PPS and Special Education Updates

January 20, 2021

We Need Your Feedback

During the 2019-2020 school year, the district reintroduced the professional development program designed to give school teams the strategies needed to conduct PPT meetings using the Facilitated IEP (FIEP) Meeting process. Although the training was impacted by the pandemic closures, enough of the training had been completed to enable school teams to begin using some of the strategies associated with FIEP meetings. The goals of the FIEP process include: increasing participation by all team members; increasing parent input and information; using "pre-meeting" strategies to make meetings more efficient and student centered; and increase consistent practices across schools and teams.

FIEP Implementation 2020-2021

During the fall of the 2020-2021 school year the expectations for the implementation of the FIEP strategies were shared with staff through a video, print materials and meetings. Beginning on January 19, 2021 through July 1, 2021, at minimum, every Annual Review must include these strategies associated with the FIEP process:

  • Send a copy of the draft IEP to the parents at least 5 school days prior to the PPT meeting;
  • An agenda must be developed for the meeting estimating the amount of time needed for each part of the meeting and include the expected time the meeting will end;
  • A school member of the PPT must call the parent between 2-3 days before the meeting to review the draft IEP, answer any questions and review the agenda;
  • Open the meeting with participant introductions that include the participants relationship to the student and their program and the participant expected role in the meeting; and
  • Use a ‘parking lot’ to record any topics, issues or concerns that are important but not part of the agenda. These items can be held for another meeting or another forum for discussion.

Parent Survey

  • During the period of time January 19, 2021 through July 1, 2021 all families will be asked to complete a survey regarding their experience at the PPT.
  • This information will be collated after July 1st and results will be analyzed by school, by level (level=preschool, elementary, middle and high school) and by district.
  • The survey is anonymous except for the designation of the school and at GHS, the respective 'House.'
  • The information from the surveys will be used to identify the areas that should be targeted for improvement during the 2021-2022 school year.
  • The survey consists of 13 questions that reflect important criteria in every PPT meeting.
  • We are asking all parents/guardians who participate in Annual Review meetings from 1/19/21 to 7/1/21 to please complete the survey once they have received the finalized IEP. The survey is available in English and in Spanish. Your participation will help us target our professional learning for the 2021-2022 school year. We appreciate your continued partnership.

Parent Video Chat Sessions

During these challenging times, please join us for a virtual “Parent Video Chat” facilitated by one of our GPS psychologists. Connect virtually with other parents in our community and learn effective strategies to manage personal stress and discuss relevant topics (how to establish routines at home, manage challenging behaviors, build your kids resilience). You can join whenever and stay for as long as you can. We are here to answer questions and provide support.

Google Meet Link for all meetings meet.google.com/arm-hbjd-yvy


January – Fostering Resilience at Home


Wednesday, January 20th at 7pm - Click here to JOIN

Friday, January 29th at 10 am - Click here to JOIN

Winter Ideas for Preschool Language

  • Discuss seasonal vocabulary (e.g., winter activities: ice-skating, skiing, building a snowman, drinking hot cocoa; winter clothes - pair with labeling body parts).

    • Use spatial words (e.g., top/bottom, under/over)

    • Use opposite words (e.g., wet/dry)

  • Pair language with a hands-on activity.

    • Have your child “make” a snowman (e.g., a picture, one out of cotton balls, on starfall.com).

  • Go to the library and check-out some winter books! Let your child discover what book they would like to borrow!

    • Take turns reading the story to them and letting them “read” a page! Have them explain what they see =)

    • Try retelling events from the story. Use words such as: First/Then/Last.

    • Describe how characters are feeling & ask your child when they may feel similarly, or why the character feels this way.

    • Repeat the pronunciation of difficult words together.

    • Explain the meaning of new words encountered in the story.

Thanks to Theoni Stavrianopolous

Abilis: Project Search Intern Applications (English & Spanish)

Please click below to access the application packet for the Abilis Project Search Internship in English and/or in Spanish.

The purpose of this application packet is to request information so that Abilis can determine if you are qualified to be a Project SEARCH intern.

Project Search is a unique program, completely different from most existing pre- employment programs. There is a classroom component where interns learn the curriculum. During the intense, full time, unpaid internship year, interns practice skills “on the job,” fully immersed in the business setting. Ultimately, interns are working towards being able to work full time, competitive jobs (a minimum of 16 hours per week). Another unique aspect of Project Search is that families must be involved in helping their adult child to learn the skills necessary to achieve and maintain competitive employment. This application enables the Selection Committee, consisting of representatives from the Steering Committee, the business site and Abilis, to properly assess each intern candidate’s skills, abilities. A parent, candidate, counselor, school staff, and/or employer will be contacted by the Selection Committee to gather additional information.

Transition Syposium

The Connecticut Secondary Transition Symposium brings students and their families together with educators and other professionals to improve secondary transition programming and services for students with disabilities. The 6th Annual Symposium, with the theme, "Empowering Our Youth Beyond 2020," will continue to build the capacity of educators and other professionals, in partnership with middle and high school students with disabilities and their families, to help ensure successful post-school outcomes.

IEP Basics

Although the IEP is designed to be a document that clearly communicates the agreement between the family and the school for the student's special education services, we have heard from our families that some of the language and descriptions within the document can be difficult to understand at times. In an effort to make the IEP document easier to decipher, one of the district's special education teachers has created a series of short videos to explain the different pages in the IEP. This resource is designed to provide a basic understanding of the information that is included on each page. In addition, attached you will find a link to the Connecticut State Education Department resource for parents on the IEP document.

Lisa Berluti, the teacher who created the videos, will make herself available for two opportunities for parents to ask questions about the information in the videos and printed resources. The two sessions will be offered remotely on Tuesday, January 26 from 9:00-10:00am, and on Wednesday January 27 from 7:00-8:00pm. Both live chats can be joined with the following link: