All Header Images © Daniel Voegelin  

BPS Reopening Fall 2020, Draft 1

BPS Reopening Plan Draft 1


“Crip Camp” Film & Panel Discussion

Dear Educators and Parents,

Please join the BTU Inclusion Done Right campaign, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act this Thursday evening, August with the screening of the award winning  film “Crip Camp”, followed by a panel discussion and the opportunity to talk in small groups.  Please register here to get the zoom link.  See this flyer for more details.
6:00 – 8:00pm Join the zoom to watch “Crip Camp: live streamed, with close captions.  
8:00 – 8:30 – Panel Discussion with:
                     (ASL interpretation will be provided)
  • High School History teacher, Sam Texeira
  • Horace Mann School teacher, Martha O’Brien
  • Victoria Conrad, Paraprofessional at the Henderson and former BPS student
  • Fabienne Eliacin, SpedPAC at large member
  • Fabienne’s daughter, Leiya, 7th grader at the Elliot School
  • Dan Harris, Youth Transition Advocate, Boston Center for Independent Living
8:30 – 9:00 Small group discussion
Please reach out with any question, and hope to see you Thursday evening!
Ilene Carver


BTU Organizer

City Council Hearing on the Reopening Plan for BPS SY20-21

On Wednesday, August 12th at 4PM, please join Councilor Essaibi-George and Councilor Arroyo for a Boston City Council Hearing to discuss Boston Public Schools’ preparation and/or planning in the event of extended COVID-19 social distancing measures and related school closures into school year 2020-2021. The hearing will take place virtually and live-streamed on

Members of the public are invited to attend and testify virtually via Zoom Meeting. If you would like to testify, please email for a link and instructions to do so. Written testimony may be sent via email to email (below) and will be made a part of the record and available to all Councilors.


DLC Seeking Input on Systemic Problems Impacting Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened & DeafBlind Community

The Disability Law Center is looking for your input on the systemic problems impacting people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened, and DeafBlind. We want to hear from people with disabilities, family members, and others knowledgeable about the systemic barriers faced (such as access to effective communication in health care settings, interactions with law enforcement, educational settings, other systemic discrimination issues, etc). We will be using the information you provide us for our annual priority setting process.  Your input will inform the work we do in 2021.

Thank you for your help!

Join the Video Conference Conversation

ASL Interpreters and CART have been confirmed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm EST
Space is limited and registration is required to participate. Reservations will be granted on a first-come, first-served. Please submit any accommodation requests to Amanda at 617-315-4440 or by no later than August 18, 2020.


Can’t attend but still want to participate?

Take our priority setting survey! All responses to the survey will be kept strictly confidential, will only be used in the aggregate form, and will not be used in connection with your name or email address.

Take the Survey

Two silhouettes with conversation bubbles

Share Your McKinley School Experiences

McKinley School Stories

WHEN: AUGUST 04, 8:00 AM – SEPTEMBER 30, 8:00 AM

Calling ALL McKinley School Students, Parents and Alumni!!
Would you be willing to share your stories about your experiences with the McKinley schools? This information will be confidential. If you’re interested contact Sharon Hinton, M.Ed via email at


MA IEP Improvement Project

The Massachusetts IEP Improvement Project

Members of Mass Families Organizing for Change have been invited to take part in an exciting opportunity to directly impact the implementation of high-quality Individual Education Programs (IEPs) by participating as a stakeholder in the Massachusetts IEP Improvement Project.

What does it mean to participate as a stakeholder in the IEP Improvement Project?
Stakeholders will play an active role in achieving the project’s goals of:
  • Developing student-centered IEPs driven by data and written to ensure real educational benefit to students
  • Ensuring a high-functioning process for evaluation and ongoing assessment across environments
  • Ensuring that students with disabilities have access to the general curriculum and all aspects of school life
  • Closing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their general education peers
  • Raising the achievement of Black, Latinx, and low-income students with disabilities
  • Increasing productive collaboration between general educators, special educators, and related service providers
  • Strengthening parent/educator relationships that benefit all students across the state
  • Promoting student voice and engaging students in their own IEP process
What kind of commitment is involved?
Participants will commit to:
  • Reviewing current drafts of documents and completing reflections based on their review of those drafts and any supporting documents
  • Actively participating in regularly-scheduled stakeholder feedback meetings (currently scheduled to happen monthly, depending on the availability of the resources under review)
  • Open and honest collaboration with fellow group members, EDCO facilitators, and DESE
  • A minimum of two years of participation, with the potential of a third year
How do I sign up?
The EDCO Collaborative is reaching out to organizations and individuals throughout the Commonwealth and asking for help in spreading the word on this meaningful opportunity. Should you know anyone who might be interested in participating in this project, please take a minute today and forward this communication. If you yourself are interested in participating, please go to this link and complete the sign-up form by Monday, August 10, 2020.
Important: In recognition of the fact that schools and districts across the state are currently planning for the safe re-engagement of their students during this pandemic, EDCO and DESE have decided to delay issuing our stakeholder invitation to school- and district-based personnel until October 2020, and are focusing on attracting non-school-based stakeholders to the project at this time. We tremendously value the input of school and district personnel and will be inviting their participation when their involvement is likely to be more productive to all.
To learn more about the project, please visit DESE’s IEP Improvement web page, or contact Dana Mullaley at EDCO at 339-222-5633 or via email at

Special Education Accommodations for Educators


Sp Ed Accommodations

“‘Fair does not mean that every student gets the same treatment, but that every student gets what he or she needs.” ~ Richard Lavoie

See #5 for a discussion of this quote


“ My job is not to standardized education but to customize it by personalizing it.  Great teachers have always understood that their role is not to teacher subjects but to teach students.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson




  1. Accommodations do not eliminate the impact of the disability, but lessens them or reduces the impact of the disability.Inappropriate interventions can exacerbate the impact of the disability, not minimize the impact of the disability


Teaching blind children to read Braille

Intensive help to a child with dyslexia to read

Early intervention in the lives of a child with autism

Speech and language services for students with articulation/oral expression deficits to speak more clearly


  1. Schools must designed services to respond to student’s needs that arise out of the disability while minimizing the impact of the disability.


  1. Teachers must insure that we are testing/measuring the material, not testing/measuring the student’s disability.For example, a social studies test must measure a child’s knowledge of social studies, not his reading comprehension.


  1. The disorder is the inflexible one; therefore, we must be the flexible one.We all have our strengths/needs.The child with a disability has a learning difference in a skill set tested in school.


Change classroom or change students? Schools/teachers must change classrooms to meet the needs of students, rather than change the students to meet the needs of our classrooms


  1. Fair vs. Equal:A philosophical issue for the practitioner to examine is that of “fairness”.It seems that, as parents and educators, we mold children’s values and morals. We teach them valuable lessons related to honesty, courage, integrity, loyalty, and so on. Yet, it seems that we allow children to dictate to us the concept of “fairness”. When asked to define “fairness,” most children respond: “Fairness means everybody gets the same.” Unfortunately, we often allow children to convince us that this indeed is the definition of that concept. As a result, we attempt to deal with all children in an identical manner.


When a teacher modifies a lesson for an LD child or adjusts the course requirements for him, his classmates charge that the situation is “unfair”. Rather than respond to their complaints, the teacher should explain that the mature conceptualization of “fairness” is not equal, identical treatment; rather, “fairness” means that every student receives what he needs. Because each individual’s needs are different, “fairness” dictates that their programs and expectations will be different.Children are capable of understanding this concept if it is explained clearly and if it is observed daily in the teacher’s modeling behavior. Richard Lavoie


Watch this short clip on You Tube as Dr. Lavoie explains fairness.–hUQDwY&feature=related


  1. The onus for participation in the general education curriculum should not be placed on the child.That is, a child with a disability must perform at a particular academic level or behave in an acceptable way to access appropriate education.



A student with dyslexia must be able to handle texts that are far above their reading levels in order to access content areas


A child with autism must behave in a typical fashion to be included


  1. Special education should not mean providing a different curriculum but providing a vehicle by which students with disabilities can access the curriculum and the means to address their unique needs.


  1. IEPs/Programs must be designed to address the needs that arise out of student’s disability while at the same time ensuring access to a challenging curriculum.For instance, students with dyslexia will continue to need powerful interventions around their reading while being provided with access to a curriculum that accommodates their likely problems with reading, writing, and spelling.


  1. Assumptions concerning a child with learning, functional, or developmental differences become dysfunctional when the education and development services provided to disabled children focus inordinately on the characteristics of their disability to the exclusion of all else.This is a failure to accept and value disable people as they are.


  1. Students with a reading disability.Many believe that those with reading disability in reading must learn to read at grade level before they can access the curriculum/other subjects. This approach clearly magnifies the negative impact of the disability. It is similar to the deaf who must learn to lip-read and speak before they can access the curriculum. Can students with learning disability in reading access the curriculum above their reading levels? Of course, they can. How? Access cannot depend on their ability to read print or write at grade level. This approach focuses on the characteristics of their disability- their reading deficiencies- to the exclusion of their overall educational needs.


  1. This approach clearly magnifies the negative educational impact of their disability.The focus of their special education program solely on learning how to read is not appropriate.This reflects the assumption that special education role should be to overcome disabilities, even when that is not fully possible. These children must have the appropriate accommodations and supports to access the general education curriculum.


  1. For a child with laborious reading rate will need her entire educational program accommodated around this aspect of her disability.She may need both extra time on reading assignments and some content provided on audiotape.“For the dyslexia reader, accommodations represent the bridge that connects him to his strengths and in the process, allow him to reach his potential. By themselves, accommodations do not produce success; they are the catalyst for success. Accommodations grow more important as dyslexic progresses through schooling.” Shaywitz (2003).


  1. Special education should not mean providing a different curriculum but providing a vehicle by which students with disabilities can access the curriculum and the means to address their unique needs.


  1. IEPs and special education programs designed to address the needs that arise out of their disability while at the same time ensuring access to a challenging curriculum.For instance, students with dyslexia will continue to need powerful interventions around their reading while being provided with access to a curriculum that accommodates their likely problems with reading, writing, and spelling.




Students with Emotional Support Needs


There are no poorer educational outcomes than students with emotional support needs. According to National Longitudinal Transition Study data, the drop out rate for students with emotional support needs are over 50% and only 15.3% pursue higher education.


  1. Most of the emotional support is focused on responding to acting-out behavior (most common symptom) than on providing the accommodations and supports needed for the student to succeed in school.


  1. Students with emotional support needs face discriminatory policies.The very nature of disability, which is often accompanied by acting-out behavior, often puts these children at risk of removal or outright exclusion from school, particularly in the era of ‘zero tolerance”.


  1. Some may argue that discipline policies should treat students with emotional disability the same as nondisabled students, ignoring the impact of their disability can result in truly discriminatory practices.


Example. Requiring students with emotional support need to adhere to discipline policies without taking into account the impact of their disability is equivalent of requiring a student with MR to perform academically at grade level. Or a person in a wheelchair is provided “equal access” to a building but with no ramps or elevators


Solution. Students with emotional support needs need to be taught appropriate school behavior and be supportive in achieving that goal in a safe and stable environment. There is no evidence that punishing behavior that is the result of ED will help the majority of such children to learn appropriate behavior and be able to function in school.


  1. The trouble with children with an emotional disability is assuming the symptoms of the disability their fault.The children need an individual program that recognizes the effects of their disability while seeking to create opportunities for them to learn and fully participate in school and society.In many situations, the disability requires special accommodations, and false impartiality, treating everyone the same, results in inequity.




Thomas Hehir. New Directions In Special Education (2006). Harvard Education Press



School Nurses Sit Down for Safe Reopening @ City Hall

“School Nurses Sit Down for Safe Reopening”
at Boston City Hall on Wednesday July 29, 11 a.m.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”  Rep. Shirley Chisholm
School Nurses will set up their folding chairs outside Boston City Hall on Wednesday July 29 to dramatize their concerns about student and staff safety within current plans to reopen Boston Public Schools and to illustrate the point that their expertise and their knowledge of the schools they work in has been shut out of the assessment, planning and decision-making process.  Questions about screening and referral processes, adequate facilities in school buildings to implement safe practices, staffing levels, availability of protective gear (PPE),  health and safety practices around cleaning, and the challenges of implementing basic COVID-19 safety measures within the guidelines of current planning for hybrid learning have prompted them to take this action.

Remote or Hybrid Learning Tips

3 Tips for Teaching Students in a Remote or Hybrid Learning Environment

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT

Online Learning

Presented by William M. Ferriter, Science Teacher, Consultant, and Author

Sponsored by Solution Tree

Registration to attend the live presentation is limited to 2,000.


You can sign up below to receive an email with the recording link.

GET THE RECORDING The recording will be posted on this page after the live session.
Get a CE Certificate for this edWebinar Learn more

Everything changed for classroom teachers when the COVID-19 pandemic shut schools down in the spring of 2020. For perhaps the first time in their careers, teachers had to figure out how to do all of the things that good teachers do—structure meaningful learning experiences, differentiate instruction, assess mastery, provide feedback to students—remotely. Whether we like it or not, the odds are that most teachers will find themselves continuing to work in remote or hybrid learning environments this fall.

In this edWebinar, full-time classroom teacher William Ferriter offers three practical tips that teachers can use to make remote learning more meaningful for everyone—parents, teachers and students alike. PreK-12 teachers and school and district leaders will benefit from attending this edWebinar. There will be time to get your questions answered at the end of the presentation.

William FerriterAbout the Presenter

William M. Ferriter is a sixth-grade science teacher in a professional learning community near Raleigh, North Carolina. A National Board Certified Teacher, he has designed professional development courses for educators nationwide.

To participate in the live edWebinar, log in with current version of Google Chrome or install the meeting app prior to the edWebinar on your computer, your Apple device, or Android device.  If you have a firewall in your location, you can participate on your mobile device using your cellular data (not your local network).

The edWebinar recording will be posted to this page the day after the presentation.

Join the Online Learning and Collaboration community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Solution TreeSince 1998, Solution Tree has worked to empower educators. We share your vision to transform education to ensure learning for all, and we can help you make this vision a reality. No other professional learning company provides our unique blend of research-based, results-driven services that improve learning outcomes for students.


BPS’ Summary of Reopening Listening Sessions & Timeline

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


    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


    • Massachusetts is not seeing rising cases like many other states
    • The Boston Public Health Commission is closely monitoring:
      • The number of new cases
      • Availability of testing
      • Systems’ capacity to safely care for the public
    • BPS will pivot based on science and public health guidance
The Boston Public Health Commission Recommends:


    • All students are 6 feet apart and wear masks
    • All teachers & staff are 6 feet apart from students and wear masks
    • Increased sanitation protocols compliant with public health guidelines (disinfecting “foggers”; constant cleaning of high touch areas)
    • 10 -12 people in the classroom depending on the size of the room
    • Breakfast/lunch served in classrooms

Reopening Schools for Special Education Families July 28th Meeting

Tuesday, July 28,
6:00-7:30 pm
Reopening Schools for Special Education Families
Register here


Boston Public Schools (BPS) is conducting meetings with students, families, staff, district partners, and community members to gather input to help develop a plan for remote learning and the reopening of school buildings for this upcoming school year. We value your input. More meetings are being scheduled so that you can voice your concerns and recommendations.  

The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff remain our top priority. All decisions are made based on current guidelines from public health officials and what is best for our community.

All public meetings will be recorded and shared. No Boston Public School internal meetings will be shared publicly.

Get involved! Contact and join the discussion.