Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays from the Special Education Office

Happy Winter! It is hard to believe that it is winter in CNY
without the snow this year, but I know I am certainly enjoying
the break from the cold temperatures. For all you snow lovers I am sure there will still be plenty of the white stuff coming in our future!

Staff Meetings: This year, both Darlene and I are meeting with staff on a regular basis. 

This month we have shared a short video and discussed one of Carols Dweck's studies on Positive Growth Mindset. This study showed that students who were praised for their efforts and given specific feedback about their performance are more successful with challenging tasks than those that are given a general compliment. 

My conversations with some of our teaching assistants around this topic were exciting, and they were eager to try using some of the specific praise with their students as they are always looking for more ways to support them.                                                                     
Here is the link to the video if you'd like to see what we discussed. This positive feedback is something parents can use as well to foster a love of learning and successes with their children.                                          

Annual Review Reminder: This year we are making the transition to spring annual reviews for IEPs. This means that starting in the 2016-17 school year, all annual reviews will be held between January and May. This will allow teachers to get to know their students before meeting on them to determine the next year's goals and services.   

This year only, if you have had an annual review on your child between September 8 and December 23 you will have an additional annual review meeting in the spring to create the IEP for next school year. Please contact our office if you have any questions about this process and how it may impact your child.

From all of us in the Special Education Office - we wish you a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Students Become College and Career Ready for Real World

Helping Students Become College and Career Ready

Our middle and high school teachers spent part of the recent workshop day working on developing quality transition plans for our students in middle and high school. These transition plans are part of the IEP and guide a student's program in high school. Assessments are given to students, teachers, and parents throughout middle and high school to help students learn more about themselves as well as give teachers an idea of how to help the students plan beyond high school.

The teachers are working hard to be sure they are providing students with the supports they need to achieve goals developed in their transition plan. We begin writing these plans in 8th grade- if you have a student in high school take a look to see how it looks on their IEP.

High School Students getting real world experiences:

Part of some students' transition plans are developing work skills. Our high school students have a variety of opportunities to learn skills they can use after high school in the work force. There are a few ways students are doing this through work-based learning opportunities or attending BOCES programs for specific job skills.

We have students who are participating in work-based learning by working out in the community at Applebee's and Walmart with the support of job coaches. These students are learning job skills directly in the work place with their job coach to teach them the things they need to do on the job and help them navigate social interactions they may need support to work through.

We also have students who are attending OCM BOCES in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in areas such as culinary arts and welding. These students attend classes for half of their day at BOCES and half of their day at the high school and plan to earn their Regents or Local diplomas. They will participate in internships or other work experiences as well.  Some of these programs allow a student the opportunity to pass a certification exam and be certified which will allow them to be employed out of high school. There are also other programs that provide job skills to help them to become employed or to continue with higher education.

BOCES also has a program specifically to help students earn a Career Development Occupational Students Credential (CDOS).  We have a few students who have attended or are attending this program which combines classroom and on-the job learning in a small setting with hands-on learning activities.  These students will earn the CDOS credential and exit with and employability profile and job skills that will assist them in obtaining a job after graduation.

Susan Murray
Director of Special Education

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October Message

CMS Students Attend Sports Clinic:
On September 30, 2015 some of our students from CMS had the opportunity to attend the Empire State Games Adapted Sports Clinic at The CNY Family Sports Center. They had a great time trying activities such as archery, mini golf and basketball shooting. Each student received a medal and certificate for participating in the clinic. It was a great experience and one they look forward to doing again next year!

West Genesee Special Education PTSA Meeting:

I had the opportunity to talk with our West Genesee Special Education PTSA group at the first meeting of the school year.  This group works to help parents advocate for special needs children and is a place for parents and teachers to exchange information and support each other. 

The West Genesee Special Education PTSA has regular meetings just like any other PTA, with speakers or workshops on a variety of topics. They have events planned for families to attend that are designed to allow children with special needs to join in, such as a bowling outing and a picnic held each summer for the whole family. For more information, see the West Genesee Special Education PTSA web page by clicking here.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Welcome Back

Settling in at a New Location: We’ve had a busy summer in the Special Education Department. We are finally settled into our new offices at Camillus Middle School and have a plenty of space. The offices for CSE and CPSE are together and all CPSE meetings will now be held in our conference room.  

If you need to come to our offices, please go to the main office at Camillus Middle School to sign in and they can direct you to room 5.

Welcoming New and Returning Staff: Darlene Chapin, our new Assistant Director, will be taking over all programming for the elementary students in our district while I will be focusing on the middle and high school students’ programs. We feel that supporting the students in the district this way will allow us to focus better on student needs to ensure that we are providing the best supports for all of our students. 

On September 2 we had our first special education staff meeting in many years with all staff and it was quite the crowd; we filled the Large Group Instruction room at Camillus Middle School! It was great to have everyone back for the school year and to welcome our new staff.  Everyone left on an upbeat note and ready to start the new year.

We look are looking forward to the new school year!