Special Education Updates

from Kate Ryan, the Director of Pupil Services

May 12, 2020

As we work through week 8 of remote learning and week three of our official school closure, on behalf of the Millbury Public Schools, I want to say "Thank you!" Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility, and understanding. Thank you for your support!

The administration continues to heed the guidance provided by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). As the district continues to improve upon the Remote Learning Plan, please know that we are aware that all of you are doing your very best and IT IS APPRECIATED! The Remote Learning Plans are available on school websites.

Please continue to reach out to your child's teachers, building administrators, or me with any questions.

Thank you very much, and we appreciate everyone's efforts to keep our community healthy.

Be well,


Extended School Year (ESY)

As you know COVID-19 has presented us with many obstacles. Planning for the Special Education Extended School Year (ESY) has become one of them. The DESE is advising districts to plan for a continuation of remote learning, with a possibility of returning the buildings. I also understand that many of you may prefer to keep your child(ren) out of the school buildings until re-entry guidance becomes available.

The ESY dates will be as follows:

Preschool - Grade 12

**Monday, July 6th through Thursday, August 6th, 9AM - 12PM

Substantially Separate Preschool-Grade 1 Program

**Monday, July 6th through Thursday, August 13th, 9AM - 2PM

**Please know the dates are subject to change based on state guidance.

Registration paperwork will be sent out electronically and via US Mail by the end of this week. While the district is planning to provide ESY services remotely, paperwork will also include information to support transportation. We want to have all information readily available should we be able to shift to in-person instruction.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Other resources:

How to maintain your mental well-being during the COVID-19 crisis

Young Children at Home during the COVID-19 Outbreak: The Importance of Self-Care

Mindfulness Month: a calendar of daily, mindful moments

Mrs. Conlon, school psychologist for the Elmwood St. School, has created a Facebook support group for Elmwood families. To join, please follow this link.

Alternatives to Face Masks

As of May 6, Governor Baker declared that face masks are required in all public places in

Massachusetts. Do you have a student, child, or family member that has difficulty wearing a face mask due to behavioral, anxiety, medical or sensory challenges? Our Occupational Therapist, Mrs. Laura Newhall, has compiled a list of alternatives, including some DIY options, for you to try.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

from our Speech and Language Pathologists

Did you know that roughly 5% of children will exhibit a noticeable speech disorder? Did you also know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month? Throughout this month, the Elmwood Speech-Language Department will be sending out resources and activities geared towards speech, language, and hearing in honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month. Below is a link that lists facts you may not have known about speech and hearing disorders. Take look to discover some facts!


Resource for parents: How to increase success for virtual sessions.



Do you need assistance quickly? Get the answers you need. It's FREE, confidential, and multilingual.

Dial 2-1-1. Or search online MASS 211.

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Callers can use Mass Relay (7-1-1). 7-1-1 is the single, toll-free, nationwide number that gives everyone access to relay services. People can simply dial 7-1-1 from any phone to reach someone who uses a standard phone or a TTY. An operator will relay verbatim the conversation between the parties.

You can also chat with us online at mass211.org

Call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-6277

Runaway Assistance (Police Officers) ext 11

Childcare ext 23

Call2Talk (Mental Health Line) ext 25

Child Requiring Assistance ext 24

Disaster ext 20

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

The Department of Public Health is sharing the following information on access to WIC services and food for our families with young children.

The MA Department of Public Health's Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) Nutrition P​rogram is informing our health and community partners that WIC services are available by phone. ALL WIC Programs are able to provide all services by phone to align with social distancing efforts. Our website​ will be kept up-to-date as well. Contact local WIC programs with any questions about breastfeeding, nutrition or shopping. Even if local program offices are not open, they are responding to phone calls and providing services from remote locations. WIC is committed to providing families with continued support now and in the days ahead.

WIC welcomes families at any time. Check out WIC's eligibility page to see how to families can apply online for WIC services. Parents, grandparents and foster parents may apply for children under the age of five years who are in their care.

Call WIC at 1-800-942-1007 or 617-721-6601weekdays Monday through Friday 9am – 5pm. If you hear a recording, please leave a message with your name and telephone number, and staff will respond the same business day or email the Worcester WIC Program (Oanh.Nguyen@FHCW.org) directly with any questions.


Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

During this closure, there has been an overall modification of all student work, without regard to disability. These modified supports are not being provided during any regular school days, and therefore, student’s IEPs will not be altered to reflect these changes.

On April 8th, the District implemented the Remote Learning Plan based on the guiding principles established by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). On April 9th, Russell Johnson, the MA DESE’s Senior Associate Commissioner and State Director of Special Education shared additional guidance with the Commonwealth’s Special Education Administrators. In this guidance, districts were advised to develop and share with families Individualized Remote Learning Plans (IRLPs) to further support students with disabilities.

The purpose of IRLPs is to communicate how educational opportunities and services will be delivered to your student during the COVID-19 emergency. Special education services for your student will look different during this period of national and state public health emergency. This is not an IEP amendment. As the district continues to develop and improve remote learning systems and opportunities, this learning plan may be modified. Our Team Chairs, special education teachers, and related service providers are working diligently to get these out to you as soon as possible.

Also on April 9th, the DESE released a parent letter and a family resource toolbox. I invite you to visit these links for information and resources that may be of further assistance to you and your student.

IEP and 504 Meetings

The District is continuing to hold virtual IEP and 504 Meetings. If your child's IEP or 504 plan was due for its annual review, you will be contacted to schedule this meeting. Please know that we will continue to collaborate with you to provide the best possible access to your child's special education instruction and services.

If you are unsure if your child's annual IEP review has been scheduled please contact:

Preschool - Kindergarten: Mrs. Kristie Barry-Ayres, Early Childhood/Team Chair kbarry-ayres@millburyschools.org

Grades 1 - 6: Mrs. Wendy Hendon, Special Education Clerk whendon@millburyschools.org

Grades 7 -12: Mrs. Amanda Westerlind, Special Education Clerk awesterlind@millburyschools.org

If you are unsure if your child's annual 504 Plan review has been scheduled please contact:

Preschool - Gr. 3: Mrs. Kelly Beahn kbeahn@millburyschools.org

Grades 4 - 6: Mrs. Cathy Williamson cwilliamson@millburyschools.org

Grades 4 - 6: Mrs. Tamar Jenkins tlasri@millburyschools.org

Grades 7 - 8: Ms. MaryEllen Courtney mcourtney@millburyschools.org

Grades 9 -12: Mrs. Heidi DeSautels hdesautels@millburyschools.org

Grades 9 -12: Ms. Ann Meservey ameservey@millburyschools.org

Grades 9 -12: Mrs. Stephanie DeLucia sdelucia@millburyschools.org

Related Services

Behavioral Supports

Creating Structures and Routines

Please do not hesitate to reach out to one or both of our BCBAs:

Mr. Jason Avakian: javakian@millburyschools.org

Ms. Rose Mahoney: rmarmahoney@millburyschools.org

Occupational and Physical Therapy

Home Activity suggestions (Mrs. Newhall's website)

PT with Mrs. Cormack (Mrs. Cormack's website)

Contact the Director

Kate Ryan, Director

Mary O'Brien, Administrative Assistant to the Director