Special Education at ISD
2020-2021 Welcome Letter
I hope the start of the school year has been smooth and successful for you and your family. I have had the pleasure of interacting with many of you and welcoming back all of the students at ISD! It has been so nice to see everyone again! It is my great pleasure to be a member of ISD's special education team. I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some information that may be helpful to you this school year.
We have a talented and caring team of professionals which consist of our special education teachers: Mrs. Fernandez, Mrs. Babyak and Mrs. Keating. For this school year, Mrs. Keating will be working with ISD’s remote students. Also on our team is our speech and language pathologist, Ms. McElroy, and our school psychologist, Mr. Castiglia. In addition, we welcome Ms. Interlandi who will provide occupational therapy. We are also very fortunate to have Ms. Thron and Mrs. Lamanna as our professional assistants.
SES – Special Education Subcommittee of the District PTA
SES is a subcommittee of the PTA that focuses on the needs, issues and concerns of the families of students with disabilities. Central office will send out notices and reminders using the email address you provided when you registered. If this is not the best email to use, please call the school office and provide the staff with your preferred email for school/district communication.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the co-chairs of the District SES subcommittee of the PTA are:
ISD SES Representatives
This school year, ISD is fortunate to have three SES representatives to support us in keeping everybody informed. They are Ana Laborde, Bey-Shan Liu and Andi Cosby. I am very excited to be working with each of them.
IEP (Individualized Education Program) Annual Review Meetings
PPT (Planning and Placement Team) meetings will be held on Thursdays this school year. In the weeks leading up to your child’s annual review, Mrs. Machnicki, ISD’s special education clerk, will be contacting you to set up a date and time for the meeting. You will receive a reminder at least 10 days prior to the meeting. All PPT meetings will occur remotely this school year via Google Meets. Leading up to the meeting you will receive a Google Meets invite with a link to attend the meeting.
Open communication between families and school staff is critical to the success of all children and particularly crucial for students with disabilities. We continue to work with our parents to promote communication strategies that are effective, but result in minimal impact on teachers’ instructional time with students. We ask you to use the following communication strategies with your child’s teachers. Please remember that communication books and emails are considered educational records and may be shared with other school staff for legitimate educational reasons.
- The most effective way to communicate routine information with teachers (i.e., a sweater that was left in school, a note in a backpack) is by email. All such emails will be addressed typically within a school day. In some cases, additional time may be needed. In response to other types of communication (i.e., questions regarding your child’s program, etc.), the staff will offer to speak with you directly about your question. Email is NOT the best way to communicate serious questions or concerns about your child or your child’s program.
Questions about IEP’s / Services / Instruction
- Questions about your child’s IEP, including accommodations, services, etc., are best addressed directly with your child’s teacher and/or special education monitor. As a school district, we value personal connections and communication with students and families. For this reason, we encourage parents and teachers to communicate in person or by telephone regarding questions or concerns about IEP’s, services, instruction, etc. In some cases, an IEP meeting will be scheduled to discuss any changes to your child’s program - no decisions can or will be made about the IEP outside of an IEP/PPT meeting unless the school has your written permission to do so.
Any issues with the school bus should be reported to the district transportation office through the use of their on-line system. Go to the district website (www.greenwichschools.org) and under the “Quicklinks” tab on the top, right hand side of the home page, click on the heading, “Report Bus Issues.”
General Issues and Concerns
Please follow the process of “chain of command” when dealing with issues and concerns. Your first contact should be the general or special education teacher, depending on the nature of the concern. If you are unable to reach a resolution through your contact with the teacher, you should contact Mr. Matejek or Mrs. Ricci. If you are still not satisfied with the solutions/response at the school level, you may contact the Special Education Administrator for our cluster of schools, Karen Vitti. The next level of problem resolution would be Mary Forde, Chief PPS Officer. Please follow this hierarchy in attempting to resolve any concerns or issues you may have with your child’s program. This will allow the staff who are closest to the problem the opportunity to resolve it before involving building administrators and administrators outside the building.
Copies of the Procedural Safeguards in both English and Spanish can be found on the district’s website, www.greenwichschools.
As in past years, we will be hosting a Parent Coffee. This is an opportunity to meet the staff and other parents and provides time to bring up topics that you would like to learn more about over the course of the school year. Our first coffee will be held remotely in the month of October so be on the lookout for dates and details!
Everyone at The International School at Dundee is thrilled to be welcoming our students back to school! We are looking forward to a wonderful 2020-2021 school year full of success and inspiration.
International School at Dundee
More information Regarding SES Committee
The Greenwich PTA Council has established the following committees to help support our students with special needs. Each school in GPS has parent representatives for these committees who are designated by the individual school PTAs.
- Special Education Support (SES) advocates for the needs of students who have a disability/difference whether learning, physical, or comprehensive. The committee helps families become better acquainted with educational options for their children, and provides a network of support for parents/guardians. EDS shares information and resources about the special education process and services available in the Greenwich Public School system to help each child realize her/his fullest potential.
- Twice Exceptional Learners (2E) advocates for the needs of students who are both advanced or “gifted” and have a disability/difference (EDS/”special needs”). The Committee helps families become better acquainted with educational options, and provides a network of support for parents/guardians. The Committee shares information and resources to help each child realize her/his fullest potential.
Your 2020-2021 SES/2E (Twice Exceptional) Committee Representatives for ISD are:
- Bey-Shan Liu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Andi Cosby (email@example.com)
- Ana Laborde (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please feel free to reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns as they are there to offer parent-to-parent support and can bring your concerns and comments to the district-level committee for discussion.