SSD Pattonville Dispatch

November 2021

Congratulations Ms. Schwarte!

Our October Para of the Month is Katy Schwarte from Pattonville High School! Katy has worked for SSD for twelve years, the last ten at Pattonville High School. She works in functional skills classrooms with students of varying grade levels. Katy does it all! From reinforcing social skills, to assisting in physical education class, to aiding students with their assistive technology, Katy has been serving the students of Pattonville effectively for the last decade.

"What I enjoy most about my job," Katy says, "is that I get to help them with skills that they will use beyond high school, skills they will use their entire lives." Katy practices patience, calmness, and quiet to help students reach their potential. "I enjoy helping our functional skills students find extra strength within themselves that they didn't know they have."

Katy praised Pattonville's eagerness to partner effectively with their SSD staff as a key contributor to student success. "Pattonville makes us all feel like part of the same family," she reported. Regarding the special education team in her building, Katy said that they are quite special. "From greetings in the morning to supporting each other during the day, our team works as a family."

Katy is indeed doing a phenomenal job at Pattonville High School! Congratulations to Katy on being our Para of the Month!

SSD Student Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

Many opportunities for scholarships and awards are now open for SSD students! SSD scholarship applications for graduating high school seniors are active and due Dec. 17, 2021. Students applying for The James E. Westbury/SSD Board of Education Scholarship, The Allison M. Haake Memorial Scholarship, or The Bonhomme Lions Club Scholarship must receive at least one service from SSD and plan to go to a college, university, or postsecondary program. All scholarships require a letter of recommendation. Visit for more information.

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.

New Pattonville Parent Group Forming

The Pattonville Parent Advisory Council will hold its first meeting Tuesday, November 16, from 6:30p.m. - 8:30p.m. via Zoom. Ms. Kari Ellis and the SSD Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) department will facilitate the organizational development of our local PAC. A local parent advisory committee provides parents an opportunity to learn more about the supports and resources available to parents of students with disabilities and collaborate with other local parents.

Zoom link: Click here for Zoom Meeting Link

Meeting ID: 954 1546 1345

Passcode: 615097

Upcoming PEDA Workshops

All workshops offered by SSD's Parent Education and Diversity Awareness program (PEDA) are provided free of charge and are open to all parents, families, and community members.

All of our currently scheduled workshops will be held virtually. Unable to attend the live workshop? Register for the event to receive a link to the recording a few days after the workshop! Click here to learn more about how to register and access the sessions.

PEDA has several workshops scheduled for November. These include:

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders Two Part Series

Session 2 | November 15, 6:30 PM

Identify and understand the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders and learn effective and practical strategies that will support your child’s success at home and school. The second session will focus on strategies. Both sessions will have time for discussion and questions.

Presenter: John Bruno, Ph.D., SSD Autism Effective Practice Specialist

November 15th Zoom Meeting Information

Meeting ID: 982 8634 6135
Passcode: 103277

Introduction to Charting the LifeCourse (in Collaboration with St. Louis ARC)

November 18, 2021, 6:30 PM

Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) is a set of eight principles developed to support people with IDD and their families so they can have their best lives. In this workshop, we will learn about the CtLC principles and work together to create planning and problem-solving tools. Participants will also receive updates about LifeCourse Connect Missouri, which is a new online platform that can be used by individuals and family members to access tools. This workshop is for everyone but especially self-advocates, families, and support staff.

Presenters: Sharon Spurlock, Director of Family Support, St. Louis Arc and Debra Fiasco, Administrator, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness, Special School District

Zoom Webinar Registration:

PEDA is happy to announce that we are taking applications for our Spring Parent Leadership Institute (PLI). PLI will occur over 4 evenings in February and March. You can learn more and download the application here: Parent Leadership Institute

Finally, PEDA would love your feedback! Please complete are PEDA Communications survey here: PEDA Survey

SSD Parent Leadership Institute – Spring 2022

  • SSD’s Parent Education and Diversity Awareness Program is seeking applicants interested in participating in the Spring 2022 SSD Parent Leadership Institute.

    Parent Leadership Institute participants have the opportunity to:

    • Build understanding of future planning and problem-solving utilizing the Charting the LifeCourse tools.
    • Learn to effectively participate in their child’s education and improve the educational climate for all children.
    • Learn how to positively interact and collaborate with other parents and school personnel.
    • Discover new resources and network with other parents.

    This program, which is offered at no cost to participants, is designed for parents and family members who are the educational decision makers for a child with a disability.

    The three sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 - 8:30 PM on Feb. 16, March 2, March 9, and March 16, 2022, at SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, Town & Country MO 63131.

    In-person sessions are currently planned, and further information will be provided to participants if there are any changes prior to the first session. If in-person attendance is possible, dinner will be provided with all sessions.

Lunch and Learn Series

Special School District’s Family and Community Outreach, Social Work, Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) and Communications 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:

SSD Parent Advisory Council

The SSD Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is comprised of families advising and collaborating to improve the education, confidence and social outcomes of each student served by SSD. The PAC consists of five parents or guardians – one member and four alternates – from each of the 22 St. Louis County school districts and from each of the five SSD special education schools. The parents or guardians of students receiving special education services in that district or school elect SSD PAC members.

Get Involved with the SSD PAC:

  • Network and communicate with other parents of children who receive special education services

  • Become as informed as possible about special education services

  • Improve communication between your local school district and SSD

  • Create a positive understanding and awareness of students with disabilities

  • Establish a network of advocacy for local, state and national disability issues

Complete this online form to learn more about getting involved with the SSD Parent Advisory Council.

Meeting Dates

The SSD Parent Advisory Council has scheduled the following meetings for the 2021-2022 school year. All meetings are held virtually via Zoom, from 7-9 PM. Additional information about meetings, including agendas, can be found on the PAC's website.

  • Nov. 10, 2021
  • Dec. 8, 2021
  • Jan. 12, 2022
  • Feb. 9, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • April 13, 2022
  • May 11, 2022 (this meeting will be held virtually and in-person)

Please contact the Superintendent's Office at 314.989.8419 or 314.989.8281 by noon on the Wednesday before the meeting and an American Sign Language interpreter will be provided.

For more information about the SSD PAC or who represents your district, e-mail

Upcoming Dates

November 24

No School

November 25-26

No School for Thanksgiving Holiday

Pattonville District November Calendar

Let's Talk!

Let’s Talk is an open invitation from Special School District (SSD) to tell us what’s on your mind.​Let’s Talk is an easy way to submit feedback at your convenience directly to the SSD staff member who can help.

Pattonville School District

Dee Byrnes, SSD Director of Special Education

Latoria Cain, Director of Student Services

Deidre Smalls, Special Education Coordinator - Bridgeway, Parkwood, Rose Acres

Carla Addoh, Special Education Coordinator - Remington, Willow Brook, Robert Drummond

Dee Byrnes, Special Education Coordinator - Holman Middle

Leigh Ann Richelman, Special Education Coordinator - Pattonville Heights & Pattonville High