Monday, September 26, 2016

Feels Like Fall

Well, with the chill in the air the past few nights it certainly feels like fall is here, it won't be long before the leaves are falling too. I love the changing colors of the trees.

We are off to a great start this year. Darlene and I have been around to the buildings and our students and staff are all working hard already.

As a Director of Special Education, my focus is truly on helping our students with special needs receive the education they need to be successful when they graduate. That being said, there is more to helping our students and families meet their children's special needs than just at school. From time to time we get information about events in the community that are specially designed for people with disabilities. I would like to try to share as many of these as I can, so please feel free to email me if you hear of any that I can share.

Mary Poppins
One of our physical therapists saw an article on sharing that Syracuse Stage will be doing a "sensory-friendly" performance of Mary Poppins in January. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for a family outing!

As luck would have it, our high school is also doing Mary Poppins this year in February as well. So for all you who grew up watching Mary Poppins like I did, there will be multiple opportunities to see it this winter.

Explaining CSE
I had the opportunity to do a presentation to our Board of Education last week about how CSE and CPSE work. As you know, after we do CSE meetings the Board of Education approves services for students based on the outcome of meetings. This is done anonymously; no names are on the documents. It was helpful for them to have an understanding of what goes on in our meetings as most of them have never attended one. They had great questions and were very appreciative of the information shared.

I also just wanted to remind everyone that we will now be doing all of our annual review meetings in the spring. That is, with the exception of graduating Seniors. Their meetings will be held in December to allow for them to plan for after graduation in June.

Have a wonderful week

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Welcome Back!! 
Wow, its hard to believe that summer is over and a new school year has begun! The weather certainly felt like summer this year. I prefer summer to winter, so I enjoyed every minute I could get outdoors. I hope we get to enjoy the sunshine and warmth a little longer. For all the new families in our district, Welcome to West Genesee. As we start off the school, I just wanted to pass along some updates and information.

New Staff
I am excited to share that we have a number of new staff members in our department. In our office, Rachel Gillett is our new CPSE secretary. She also handles paperwork for our non-public students and students placed in programs out of the district. As many of you know, our office is a busy place and she is adjusting to us well.

We also have a few new Special Education teachers and teaching assistants in many of the schools. I am sure you will hear from your child's teachers if you haven't already and will have the opportunity to meet them when you attend Open Houses in the next few weeks.

Beyond High School
I know the school year is just beginning, but for those of you who have students who are getting towards the end of their school career with us here at West Genesee, it's never to early to start thinking ahead. I have been in contact with Dean Tzivanis at OCC who is part of a new program called Onondaga Pathways to Careers. I will be meeting with Dean in the near future to get even more information and will be sharing it with staff at the high school.

Onondaga Pathways to Career (OPC) is a new program at OCC which aims to provide support and remove barriers for students with disabilities interested in specific technology majors at OCC.  OPC provides individualized academic supports, career planning, and self-advocacy training for students who wish to earn an Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Technology, Health Information Technology, Electronic Media Communications, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Computer Forensics  or Electrical Technology, or a one-year certificate in Advanced Manufacturing. Our local economy is seeing high growth among companies in need of skilled workers with these credentials.

The ultimate goal of the program is to help students will disabilities (IEPS, 504, and other documented disabilities) obtain the necessary skills and credentials to gain employment in a high growth field, or transfer to a four-year college/university.

Darlene and I are eager to get out to all the buildings and see the smiling faces; we are pretty sure they will be smiling at the elementary level. The middle and high school students may be looking a little more tired as they readjust their sleep schedules!

If you are new to the district, welcome. For everyone else, please feel free too contact our office if we can help in any way.