenue!
Projects and activities that align with the New York State Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards are meant to build a child's capacity to create and revise digital artifacts using a variety of digital tools (i.e. Garageband via the iPad). Children will be encouraged in the next marking period to draw from their newfound knowledge of podcasting when they are working on their 21st Century project!
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a benefit program that is currently offering a discount of up to $30 each month towards Internet service. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. Click HERE to find out if you are eligible for this discount! Please click the link below to apply. All applications are due by January 9, 2023.
Holiday Season = Malware Season
With the influx of emails coming in from online shopping, the holiday season is a time when there is always a spike in malware activity. Awareness is the best defense!
REMINDER: DON'T FORGET TO COMPLETE YOUR DIGITAL EQUITY SURVEY!
If you haven't completed the Digital Equity Survey yet, don't worry - there's still time! The survey will close on January 9, 2023.
Jennifer Lewner, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
firstname.lastname@example.org (516) 434-3600 ext.5229
Dr. Nicole Schimpf, Director of Special Services
email@example.com (516) 434-3600 ext.5232
Christopher Onorato, Director of 21st Century Learning and Technology
firstname.lastname@example.org (516) 434-3600 ext.5001