About

The Office of Student Services, located at 89 Wellesley Street (Case House School Administration Building), oversees Special Education, Guidance, Health Services, and the English Language Education Program.

J Truslow

Jennifer Truslow

Truslowj@weston.org

Director of Student Services

A Zernicke

Anne Zernicke

Zernickea@weston.org

Assistant Director of Student Services

Janet Cinar

Janet Cinar

Administrative Assistant

Jennifer C. Truslow, Director of Student Services

 TEL 781-786-5240  |  FAX 781-786-5249

September 14, 2020

Dear Families,

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.

Sincerely,

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. 

Evaluations

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. 

Team meetings

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. 

Counseling

Hybrid Model

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

Hybrid learning

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.

Remote learning

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. 

504 meetings

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. 

Health Services

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS REGARDING SPECIAL EDUCATION

DESE Back to School Letter

Office of Student Services

Weston Public Schools 

The District is preparing for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Due to the ongoing public health emergency and the regulations set forth by the Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), all districts have been asked to assess feasibility and prepare plans for school opening for the following options: All In Person, Hybrid, and Full Remote. Weston Public Schools is seeking to implement a hybrid model to return to school, as well as offering our Remote Learning Academy for those choosing to learn from home.  Moving into the new school year, DESE has indicated that districts are responsible for providing Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and implementing students’ Individualized Educational Program (IEPs), as agreed upon. Delivery of services identified in the IEP, however, may look different and, therefore, districts are also responsible for communicating with families and students about how and when services will be implemented. Students identified as “high needs” will have priority for full time (4 days) in- person services, as long as it is safe to do so and that the local board of health supports in-person services and the opening of schools. The document below identifies questions and answers regarding Special Education services and Section 504 Accommodation Plans as they relate to the opening of school.

Q:  What is the criteria for “in-person” Special Education services, when the district is hybrid or a remote model?

Students qualifying for full time “in-person” learning are described below and such students must meet at least two of these criteria:

  • Students already identified as “high needs” through the Individualized Education Planning (IEP) process on the IEP form entitled “Primary Disability/Level of Need-PL3.” 
    • 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
    • Preschool age students with disabilities
    • Post Graduate students with disabilities
  • 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;
  • Students who are dually identified as English Learners

Q:  If my child is identified as “high needs” do I have the option of not sending him/her on the additional days?

Ultimately, it is your decision as the parent to determine what is best for your child, however it is the responsibility of the district to comply with DESE regulations and provide services identified in the accepted IEP.  It is recommended that families work with the IEP Team to determine services to be provided “in-person” and services that can be accessed remotely.  

Q:  What will service delivery for students with disabilities look like in the 2020-2021 school year?

  • students will receive a consistent schedule of classes, services, interventions and therapies as outlined in the signed and accepted IEP
  • students will have structured learning time so to access state standards
  • students will have frequent interaction with teachers, therapists and trained staff to ensure participation

Q:  My child does not meet the criteria for the definition of “high needs,” however is a student with a disability, what will IEP services look like for my child in a hybrid model?

Students will receive services both in person and remotely per the above mentioned definitions.  An emphasis will be placed on providing as many services “in-person” as is feasible and possible.

Q:  How will parents be made aware of the service delivery for their child?

Parents will receive written notification of the service delivery for their child.  IEP teams are working to develop service delivery schedules for all students.  While DESE requires that all agreed upon services in the IEP are implemented, it is understood given the current health and safety requirements, they will look different.  

Q:  If I have chosen for my child to attend school remotely, how will the services in the IEP be delivered?

Remote learning is expected to be more robust than the experience from the spring of 2020.  It is expected that students will receive an “Instruction and Services” model of remote learning through

  • a regular and consistent schedule of classes, services, interventions and therapies
  • structured learning time to provide access to state standards
  • frequent interactions with teachers, therapists and support staff
  • Synchronous lessons via teleconference and/or video conference
  • Asynchronous lessons via recorded lessons 

Q:  My child is provided with 1:1 support as a service in the IEP.  How will that service be implemented if my child is in a hybrid or remote model?

Learning Assistants, under the guidance of the special education teacher and related service providers, will support students in both “in-person” and remote activities.  Learning Assistants will receive training along with professional staff in regards to remote learning and supporting students in both environments.  

Q:  If I choose a full remote model, how will the services in the IEP be delivered?

Students with an IEP will have an alternative learning plan developed in order to address the services in the IEP.  If the choice is fully remote, the IEP team will determine how special education services can be provided to meet the individual needs of the student. Parents will receive written notification of that plan as well as a schedule of classes, therapies and support services to be provided.  

Q:  My child is a child with a disability and receives accommodations through a 504 plan.  Can my child qualify for full time “in-person” services and if not how will services be provided?

According to the DESE provided definition of “high needs students,” students with 504 accommodation plans do not qualify for full time “in-person” services.  It is recommended to contact your building principal or counselor and discuss concerns related to your child and their individual learning needs.  In regards to accommodations and supports in the 504 plan, your counselor will work with teachers, the student (if applicable) and you to determine how those accommodations will be provided.  

Q:  What will be the procedure for IEP and 504 meetings in the Fall of 2020?

Given the requirements for social distancing provided by DESE, all Special Education and 504 meetings both will be held remotely via teleconference, Google Meet or Zoom. 

Q: In the spring, I agreed to extend my child’s IEP due to school closure, what is the plan for holding the meeting once school resumes?

Once school resumes, Team Chairs will be working with families and school staff to schedule outstanding Team Meetings.  All meetings will be held remotely via telephone or video conference. 

Q:  My child was due for an evaluation in the spring of 2020 and due to school closure that evaluation was not completed, what are the next steps?

IEP teams will be prioritizing evaluations based on necessity for completion and date of consent.  The District will continue to work with families to meet timelines and agree to waive or extend initial evaluations, re-evaluations or Team Meetings as needed.

Q:  My child is receiving services  through Early Intervention until October 15, 2020.  What is the plan moving forward for determining eligibility for EI referrals?

 Our process for transitioning children referred from EI to Weston Public schools has not changed. The Office of Student Services is contacted by EI case managers, year round, so that a Transition Planning Conference (TPC) can be scheduled prior to the child’s third birthday. At the TPC meeting, WPS staff discuss with the EI case manager and family the process for evaluation, and determining eligibility for services.

Q:  How will eligibility evaluations be conducted?

Once school resumes, special education staff will be scheduling outstanding assessments in a timely manner.  In-person evaluations will be conducted while adhering to health and safety guidelines. Team Chairs will be discussing the option of waiving evaluations for the 2020-2021 school year or extending timelines until a later date, due to the backlog. 

Q:  My child receives “services only” through Weston Public Schools.  How will services be delivered?

In an effort to maintain cohorts and reduce the visitors to the school buildings, all itinerant services will be provided through video or phone conferencing.   

Q:  How will toileting assistance be provided for students requiring such service?

Best practices will continue to be in place for students needing assistance with toileting as well as other self-help skills. In addition, the educators working with your child will be provided with additional PPE to maintain learner and educator health.  Nursing staff in each building has developed specific protocols, best practices and training for staff. 

Q:  My child attends Weston Windows as a peer, what will school look like for my child?

The Integrated Preschool program will provide for all students with disabilities “in-person”services.  For students that attend the preschool program as a peer, they will follow the model of the district (currently  hybrid).  

Q: If a student has a hearing disability, will the teacher wear a face shield instead of a mask?

According to DESE guidance released July 9, 2020, a clear mask or face shield may be worn by staff so students will be able to see the speaker’s lips. The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is working on resources to address FM system use and will disseminate these when they are available. The District has also purchased clear face masks for use by staff.