SOMSD Special Services Newsletter

October 2020

Thank you!

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As we end the 4th week of school this 2020-2021 school year, I wanted to thank you all for your patience and support during this unprecedented time! It is no secret that virtual instruction is a new concept for all, but your support has not gone unnoticed!

As we know with special education, everything is individualized. If accommodations need to be made to increase students' ability to attend to their virtual instruction, we are making those accommodations on an individual basis. I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher with any concerns.

With that being said, I would like to provide you with a few updates specific to Special Services:

  • On September 29, 2020, we prioritized special education students by bringing in some of our most vulnerable students to begin in-person instruction. These CHS students will be receiving in-person instruction 4 days a week from 8-12, and then will be virtual for the remainder of their school day.
  • As discussed in prior communications, compensatory meetings will occur once we return to hybrid or brick and mortar instruction. As the virtual world is so fluid, those conversations will be best had when there is a return to some sort of normalcy.

As always, thank you for your support and collaboration!

Dr. Alegria

Save The Date: Home-School Distance Learning Webinar for Families of Students with Special Needs

Monday, Oct. 12th, 6pm

This is an online event.

Join us for an exciting webinar facilitated by Toby J. Karten focused on online collaborative strategies, tools, and discussion to support children with their learning needs during online instruction.

You asked....We answered!

Requests were made for the following, and are now being implemented this Fall:

-Opportunities for in-person therapies

-Live Instruction daily

-Social Skills Groups

-Para Supports virtually

-Small group instruction

Related Services

Related Services have begun! Both in-person and virtually. If there are any questions regarding the service delivery of related services, please reach out to your child’s therapist and/or case manager for support.

Requesting Support!

Instructional Accommodation Request

  • -Please reach out directly to the teacher, and copy the case manager
IEP Revision Request
  • -Please reach out directly to the case manager

Progress Monitoring and Reporting

  • -Please reach out directly to the teacher, and copy the case manager

Related Service Question

  • -Please reach out directly to the assigned therapist and copy the case manager

Unresolved Challenges on Above Concerns

  • -Please reach out to the assigned supervisor (see below), if not resolved, please reach out to Asst. Superintendent, Special Services

Special Services Staff Shout Outs!

Is there a special education teacher or special services staff member who you would like to recognize? If so, please complete this form so they can be recognized!

October 2020 Shout Outs!

This month, we would like to acknowledge…

Lori Smith-Speech Therapist

Dr. Nicole Guilino- Physical Therapist

Mary Davis- Special Education Teacher

Special Services Resources

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Did you know....October is...

  • ADHD Awareness Month
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • National Dyslexia Awareness Month
  • Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
  • World Cerebral Palsy Day (10/6)
  • Mental Illness Awareness Week (10/4-10/10)
  • Spina Bifida Awareness Month
  • Occupational Therapy Month
  • Physical Therapy Month

SEPAC Virtual Discussion: Follow-Up Questions September 3, 2020

Given that we’re all virtual, is there consideration given to students continuing with their related service providers for now (especially for the Pre-K to 2nd grade set?)

Therapists were matched up to provide as much consistency as possible between students, schools, and therapists.

Will all preschool teachers be providing live virtual face to face instruction?

Yes, preschool students have individualized daily schedules which includes live virtual instruction

. Will special considerations be made for IEP or 504 students to opt out of things--like music, foreign language, art or gym?

Please follow up with your child’s case manager regarding any specific and individualized accommodations.

How about the lost services from last spring. Is there a plan to make it up?

Make up services have been ongoing and will continue. For specifics, please reach out to your child’s case manager

Will the paras have support for internet access and devices?

Yes, we are providing technological supports to any paraprofessionals in need, so that they can support their students and teachers.

How will independent activities away from screen time work? Will materials be sent home? We don't have access to a printer.

Some independent activities will be on the computer, and some will be physical copies. Please reach out to your child’s teacher for any needs regarding independent activities.

Regarding the highschool, can you confirm the teacher and co-teachers will be meeting before setting up lessons to create guided notes, graphic organizers etc? also, how often can my son expect individual conferences with his co-teacher?

Teachers are working together to provide any accommodations needed for the students as per individual IEP’s. Conferences should be occurring at least bi-monthly or if needed weekly.

How will the pull-out/replacement model work with resource room classes related to scheduling?

Pull out replacement classes will be scheduled into the students day.

I see there will be 20-30 minutes live sessions but some of the special services children do not last more than 10 minutes in a live session.

Please reach out to your child’s special education teacher to discuss specific accommodations

Department of Special Services Leadership Team

Dr. Melody Alegria, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services

Leroy Johnson, III, PreK Program Supervisor

Karen Thomany, Supervisor of Special Education K-5

Susan Ellis, Supervisor of Special Education Self-Contained K-8 Programs

Gerri Colon, Supervisor of Special Education 9-12