Student Services Newsletter: April/May 2024

We sincerely hope that you and your children are having a wonderful school year. As the weather starts to get warmer, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the exciting initiatives the Student Services Office has been working on throughout this academic year. We invite you to take a moment to review the updates and upcoming plans.

Tiered Focused Monitoring (TFM)

This school year (23/24) the district will take part in a Tiered Focused Monitoring (TFM): Group A Review of Special Education and English Learner Education as part of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) review process that takes place every three years. As part of this review, we completed a Self Assessment and Record Review last school year and staff from DESE will be onsite here in Weston on May 29th and 30th. The Department of Education will send out a survey to parents of students with disabilities soliciting information regarding their experiences with the district’s implementation of special education programs, related services, and procedural requirements. In addition, our DESE Monitoring Specialist, Michael McDonald, will be holding a Parent/Guardian Orientation via Zoom to provide information on the TFM process on April 25th at 6:30PM. We welcome all parents/guardians to participate to learn more:

Tiered Focused Monitoring Parent/Guardian Information Session

April 25, 2024 at 6:30 PM

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86835187565

 

New IEP Initiative

As we discussed in our previous newsletter, for the first time in 22 years, the state is launching a new IEP form that we will begin using here in Weston in September, 2024. Staff have been participating in trainings throughout the school year and some staff will be working over the summer to transfer information so we will be fully prepared for the fall rollout. If you missed the parent trainings on the new IEP given by Allan Blume, you can access the PowerPoint presentation here. We will be having additional trainings for parents in the fall when we begin rolling out the new form.

 

Cartwheel

Weston Public Schools continues to partner with Cartwheel, an organization that will “provide students and families with rapid access to mental health assessments, evidence-based therapy, and medication evaluation, entirely via telehealth with licensed clinicians.” If you are struggling to find a mental health provider for your child, please reach out to the school counselor at your child’s school and they can connect you with Cartwheel and/or other support services. In addition, Cartwheel provides regular webinars on relevant topics for caregivers. You can watch the most recent presentations including “Demystifying Teens: Parenting Strategies to Help Pre-teens and Teens Thrive” and “Breaking Generational Cycles: Rewriting Parenting Patterns” here. The next webinar is: “Finding the Words: How to Effectively Speak with Kids and Teens about Mental Health and Suicide Prevention” which will be held on May 7, 2024 at 7:30PM. Please register for this session here.

 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

The Student Services Office is excited to partner with the Office of Teaching and Learning, in collaboration with Katie Novak and Novak Consulting, to implement the principles of UDL and the use of UDL to proactively identify barriers in lesson-design and design flexible learning experiences that both adhere to firm grade-level standards and meet the needs of all learners.

After Katie Novak’s initial kick-off during the Professional Development Day of February 9, 2024, all Weston Educators are currently following one of four pathways this spring — a virtual training series, an online self-directed course, a facilitated graduate level course, or a book study — to further their education on UDL with the goal of having a common language and framework. Our educators are learning how UDL fits within our Multi-Tiered System and works alongside Social Emotional Learning and culturally responsive practices. Trainings will continue over the summer and into the 2024-25 school year.

We are excited about this important work that will impact all students across the district. You can learn more about Universal Design for Learning on Katie Novak’s website here.

 

Weston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)

The Weston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Weston SEPAC) is an all parent volunteer group that promotes a network for parents of children with disabilities to provide a forum to share information, support, provide resources and discuss important issues.

  • We provide educational presentations for parents and teachers of both special needs and typical students.
  • We meet with school administration and school committee members to give our input on policies and programs that impact our children. We promote and raise awareness of children with special needs.
  • We meet with our state representative to share and discuss information to advocate for children with disabilities.

Please contact Lisa Lappi if you would like to join the SEPAC email list.

 

Annual Parents Rights Training

Provided by the Federation for Children with Special Needs

May 13th at 6:30 pm

Basic Rights: Evaluation and Eligibility

Zoom link and registration will be posted on the Student Services website as soon as it is available.