Boston SpedPac http://bostonspedpac.org Providing a voice and support for Boston parents of children with special needs Fri, 10 Aug 2018 22:42:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 http://bostonspedpac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-bsp_icon-32x32.png Boston SpedPac http://bostonspedpac.org 32 32 Revised Start-End Times Letter to Families http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/12/bps-revised-start-end-times-letter-to-families/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/12/bps-revised-start-end-times-letter-to-families/#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2017 22:18:13 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1888 Dear SpedPAC families,

We wanted to make sure you are aware of the community meetings that are being held this week to discuss the proposed bell times for the 2018-2019 school year in case you would like to attend. A list of all the meetings can be found here: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/Page/7039

If you are unable to attend one of the meetings or prefer to contact your elected officials to voice your opinion or concerns, you can reach them here:

City of Boston 311 Hotline:   https://www.cityofboston.gov/311/

Boston City Council:  https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council#city-council-members

As always, you can contact us directly at email@spedpac.org  or 617.297.7335 regarding this or any other issue you may be facing. (Please note that the issue form on our website is not currently working, so email is the best way to reach us with any sped related issues for the immediate future.)

With thanks,

Boston SpedPAC Executive Board

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Start-End Times Letter to Families http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/12/start-end-times-letter-to-families/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/12/start-end-times-letter-to-families/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:57:57 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1886 Dear SpedPAC families,

As you are all aware, BPS recently changed the start and end times for a significant number of schools across the district for the 2018 – 2019 school year.

We wanted to make sure you know there is a Boston School Committee meeting tomorrow night 12/13 at 6 pm at the Bolling Building (2300 Washington Street, Roxbury) where there will be an opportunity for public comment, and BPS just sent out an email stating that they have set up special community meetings to address concerns around the new start times.   A link to the community meetings can be found here: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/Page/7039

If you prefer to contact your elected officials to voice your concerns, you can reach them here:

City of Boston 311 Hotline: https://www.cityofboston.gov/311/

Boston City Council: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council#city-council-members

As always, you can contact us directly at email@bostonspedpac.org or 617.297.7335 regarding this or any other issue you may be facing. (Please note that the issue form on our website is not currently working, so email is the best way to reach us with any sped related issues for the immediate future.)

With thanks,
Boston SpedPac Executive Board

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Lakes and pools can be deadly for children with autism. But tailored swim lessons can save lives http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/09/lakes-and-pools-can-be-deadly-for-children-with-autism-but-tailored-swim-lessons-can-save-lives/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/09/lakes-and-pools-can-be-deadly-for-children-with-autism-but-tailored-swim-lessons-can-save-lives/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 16:31:15 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1870 Statnews.com
https://www.statnews.com/2017/09/27/autism-children-water-swim-lessons/

Amusement parks, lakes, neighbors’ pools — they are dangers that families of children with autism have long known anecdotally to beware of.

Jessica Lapen discovered this about 10 years ago. She was at a family gathering at her parents’ home when she noticed that her son, Micah, was missing.

“He was 6 or 7,” she recalled. “We knew that he would leave safe areas. We found out that he had gone down the road to a neighbor’s house, and when they saw him, he was climbing the ladder to their above-ground pool.”

An authoritative study earlier this year put some numbers to the fear. Drowning is the most common fatal injury among children with autism, researchers found. Children with autism age 14 and younger are 160 times as likely to die from drowning as the general pediatric population, with drowning risk peaking from age 5 to 7.

Such cases make headlines many times each summer. Now, researchers are working to understand the risks and how to counteract them — including helping parents and swim instructors teach water safety to autistic children.

“The causes of drowning for kids with autism is multifactorial,” said Dr. Jeremiah Dickerson, a pediatric psychiatrist who directs the autism diagnostic clinic at the University of Vermont Medical Center. “Impulsivity is one part of it. They may not see the water as a danger, that they could fall in or that they could drown.”

The sensory aspects of water can also attract children with autism, though for different reasons, said Michele Alaniz, a behavioral therapist in California. “For autistic kids who seek out stimulation, they are attracted to the way it sounds, the play of light on it and the feeling of buoyancy and the way it feels on the body,” she said. For kids who are driven to isolating themselves from stimulation, on the other hand, “water can be very calming, especially under the water, where there is a muffling of external sound and a kind of quiet,” said Alaniz.

That can lead kids to submerge themselves in water and not realize the danger — or to not have the skills to act if they do.

“We’ve put these children in the pool, and where others would sort of cling to the wall and hold on, the ones with autism would just release and sink,” said Alaniz.

“Even when they know they’re in trouble, they may not have the communication, the language to say they need help,” said Dickerson. “And with the motor discoordination some of them have, they may not be able to pull themselves out of the water.”

Swimming safely

The good news is that research shows children with autism can learn to be safe around water. A study published in September in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders offers preliminary evidence that even children with severe autism can learn techniques to avoid drowning.

“It’s more of a challenge to teach kids with severe autism,” Alaniz said. “But, yes, they can learn to swim safely, [with] skills like breath control and how to turn over in the water.”

Advocacy organizations, community centers, and schools are creating water safety classes for children with autism. Pathfinders for Autism offers a tip sheet for swim instructors who may encounter students with autism. Autism Speaks provides swim classes for children with autism and financial need with swim lesson scholarships, awarding them to 134 organizations in 31 states since 2014.

Some of those scholarships went to children at the Texas Swim Academy near Houston. Founder Kathleen McMordie, a nurse and swim instructor, explained that there are important accommodations needed for children with autism. The adjustments include getting them accustomed to being touched and to the feel of the water. Instructors may also have to teach lessons or parts of lessons in a different order than usual. These are among the reasons that swim lessons for children with autism are given individually, rather than in the usual group setting.

But the most important requirement, said McMordie, is being patient with the way children with autism receive, understand, and follow instructions. She gave the example of having children place their faces in the water, which is among the first lessons taught in swim classes.

“With neurotypical kids, you might just say, ‘OK, now, face in.’ But for a child with autism, it’s a little different. You say, ‘OK, put your face in the water.’ And then you wait.”

It takes more time for kids with autism to move mentally from instruction to action, McMordie explained. “You wait while they process: ‘OK, she said to do this, and now I do this with my head, and then I do this.’ And they put their face in.

“But if you don’t wait, and you’re just going, ‘Put your face in, put your face in, put your face in,’” she added, “you’re interrupting that process for them.”

In addition to giving autistic children more time with instruction, Dickerson also recommends taking a “comic-book approach” to swim instruction for autistic children by using pictures to help the children understand what they are told.

The Texas Swim Academy uses this method. “It’s just a picture of one of the instructors doing something, like putting our face in the water or kicking with a kick board,” said Patty McPherson, the school’s aquatics director. “We took pictures of them doing these things, then we laminated the pictures and use them to show what to do.”

Jessica Lapen credits such lessons with keeping her son, Micah, now 16 years old, safe over all the intervening years since that frightening day a decade ago.

“If the neighbor hadn’t found him back then, it would have ended very differently,” she said. “But after that happened, we really worked with him on learning to be water safe.”

 About the Author
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BuildBPS Neighborhood Workshops 2017 http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/05/buildbps-neighborhood-workshops-2017/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2017/05/buildbps-neighborhood-workshops-2017/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 16:29:05 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1842 BuildBPS Parent Advisory Group members:

Revised Schedule for the BuildBPS Neighborhood Workshops
Please share the updated flyers (attached in English and in Spanish) with your networks. 

Flyers English and Spanish 

May 23rd             Allston-Brighton (Edison)

May 25th             Roxbury/Fenway/Back Bay/South End/North End/Charlestown (Timilty)

May 30th             Jamaica Plain/Roxbury/Mission Hill (Curley)

May 30th             Dorchester/South Boston (Mather)

June 1st               West Roxbury/Roslindale/Hyde Park (Ohrenberger)

June 6th               Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan/Hyde Park (Lilla Frederick)

June 6th               East Boston (East Boston High)

All events are from 5:30-8.  Food and childcare will be provided.

As a reminder, these Neighborhood Workshops will be used to guide and inform the next steps in the BuildBPS Master Plan.  Today, too many of the BPS facilities do not reflect Boston’s deep commitment to outstanding public schools. Educators and students alike make the best possible use of the spaces available, but they deserve much more than the aging building stock currently has to offer.
Help us get the word out about these events and bring the community together to decide how to spend the $1B that the Mayor has committed over the next ten years.

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Along the Autism Spectrum, a Path Through Campus Life http://bostonspedpac.org/2016/11/along-the-autism-spectrum-a-path-through-campus-life/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2016/11/along-the-autism-spectrum-a-path-through-campus-life/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:36:18 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1806
Photo

Crosby J. Gardner, with Michelle Elkins, the director of Western Kentucky University’s Kelly Autism Program, which provides an “educational, social and supportive environment so that those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder can achieve their potential as independent, productive and active community citizens.” CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Crosby J. Gardner has never had a girlfriend. Now 20 and living for the first time in a dorm here at Western Kentucky University, he has designed a fast-track experiment to find her.

He ticks off the math. Two meals a day at the student dining hall, three courses per meal. Girls make up 57 percent of the 20,068 students. And so, he sums up, gray-blue eyes triumphant, if he sits at a table with at least four new girls for every course, he should be able to meet all 11,439 by graduation.

“I’m Crosby Gardner!” he announces each time he descends upon a fresh group, trying out the social-skills script he had practiced in the university’s autism support program. “What is your name and what is your major?”

The first generation of college students with an autism diagnosis is fanning out to campuses across the country. These growing numbers reflect the sharp rise in diagnosis rates since the 1990s, as well as the success of early-learning interventions and efforts to include these students in mainstream activities.

But while these young adults have opportunities that could not have been imagined had they been born even a decade earlier, their success in college is still a long shot. Increasingly, schools are realizing that most of these students will not graduate without comprehensive support like the Kelly Autism Program at Western Kentucky. Similar programs have been taking root at nearly 40 colleges around the country, including large public institutions like Eastern Michigan University, California State University, Long Beach, the University of Connecticut and Rutgers.

For decades, universities have provided academic safety nets to students with physical disabilities and learning challenges like dyslexia. But students on the autism spectrum need a web of support that is far more nuanced and complex.

Their presence on campus can be jarring. Mr. Gardner will unloose monologues — unfiltered, gale-force and repetitive — that can set professors’ teeth on edge and lead classmates to snicker. When agitated, another student in Western Kentucky’s program calms himself by pacing, flapping his hands, then facing a corner, bumping his head four times and muttering. One young woman, lost on her way to class and not knowing how to ask for directions, had a full-blown panic attack, shaking and sobbing violently.

Photo

Brendan Cason, right, working on engineering homework with Ian Zaleski, left, a tutor, mentor and fellow participant in Western Kentucky University’s Kelly Autism Program. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

Autism affects the brain’s early development of social and communication skills. A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can encompass an array of people, from the moderately impaired and intellectually nimble like Mr. Gardner, a junior majoring in biochemistry, to adults with the cognitive ability of 4-year-olds. Until 2013, students who could meet college admission criteria would most likely have received a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, which has since been absorbed into autism spectrum disorder.

The social challenges of people on the spectrum can impede their likelihood of thriving not only in college, but also after graduation. Counselors in programs like Western Kentucky’s not only coach students who struggle to read social cues, but also serve as advocates when misreadings go terribly awry, such as not recognizing the rebuff of a sexual advance.

When a professor complains about a student who interrupts lectures with a harangue, Michelle Elkins, who directs the Western Kentucky program, will retort: “I am not excusing his behavior. I am explaining his brain function.”

Breaking the Ice

At suppertime, the dining hall at Western Kentucky’s student union is crowded, clamorous and brightly lit. Students in the Kelly program, who often have sensory hypersensitivities as well as social discomfort, usually prefer eating alone in their rooms.

But one night this fall, some gathered for a weekly dinner with peer mentors — students hired by the program to be tutors and social guides. The Kelly students tentatively approached a meeting place in the lobby. As they recognized their mentors among the milling crowd, relief flooded their faces.

The meal began awkwardly. One Kelly student buried himself in a textbook. Another gazed around the dining hall, humming.

Gradually, the mentors drew them out. How was your day? Have you tried any clubs? Jacob, a freshman from Tennessee who is in a Chinese immersion curriculum and asked that his last name not be used to protect his family’s privacy, said he had joined the French, Spanish and German clubs.

Share Your Story about Being a College Student with Autism

Have you or a family member received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and attended college? If so, we would like to learn more about your experiences.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/health/autism-college.html

“When do you sleep?” I inquired with a smile.

A few mentors laughed appreciatively. Jacob looked puzzled. “I don’t get the humor in that question,” he said.

When the topic shifted to a social event coming up at the center — a video game party — conversational buy-in was guaranteed. Even so, as various games were suggested, the dinner table exchanges were more proclamation than conversation:

“In my opinion, Pokémon Go is a stupid idea,” Mr. Gardner shouted.

Ms. Elkins fixed him with a look. “Good you added, ‘in my opinion,’ Crosby,” she said.

The autism program’s home, a matter-of-fact clinical education building at the edge of the university, is a peaceful, dimly lit haven from the churning campus. The 45 undergraduates in the program spend three hours a day here, four days a week.

They study, meeting with tutors, and confer with counselors and a psychologist to review myriad mystifying daily encounters. The counselors maintain ties with dorm supervisors, professors and the career center, mediating misunderstandings.

By 2019, the program, which started with three students a little over a decade ago, anticipates being able to admit 77 students. Like most such programs on other campuses, it charges a fee; W.K.U.’s is $5,000 a semester, much of which may be covered by federal vocational rehabilitation funds.

In addition to shoring up academic and organizational skills, the program aims to ease students into the social flow of campus. This year, group discussions will tackle topics that include sex and dating.

Some of these students have enough self-awareness to feel the excruciating loneliness of exclusion. “One student told me, ‘I was so excited about college because I hear you don’t get bullied there, and I don’t know what that’s like,’” said Sarah McMaine-Render, the program’s manager.

Photo

Kaley Miller cutting metal for an owl sculpture in an art studio at Western Kentucky University.CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

Others remain relatively oblivious to the social world surging around them.

Impulse control is an issue for many of these students: They will stand up and abruptly leave class. Some need reminders about basic hygiene. Because having a roommate can be unnerving, most have single rooms in the dorms.

But they all have the requisite academic ability: Before applying to the support program, they must be admitted by the university. Some are exceptionally bright. “I have a 4.0 G.P.A. but David leaves me behind in the dust,” Liz Ramey, 19, a student mentor, said of David Merdian, a Kelly sophomore who studies mathematical economics with a concentration in actuarial science.

With the program’s help, some of the students, most of whom are male, can enter the four-year university directly from high school. Others first try community college. After Kaley Miller graduated from high school, relatives, who did not believe she could live independently, put her in a group home and then a residential home with elderly adults, where she spent her days doing factory piecework. Finally, at a psychiatrist’s suggestion, Ms. Miller’s parents decided to let her try a college that provided support for students on the spectrum.

When she moved into a W.K.U. dorm, Ms. Miller, 24, a junior and a meticulous art student, reacted in wonderment. “There were so many people my age and everyone was so normal,” she said.

Out of the Shadows

In 2012, Andy Arnold, who was given an autism spectrum diagnosis as a child, enrolled as a freshman at Western Kentucky.

“It was terrifying,” he recalled. “I was anxious and went off my meds. I’d forget to shower and brush my teeth. I would do rituals, like walking around outside the dorm. I kept grabbing at the back of my neck.

“I started skipping classes. I didn’t really know how to study, so I fell behind quickly. I ate too much. I behaved irrationally to people.”

Photo

Ryan Hodges, right, joined fellow students and participants in Western Kentucky University’s Kelly Autism Program during a Friday night video game social event back in September. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

He dropped out.

He lived at home, taking online courses for a few years, then reapplied to W.K.U. Now 23, he is back at school — and this time, he is in the autism support program.

“I feel less panicky,” Mr. Arnold said. “I like getting to know people here at the center. We have something in common.”

It is hard to know how many students with autism attend four-year schools. A 2012 study in the journal Pediatrics found that about 50,000 teenagers with the diagnosis turn 18 each year and 34.7 percent attend college. Without support, though, few graduate.

That is in part because many students with an autism diagnosis do not step forward, fearing stigma. Some experts speculate that for every college student on the spectrum who identifies himself or herself with a diagnosis, there may be two more who are undisclosed.

But as the growth of the so-called neurodiversity movement prompts people on the spectrum to define themselves as different but not deficient, more students are emerging from the shadows. The Bridges to Adelphi program at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., serves about 100 students with autism. At the University of Texas in Dallas, 450 students with the diagnosis have registered for services with the Student AccessAbility office.

Their presence on campuses is also a testament to the tenacity of familiesand disability advocates who, since the 1990s, when awareness of autism began to mushroom, have pressed for earlier diagnoses and interventions. Much of that battle unfolded in public secondary schools, leading to more services.

Over the last decade, officials at mainstream universities began realizing that growing numbers of spectrum students were being admitted — and, like Mr. Arnold, were foundering.

Photo

Jacob, left, and Cameron exiting Walmart with purchases, following a trip connected to their participation in the Kelly Autism Program. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

It was one thing for administrators to authorize accommodations like extra time on tests for students with dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. But how should they bolster students whose behavior was the primary expression of the disability — who could not stop shouting out answers in class and feared dorm showers?

And so the new autism support programs vary in emphasis. Some are based in disability resource centers, while others are in mental health offices, focusing on social skills and anxiety reduction.

“Our mission is to help them transition into the university, be successful here, and then transition out of the university to be successful in adult life,” said Pamela Lubbers, who directs one of the country’s most structured, coordinated programs, with 17 students, at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Ms. Lubbers meets weekly with students, working them through a standardized “to do” checklist to help them identify small-step tasks to feel less overwhelmed, review their goals (“Describe the best social interactions you had this week”), and problem-solve. (“You think you left your I.D. on the campus bus. What steps will you take to find or replace it?”)

But even with support, these students often need extra time to graduate. Indeed, many do not make it that far. Some crumble under academic and organizational stress. Others succumb to campus allures like alcohol and drugs.

And others are expelled on sexual harassment grounds. They are so eager to fit in that they may, for example, comply with the demands of a bully who says, “ ‘I’ll be your friend and go to dinner with you every night next week if you kiss that girl,’” said Jane Thierfeld Brown, who consults with families and colleges about supporting students on the spectrum.

But with support, there are also those, like Ryan Hodges, who surpass expectations.

Mr. Hodges received his diagnosis at age 4. “In high school did we know he’d go to college? No,” said his father, Jeff, a Nashville businessman. “Did we hope? Yes.”

Photo

Jacob after a shopping exercise at Walmart. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

They set their sights on W.K.U. because of the program. Now 23, Ryan has grown immeasurably in social confidence, his father said, and is on track to graduate at the end of this semester.

Whether they are prepared for the next transition remains an open question. Most programs do not keep tabs on their students after graduation.

Despite the career coaching offered for Kelly students, some still cannot present themselves well in job interviews. Living at home again, unemployed, they may regress.

“The goal is not necessarily a college degree but becoming an independent, successful adult,” Dr. Brown said. “And a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee that.”

Still, many graduates from Western Kentucky’s program are employed. Mrs. McMaine-Render, who stays in touch with some through social media, mentions one who works in film, others in technology, some in retail, and another who is applying for graduate school in physics.

What about their social lives?

Mrs. McMaine-Render paused and looked at her lap. “Sometimes I’m too scared to ask,” she said.

The Supercenter Challenge

Always with an eye toward life after college, the program encourages students to learn practical skills.

Photo

Crosby J. Gardner, on his way to the video-game social event in late September.CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

Hence Western Kentucky’s weekly trip to Walmart.

One recent Friday afternoon, Mrs. McMaine-Render drove seven students in the program’s van, which resounded with cheerful non sequiturs.

“I don’t mean to be rude but could you not talk now?” one student told another. “Your voice is very loud in my head!”

Mrs. McMaine-Render pulled into the parking lot and nudged the students out of the van. They ambled toward the store, blithely indifferent to incessantly roaming cars. Then she waved and drove off, leaving them to tackle the Walmart Supercenter on their own.

In a frenzy, the group scattered. Some boys barreled up and down aisles, flinging items at random into their clattering shopping carts. Essentials: Twix. Strawberry Twizzlers. Doughnuts. Frosted cookies. Six-packs of Coke. Slippers. Napkins. Pokémon cards. More Pokémon cards.

One boy decided he wanted to reheat chicken wings in his dorm. He needed a baking tin. But that meant locating the cookware aisle. Which meant finding an employee, then asking for directions. Scary!

Checking out was another challenge. For the students’ entire lives, their purchases had been paid for by adults. Now they were peering at register totals, fumbling for credit cards, swiping and swiping, then attempting the chip system, one way and then the other, forgetting PINs. Over all, they did just fine.

They reassembled outside, sweating and smiling, surrounded by the fruits of their considerable shopping labors.

Ms. Ramey, the student mentor, picked them up. On the drive back to school, the students toggled between yakking about their shopping victories and falling silent, drained. Ms. Ramey pulled up to their dorms, one by one.

One by one, they unloaded their bags and, without so much as a “thank you” or even “goodbye,” set off.

“Have a good weekend!” she kept prompting.

Startled, each boy looked back at the car, bewildered. Another missed social cue?

Oh, right! Jolted, some remembered to smile, and even to wave farewell.

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ELT Informational Trainings for SSC http://bostonspedpac.org/2016/11/elt-informational-trainings-for-ssc/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2016/11/elt-informational-trainings-for-ssc/#respond Mon, 21 Nov 2016 16:45:48 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1808 BPS and the BTU have jointly agreed to extend the school day for all schedule
A schools in three cohorts.

The SSC plays an integral part of the decision-making process and planning
of the extended school day. This informational training will prepare parents,
and School Site Council members for the decisions to be made ahead.

SSC members at these schools are strongly encouraged to attend.

This training is also open to all other schedule A schools.
Please register your SSC to attend any of these trainings at

 

Roxbury/Jamaica Plain
Dec. 1, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm
Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 School
77 Lawrence Street
Dorchester, MA 02124

 

Dorchester/Mattapan
Dec. 5, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm
Murphy K-8 School
1 Worrell Street
Dorchester, MA 02122

 

East Boston
Dec. 7, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm
McKay K-8 School
122 Cottage Street
East Boston, MA 02128

 

West Roxbury/Roslindale
Dec. 8, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm
Phineas Bates Elementary School
426 Beech Street
Roslindale, MA 02131

 

South Boston/South End
Dec. 13, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm
J.F. Condon Elementary School
200 D Street
South Boston, MA 02127

 

Allston/Brighton
Dec. 15, 2016
5:30-7:30 pm
Thomas A. Edison K-8 School
60 Glenmont Road
 Brighton, MA 02135

 

Dinner will be served and childcare is available upon request.
You may select any of these trainings regardless of your
school’s location. Please direct any further questions to
Shanika Houlder-White at
shoulder@btu.org
857-271-6064

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Boston City Councils Committee On Education – Thursday, March 17, 2016 6pm http://bostonspedpac.org/2016/03/boston-city-councils-committee-on-education-thursday-march-17-2016-6pm/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2016/03/boston-city-councils-committee-on-education-thursday-march-17-2016-6pm/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 12:37:08 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1655 Councilor Pressley has requested a hearing to review and discuss the FY17 BPS Special Education Budget and to identify solutions to ensure equitable transition services for BPS youth.

Hearing Notice

Date: Thursday, March 17th
Time: 6 PM
Location: Boston City Hall, 5th Floor, Iannella Chamber

Participants: Dr. Karla Estrada, Cindie Neilson, Boston SpedPac, and MA Advocates for Children

Parents are welcome to attend and speak.

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BPS Special Meeting – Basic Rights and the IEP Process http://bostonspedpac.org/2015/11/bps-special-meeting-basic-rights-and-the-iep-process/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2015/11/bps-special-meeting-basic-rights-and-the-iep-process/#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2015 20:36:28 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1627 BPS-focus

Special Education
Informational Session
for Families

This session will focus on providing information
to the Chinese Speaking Community

Josiah Quincy Elementary
885 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Topics include:
Basic Special Education Rights
and IEP process

Questions/Concerns will be addressed at the end of the session.

Please join us!

Any questions, please call Cindie Neilson
(Interim Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Special Education)
at 617-635-8599.

Flyers – English   –   Mandarin

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100-Day Plan – Listen & Learn Session – Nov 19, 2015 – Advanced Work Classes, Mass Core http://bostonspedpac.org/2015/11/100-day-plan-listen-learn-session-nov-19-2015-advanced-work-classes-mass-core/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2015/11/100-day-plan-listen-learn-session-nov-19-2015-advanced-work-classes-mass-core/#respond Thu, 12 Nov 2015 17:27:50 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1603 Here is all of the detailed info for this General Meeting.

BPS is providing opportunities for all families – students with special needs and those in regular education – to give their feedback on the proposed expansion of Advanced Work Classes and BPS Graduation Requirements as recommended by Mass Core.

In its 100-Day Plan, under the direction of new superintendent, Dr. Tommy Chang, the District identifies core values that will guide its work of based on input from students, families, staff, community members and partners.  The 100-Day plan kicked off on September 8, 2015, and the District continues to listen and learn about what schools are doing well and what needs to be done to better support all students.  Parent, family and caregiver input will drive this process in obtaining key information for BPS’s
Three-Year Plan which will be unveiled in September 2016.

Child care and interpretation services will be available, please request by Nov. 17.

Please RSVP by calling TaWonia Watkins at (617) 635-7750

Mass Core Excerpt regarding Special Education
What are the implications for students with disabilities?
Studies show that students are more likely to pass high-level than low-level high school courses, including students receiving special education services. However, some high school special needs students will require extra support to meet more rigorous high school expectations.  There are no waiver provisions for particular disabilities for MassCore completion, however schools and districts should pay special attention to a student’s individualized education program (IEP) and transition plan to ensure that students are enrolled in appropriate coursework.

Full Details, Links and Info:
BPS Flyer 100-Day_Plan_Parents_SpeakUp_Flier_FINAL
SpedPac Flyer BPS_spedpac_flyer_Nov-19-2015_w_SPanish_AWC_MassCore
Mass Core Files:
Q & A – masscore_q&a_Oct-2015
Report – MassCore_Report_91714_FINAL
Presentation – graduation_requirements_2016
Excel – gradrequirements_2016_MassCore

 

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B-SET – Boston Special Education Transition – RESOURCE FAIR Sat. 10/24/15 and Plan http://bostonspedpac.org/2015/10/b-set-boston-special-education-transition-resource-fair-sat-102415-and-plan/ http://bostonspedpac.org/2015/10/b-set-boston-special-education-transition-resource-fair-sat-102415-and-plan/#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2015 15:39:12 +0000 http://bostonspedpac.org/?p=1580 Resource Fair and Action Plan Release

RESOURCE FAIR
Saturday, October 24, 2015
10:00 am – 12:00 Noon

State Street Corporation Channel Center
1 Iron Street • Boston, MA 02210

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION:
http://massadvocates.org/resource-fair-and-action-plan-release

MA_BSET_2015
Flyer: PDF

PLEASE JOIN US AT THE RELEASE OF
Inclusive Employment and Career for Boston Youth with Disabilities: Pathways to the Talent Pipeline

A REPORT BY
Workforce Development Task Force
Boston Special Education Transition Project (B-SET)
Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC)

RESOURCE FAIR
Saturday, October 24, 2015
10:00 am – 10:45 am

FORMAL PRESENTATIONS
10:45 am – 12:00 Noon

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

  • Dr. Tommy Chang Boston Public Schools superintendent
  • Richard Curtis VP of Workforce Development and Talent Acquisition, State Street Corporation
  • Brian Doherty General Agent/Secretary Treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District
  • Ron Marlow Undersecretary for Workforce Development at the MA Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Jerry Mogul MAC executive director
  • Oswald “Oz” Mondejar Senior VP Mission and Advocacy, Partners Continuing Care and member of US Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive, Integrated Employ­ment for People with Disabilities
  • Alice Moore Undersecretary of the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Trinh Nguyen Director, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION:
http://massadvocates.org/resource-fair-and-action-plan-release

Plan Files:
Action_Plan_Executive_Summary
Action_Plan_Full_Report

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