SSD/Valley Park Monthly Dispatch

September 2021

Staff Spotlight

Please welcome our amazing new team members! We are excited to have them in Valley Park and they will make a difference in the lives of our students, staff, and community/families :)

Danielle Fox:

  • One of our new middle school teachers
  • 7 years - Oakville HS (life skills and functional curriculum)
  • 4 years as a facilitator with SSD (coaching for new teachers, MAP-A, Classroom Learning Systems, and Paraprofessionals)
  • She is from STL and is excited to be on the VP.SSD team

Kristin Mestdagh:

  • Instructional coach
  • Has been in the IC and/or facilitator role for 19 years
  • Her focus has been on everything from Classroom Learning Systems, new teacher support, professional learning, working with teams/students on behaviors, data teaming, and more ~
  • With SSD for 24 years
  • Sports lover- tennis is her first love
  • Happily married with one son - Sumner (7)

Michelle Britton:

  • Our new occupational therapist (OT)
  • 17 years of experience including Rockwood and Litzsinger School
  • 4 years at Cardinal Glennon
  • 2 wonderful sons
  • Born and raised in STL and is VERY excited to be on the VP TEAM!
  • And loves to travel

Charlotte Liesman:

  • ABA Associate
  • 12 years of ABA experience
  • Worked with ages 12months to 65 years of age
  • Opened an autism clinic in the Cayman Islands and lived there for 2 years
  • 2 daughters 9 and 17
  • Just moved to Ballwin in June 2021
  • Passionate about making a difference

Message to Families - from Valley Park

One Community. One Campus. Limitless Learning.

The Valley Park School District is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment of belonging where personalized learning experiences prepare our students holistically for limitless opportunities, empowering them to make the world a better place.

Please keep up to date with Dr. Dilg's communications in regards to our Return to Learn Plan:

VP: To access key school information, please go to the following sites:

Valley Park Elementary School:

Valley Park Middle School:

Valley Park High School:

Valley Park Early Childhood Center:

Health and Wellness

Often the start of a new school year can bring an increased feeling of anxiety for families and students. It’s normal for families to have a tough time transitioning themselves when their kids begin kindergarten, move on to the next grade, or transition to a new school. For many families, they are experiencing the loss of some control. It is important for families to remember they can’t control experiences and stress for their kids. Instead, she says families should be focused on helping their kids understand how they feel, talk it through, and learn how to cope with whatever’s going on. There are several ways that families and children can manage the stress that can come with the start of a new school year:

· Differentiate stress from stressors. Stressors are what activates the stress response in your body. Stressors can be anything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or imagine could do you harm. Stress is the neurological and physiological shift that happens in your body when you encounter one of these threats. The stress response = fight / flight / freeze.

· Just because you’ve dealt with the stressor doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with the stress itself.

· The key is to “complete the stress cycle” - i.e. to remove stress from the body in ways that work for YOU. Below are the 7 evidence-based strategies for completing the stress cycle

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Virtual Lunch & Learn series for SSD families and stakeholders

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 Education (PEDA)

The Parent Education and Diversity Awareness (PEDA) Program invites families and community members to visit our Family and Community Resource Center at the Learning Center in Hazelwood. The program is excited to offer a diverse collection of materials, including many new books that are ready to be shared.

PEDA will be hosting the Parent Leadership Institute (PLI) this Fall. 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 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, Sept. 29, and Oct. 6, 2021, at SSD Central Office, 12110 Clayton Road, 63131. To learn more about this program and/or apply to be part of it, please visit this link: Parent Leadership Institute | Fall 2021.

PEDA is also happy to announce that there will be a second Parent Leadership Institute in the Spring of 2022. We will be announcing dates in the very near future. Please check in with us if you have any questions!

We are in the process of planning our Fall workshops and will be sending out dates and topics very soon. As always, PEDA Is here for you if you need assistance navigating special education, community resources, and so much more – don’t hesitate to reach out!

VP Upcoming Events

Valley Park Families! As you plan for this school year - here is the calendar. Click in to to see all the important dates for your hawk! As always, dates are subject to change. #VPPride

Contact Us

Special School District of St. Louis County

12110 Clayton Road

Town & Country, MO 63131

Phone: 314‐989‐8100

Julie Schroeder

Dana Evans

Christy Mirth

SSD Valley Park Feedback

Families - we want to hear from you! If you have a celebration, concern, or idea for our SSD team - please add it to this survey. I will do my best to consider all feedback ~

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