SSD Ladue Schools

December 2021

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Social Skills Magazine Resource

Looking for free monthly resources on reinforcing social skills?

Kari Dunn, the co-author of The Incredible 5 Point Scale and Social Behavior and Self-Management and author of When My Worries Get Too Big, has committed her work in sharing information and developing resources to positively support all students and teach skills needed for social success. Her website, The Incredible 5-point Scale , has a lot of great downloadable resources, a blog, and links to her podcasts and other helpful videos.

Every month she also launches a free downloadable magazine issue called, “The Social Times.” In each issue, Dunn explores many relevant social skills topics and strategies on how to deal with these important topics. This magazine is a great resource to use at home to help open conversations and dialogue about these important issues around social skills. You can access each FREE downloadable monthly issue at: The Incredible 5-point Scale and fill out a form to be alerted when a new monthly issue has been posted to download.

Check out her website and the free monthly newsletter to use with your kids and let us know what you think! You can provide feedback by clicking the link Ladue Newsletter Feedback.

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It is hard to believe that we have made it this far into another pandemic year and that the final holidays are just around the corner. If you’re like many of us, you love the holidays but start feeling stressed just thinking about the amount of work and finances that can be required to make them feel successful. It is all too easy to set unrealistic expectations of how we want our holiday season to go and then feel stressed when we try to actually reach those expectations. Not to mention the fact that our holiday traditions may not be what they once were due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic - you may not be able to see certain family members, gatherings may be happening on a much smaller basis, you might not feel comfortable traveling to family members, etcetera.

The Mayo Clinic provides several suggestions to help us reduce stress as much as possible so that we can enjoy the upcoming holiday season. Such suggestions include working to acknowledge and accept whatever feelings we are having as the holidays approach. Feelings are always okay, and accepting them as they are creates a safe space for us to feel accepted and not judged or guilty for having them.

Additional suggestions from the Clinic include trying to set more realistic expectations for your holidays, creating a budget for spending, saying “no” if something is too much for you, and planning ahead as much as possible to avoid last minute stress (such as when you’ve forgotten to purchase a gift for someone or forgot to grab ingredients for holiday baking while rushing through the grocery store). Try to notice when your stress level is too high so that you can implement self-care strategies to stay regulated, happy, and healthy. Exercise, breaks, eating well, getting enough sleep, and finding time for our interests and hobbies can make a world of difference when life gets stressful. Practicing gratitude can also go a long way in helping to reduce stress while simultaneously improving health and feelings of happiness.

The Aetna article listed below includes 5 different exercises you might practice to help prepare you for the upcoming holiday season. Most importantly, reach out for help if needed. Help could be reaching out to a friend or family member or even seeking professional help if symptoms of stress get too big and are interfering with your daily functioning. It’s okay to want the best for your holidays, but it’s also important to take care of yourself and make sure that you aren’t overdoing so that you can be present for this wonderful time of year.

Here are the resources that provided ideas for this article and might be helpful in managing holiday stress:

Stress, depression, and the holidays: Tips for coping

5 gratitude exercises to help you cope with holiday stress

Staff Spotlight: Kelly McGovern- Ladue Middle School

Ms. McGovern has taught special education math and writing at Ladue Middle School since 2016. She is part of the Ladue High School boys soccer coaching staff that made a historic run to the state finals! Additionally, Ms. McGovern coaches JV Girls Basketball and Varsity Girls Lacrosse. Ms. McGovern works with a wide variety of students in our community and were lucky to have her!

Appreciation baskets were delivered to all of the K-5 SSD staff from the administration and support staff to communicate how thankful we are to have them working with our students.

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Appreciation baskets were delivered to all of the K-5 SSD staff from the administration and support staff to communicate how thankful we are to have them working with our students.


During the week of November 8-12, 2021 schools throughout the United States celebrated National School Psychology Week (NSPW) to highlight the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive. This year's theme is "Let's Get in Gear." The theme's acronym provides a challenge to grow both personally and professionally. It encourages us to engage in best practices and advocate for children's access to mental health and learning supports. To rise implies resilience and renewal despite the challenges of the past. (

Ladue’s School Psychologists include Rachael Woerther (pictured), Jennifer Mueller, Suzie Easton (pictured), and Suzanne Bartels. The school psychologists were given a gift as a token of the appreciation we have for the work they do.

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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:

Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) Information

Parent Education has a workshop scheduled for December 9th at 6:30 PM. The workshop, hosted in collaboration with the St. Louis ARC, will be on zoom. Please see the information below.

WORKSHOP: Supported Decision Making (In Collaboration with St. Louis ARC)

Dec. 9, 2021

Starts at 6:30 PM


When an individual with a disability becomes 18, they are legally an adult. This workshop is designed to help families understand the options they have to help their loved one make good decisions and build a circle of support. Using tools from Missouri Supported Decision Making Consortium and Charting the LifeCourse, Debra and Sharon will coach your family on how to access each of the six life domains (health, employment, safety, etc.) and create a plan that uses a variety of resources to build self-determination skills. This workshop is ideal for primary caregivers, their family member(s) with a disability, and siblings or other key people who support planning and problem solving in their lives. Small groups will use Zoom breakout rooms to start creating their own supported decision-making plans with templates from the Missouri Supported Decision Making Consortium.

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

Register for the Event through Zoom

We are also taking applications for the Parent Leadership Institute. 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

Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP)

The SWEP program mission is to provide a meaningful work experience that will assist students in a smoother transition into the world of work. SWEP is designed to provide the experience of working to those who have limited or no work experience or who need extra support in being successful on the job. Through the program, students hold a summer job in their community and receive job-coaching support. They are paid an hourly wage for their work. SWEP is funded by the Productive Living Board of St. Louis County and is open to county residents with a qualifying disability. It is conducted through a collaboration of six area agencies - MERS/Goodwill is the Lead Agency.

A few important things to know about eligibility for the SWEP program:

  • You must be a resident of St. Louis County.
  • You must be between 16 and 20 years of age and planning to return to a school program in the Fall of 2022.
  • You cannot participate in SWEP while participating in the Extended School Year Program.
  • Your teacher needs to submit a Teacher Input form before the program begins.
  • You must be available for the entire 8 weeks of the program.
  • You must have your own transportation to participate in the program.
  • Not everyone who applies to the SWEP program will be able to participate this summer.

If your student is interested, please reach out to their case manager for the application OR download the application that is attached below.

SSD Board Information: Filing for SSD Board of Education Opens Dec. 7

SSD Board Information: Filing for SSD Board of Education Opens Dec. 7

Candidate filing for two open seats on the Special School District of St. Louis County Board of Education opens at 8 AM on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, and continues until 5 PM on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. The terms of current Board members Ms. Katie Pottroff, Subdistrict 3 and Mr. Scott Moeller, Subdistrict 4 expire in March 2022.

The two open seats are for three-year terms beginning in March 2022 in the following subdistricts:

  • Subdistrict 3 – Parkway School District
  • Subdistrict 4 – Ferguson-Florissant, Pattonville, and Riverview Gardens school districts

Learn more about the filing process and eligibility requirements on the SSD website.

Special School District is Now Hiring!!!

Here is the link to all the postings for jobs in Special School District.

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