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09/18/20

Change Request & 4 days of in-person learning option

FAMILY CHANGE REQUEST FORM

Please click on the form below, in your preferred language, to submit a request to change between remote and hybrid learning for your child this fall. You may also request a change between Group A and Group B. Changes will be reviewed weekly and will be approved on a limited basis.


STUDENTS PRIORITIZED FOR IN-PERSON LEARNING

  • Students prioritized for in-person learning include:

    • English learners who have an ELD Level of 1 or 2 in high-intensity literacy training, or for whom graduation requirements and time to complete both English as a Second Language and content level classes are shorter than other grade levels.
    • Students with limited or interrupted formal education
    • Students with disabilities in inclusion classrooms with high needs, as defined by the PL3 in the student’s IEP
    • Students with disabilities who learn in substantially separate classrooms
    • Students who are experiencing homelessness
    • Students in the care of the Department of Children and Families
    • Students who attend special education public day schools (McKinley, Carter, Horace Mann)

    October 1 – All students prioritized for in-person learning start two days a week

    • group B begins on October 1 and 2 (Thursday/Friday)
    • group A begins on October 5 and 6 (Monday/Tuesday)
    October 13* – Groups A and B increase to 4 days of in-person learning (based on choice and availability)

    *Monday, October 12 is a State Holiday

Supt. Cassellius sent a letter to families August 21, 2020

This letter explains the details of the reopening of schools including important dates:

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  • CORE VALUES GUIDING OUR PLANNING

    • Promote Equity
    • Protect Public Health
    • Build Community
    • Increase the Quality of Student Learning
    • Support Parents/Guardians as Workers
    • Align with Staff Experience and Abilities

GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR TODAY AND THE FUTURE

    • Remain flexible: we are in a pandemic and the future is unpredictable. We will plan for the future but remain flexible to keep our community safe and healthy.
    • Monitor emerging scientific recommendations: we are guided by data and science and will review all updates
    • Adhere to the recommendations of Health Officials: we continuously receive recommendations from the Boston Public Health Commission, State officials, and the City of Boston on how to keep our students, staff, and families as healthy as possible. We will use these recommendations as guardrails for our planning.
    • Recognize that things will change: while we can plan for the future, emerging science, our local COVID-19 numbers, and changing recommendations from health officials will mean that we will need to make changes as we go.

SCIENCE-INFORMED DECISIONS

    • The Boston Public Health Commission is closely monitoring:
      • The daily number of positive tests
      • The daily percent of positive tests
      • The daily visits to emergency rooms with COVID-19-like symptoms
    • BPS will pivot based on science and public health guidance

    The Boston Public Health Commission Recommends:

    • Social distancing (all 6 feet apart)
    • Masks on all students and staff
    • One student per row per bus
    • No food in cafeterias
    • Health protocols followed for bus & building sanitation and school nurse response to suspected exposure
    • No group gatherings if community infection rates are outside of acceptable range

EQUITY

  • Equity is a central focus of all BPS planning and work. We seek to clearly understand how decisions impact students and families and to make choices that do not marginalize our most-marginalized students.

    The process we follow for bringing equity into every decision includes:

    1. Identify desired results and outcomes
    2. Gather the data
    3. Engage all stakeholders
    4. Review strategies for racial equity
    5. Develop an implementation plan guided by data and engagement
    6. Share measures of accountability and communicate to stakeholders
09/17/20

Virtual & In-Person Social Programs

T.R.I.B.E. Therapeutic Activities for Ages 13 – 25

WHEN:
September 26, 2020 – December 5, 2020

Walking Program Teens and Young Adults Down Syndrome and Intellectual Disabilities in Massachusetts Special Olympics Massachusetts)Burlington, MA, September 25th – December 5th, 2020. Virtual and In Person program hosted by the Burlington Recreation Department. For ages 13 – 25 with a disability. T.R.I.B.E. stands for Therapeutic Recreation Inspires Belonging and Enjoyment.

* This program welcomes and encourage people with different abilities to come togetherand experience recreation and leisure activities, both new and exciting as well as the tried and true favorites.
* The program’s goal is to provide social and engaging experiences for participants.
* In Person activities take place at the Recreation Center and may include arts and crafts, games,
team-building activities, fitness, community service and more.
* VIRTUAL PROGRAMS – Sept. 30 – Dec. 9 – Virtual T.R.I.B.E. will be a chance for participants to connect socially with their peers from the comfort of their own homes. Emma Jones, CTRS, will lead the group through virtual field trips, interactive games and social groups.
* For the virtual group, access to a computer, tablet or smart phone to join the program via zoom is required.
Fees apply, registration is required to www.burlington.org/community_development/recreation/community_events.php or contact Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Emma Jones, CTRS at ejones@burlington.org or 781-270-1937

09/16/20

Adaptive Dance

Adaptive Dance offers creative movement instruction for individuals with disabilities ages 2–adult. Classes are taught by expert Boston Ballet School faculty and supported by licensed physical therapists and professional musicians. Students engage and explore in a safe environment as they develop movement, musicality, and personal growth. Classes run from Oct–May and will be held virtually via Zoom in the Fall (Oct–Dec) and hybrid/in-person programming will be determined for the Spring (Mar–May).

Space is limited and enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis, so we encourage you to register today! For all new families, a 30-minute intake interview by phone is required to complete your registration so we can place students in the most appropriate class.

If you know someone who would benefit from this program, please share this information with them.

We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Sign Up Here

09/15/20

Home & Hospital Tutoring

BPS: HOME AND HOSPITAL INSTRUCTION
The Home and Hospital Instruction Program ensures the continuity of education for students who will be out of school for more than 14 days in a school year at home or in a hospital per a qualified physician’s statement. Home and Hospital Instruction services are provided to qualified Boston Public Schools (BPS) students, Special Education students on private tuition and Boston resident students participating in the METCO program under state regulation 603 CMR 28.03(3)(c).
The program provides appropriate instruction with the opportunity for students to maintain uninterrupted equal access to school curriculum. Home and Hospital Instruction collaborates with schools, parents, agencies and hospitals to ensure alignment of educational goals and curriculum, and to ensure proper referrals to services based on students’ needs.

Initiatives
Through the Panorama online platform, the BPS Home and Hospital Instruction Program is providing ongoing assessment of students’ social emotional leaning (SEL) needs, with targeted activities that are integrated with students’ lesson plans, to boost students’ SEL competencies. Through this initiative, students’ skills and abilities are affirmed and supported, with additional development of SEL competencies fostered through integrated activities aligned with areas that represent an opportunity for additional skill building and growth.

Home and Hospital Instruction offers online learning and instruction that is paired with direct tutoring through the Acellus online learning platform. This program affords participating students greater flexibility to maintain academic progression and complete coursework in unique subject areas, while still receiving instructional support and guidance through their assigned tutor. Acellus courses meet the rigorous curriculum standards of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Physician’s Statement Form
CONTACT
Socorro Holland
Coordinator, Home and Hospital Instruction
617-635-6633
sholland2@bostonpublicschools.org

09/11/20

Special Education & EL In-Person Services Rally

Parents and educators join to demand “in-person services in safe spaces” for highest-needs students

Schoolyard News
Sep 11 · 7 min read

By Alain Jehlen

About 100 parents and educators came together outside the Bolling Building headquarters of the Boston Public Schools yesterday to demand that officials find safe spaces for students who desperately need in-person services.

These are children who have severe disabilities, or are just starting to learn English, are homeless, or face other major barriers that block them from learning online.

“Why not put our students in the Bolling Building, and send the administrators into the schools?” asked Edith Bazile, a former BPS special educator and former President of the Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts who was one of the organizers.

Bazile suggested City Hall could also be used for in-person learning. She said there are many spaces, public and private, that are available and easier to make COVID safe than some of the aging school buildings.

The rally was organized by the Boston Education Justice Alliance, the BPS Special Education Parents Advisory Council, the Boston Teachers Union, and 10 other organizations.

In-person help delayed

But while the groups were gearing up for the protest, the BPS administration delayed the four-day-a-week, in-person learning they have promised for the highest-needs students.

Last week, the reopening schedule called for four-day-a-week in-person services to start October 1. But this week, with no notice to families, the schedule on the BPS website was changed to just two days a week starting October 1.

Four-day-a-week help for these students is now put off until a “Date to be determined… based on classroom capacity and transportation timeline.” The only exceptions are a relatively small number of students who go to special schools. They are to start four days a week October 12.

Do the right thing?

The change was so sudden, it tripped up an effort by Mayor Marty Walsh and Superintendent Brenda Cassellius to promote the reopening plan in a column in the Bay State Banner, posted yesterday. “We are prioritizing high-needs special education students by giving them the option of in-person learning up to four days per week, starting October 1,” Walsh and Cassellius wrote. “This is the right thing to do.” It may be right, but it’s not what they’re doing according the current plan.

Parents explain why their children need in-person learning

At the rally, several parents described their children’s unsuccessful experience with remote learning.

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Karina Paulino-Pena

“My son has significant intellectual and physical delay due to Down Syndrome,” said Blackstone School parent Karina Paulino-Pena, speaking in Spanish with an English translator.

“He was not able to stay seated in front of the computer for more than 15 minutes. He could not concentrate, much less respond to the teacher’s questions. Of three therapies he has to do for 30 minutes every week, he only managed to do one.

“I did not see any positive results for him in terms of his learning, to the point where I’m asking the principal if my son can repeat the year,” she said.

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Brittany Fox Blackwood

Trotter School parent Brittany Fox Blackwood said her four-year-old son has disabilities in expressing himself and interacting with peers. “He can’t overcome them if he’s just with his mom,” she said. “He knows I can predict his needs so he doesn’t try hard to explain himself. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to spell it out.

“Also, at home, there’s just me and my sister. But at school, there are many different people, so he learns, ‘I can do this with this person, but not with that person.’ Those are basic abilities he needs as he grows up and he can’t get them at home,” she said.

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Renee Banks

Josiah Quincy School parent Renee Banks said her son has a muscle disease for which he gets physical and occupational therapy at school.

“Virtual therapy is not doing anything for his body,” she said. “The teachers have done what they can, but the district is not making sure things are happening for him.

“I bought exercise equipment for him but I don’t have a degree in physical therapy. His ligaments are tightening up. And I can’t meet his educational needs. My son needs to go back to school.”

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Occupational Therapist Cassandra Crichlow

BPS Occupational Therapist Cassandra Crichlow told about a nonverbal four-year-old boy on the autism spectrum whom she works with. “His mom and I did everything we could think of. We did Zooms, we did videos, we did phone calls. But we both knew it was not enough.

“Imagine if I could have said to her, ‘Bring him to the Grove Hall Library and I can coach you on strategies, and you can try them out in front of me and I can be sure that when you go home, you feel empowered to support your son.’

“Maybe he would have kept his skills.”

According to BPS Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Ethan D’Ablemont-Burnes, BPS officials are determining how many high-needs students can get four days a week of in-person learning based on what other parents decide for their children. He described the process as he faced angry parents at a Zoom meeting of the Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SpEdPAC) August 20.

He said the first step was to find out how many parents want their children in the “hybrid,” two-day-a-week program rather than fully remote learning. Those students are assigned seats first. The highest-needs students will get four days a week in the seats that are left over in each school.

D’Ablemont-Burnes said he had not heard any discussion of moving highest-needs students to other buildings if there’s no space at their current schools.

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Roxann Harvey

The SpEdPAC was one of the main sponsors of the rally.

“We want to know why high-needs students weren’t prioritized and offered the option for four days of in-person services first in the 35 safe schools that have ventilation systems,” said SpEdPAC chair Roxann Harvey.

“These children will never get this year back.”

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Jessica Tang

BTU President Jessica Tang said the union recognized that remote learning did not work well for many students in the spring, and came up with a plan to do it better in summer school, which they called the “Whatever It Takes” plan. But she said the administration wouldn’t agree.

The union’s reopening proposal would give first priority for in-person learning to the highest-needs students, and send them to the safest buildings regardless of where they are currently assigned.

“What we don’t want to see happening,” Tang said, “is that only those students that are already in the schools that have safer facilities get the services. That’s not equitable.”

Many other school districts have announced plans that do give the highest-needs students clear priority for in-person learning. Those districts, according to their published plans, include Brookline, Cambridge, Lynn, New Bedford, Randolph, Somerville, and Worcester.

The groups sponsoring the rally, in alphabetical order are:
Boston Coalition for Education Equity
Boston Education Justice Alliance
Boston Liberation Health Group
Boston Network for Black Student Achievement
Boston Special Education Parents Advisory Council
Boston Teachers Union
Citizens for Juvenile Justice
Citizens for Public Schools
City Life/Vida Urbana
Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Order of St. Martin de Porres
Quality Education for Every Student (QUEST)
St. Stephens Youth Programs

09/9/20

Primary Disability/Level of Need-PL3 (Level 4s offered 4 days in person)

BPS Reopening Site: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/reopening

 

… the Department urges schools and districts to prioritize in-person instruction for two particular groups of students with disabilities: preschool-aged students, and students with significant and complex needs. Remote learning is often more challenging for these students.

For the purposes of this document, students with complex and significant needs include:

  • Students already identified as “high needs” through the IEP process on the IEP form entitled “Primary Disability/Level of Need-PL3.” Such students must meet at least two of these criteria: 
    • Services provided outside of the general education classroom;
    • Service providers are special education teachers and related service providers;
    • Special education services constitute more than 75% of the student’s school day;
    • Students who cannot engage in remote learning due to their disability-related needs;
    • Students who primarily use aided and augmentative communication;
    • Students who are homeless
    • Students in foster care or congregate care; and/or
    • Students dually identified as English Learners.
Even if the rest of the school has entered into a hybrid or remote model of instruction, schools and districts must make every effort to maintain in-person instruction for students with disabilities, particularly those with complex and significant needs and preschool-aged students.
09/9/20

Biweekly BPS Vitural COVID Community Equity Roundtable (Sept. 18th)

BPS-Virtual COVID Community Equity Roundtable 

 

When
Every 2 weeks from 11am to 12:30pm on Friday from Fri Sep 18 to Fri Jun 11, 2021 Eastern Time – New York
Where
https://bostonpublicschools.zoom.us/j/94195032715 (map)
Please also mark your calendars for the biweekly BPS Virtual COVID Community Equity Roundtable where we need to ensure that students with IEPs are considered in all BPS plans and decisions.

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://bostonpublicschools.zoom.us/j/94195032715
Meeting ID: 941 9503 2715

One tap mobile
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09/4/20

Navigating Special Education As We Return to School

Join us via Zoom on Thursday, September 17th at 1 pm for a presentation and training on navigating special education as we prepare for return to school, led by Marisol Garcia of Health Law Advocates.
Join us for a special training and presentation, led by Marisol Garcia, Director/Managing Attorney for the MHAP for Kids Program at Health Law Advocates.

This training will cover special education related issues regarding COVID-19, how to navigate the various types of school reopening plans, and how to prepare for re-entry to school. The training articulates the current Department of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidance to school districts, as well as how to advocate for special education services during these changing times.

The webinar is suitable for families, providers, advocates, and schools and will last one hour, including a Q&A period at the end.

Information on joining via Zoom will be sent out closer to the event date. We have a limited capacity! We will also be streaming live on Facebook for those unable to join us via Zoom.

Sign Up Here!

 

09/4/20

SpEdPAC Meeting Sept 24 – Dyslexia & Reading Comprehension

Topic: Boston SpEdPAC | Dyslexia & Reading
Time: Sep 24, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85044631662?pwd=aXFtZitPa1M5aDl4cEZMeFBJaEszdz09

Meeting ID: 850 4463 1662
Passcode: 767383
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Meeting ID: 850 4463 1662
Passcode: 767383
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