Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December is Flying By!

It is hard to believe it is already December already;  this year is flying by! The snow is flying and it is time to think of activities to keep children busy. As everyone gets ready for the holidays and upcoming winter weather I wanted to share a couple additional upcoming opportunities that a parent has shared with me.

Social Skills Group
The question about a local social skills program comes up on a regular basis. The Department of Psychology at Syracuse University is offering a 10 week Social Skills program for children ages 7-12 with Autism Spectrum Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who experience social difficulties beginning in late January/early February. Contact Heather Potts at hepotts@syr.edu for more information.    

Fit Families Program at Syracuse University
Luis Columna, Ph.D from Syracuse University is in the process of recruiting families for their spring FIT Families program. They are looking for parents of students ages 4-12 to participate. Click here for more information about this program. They are also looking for input from parents of autistic students who are of Hispanic decent. For information regarding this click on this link.

Wizard of Oz
Syracuse Stage will be doing a sensory friendly performance of the Wizard of Oz on December 30, 2017.  Click here for details.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with your families and friends!

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fall is Here!

Fall is Really Here Now!

Well it certainly feels like fall now with the chilly nights and the leaves falling. Hopefully, everyone was able to enjoy the extra doses of warm weather we had earlier this fall. It has been wonderful to get out and visit classes and talk with teachers as we moved quickly through this first quarter of school; there are a lot of great things happening!

Upcoming Events

As we are quickly approaching the winter season I will try to share upcoming events for families and students I as I hear of them. Here are a couple of upcoming events.

The WGSEPTSA  has shared some information on Special Olympics Winter Training. Please click here for more information.

The Syracuse City Ballet will be holding a sensory friendly performance of The Nutcracker on December 3 and 10:00 a.m. at the OnCenter Crouse Hinds Theater. Click here for a flyer for the event.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone has enjoyed this summer-; it sure flew by! We got our children off for their first year at the University of Scranton. They seem to be adjusting and enjoying it so far; though it is awful quiet in our house now!

As I have sent off my two children, I am looking forward to welcoming all of our students back at school. For those moving to middle and high school it is a big transition, but I know they will all do well once the nerves calm and they "figure out" their new schools. For those returning to their schools, I am sure the anticipation of a new class, teacher, and friends is something to look forward to.

I would also like to welcome all of our new staff. While we miss our retirees and those who have left, we are fortunate to have found teachers and teaching assistants who are wonderful additions to our staff  in many of our buildings.

West Genesee Special Education PTSA
Just a couple of notes from our West Genesee Special Education PTSA. Their first meeting will be October 3 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the high school library. They will also have a table at each of the building Open Houses this September for you to become a member of the group.

They have a link on our Special Education Department link on the website or you can email them at wgseptsa@westgenesee.org for more information about their meetings or other events. You can also join online directly by clicking here.

Buddy Walk
The Down Syndrome Association of CNY will be holding its 19th Annual Buddy Walk on Sunday September 24, 2017 at Long Branch Park in Onondaga Lake. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk at 10:30. See the brochure for this year's walk by clicking here.

ARC Race
The Annual Dunkin Run ARC Race will be September 9 at Long Branch Park. This is their 23rd annual race. The Arc Race also features Athletes in Tandem; a program which pairs community runners with athletes who have disabilities, allowing them to compete side-by-side with the assistance of adaptive running strollers. They also have a variety of races, Family Fun Zone and Bounce House. Sounds like fun for the whole family! Click here for more information or to register.

I will continue to keep you up-to-date on events and activities going on in our area and schools. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

I look forward to seeing all of our students, staff, and families as we start off the new school year!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wrapping up the Year...

As the year wraps up, and the weather is finally feeling like summer, I just wanted to share with you a fun event for the family.  Our West Genesee Special Education Parent Teacher student Association is hosting their annual picnic on Thursday, June 22 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at Shove Park. It is always a fun event, so feel free to email to rsvp or just join the group that day.

Enjoy the end of school year activities with your children.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Special Graduation Ceremonies

We all have days in our jobs that are frustrating, but this past week I was reminded of why I love mine. I was so fortunate to be able to attend two very special graduations at BOCES. Nothing is more rewarding, or moving, than to watch students who have overcome so many obstacles in their lives graduate from high school.  

 On Thursday Nikki, Courtney, and Megan all graduated at a ceremony that was celebrated at the OCM BOCES, Liverpool Campus. These young ladies have overcome struggles at home as well as school, academically as well as emotionally, and have persevered to reach their goal of graduating from high school. Of course they could not have done it without the support of family and staff at BOCES who helped them reach that goal. Courtney gave one of the most moving graduation speeches I have heard. It brought tears to my eyes. I could not have been more proud of them all.

On Friday, Kyle graduated from the OCM BOCES McEvoy Campus in Cortland. This young man has grown and progressed in the past two years more than any of the staff that have worked with him had hoped and expected. He was smiling through the entire ceremony and gave a wonderful speech that expressed his thanks to all who helped him. I don't think there was a louder cheering section for Kyle, nor a dry eye after his speech.

To see the pride on the faces of these students, as well as their families and friends and the staff that have supported them through their journeys, was a wonderful reminder of why I decided to be a Special Educator. I wish them the best in the next step in their lives.

Now on to one more graduation on Saturday, I am hoping to make it through that one without many tears; it will be a challenge, but I'm excited to watch my own children and their classmates move on to the next phase of their lives as well!

Enjoy the sunshine now that it's finally here!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

It's June...

Can you believe it is June already? Where did this school year go? In a few short weeks the children will be done with school, some will have moving up ceremonies to "graduate" to a new building in the fall.  I've spent the last few weeks in CSE meetings for all of our students who are moving up to new buildings next year.  Its wonderful to have so many parents attend the meetings and even more fun for me to have our 8th graders attend their first CSE meetings! They all have done such a great job - some talking and asking questions, just others listening but all very respectful and looking so grown up and ready to move on. It's been the highlight of the annual review season for me this year.

I am also very excited about graduation this year! My own children, Andrew and Shayla, will be graduating this year and going off to college next year., and I will get to see a truly great group of seniors graduate. I started at West Genesee when they were in Kindergarten, so I feel like I've watched them all grow up. I'm sure I'll shed a tear or two but couldn't be prouder of them all!

Recent Events
As the school year wraps up, there will be many events at the buildings for our students to partake in. I love to try to get to them when I can. Special Olympics was last week so I just wanted to share some pictures and video that celebrate's our athletes.  Click below to view a video of the event.

Our Unified Sports Basketball team has wrapped up its first season. The final games were exciting as ever to watch. The team had the support of fans, family, teachers, cheerleaders and even the Wildcat mascot! The players earned a medal and t-shirt and each district a plaque to mark their participation in the season. I can't wait to see what the next season brings.

Hopefully the rain will end soon and we can all get outside and enjoy some nice weather.

Take Care,
~ Sue

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wrapping Up the Year with Great Events!

It's hard to believe that it's May already, but it sure is nice to hear the birds chirping and to see the sunshine and everything blooming and growing! As we wrap up the year there are some upcoming events I wanted to share with you.

West Genesee Unified Sports Basketball Team
Unified Sports
You may have heard about our Unified Sports team at the high school this year from Dr Brown's Blog, signs at the high school, the District e-Newsletter, or on twitter. I was thrilled to attend the first games that we hosted at WGHS. There were more smiles and cheers than I have heard at any other sporting event!

I am excited to attend more games.The next home games are on May 3 and 8, both at 5:30 p.m. with the final culminating event on May 23 at 5:30; all games are at WGHS. Come out and support our athletes, and I guarantee you will enjoy the games!

Special Olympics
The Special Olympics are coming soon too! On May 18 we will have a number of student athletes compete in the Special Olympic Games at CNS High School. The games run from 9:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. with a rain out date of May 25. They are requesting that all families, parents, and non-participants remain in the bleachers as they expect over 800 athletes. What a huge event to be part of!

LDA Summer Programs
The LDA of CNY will once again be offering their summer programs. The programs offer students an opportunity to learn by doing fun activities and to meet new friends. The SAIL program offers classes in reading, writing and math as well as art and technology. The Learning without Borders is geared for students 14-16 years old focusing on building confidence, team skills, and community experiences. The flyers for both programs are attached here:  SAIL and Learning without Borders.

The end of the year will be here before we know it, so take some time to enjoy the sunshine and some of the upcoming events.

Take Care

Monday, March 27, 2017

Another Upcoming Event

Another  Upcoming Event
Well, there certainly is not a shortage of things going on in the Syracuse area! I received an email from a student at Nazareth College with information for an event being held in April for middle and high school students. She is part of an organization know as Best Buddies which  is a nationally known organization that promotes inclusion through building friendships with those who have an intellectual or developmental disability. 

A Friendship Ball is being held at the Sheraton Hotel this April 21. This is an all inclusive dance for those who do and do not have a disability; to dress up, meet people from all over the area, and make some lasting friendships. The middle schoolers will be separated from the high schoolers and college kids for more age appropriate peer engagement. No one is required to have a date or formally dress up, we want everyone to come feeling comfortable and to have a good time with their friends and getting to know more people.

If your student would like to attend this event you must register online, the deadline it register is April 14.  For a flyer with more information please click here.  If you'd like more information about Best Buddies, visit their website at http://bestbuddies.org


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Great Special Education Events

Last Friday morning I gave myself a little time to watch Good Morning America with a cup off coffee, a rare treat for me. I was intrigued to see that they were covering the Special Olympics World Games in Austria with none other than one of my favorite reporters, Robin Roberts! It topped off my week to see national coverage with a well known reporter at this event. The interviews she did with athletes and families were top notch. The coverage has continued through the weekend and early week. I've seen ice skating and snowshoe races; very exciting! To see more information on this amazing event click here.

Upcoming Resource Fair at West Genesee
Here are the details I promised in my last blog for the Resource Fair that will be held by the West Genesee Special Education PTSA. It will be held on Wednesday, March 29 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the West Genesee High School. There will be a variety of agencies represented and a wealth of information on various topics. For the flyer to this event click here.

Stay warm, and here's hoping spring will appear soon!  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

As We "spring" Towards Spring!

There is still a lot going on as we move through the year! Here are a few more things going on in and around our District as we "spring" towards Spring!

Our Bus Drivers and Attendants as Part of Our Team 
I recently had the opportunity to join Kara Lux as she did a presentation for our bus drivers and attendants. Kara is a speech/language pathologist at Stonehedge Elementary School who is doing her Administrative Internship this year. She created a presentation for our drivers to share strategies for helping some of our students with special transportation needs have a safer, and hopefully more enjoyable, ride on the bus. 

It was obvious from the conversations we had that so many of them care about our students and helping them be successful as they start and end the school day. The drivers were wonderful to share information with, they asked questions and shared their own experiences. Both Kara and I were glad to have had the time to  talk with them. They truly have a uniquely challenging job. We appreciate their willingness to work with us and their commitment to our students!

Transition Conference Day at OCC

On March 13 there will be a Transition Conference Day at OCC presented by SUPAC and supported by the CNY Special Education Task Force. This day will include presentations as well as the opportunity to talk with professionals regarding transition planning. This workshop is for families and students. Click here for more information.

Resource Fair
Our West Genesee Special Education PTSA will be hosting a resource fair  March 29. This event includes agencies and groups from around the area who help support students with with disabilities and their families. Stay tuned for details; I will send them out as soon as I have them!

Stay warm this weekend, sounds like it's going to be a cold one!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

So Many Events in Our Community

Well, CNY certainly doesn't rest just because its winter! I have been receiving emails with a number of things going on in our area that would be of interest to many of our families, so I want to share them with you. Please feel free to go to any of the websites associated with these groups to receive emails directly from them. There are some really great activities and workshops for students and families that happen right in our area.

Syracuse University Parent Assistance Center (SUPAC)                     
SUPAC will be holding two events in the upcoming days for families nearing high school and graduation. To view the SUPAC website use this link http://supac.org/

They will have a session called Understanding Diploma and Credential Options for Students with Disabilities. This workshop will explain the different diploma and credential options for students with disabilities. It will be held February 14 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Advocates Inc., 636 Old Liverpool Road, Liverpool. There is also a session in Oneida on February 28. Here is the link to register.

They are also holding an Information Session on Inclusive U. Inclusive U is a program that allows students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to attend and experience college. For more information click here. This information session will be February 15 from 2:30- 3:30 p.m. Register here.

Central New York Autism Society of America (CNY ASA)

CNY ASA puts out a monthly newsletter that has quite a bit of information. This month's addition is attached here. Please look it over as there are some great winter activities for students and families like snowmobiling and tubing, sensory friendly showings of movies (A Dog's Purpose is this weekend!) as well as information about the Autism Awareness Walk in April. Please feel free to look at their website and sign up to receive their newsletter with this link http://www.cnyasa.org/.

Hope you all are able to enjoy some of these events.

Take Care,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Winter is Still Here

It looks like winter is making another appearance with bits of snow, and I must admit the view out of our office is beautiful. Hopefully everyone is managing to stay healthy, the flu is here with a vengeance from what I am hearing!

There are a few things coming up that I wanted to share.

On February 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the WGHS library the West Genesee Special Education PTSA presents Dr Nicole DeRosa for a talk on Autism: Strategies for Families. Dr DeRosa, PsyD, BCBA-D, LBA is the Director of Behavior Disorders Clinic and Family Behaviors Analysis Program at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. She will be discussing effective strategies for increasing appropriate, functional skills and preventing challenging behavior in children with developmental disabilities and autism.

I have recently been made aware of an opportunity to join a research study for students with Autism here in Syracuse. Leanne Morphet, a parent in our District, has written a letter to Darlene and I explaining the research that is being done. Please click here to read the letter if you are interested in finding out more about this project.

Hope everyone stays healthy and warm!


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January is Speeding By

Well, January seems to speeding by - its hard to believe we are almost half way through the school year. Every year seems to go by even faster to me- some may say that means you're getting older; I refuse to believe that!

Just a few notes and reminders:

Students Getting Ready forKindergarten:
Kindergarten registration has begun early this year. For those of you with preschool students who will be coming to Kindergarten in September, you do need to register so we know you plan to have your child attend Kindergarten. If you are opting to have your child stay in preschool an extra year or will be sending them to a school other than our District elementary schools, please contact our office to let us know so we can help you plan accordingly. You can contact our CPSE chairperson, Christina Smith, at 315-487-4662 if you have questions.

Annual Reviews:
We have started our spring annual reviews. All students will be having their annual reviews between now and May. The IEPs being written at these meetings will be for the 2017-18 school year as we plan ahead. If you have questions about your child's program for next year, especially if they are moving to middle or high school, please give me a call. It's never too soon to ask questions.

Sensory Friendly Pack at the Dome:
I also want to share with you a wonderful offer for students with sensory needs. One of our Physical Therapists found that the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation and Life is Washable, Inc., are teaming up to bring Friendly Access Sensory Safety Kits™ to the Carrier Dome. 

These are items in an orange drawstring bag that will be available at the Carrier Dome. These will help student swith sensory needs enjoy events at the Dome beginning January 14.  Click here for the link to more information.

Have a good January
- Sue