SSD Ladue Schools

January 2022

How the Ladue Team Celebrated the Holiday Season!

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The Ladue SSD Team was able to assist a family this holiday season by purchasing gifts and other household items, including gas and grocery cards. Families in need were nominated by SSD social workers. This year, the Ladue SSD Team assisted a family of seven. Staff purchased items from the family's wish list and made monetary donations to aid in purchasing needed items. The Spoede team gathered and sorted the donations and spent an evening wrapping gifts together. The gifts were then delivered to the family by an SSD social worker.

Nobody can deny how special our Ladue/SSD team is and the Ladue/SSD administrative team showed their appreciation by sharing a holiday gift with them. Each SSD team member either received a cup or a keychain. All labor for the gifts was donated by The Crafty Peacock, LLC.

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January is Mental Wellness Month

Did you know January is Mental Wellness Month? Focusing a few minutes every day on enhancing mental wellness can increase resilience, help manage stress, and build on an overall sense of well-being. Mental Wellness also helps combat symptoms of serious mental illness. If the concept of mental wellness is new to you, consider the following steps that can easily be added to your routine:

Develop an attitude of gratitude: Focusing on the people and things we are thankful for can help build a positive sense of self. It is often said that while every day may not be good, there is something good in every day. Take a moment or two to focus on the good things and draw your attention away from what might be dragging you down. Some people find it helpful to keep a list of what they are grateful for, others find it helpful to express appreciation through prayer, conversation, or writing a note.

Set aside time to do the things you enjoy: Often, we can become overwhelmed by the things we feel we “have” to do and lose sight of those things that give our lives joy and meaning. Set aside time each day to engage in something pleasant and meaningful to you; take a walk, hot bath, or engage in a hobby. Your pleasant event does not have to take a lot of time out of your day to add a feeling of well-being to your day.

Take a break from stress: Try eliminating or reducing those things that are not healthy or helpful to you. Take a break from watching the news or unfollow negative people on social media. Set appropriate boundaries in your life and learn to say no sometimes.

Slow down: Notice with intention the things you are doing. Drawing your awareness to the moment, especially those moments that are pleasant, enhances our ability to be mindful, and connected with ourselves and others.

Take care of yourself: Enhancing our physical wellness also improves mental wellness. Exercising, eating well, and treating physical illness are all important steps to take to help build an overall sense of wellbeing.

Ask for help when you need it: Seek support and talk to people who care about you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, Hope Haven can help! Our licensed mental health counselors are trained to work with people who are struggling with everyday stressors, as well as working with people who may have serious mental illness.

For more tips and information, see the following resources:

National Alliance on Mental Health St. Louis

Start Here STL

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Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Have you heard of Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and how universals are important to have in place in each classroom? All SSD teachers are required to implement universals because research shows that when teachers explicitly teach routines and behavioral expectations, display schedules and lesson objectives, use positive reinforcement, and incorporate key social, emotional, and behavioral norms into everyday practices, students are less likely to exhibit challenging behaviors and more likely to engage in the learning process. Below are examples of universal practices in place in Heidi Bersett’s classroom. Mrs. Bersett is a resource teacher at Old Bonhomme Elementary.


The Special Education Foundation (SEF) sponsors the John Cary Scholarships for high school seniors, as well. Applications are due Jan. 24, 2022.

For more information, please contact Deana Parsons, SSD internal communications coordinator, at or 314.989.8102.

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Nomination forms are due Feb. 7, 2022

The Lasting Impression Award recognizes SSD staff whose work has made a positive impact in SSD in ways that are not directly associated with student support. These staff members are often people whose work is done either outside the classroom or as support for teachers, counselors and therapists. Much like a leaf can create an imprint in stone, their contributions can leave a lasting impression that show how much they care about the District and its mission.

Candidates for this award are part of the team of professionals that includes: administrative professionals, administrators, audiologists, bus drivers and monitors, equipment modifiers/fabricators, homebound staff, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, sign language interpreters, social workers, SNAP staff, speech/language pathologists and other operations or support staff.

Note: If you would like to nominate a classroom teacher for an award, please use the Key to the Classroom form. If you would like to nominate a paraprofessional for an award, please use the Building Block Award form.

A District committee will select multiple individuals to receive the award.

Recipients of the Lasting Impression Award will be honored at the Salute to SSD event in the spring (date TBA; the District will determine whether the event will be in person or virtual). Nominators of award recipients also will be invited to the event.


  • Nominees for the SSD Lasting Impression Award may be any SSD employee who is not a classroom teacher or paraprofessional (see list above).
  • Nominations can be made by SSD staff, parents, partner district staff, students, or community members.
  • Any group nominations (multiple nominators) will be treated as one singular nomination and the first name listed will be treated as the lead nominator to receive communications about the award.
  • Winners of the award will not be eligible to win again for the next five years. To find out whether a potential nominee has been a previous winner, please contact Deana Parsons at 314.989.8102 or

For More Information

Please contact Deana Parsons, internal communications coordinator, at 314.989.8102 or

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Family and Community Engagement Information to Include:


Mental Health First Aid Training for SSD Families - Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and others to help adolescents experiencing mental health and/or addictions challenge or crisis. It is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Nationally this course is valued at $170; due to a grant from Missouri's Department of Mental Health and a collaboration with the Ferguson Community Center, you have the opportunity to attend at no cost.

Saturday, March 19th from 9 – 1:30 PM at Ferguson Community Center. 1050 Smith Ave, Ferguson, MO 63135

Space is limited. To register click here. Registration will close on Monday, March 7th or when all seats are filled.

The Family Resource Hub located at North Tech High School is a space dedicated to families and our community stakeholders. The resource hub offers families computer and internet access, a satellite food pantry, and support navigating community resources. The space is also dedicated to supporting families by hosting learning labs, community events, and a safe and supportive environment to learn with and from one another.

OPEN HOUSE January 18- January 21, 2022 from 9 – 4 PM

You’re welcome to visit during these times or to set an appointment to meet us there.

Please call 314-989-8311 or email

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) Information

What To Do This Summer?

Join us Tuesday, January 18th at 6:00 PM to learn about summer recreation programs available to school-age children with developmental disabilities and funding options to assist in paying for those programs. The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the Recreation Council of Great St. Louis, will be on zoom.

Presenter: Susan Fleming, Executive Director of the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization which serves as a "clearinghouse" for information on leisure, recreation, and socialization opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in the Greater St. Louis Area. The Council works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are aware of and have access to activities and programs of their "choice."

To register or request the more information about summer programs please contact, the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program at 314.989.8460 or email

Parent Leadership Institute

If you are a parent or family member who makes the educational decisions for a child with a disability, investing the time to attend these four Wednesday evening sessions will provide:

Vision for the future of your child.

Knowledge to help you to effectively participate in your child’s education.

Leadership skills to improve the educational climate for all children.

Access to new resources, friends and experts to help you on your journey.

The Institute will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on February16, March 2, 9, and 16, at the SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. The institute is offered at no cost and dinner is provided. Learn more about this opportunity or download the application at: Parent Leadership Institute.

PEDA would love your feedback!

Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

Lunch & Learn with SSD

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Communications, and Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) departments have teamed up to offer a virtual Lunch & Learn series for SSD families and stakeholders. The series, which will involve community organizations sharing information about their work, will take place on the first Wednesday of each month during the 2021-22 school year, from 11:30 AM - Noon.

Representatives from nine community organizations will participate in order to increase awareness about their agency and make connections with those in our SSD community who may benefit from their programs and services.

Organizations represented in the Lunch & Learn series include:

Stay Connected with Special School District Find us on Social Media

Special School District recognizes the value and increasing role of online social media in an education realm. To increase our communication efforts, we have accounts on four social media sites:


We would like to cover topics of interest to you in the monthly newsletter. Please, share your feedback and what you would like to see covered in the newsletter by clicking this link: Ladue Newsletter Feedback