All Header Images © Daniel Voegelin http://www.danvoegelin.com/  
 
06/4/20

Free Online Remote Education Log

This is a tool to help you keep track of your child’s remote special education services and instruction while school is closed. You can also use it to keep track of concerns you have about your child’s learning or any areas of progress.

https://log.education/

05/2/20

4_30_20 SpEd PAC General Virtual Meeting

This meeting starts with Melanie R. Jarboe & Alicia Warren – Special Education Attorneys at Kotin, Crabtree & Strong. The first part of the presentation is about Transition. At 31:10 mins the presentation addresses COVID-19.
Marcia Fitzpatrick, Assistant Director of Transition Services starts her presentation at 49:45.
At 1:06:49 min the Q&A with Kotin, Crabtree & Strong attorneys, and district Special education leadership starts with a Transition question and COVID-19 questions follow.

04/29/20

Inclusion Done Right Meeting Notes 4_28_20

Dear Educators and Parents,

It was great to see so many of you at yesterday’s Inclusion Done Right meeting! We had 83 people in attendance, our largest meeting yet!

We promised to send out the instructions for how to sign up to testify at the City Council Hearing on Inclusion, Special Education and English Language Learners – scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, starting at 1:00pm.

Instructions for Signing up to Testify

You can testify “live” via zoom by  emailing michelle.a. goldberg@boston.gov.  Your testimony should be 2 minutes max.

You can also appear at the Hearing by uploading a 2 min. video.  Your video testimony will be played at the Hearing if it is received by 12:00 pm this Friday, 5/1.  Instructions for how to upload a video can be found under #3 in this document. Here is the link:

https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/how-testify-city-council-budget-hearing .  (It is also possible to email your remarks, however, testimony connected to a person is far more powerful!)

The Hearing will begin with a presentation by BPS where we’ll hear their version of how inclusion, special education and ESL services are being implemented in the district.  Our comments will follow.

Please contact me if you would like support with crafting your testimony. We’d be delighted to provide assistance.

Reaching out to City Councilors

We want to strongly encourage that every member of the City Council be present at next Tuesday’s Hearing, sponsored by Councilor Essabai-George.  At the meeting yesterday, participants volunteered to be point people for emailing/calling each City Councilor to urge them to show up.  It would be great if everyone could reach out to one or more  members of the City Council.  Here is the link we provided yesterday for info on contacting City Council members:   https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council.  We encourage you to email, and then follow up with a phone call if you don’t get a positive response.

Sample message:

My name is _________ and I am an educator/parent at the ___________ in your district (or I live in your district.) I am emailing/calling to say how important it is to me that you attend the upcoming City Council Hearing on Inclusion, Special Education and English Language Learners, Tuesday, May 5 at 1:00.

School closures have made it even more challenging for our most vulnerable students to receive the education and services they deserve.  We are counting on your support for Inclusion Done Right!  Please let me know that you will attend the Hearing. Thank you.

Slides on DESE Findings on BPS Special Education

Here is the link to the slides on the DESE Findings prepared by BTU member and Inclusion activist, Emma Fialka-Feldman.  There were a number of requests to share these slides.

Please reach out with any questions!   Hope to see you many of you next Tuesday!

Thanks,
Ilene

04/24/20

Everyday ABA for Parents

https://www.bmc.org/pediatrics-autism-program/parent-training-everyday-aba

Parent Training: Everyday ABA

Everyday ABA: Practical Strategies for You and Your Child

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is considered by many to be the gold standard intervention for teaching individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through its data driven, evidence-based methodology, ABA has been shown to encourage positive behavior change, skill development, and greater independence for a wide variety of learners. ABA is a science and each child’s program should be designed around their unique learning profile. While ABA may be accessed as an intervention by trained professionals through a child’s individualized education plan (IEP), or through your family’s insurance plan, the foundations of this therapeutic approach can be used by YOU, right at home.

In partnership with New England ABA, the Autism Program at BMC developed a free 6-part parent training series, focused on helping parents and caregivers learn about behavior, how to change behavior, and ways to promote skills in their children. Click below to access these training videos and supplemental materials.

Accessibility and Language Settings

To utilize Closed Captioning, press CC Youtube CC in the lower right hand corner of the video.

To change the Closed Captioning language, select the settings symbol Settings, and press Subtitles/CC → Auto-translate → [Your Language].

Everyday ABA Session 1: What is ABA anyway?

In this session, Tim Sullivan (M.Ed., BCBA, LABA; Executive Director, NE ABA) will describe the background on Applied Behavior Analysis and how it can be used to support behavior management, promote communication, facilitate play and independence skills, and help you connect with your child.

Class Documents


Everyday ABA Session 2: Promoting Lasting Behavior Change


Everyday ABA Session 3: Teaching Communication


Everyday ABA Session 4: Creating a Reinforcement System


Everyday ABA Session 5: Building Home Routines


Everyday ABA Session 6: Community-based Strategies


Additional Resources


About the Class

04/13/20

Services Are Available

If  you have concerns about your child’s IEP services, remote learning, or are in need of help, please email specialeducation@bostonpublicschools.org. 

Information is available on the Office of Special Education Resources website at bit.ly/OSEResources.

Talk to a live person at 617-635-8873 on the Boston technology support line. Live help is available Monday – Friday from 7 AM – 5:00 PM, in various languages.  They can connect you to services for academics, health, behavioral health, food and nutrition, transportation, safety, school registration and etc. Help is available to help you sign up for internet or hotspots. Comcast is forgiving/ waiving past due balances for Boston public school families and will allow you to sign up for Comcast Essentials internet.

There are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) available and checking messages Monday -Friday from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM. They are available to consult with parents, answer questions and help with behavioral challenges at 617-635-8599.

Match US is a great source to connect parents to teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists etc.. Educators, physical therapist, occupational therapist, behavioral specialists, nurses want to help you. It is a great opportunity to talk to a professional and figure out how they can support you and your child. They are actively seeking more families and will help you. MatchUS Here 

The PTIC Call Center is a free one-to-one service to help families and professionals with questions about supports, resources, and rights for children and youth with special needs. Staffed with information specialists and parent consultant volunteers, the Call Center is available Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Call Center operators are trained in special education law and procedures and are knowledgeable about local and state-wide range of community services and programs.

Annual and reevaluation meetings are occurring with parent consent. Coordinators of Special Education (COSE) services are reaching out to families.

Telehealth is available for IEP services.

Sign up for Boston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEd PAC) email listserve here.

Boston SpEd PAC Survey here.

 

 

 

03/26/20

Special Education Guidance From DESE

COVID-19 Information and Resources HERE

This page will provide information for schools about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), and will be updated as additional guidance is available. For comprehensive emergency management planning information and related resources, visit the emergency management planning for schools web pages.

School Meals

On March 12, the USDA approved Massachusetts’ waiver request to allow schools where at least 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals to continue providing meals to students during a school closure. We also received approval to have these meals served in an appropriate format, such as a “grab-and-go” option, for students to take home.

On March 13, DESE sent out detailed guidance to all school districts and existing USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors detailing how to be approved to serve meals during a school closure and what the USDA reimbursement options are. Community-based organizations that participated in SFSP during summer 2019 are eligible to serve and claim meals for reimbursement to help supplement school districts’ meal distribution effort.

Schools that have a student free and reduced-price percentage under 50 percent can choose to provide meals at their own discretion during a school closure, but DESE cannot currently approve those meals for USDA reimbursement. Therefore, non-federal funds must be used to cover costs at this time. These schools should focus on households of enrolled free and reduced-price students and ensure that proper meal counting and adherence to the federal meal pattern is maintained in the event we receive new USDA guidance allowing federal reimbursement.

Schools need to contact their assigned DESE School Nutrition or Special Nutrition (SFSP option) Program consultants to discuss how to be approved for USDA reimbursement.

As meal distribution sites are approved, DESE will work with Project Bread to ensure the public is notified of student meal site locations and service times. In the meantime, please promote meal sites locally.

Counselors at Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 are available to connect your community to food resources in their community as well as provide them with information about elder meals programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The hotline will continue to operate Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and can provide information in 160 languages.

Non-congregate meal site information can now be found through Project Bread’s School Closure Meal Site Finder

DESE Resources:

School Closure Process:

As of March 16, 2020, all public and private K-12 schools (except residential and day schools that serve students with disabilities) will be closed starting March 17 and will not reopen before April 6. Schools or districts that decide to be closed beyond those parameters are asked to:

  1. Contact their local Board of Health. District leaders may also wish to call DPH’s 24/7 epidemiology at 617-983-6800 but should be aware of the large volume of calls coming into that number.
  2. Contact Associate Commissioner Helene Bettencourt at Helene.H.Bettencourt@mass.gov  or 781-338-3120.

Large Events:

On March 13, 2020, Governor Baker issued an emergency order prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 individuals beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6.

180 School Day Requirement:

In light of concerns about possible school closings for public health reasons, Commissioner Riley has updated DESE’s guidance about the requirement for 180 days of school to provide relief to districts. (Note: The Department will continue to revisit this guidance if the situation warrants it.):

  1. All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between the first day of the school year and March 15 must be made up by rescheduling full school days to ensure a 180-day school year.
  2. All days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies between March 16 and June 1 must be made up to ensure a 180-day school year or until the district has reached its previously-scheduled 185th day, whichever comes first. If all five snow days have been used prior to this point, the district is not required to scheduled additional school days.
  3. Districts will not be expected to make up any days lost to health, weather, or safety emergencies that occur after June 1.

This change means that if you have already canceled school for five days before March 15, you do not need to schedule additional make-up days for any days that school is closed after March 15. The longest that any school district will be required to go is its scheduled 185th day. No schools will be required to be in session after June 30. This policy applies to the current (2019-20) school year only. Anyone who feels that they have special circumstances should contact Associate Commissioner Helene Bettencourt at Helene.H.Bettencourt@mass.gov  or 781-338-3120.

Resources:

Federal

State

03/19/20

BPS Special Education Update 3/19/20

1. BPS’ Office of Special Education Resources website can be found HERE (bit.ly/OSEResources). You will also find social/ visual stories about Coronavirus and school closures.

 

2. It is expected that students will receive outreach and google classroom time from their teachers prior to March 27th. It is not mandatory for students but strongly suggested to provide learning opportunities. If you do not hear from your teachers by March 27th, please let BPS know by contacting specialeducation@bostonpublicschools.org and email@bostonspedpac.org.

3. Individual Education Plan (IEP) annual reviews and some original reviews and reevaluations will be held virtually, if the parent(s) agrees. BPS office of special education will be sending additional information out about this.

4. If your child does not have access to a laptop, please fill out the Laptop Request Form Here.

5. If you have concerns about your child’s special education services and needs, please email:specialeducation@bostonpublicschools.org.   The email address is being monitored throughout the day, while staff work remotely.

6. While school is closed, BPS is providing free breakfast and lunch to all Boston families. Packaged meals may be picked up Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM – 11:30 aM. A list of BPS and city wide sites can be found HERE.

7. BPS can deliver meals to your home for your BPS student with IEP services that include door-to-door transportation, and any other BPS students in the household. If you would like to participate, please email mealdelivery@bostonpublicschools.org and let them know you want to be included in the BPS meal delivery service.

As additional information is shared, our board of parent volunteers will keep you posted. Please stay safe and feel free to reach out with concerns and/or questions.

mail: email@bostonspedpac.org
website:  http://www.bostonspedpac.org
facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/BostonSPEDPAC
youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/BostonSpedPac
twitter: @BostonSpedPac    http://twitter.com/@BostonSpedPac
SpedPac VM:  617.297.7335