Together We Can

September 11, 2023

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Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year!

I am so excited to be starting my third year with Greenwich Public Schools. I have enjoyed getting to know and working with staff, parents, students, and community members over the last two years and look forward to continuing our partnership into this next year. I know that we will do great things for our students in this upcoming year!


Stacey Heiligenthaler, Ph.D.

Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports

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From left to right: Dr. Garfield Charles, Michele Iannello, Dan Katz, Dr. Stacey Heiligenthaler, Leah Zilich, Joe Baynes, Theresa Fox, Karen Vitti.

Congratulations to Our New Supervisor of School Nursing

Ms. Jessica Wienke has been appointed School Nurse Supervisor. She replaces Mary Keller, who announced her retirement after 22 years this summer.

Ms. Wieneke has been a public health school nurse with Greenwich Public Schools since 2018, most recently at Cos Cob School. She worked closely with Mary, especially during the COVID pandemic, collaborating on health guidelines.

Jessica has worked at Greenwich Hospital as a charge nurse in labor and delivery and a staff nurse in the emergency department. She received an associate degree of science in nursing from Norwalk Community College, a bachelor degree of science in nursing from Grand Canyon University, and a master of science in nursing from Sacred Heart University.

We are so lucky to have Jessica join our team!

Ms. Joan Pritchard Has Retired

For the past 20 years, many of you have spoken with Ms. Joan Pritchard, the administrative assistant in the SESS Department. Last month, she announced her retirement. The SESS Department gathered together to celebrate her retirement after many years of service and dedication.

Thank you Joan for everything and we will miss you!

What We Are Seeing 👀 Around the Schools

Greenwich High School Professional Development

Professional assistants at Greenwich HS engage in professional development before school begins to learn more about one another and which "direction" or style indicates their personality.

Special Education teachers at GHS had the chance to participate in professional development before school began, working on identifying their values, creating a vision for the year, and of course, team building!

Welcome Preschool Staff

Ms. Shantal Jackson, of the behavior support team, ran professional development for the preschool teachers and professional assistants in late August at North Street School. It centered around de-escalation and calming strategies in the classroom for preschool students.

We Are Here To Help!

The Behavior Support team is ready to roll for another amazing school year! Let's make 2023-2024 our best school year yet!

Sensory Fun at Parkway

Parkway School's occupational and physical therapy room is ready for use! Student's have opportunities to try different sensory activities, whether it be a squishy seat when at the table or a trampoline to safely jump on.

Welcome to Central Middle School

August 31 was the first day of school for sixth grade students in the district. Students from Central Middle School enjoyed a morning of getting to know their teachers, meeting new friends, and touring the school. The morning was full of smiles and students very excited to be in middle school!

Students in Ms. Rinaldi's resource room read an article on the pros and cons of cell phone bans in schools. The students learned reading strategies, annotated, and answered comprehension questions. Students work on Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) and support their viewpoint with evidence from the article.

Welcome to Greenwich HS

Principal Mayo welcomes students to the new year at GHS! Administrators, teachers, and students shared in the excitement that always comes with the start of the school year.

Community Connections in the Community

Students at Community Connections have fun at Manhattanville College! Here they gain opportunities to participate with same-aged peers in fun activities such as dancing!

Workshops and Resources

PreK Curriculum

This year, we are excited to explore our new curriculum for our preschool program. Materials have arrived to schools and professional development had started in June and continued in August and beyond. Feel free to explore the website.

Inclusion Corner with Rachel Rubin

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! I am Ms. Rachel Rubin, GPS’s inclusion specialist. I am excited to share different aspects of inclusive education throughout the school year. To start us off, I want to give you some information on two topics that are intertwined: inclusion and presuming competence.

Inclusion and presuming competence are two essential principles that promote both equity and respect for students of all abilities.

Inclusion is the practice of creating environments where everyone, regardless of their background, abilities, or differences, feel valued, accepted, and welcome. Inclusive communities or classrooms aim to celebrate diversity (including and especially neurodiversity). You know your school is inclusive when all students are included in general education settings, students work in naturally supportive, flexible structures and groupings with other students regardless of ability, students are supported to access the core curriculum, all students are known and valued members of the school community and develop meaningful social relationships with their peers, and finally, all students are presumed competent (Kluth, 2023).

Presuming competence is the belief that every person, regardless of their disability, possesses the capacity to learn, grow, and communicate in their own unique way. By presuming competence, we empower individuals with disabilities to actively participate, meaningfully contribute, and thrive in our classrooms and communities. Together, these principles pave the way for a more compassionate and equitable future.

Supported Decision-Making Fall Webinar Series Presented by The Arc Connecticut

The Supported Decision-Making Coalition of Connecticut is pleased to present three webinars on Supported Decision-Making topics.

All webinars are free. You must register separately for each webinar.

September 20, 2023 6-7:30PM Via Zoom

Supported Decision-Making and Special Education

Register for this webinar.

October 4, 2023 6-7:30PM via Zoom

Supported Decision-Making and Transition

Register for this webinar.

October 18, 2023 6-7:30PM Via Zoom

Supported Decision-Making and Vocational Rehabilitation

Register for this webinar.

The presenter for all three webinars will be


Jonathan Martinis, Esq., J.D., is the Senior Director for Law and Policy in the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University. He is based at BBI’s Washington, D.C. office and leads the institute’s national and international efforts.

Martinis has over 20 years of experience representing and advocating for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Most notably, in 2013, Martinis represented Jenny Hatch in the nationally acclaimed “Justice for Jenny” case. Martinis helped Ms. Hatch secure her right to live where and how she wants, to make her own decisions, and direct her own life. Jenny’s case was the first trial to hold that a person with disabilities has a right to engage in “Supported-Decision Making,” where people work with trusted friends, family members, and professionals to help them understand the situations and choices they face, so they may make their own decisions – rather than be subjected to an unnecessary permanent, plenary or full guardianship.

SELF Resource Fair October 1

Looking for resources for your child? Are you interested in learning more about schools, therapists, providers, agencies, and nonprofit organizations that support your child with specific needs, educational and otherwise? Attend Special Education Legal Fund's inaugural Resource Fair on Sunday, October 1, from 2:00-5:00 PM at the Stamford JCC on Newfield Avenue.

This event is FREE for attendees with registration.

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The Office of Special Education and Student Supports

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