Special Education Department

February 2021

February is American Heart Month!

Get the entire family involved with these tips, activities, and fact sheets!

Go, Slow, and Woah flashcards- Focuses on teaching kids healthy food options


Take Charge of Your Health: A Teenager's Guide:


25 Ways To Take Part in Heart Month:


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Parent Community Center (Buddy System)

Albert Einstein Academy’s Special Education Parent Committee made a great suggestion during our last meeting. We connected special education families together who share similar interests and other relatable topics. Parents of this group will essentially be an additional resource for each other. They can seek any advice or ask any questions they may have while building supportive relationships with one another. AEA’s Special Education Department will be making a shareable document to those who would like to take part in this additional resource. With this shared information, you can reach out through a parent-to-parent to network, share important topics, and brainstorm together! This is a wonderful way to connect with other families who have similar experiences! If you are interested in being a part of this program please contact Mrs. Lemons (rebecca.lemons@aeaohio.org) or Mrs. Costanzo (kristen.costanzo@aeaohio.org).

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) offers a range of services to help students with disabilities 14+ prepare for post-secondary education and employment. OOD works together with students, families, schools/colleges, and community partners to provide services that promote successful transitions to careers and adult life. For additional services OOD provides to students ages 14 and older, please refer to the flyer below.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) also provides an Ohio College2Careers (Ohio C2C) program. Ohio C2C is available at 15 Ohio colleges and universities, including Cuyahoga Community College. This program works in collaboration with services already available through disability and career offices. The goal is to ensure students with disabilities have the support they need to complete their degree and/or credential, earn higher wages, and meet the demands of tomorrow’s labor market. An Ohio C2C Counselor is located on campus to assist students with disabilities with additional supports, including:

• Connection to an expansive employer partner network

• Career exploration and counseling

• Navigating OhioMeansJobs

• Assistive technology

• Resume and interview preparation

• Internships, job accommodations, and permanent employment

For more information about Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities or the Ohio C2C services, please feel free to reach out to Mary Hennessey at mary.hennessey@ood.ohio.gov or by visiting the OOD website at www.ood.ohio.gov.

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Connecting for Kids

Connecting for Kids is a non-profit organization that provides education and support to families in Northeast Ohio who have concerns about their child. They serve all families, including those children with and without formal diagnoses.

Connecting for Kids will be participating in the 2021 Lorain County Resource Fair on Saturday, April 24 from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Lorain County Community College Courtyard. This event will be socially distanced and outdoors following all CDC guidelines. This event offers resources for families in Lorain & Western Cuyahoga Counties who have concerns about their child (birth-22) with both an in-person and a “Grab & Go” option. The Lorain County Resource Fair will be rescheduled to May 8, 2021 (if needed) due to COVID-19 restrictions or weather.

Connecting for Kids was unable to find an appropriate location for an in-person event in Cuyahoga County. Therefore, they are excited to host the Cuyahoga County Resource Box as the safest alternative to their annual Meet and Greet during this time of COVID-19. The Cuyahoga County Resource Box provides resources for families in Cuyahoga County and surrounding counties who have concerns about their child (birth-12). It will be set up as a "Grab & Go'' only event. For this innovative event, Connecting for Kids will collect other agencies' fliers, brochures or other printed materials and place them into a box. Sponsor materials will be placed in a binder for families to use and organize the materials that fit their needs. Families will be able to visit multiple libraries across Cuyahoga County, including east and westside. This allows vendors from all parts of Cuyahoga County and beyond to reach families.

Mindful Applications for Smart Devices

The special education department gathered (virtually) on our PD day to discuss our students' needs in depth and how to better serve them and our families. We created a list of apps that can be added to a smart device to assist students and families at home during virtual learning or non-schooling time. These apps focus on mindfulness and help those center themselves to a more productive and calm state of mind.

Mindful apps:

-Mindful Powers


-Smiling Mind

-Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame


-The Good Things: A Happiness Journal

-Super Stretch Yoga HD

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The special education department soaked in all the great information from our last PD day!

Transition Services: A Glimpse at College Support & Services for Students with Disabilities

One of the most common questions students with disabilities ask when thinking about going off to college is, "Will I get the support and services I need?" The simple answer to this question is, "yes!" Each college/university has Disability Services or Student Accessibility Services where students can go to obtain their needed accommodations and supports. Students must provide the appropriate documentation of a disability (IEP or 504 Plan) in order to receive their basic accommodations. However, college services are different than services provided in high school and students will not have a designated intervention specialist.

Below is additional information on Cuyahoga Community College's Student Accessibility Services.

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Transition Services with Mrs. Costanzo

Hello! My name is Mrs. Kristen Costanzo. I am the District Transition Coordinator for the 2020-2021 school year. I have been in education for the last six years and have enjoyed four of those years being a member of the AEA community! During my career, I have been an intervention specialist for middle school and high school students, taught middle school English and math, and have even taught Mandarin Chinese.

As the transition coordinator, I have the opportunity to work with students ages 14 and older, focusing on their future plans, needs, and goals. Students ages 14 and older have transition goals in their IEP. Transition goals focus on post-secondary education/training, competitive integrated employment, and independent living. This year, students have been given the opportunity to explore different careers that align with their interests and skill, research post-secondary education options and their requirement, as well as independent living skills, which include, but are not limited to, financial skills and job preparation skills (filling out an application, job interviews, understanding/creating a resume). Parents have also been able to share their input for their child’s future as well through a quick Parent Transition Survey. I believe that everyone working together will provide a strong support system for all students and their futures.

Coming up in the near future are additional transition lessons and activities! This past month, students got to voice their opinions on what they would like to learn. Students are interested in lessons/activities on the following topics: obtaining a driver’s license, mock interviews for jobs, additional lessons on budgeting/finances, resume practice, learning how to cook a meal, overcoming personal obstacles, and understanding/using a credit card. These lessons will be done both in-person, following all CDC and school guidelines, as well as virtual. Also, for the second semester of the school year, I have started Senior Social. Senior Social is a time for all the seniors and myself to come together for socialization, fun, and more lessons on life after graduation! This definitely is not the senior year they have imagined, but I hope this time will create some fun!

In my free time, I enjoy a variety of activities. I love spending time with my family (especially my three beautiful dogs), traveling, and reading. I also spend my time volunteering for Youth Challenge and am the Special Events chairperson for their Young Professionals board. Youth Challenge brings together young people with physical disabilities and volunteers who inspire each other through adapted sports, recreation and social growth activities. I am also excited to share that my husband and I will be expecting our first baby this August!

I am happy to be a part of Albert Einstein Academy’s Special Education Department and look forward to what the rest of this unpredictable school year may bring! Thank you again for all your time, energy, and support. If you or your student ever have any questions with regards to transition services please feel free to contact me at kristen.costanzo@aeaohio.org.


From Ms. Kutz's Intervention Classroom

Hello! I am Sarah Kutz and I am the K-7th Intervention Specialist at Albert Einstein Academy in North Olmsted. At the beginning of this month I reached my first full year working at AEA where I have provided intervention, pull-out, small group and in-class assistance to students during the school day. Before coming to work at AEA, I graduated from Ashland University in May of 2019 where I received my dual degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Intervention. I have always wanted to be a teacher. As I got older, I fell in love with the special education aspect. I have been working within schools since I was in 6th grade. I would tutor younger students in reading and math. This job has always been my dream! I love that I now get to help impact the lives of my students like past teachers did for me.

Since the beginning of the school year I have been working with my students virtually and in-person. When I am with my students, I work on their IEP goals which range from reading, math, writing, behavior, and organization skills. Due to remote learning, all of the students are trying their absolute best. With the learning environment changing from in-person and remote for some students, it has been hard but they have been doing their best.

A little about me. I was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. I moved to the Cleveland area in August of 2019 and I am so glad I made the choice to move here. During my free time I like to spend time with family and friends, and try new things. In the summer, I love to go boating and spend time with my nieces and nephews and in the fall I enjoy watching football.

Thank you for all that you have done to help us teachers and our administrators during this school year along with taking the time to get to know me. Have a great rest of the school year. If you ever need me for anything I am always here to help. Feel free to contact me through my school email: sarah.kutz@aeaohio.org

Learning Disabilities Association of Ohio

The Learning Disabilities Association of Ohio is hosting their first Annual Meeting. This will be held Sunday, February 21st at 4:00p.m. If this interests you and you would like to attend, please reach out to Mrs. Lemons.

For more information: https://ldaamerica.org/affiliates/ohio/