SSD Webster Groves Schools
August 2023 Community Engagement Newsletter
WELCOME BACK FROM OUR DIRECTOR!
Welcome back, students and families! I hope you had a wonderful vacation and are ready for an exciting school year. Thank you for your continued partnership in students' success in the Webster Groves School District.
A lot of exciting things are awaiting you all! We look forward to continuing on our path of building trust and developing systems to increase collaboration and communication for all stakeholders. We will continue to evaluate programs, policies, and services while implementing the district strategic plan from documented information and feedback measurements for continuous improvements.
We are excited to continue our partnership with you to make this one of the best school years ever!
Dr. Shantay Wakefield
BACK TO SCHOOL INFORMATION
Upcoming Dates to Remember
8/8/23 - 6th Grade Orientation @ Hixson from 8:30 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.
8/11/23-8/21/23- K-5 Jump Start Conferences @ all elementary schools
8/25/23- Meet the Teacher @Clark Elementary at 8:00a.m.
8/17/23- Freshman and New Student Orientation @WGHS at 1:00p.m.
8/17/23- Open House @WGHS from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
8/17/23- Open House @Hixson from 3:00-7:00 p.m.
8/22/23- First Day of School
WHEN WILL I HEAR FROM MY CHILD'S SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
Staff will report on Friday, August 11, 2023, and communicate with families no later than Thursday, August 17, 2023. The first week back will include professional development, opportunities to plan for the first day with students, and time to reach out to families. Staff will be checking emails upon their return.
If you have questions for a special education administrator, our contact information is listed below:
Stephanie Berry, SLP.D, CCC, Ed.S.
Special Education Coordinator
Givens Elementary School
Bristol Elementary School
Hudson Elementary School
Hixson Middle School
Jennifer Macalady, Ed.D.
Special Education Coordinator
Edgar Road Elementary
Webster Groves High School
Shantay Wakefield, Ed.D.
SSD Director of Special Education
Webster Groves School District (K-12)
LET'S WELCOME OUR NEW STAFF!
Dr. Jennifer Macalady- (Special Education Coordinator)
On May 17, Jennifer Macalady was awarded the opportunity to serve as a Special Education Coordinator for the 2023-2024 school year in Webster Groves School District. She will support Webster Groves High School, Avery Elementary, Clark Elementary, Edgar Road Elementary and Epworth. She is looking forward to this new opportunity. For the past eight years, Jennifer has served as a Special Education Coordinator in the Ferguson Florissant School District and has supported buildings K-12. Jennifer graduated on November 6, 2021 from Lindenwood University earning a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Jennifer participated in the Missouri Leadership Development System’s Leadership Academy (MLDS) in 2021-2022. Before working in administration with Special School District, she taught special education teacher at Normandy High School and taught business education in St Louis Public Schools. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in Business administration from the University of Arkansas and is a fan of the Razorbacks.
Jennifer Macalady grew up and spent the majority of her life in the St. Louis area. She is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Blues. Jennifer values her relationship with family, friends and God. She believes establishing strong relationships is a key to effective leadership. She has two rescue dogs who keep her on her toes at home, and in her free time enjoys playing Pickelball, running, cycling, live music and dining out.
A goal of hers is to travel more and would like to visit Europe and South America.
Catherine Potzman (Cady) (Social Worker)
My name is Cady Potzman and I am so excited to join the Webster Groves School District! This is my tenth year as a social worker and will be my 4th with Special School District. I graduated from Truman State with my B.S. in Psychology & Justice Systems and received my Masters in Clinical Social Work from UT in Austin. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT), and am so looking forward to working with everyone to serve our students!
Outside of school, I love to spend time with my husband and our littles (Freddy (3), Gussie (1.5) and our newest coming this summer), and take advantage of all the fun things St. Louis has to offer! This year we have been so excited to get to attend St. Louis City SC games too!
Elif Perkins (SSD Resource Teacher)
Hello everyone! My name is Elif Perkins, and I am so excited to join the Webster team! I am from St. Louis (even went to Bristol for a few years!), and received my Bachelor’s degree in Education from Saint Louis University, and my Master’s in Special Education and Autism Studies from UMSL. I have been a special education teacher for 8 years, mostly focusing on social-emotional behavior in a resource classroom.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Austin, and my kids- Evren and Rumi. We love being outdoors, watching soccer games, and taking our dogs for walks. We are big travelers and try to take a trip somewhere new every summer!
Melanie Wood (Occupational Therapist)
Melanie Wood has been an occupational therapist since 2005. She has worked in the area of home health with birth through age 3, hippotherapy (using a horse for therapy with children), as well as at St. Louis Children's Hospital for 10 years before coming to Special School District in 2018. At St. Louis Children's Hospital, I performed duties as a wheelchair seating and positioning specialist as well as a specialist in the area of augmentative communication working closely with physical therapy and speech therapy. I also helped develop the inpatient program for behavioral health that now exists at Children's.
I am happy to be making the switch from supporting the Parkway and Pattonville school districts to support Webster Groves school district for occupational therapy.
Amy Mancuso (Resource Teacher)
My name is Amy Mancuso and I’m excited to start my first year as a resource teacher at Hudson Elementary. I am coming from the Kirkwood School District, where I was a paraprofessional for four years.
I grew up in South City, but now I live in South County with my husband, Neill, and our dog, Macklin. I have a Masters in Teaching from Fontbonne University. In my off time I like to try new restaurants, go thrifting, visit coffee shops, play trivia, and watch Parks and Rec for the 100th time. My favorite place to travel to is South Florida, but I would love to make it to Italy one day.
We were quite a family at my last school, so I can’t wait to meet everyone!
CO-TEACHING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 23-24
MEMORIES CAPTURED DURING EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR!
Extended School Year (ESY) was in full effect this summer. Students worked on their IEP goals while they enjoyed other activities as well. We appreciate all of the staff who chose to work during the summer months to help continue to support students.
The last day of ESY was July 6.
WELCOME TO THE WEBSTER GROVES PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL (WGPAC)
The WGPAC is scheduled to meet four times for the 23/24 school year. There will be a topic and/or guest speaker and time to get to know one another.
Feel free to bring in your own meal or snack.
Meetings will be on the following dates at Global Brew in Rock Hill on Tuesday evenings from 7-8 PM.
Please mark your calendars and plan to join!
Questions? Contact JJ.Gossrau@gmail.com
*The Webster Groves Parent Advisory Council was formed by families who expect that children with disabilities and/or unique learning needs are educated effectively, afforded the dignity of belonging, and valued throughout all Webster Groves School District learning opportunities and experiences.
WGSD FAMILY BARBEQUE! - SAVE THE DATE!
Community Partner Highlight
PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) is a 12-16 week social skills program for children, teens or young adults with autism. In this program, individuals are engaged in learning real-life skills for connecting with others, as well as building and maintaining friendships. Parents/Caregivers will also participate in the program and will be taught how to support and assist their child/young adult in making and keeping friends by coaching and providing feedback during weekly homework assignments.
This program is offered to three age groups:
Children’s Friendship Training: 3rd-5th graders
PEERS: Middle and high school aged students
PEERS for Young Adults: Individuals ages 18+ who are no longer in high school
New sessions will begin in August 2023.
A pre-program assessment to determine eligibility is required. Funding options include DDRB, DMH and Private Pay.
For more information and to see if you qualify, please contact our Admissions
Department at 314-394-7100 or via email email@example.com.
Brain Injury Association of Missouri Educational Scholarships
SPOTLIGHT ON BULLYING
Bullying is an unacceptable part of our children’s lives. Do your children know how to recognize the signs of bullying? Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center offers resources to help. Click here to learn how you can become a partner in your child’s learning.
The Family and Community Resource Center (FCRC), located at the Learning Center in Hazelwood, has several books that help to increase awareness and prevent bullying for students of all different ages and abilities. Here is a list of just a few:
“Betty Stops the Bully: An Emotional Literacy Book” written by Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D “Emily is Being Bullied. What Can She Do?” written by Helen Cowie, Harriet Tenebaum, and Ffion Jones “I Wish I Knew What to Do?!, Teens tell it like it is…on what to say to get BULLIES to leave you alone!” edited by Beth Carls and Amy Looper
Contact FACE today (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-989-8460) to have one of these books or many others sent home in your student’s backpack!
The Family Resource Hub
The Family Resource Hub is where families and educators develop effective partnerships to improve student outcomes.
For more information visit the The Family Resource Hub.
The Family Resource Hub Satellite Food Pantry is located at North Tech High School which supports families with access to non-perishable food items and household supplies.
Affordable Connectivity Program
Affordable Connectivity Program: The Affordable Connectivity Program is a Federal Communications Commission program that helps connect families or households struggling to afford internet service. This new benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.
Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/ACP, or by calling 877.384.2575.