Jennifer C. Truslow, Director of Student Services
TEL 781-786-5240 | FAX 781-786-5249
September 14, 2020
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! We have missed your students very much since the emergency closing of school in March. Teachers and administrators have spent the summer preparing for students to return in person in just a few short days. There has been significant professional development related to supporting students’ social and emotional needs, strategies for teaching on remote platforms and methods for ensuring everyone remains safe while we continue to live in this new Covid-19 environment. We know that school will feel different for students, and everyone is committed to providing a comfortable transition into classrooms. The plans for our Remote Learning Academy have also come together and we look forward to the launch of this for our students learning at home.
The Office of Student Services has returned to the newly renovated Case House, on the first floor. Our office comprises the following departments: Special Education and Related Services, Guidance, Counseling/Section 504, Nursing/Health Services, English Language Education, McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act and Out of District Placements. Janet Cinar is our Administrative Assistant and is in the office to answer calls and questions. Betty DaSilva, our Preschool Administrative Assistant has also moved to our office from Country School.
We have some staffing updates across all schools. Some teachers have had to take leaves due to their own medical needs, or due to childcare/family issues.
- Dr. Jamy Gaynor, Director of Health Services, joins us from the Marlborough Public Schools. Jamy started in early August and has been supporting the district with re-opening plans, our District Safety team and connecting with Weston’s Board of Health.
- Susan Wylie, former part time Special Education Teacher at Woodland, is replacing Laura Evers full time. Laura accepted a position in another district and we wish her well.
- Elizabeth Greer will be filling in for Paula Rozentes in the Language-Based Classroom at Woodland this year. Elizabeth joins us from the Maynard Public Schools.
- Nicole Shapoff is our new Team Chair/School Psychologist at the Country School. She joins us from Sudbury Public Schools.
- Joshua DelViscovo is our long term substitute teacher covering for Lucy Proulx’s leave at Country School. Joshua joins us with extensive experience working with students in public and private schools.
- Elizabeth Childress will be a part-time Special Education teacher supporting the Field School. Elizabeth joins us from the Marlborough Public Schools.
- Matt Cedrone will be working as a Special Education teacher at Weston Middle School in the 8th grade. Matt recently worked as a Learning Assistant at the Middle School and as our ESY Special Education teacher this past summer.
- Megan Leddy will be replacing Kristyn McNulty who is on leave this year from Weston Middle School.
- Jenny Swanson will be the Adjustment Counselor at Weston Middle School this fall, covering Megan Dominici’s maternity leave. We wish Megan well!
- Emma Feldman will be our Counselor in the Bridge Program at Weston High School. Gaby Holland is on leave this year.
- Angelica Carvajal is our new School Counselor at Weston High School. She comes to us from Cathedral High School in Boston. She is replacing Samson Luu.
- Enid DeCastro is our new Guidance Secretary at Weston High School.
- Stephanie Krupski Wallen will be our Remote Learning Academy PreSchool teacher. Stephanie was our ESY PreSchool teacher this summer and is excited about this new role.
- Kate Rodgers (elementary) and Janet McGrath (middle school) will be our Remote Learning Academy Special Education teachers.
As a reminder, our Team Chairs will also be supporting our Out of District students and families this year. They have been in close communication with schools and families as the plans for out of district schools’ reopening have been finalized. We recently met with SEPAC to begin planning. Meetings and presentations will be held remotely to start the year, and we look forward to sharing details with you soon. Along with this letter, you will be receiving a Student Services Update with information about services and staffing in the schools, a family letter from DESE and their most recent FAQ’s.
As always, do not hesitate to call, email or stop by our office with any questions or concerns. Our entire team looks forward to supporting students and families as we start this new school year.
Jennifer Truslow Anne Zernicke
Director of Student Services Assistant Director of Student Services
Team Chair Contact Information:
Country School: Nicole Shapoff 781-786-5485
Woodland School: Erika Sava 781-786-5386
Field School: Jennifer Nolan 781-786-5546
Weston Middle School: Maryellen Stampfli 781-786-5646
Weston High School: Jeff Dias 781-786-5334
Student Services Updates —-September 14, 2020
Now that the School Committee has decided to start the school year in the hybrid model while giving families a remote learning option, and now that School Committee and Weston Educators Association has come to an agreement, we can give you a more detailed overview about what Student Services will look like in the Weston Public Schools to begin the school year. This document is an update on the “Student Services” section in the August 10th “Weston School Reopening Plan” and will provide you with information about the provision of services in the hybrid model and Remote Learning Academy for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students.
Special Education and Related Services in Hybrid Model
Weston’s hybrid learning model splits remote and in-person learning for most students. Students have been divided into two groups: Group A and Group B. Group A will attend school on Mondays and Thursdays. Group B will attend school on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will be fully remote for all students.
As we shared in August, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) provided districts with specific guidelines related to supporting students with disabilities when school reopens. These guidelines prioritize in-person instruction as much as is possible for students with significant and complex needs based on their disabilities, as well prioritizing our youngest learners. School-based teams worked carefully to identify these students and communicated with families to plan for additional in-person learning during our hybrid opening.
Over the next few weeks, your student’s providers will be in touch with you to discuss how special education services will be provided differently than written in your child’s IEP. In Weston’s hybrid model, with students in for shorter blocks of time and only in the mornings, it is not possible to have all services delivered in person. The hybrid model encompasses three ways that Special Education teachers and related service providers can provide services to students: in-school live instruction; remote live instruction; and asynchronous instruction. After speaking with you, the school will follow up by sending a letter describing how services will be provided to your student.
Special Education Services in Remote Learning Academy
For our students enrolled in the Remote Learning Academy (RLA), remote special education and related services will be provided via “Instruction and Service” mode of delivery per DESE guidelines. This mode includes: Time spent interacting directly with teachers and related service providers on a regular basis, independent work as appropriate and opportunities for interactions with classmates.
Kate Rodger will be the Special Educator for RLA students at the elementary level. Janet McGrath will be the Special Educator at the middle school level. There is not a designated Special Education teacher assigned to the RLA at the high school level, but your student will still receive his/her services from high school Special Education staff. Related Service providers from your student’s school will also be providing services to students in the RLA. Over the next few weeks, your student’s providers will be in touch with you to discuss how special education services will be delivered differently than written in your child’s IEP. Since students’ IEPs were written for in-person services, and students are learning remotely, providers will share with you how the supports will be incorporated into the RLA schedule.
Weston will be conducting in-person evaluations while following health and safety guidelines. Team Chairs will be working with families to schedule evaluations that were delayed in the spring. Students may be evaluated during their in-school days, or, if schedules permit, students may be able to be tested by coming in on their remote days or in the afternoons when there are fewer students in the buildings.
When school resumes, all meetings will be held remotely to minimize bringing visitors into school buildings. However, if this presents a hardship for a family to participate, we can discuss ways to facilitate a safe in-person meeting. Team Chairs will be working to prioritize meetings that were delayed during school closure.
English Learner Education
Hybrid learning and Remote Learning Academy
At the elementary level, depending on schedules, students will receive their services in-person or remotely. ELE teachers will communicate with families to share how and when students will meet with their teacher.
At the middle and high school level, English Language Services will be provided remotely for students in the hybrid model and for those enrolled in the Remote Learning Academy. The hybrid schedule limits the amount of time students are in person in schools. Also, our remote ELE supports were very successful for students last spring during the emergency closure, and we will be building off that success to enhance learning for students.
ELE teachers will continue to collaborate with classroom teachers to support English learners in their ability to engage meaningfully in their in-person classes and remote synchronous sessions.
Counselors will be assisting all students with the transition back into school after the extended period of closure. Faculty has engaged in professional development to support all students’ social/emotional needs, as school will look and feel very different. Students will receive their scheduled counseling services via in person on the days they are in school, or via phone/remote platforms if it works best for the student’s schedule.
Remote Learning Academy
Counselors will be available to all students via remote platforms, and will schedule with students and families. Counselors will be collaborating with school administrators to monitor student participation in remote learning. Guidance curriculum will be delivered via remote platforms in a classroom model.
Students on 504 Plans
Counselors will support students as indicated on their 504 Plans via in person on the days they are in school, or via phone/remote platforms when they are at home. Counselors will work with classroom teachers and students/families to ensure accommodations are implemented in both in-person classrooms and on remote platforms.
Counselors will be available to support students as indicated on their 504 Plans via phone/remote platforms. Counselors will work classroom teachers and students/families to ensure accommodations are implemented across all remote platforms.
All team meetings will be held remotely. This will minimize bringing visitors into school buildings and requiring staff to travel between schools. When school resumes, Annual Review meetings that were delayed will be held to review the students’ 504 Plans. However, if this presents a hardship for a family to participate, we can discuss ways to facilitate a safe in-person meeting.
Our nursing staff, led by our new Director of Health Services Jamy Gaynor, has been working diligently to prepare systems for our buildings to keep students and staff healthy and safe as we reopen. They have developed and trained staff on protocols for handling staff and students who may be sick or in contact with someone who is. They have also provided training on donning/doffing PPE, masks, cleaning face shields and hand hygiene. Communication with families will be on-going as we progress through the fall.
The Year Ahead
We know that many students, not just those with disabilities, struggled last spring with the emergency school closure. Together with families, we look forward to a successful school year. As was shared in the Teaching and Learning update, the district is committed to facilitating effective learning for all students. The following considerations are the foundation of our work:
Learning is relational. We will strive to intentionally foster relationship building among students, educators, and families.
A focus on equity and access. We are committed to reach and teach all students; thus, to realize this goal, we will need to prioritize time and resources for those who are most vulnerable and marginalized.
Emphasizing joy. We will brainstorm and invent new learning opportunities that promote engagement, interaction, excitement, and joy.