Partnering with Parents

To Meet the Needs of Our Students with Special Needs

March, 2021 Volume 3 Issue 6

If you are accessing this newsletter via the Parent Portal, please type this link into your browser so you can access the links in the newsletter- Or you can find the link on Facebook or Twitter @HTDSspecialed.

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Hamilton Cares

As an additional avenue to support our HTSD community, a hotline has been set up for all families to call if they are in need of any assistance. The number for the hotline is (609) 476-6138. If you or someone you know needs assistance with meals, wellness, or any other related service, please call the hotline, leave a message, and we will reach out as quickly as possible.

*The state has recently extended our free meal program until the end of the school year. ALL students eat free in Hamilton Township Schools this year.

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Important Dates


Developmental Disabilities Month

Brain Awareness Week- March 15-21

National Social Worker Month

Read Across America

Women's History Month

Youth Art Month

Music in Our Schools Month

National Nutrition Month

National School Breakfast Week- March 8-12

9- SEPAG Meeting 6:00 p.m.

14- Pi Day

17- Happy St. Patrick's Day

19- end of Trimester 2

21 World Down Syndrome Day

26 Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness

26- Report Cards and Progress Reports issued

26- International SEL Day- #SELday

Progress Reporting

At our parent advisory meeting in January we were made aware of a concern about progress reports and the parent portal. It seems that although an alert does go out to parents when these newsletters are posted to the parent portal, an alert does NOT go out when report cards and progress reports are posted. Additionally, it was shared that the IEP Progress Reports are hard to find and that they are not in the same tab as the report cards.

The technology supervisors looked into these concerns. They reported that all available alerts for Parent Portal are turned on but there is no alert for report cards. Additionally, the IEP Progress Reports are not generated through Genesis. Therefore, they are posted as documents and are located with the other documents in the portal.

So as the end of the second trimester fast approaches, just a quick reminder of how to locate your child's progress report in the Genesis Parent Portal. Progress Reports and Report Cards will be posted to the Genesis Parent Portal on March 26th. Report Cards will be in the Report Card tab and Progress Reports will be in the Documents tab.

Annual Review/IEP Season

It is just about that time of year again- Annual Review/IEP Season. Most of our annual reviews happen in April and May. However, they can begin as early as March 15 and extend until the end of the school year in June. You will be hearing from your case manager to schedule your child's annual review/IEP meeting as we look to plan for your child for the 2021-2022 school year. Meetings will continue to be virtual for the remainder of this school year.

Several of the child study team (CST) members have developed a form to share with you in order to gather information in preparation for the meeting. This Parent IEP Input Form will be shared with you in advance of the meeting as the CST is aware that the meetings can be overwhelming. This will give you an opportunity to really reflect on how your child has done so far this school year and what concerns, questions, ideas you have for the next school year.

Summer Programming

We are working on plans to provide students with services this summer as we know that the challenges we faced and are facing during the pandemic have significantly impacted students. At your child's annual review, the IEP Team (which includes you!) will discuss how your child is doing this school year and what supports and services may be needed to supplement the services they have received during the pandemic.

  • We will be running an Extended School Year (ESY) Program as we do each summer. However, this year the program will be 2 weeks longer than it has been in recent years. This program is for students whose performance is likely to revert to a lower level of functioning and recoupment cannot be expected in a reasonable length of time.
  • We will also be running a Special Education Supplemental Summer Program which will address learning loss (academic and/or social-language-behavioral) during the pandemic.
  • Additionally, each school will be holding summer programs that are open to all students.

All of these opportunities will be discussed with you at the annual review.

Promoting Literacy Development at Home

The Hamilton Township School District is partnering with SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) to support literacy development for students in grades PreK through 3. Thank you to all of you who were able to complete the survey in January. Families and staff will be invited to discuss the results of the survey at a follow-up meeting. Together we will develop a plan to promote literacy development at home. SPAN will provide a $500 grant for Hess and a $500 grant for Shaner to implement our plan to promote literacy at home.

Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

We have a Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) in the district. Each district board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.2(h).

Please contact Marylynn Stecher- if you would like to serve as a member of this group and you will be added to the email list to get reminders of meetings. Our previous meetings for the 20-21 school year were on Wednesday, October 21 and Tuesday, January 12. Upcoming meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 9, 2021 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
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SPAN Parent Advocacy Network

SPAN Parent Advocacy Network is pleased to present the following virtual workshops in March:

Using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in School - March 9, 2021

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The focus of this workshop is on interventions and supports for students who exhibit challenging behaviors (e.g. aggression, self-injury, tantrums).


Procedural Safeguards: What You Need to Know - March 10, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

This workshop will provide information on parental rights under the NJ Administrative Code pertaining to written notice, consent, confidentiality, access to records, dispute resolution procedures, and more.


Youth Chat for Ages 13 and Up - March 3, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

This is your chance to help create a community of youth supporting youth.


Looking to the Future: Transition from School to Adult Life - March 3, 2021

Time: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

This workshop will discuss issues related to transitioning from school to adult life.


Literacy Strategies for Families - March 10, 2021

Time: 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM

This workshop will help families to support their child's reading achievement, especially children who are struggling readers.


Speaking with Families about Developmental Concerns - March 12, 2021

Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In this workshop, we will discuss the diagnosis process, provide an overview of how families can obtain Early Intervention and Special Education services, and identify resources and strategies that can be used to build relationships with families.


Student-Led IEPs - A Path to Success - March 16, 2021

Time: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

This presentation will discuss what parents need to do to begin the student-led IEP process for students, what students need to know to begin the student-led IEP process, and what student-led IEPs look and feel like for students, families, and teachers.


Essential Components of the IEP - March 17, 2021

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This workshop provides participants with a review of the essential components of an Individualized Education Plan.


Interventions and Supports for Struggling Students - March 18, 2021

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This workshop will provide information on resources and helpful strategies for use at school and at home to help avoid student failure.


VOCES LATINAS Presenta... ¡Empoderados, Comprometidos y Efectivos!

18 de febrero de 2021

Haga clic aquí para registrarse:

Una serie interactiva y totalmente en español de empoderamiento familiar. Aprenda como navegar el sistema de educación especial. Identifique los apoyos disponibles para los estudiantes que están teniendo estragos en su educación. Organice un plan de acción para involucrase efectivamente en los grupos de toma de decisiones. Anote las fechas: Todas las reuniones serán de 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Para más información o si necesita ayuda registrándose contacte a: Fanny Ochoa o llame al 551-260-0046

Partners in Education: Transition Mini-Conference - March 20, 2021

Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This event will provide information to both young adults and their parents on education rights, transition plans, self-advocacy, and much more.


NJ Resources and Options for Families - March 22, 2021

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

This workshop will discuss resources and information SPAN can provide to families as well as various organizations and agencies to help families.


Health Advocacy: Accessing Health Coverage and Services for Your Family - March 22, 2021

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This workshop will provide information about various insurance models - who is eligible, what is covered, and how to apply. Information on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act will also be provided.


From Measurable Goals to Making Progress - March 24, 2021

Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

This workshop provides parents and professionals with strategies to create IEP with measurable annual goals and objectives as well as the required information regarding student progress.


We hope to see you at these great events!

Although not happening until May 11th and 13th, SPAN invites all parent leaders to join us at the bi-annual SPAN Parent Leadership and Advocacy Virtual Conference "Speak Up, Take Action & Create Change! Improving Systems for Families. Please see attached flyers in English and Spanish. To register, go to

Finally, I also wanted to share the latest SPAN Parent Leadership E-news 2021 Leadership Renewal: Lead Like It Matters! / Renovación del liderazgo en 2021: ¡Lidere como si importara!

To access additional resources and new tools for Special Education Parent Advisory Groups (SEPAGs), please visit our webpage for Parent Groups.

My very best,


Tatsiana DaGrosa
Co-Director, START-Engaging Parents of Students with Disabilities in Schools, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network

(609) 401-9423 |

35 Halsey St., 4th Fl. | Newark, NJ 07102

Mental Health and So Much More!

Please check out the Mental Health webpage on our Hamilton Township School District website. There are a ton of great resources. I have included a button below to take you directly there if you are accessing this newsletter via Facebook or Twitter. If you are accessing this newsletter via a PDF copy on the parent portal, please go to our Facebook or Twitter page @HTSDspecialed so you have access to all the links contained in the newsletter.

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Project Child Find

Parents of Hamilton Township who are concerned that their school age child (3 years to 21 years) may have special needs can receive assistance from the local school district's Child Study Team. In addition, the Hamilton Township Schools are organizing a Child Find campaign to locate and provide services for children ages three to five who may have physical, cognitive, language or emotional difficulties. Information also may be obtained on how and where to receive services for children with special needs who are younger than three. Professional guidance, assessment and an educational program are all available free for eligible children. For more information contact the Hamilton Township School District Child Study Team office at 476-6111.

The Project Child Find Fact Sheet

NJDOE Project Child Find Information

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Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters

Register Ready – New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs and their families, friends, caregivers and associates an opportunity to provide information to emergency response agencies so emergency responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency."

For more information, click on this link.

Administrative Team

Supervisor of Special Education and Child Study Teams

Marylynn Stecher

Supervisor of Instruction in Special Education

Dana Kozak

Supervisor of Special Projects

Jeff Wellington

Notice of Nondiscrimination

The Hamilton Township School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, ancestry, disability, age, or social or economic status in its programs and activities.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Marylynn Stecher

Affirmative Action Officer



For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.