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Special Education at ISD

Letter from Mr. Matejek 2021-2022

 

Dear Parents, 

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!  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:  Mrs. Fernandez and Mrs. Babyak, our special education teachers, Ms. McElroy, our speech and language pathologist, Mr. Castiglia, our school psychologist, Ms. Cobb, our occupational therapist and Mr. Iway, our physical therapist.  We are also very fortunate to have our professional assistants:  Ms. Thron, Mrs. Lamanna, Ms. Restrepo-Flynn and Mr. Santoro.  We also have a social worker, Mrs. Northrop, available to support all students at ISD.

From left to right - Top Row:  Mrs. Northrop (Social Worker), Mrs. Fernandez (Special Education Teacher), Mr. Santoro (Professional Assistant), Ms. Thron (Professional Assistant), Mrs. Lamanna (Professional Assistant), Ms. McElroy (Speech & Language Pathologist)

From left to right - Bottom Row:  Mr. Castiglia (School Psychologist), Ms. Restrepo-Flynn (Professional Assistant), Mr. Matejek (Assistant Principal), Mrs. Babyak (Special Education Teacher)

 

Subcommittees of the PTA Council: Special Education Subcommittee (SES) & Twice Exceptional Learners (2E)

SES is a subcommittee of the PTA Council that focuses on the needs, issues and concerns of the families of students with disabilities.  Another subcommittee of the PTA Council is Twice Exceptional Learners (2E), which focuses on the needs of students who are both advanced or "gifted" and have a learning difference / disability.  Below are the District and ISD representatives for both the SES and the 2E subcommittees:

For the 2021-2022 school year, the District PTA SES subcommittee can be reached at ses@greenwichptac.org.  The co-chairs are:

  • Audra O'Donovan
  • Kathy Brady
  • Andi Cosby  

For the 2021-2022 school year, the District PTA 2E subcommittee can be reached at 2e@greenwichptac.org.  The co-chairs are:

  • Katie Yu  
  • Mabel Arteaga Balestra  

Your ISD Representatives this school year for SES & 2E can be reached at spedsupport@isdpta.org.  They are:

  • Andi Cosby
  • Ana Laborde
  • Bey-Shan Liu 

IEP (Individualized Education Program) & 504 Annual Review Meetings

PPT (Planning and Placement Team) and 504 meetings will be held on Thursdays this school year.  In the weeks leading up to your child’s annual review, you will be contacted to set up a date and time for the meeting.  PPT and 504 meetings will occur remotely this school year via Google Meets.  We are looking forward to interacting with you within these meetings.  Click on the image below for your procedural safeguards, which are also posted to the Greenwich Public Schools website.    

 

General Communication

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 promote communication strategies that are effective, but result in minimal impact on teachers’ instructional time with students.  We ask that you use the following communication strategies with your child’s teachers. 

 

Routine Information

  • 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 Your Child's IEP or 504

  • Questions about your child’s IEP or 504, 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 by telephone or within a Google Meets regarding questions or concerns about services, accommodations, etc.  In some cases, a PPT or 504 meeting will be scheduled to discuss any changes to your child’s program.  No decisions can or will be made outside of an PPT / 504 meeting unless the school has your written permission to do so.

Bus Concerns 

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 Mrs. Ricci or Mr. Matejek.  If you are still not satisfied with the solutions / response at the school level, you may contact the Special Education District Administrator for ISD, Karen Vitti.  The next level of problem resolution would be Dr. Stacey Heiligenthaler, the new interim Chief Officer of Special Education and Student Supports.  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 the administration. 

 

Parent Coffee

We will be hosting a Parent Coffee in the month of October.  This is an opportunity to meet the staff and provides time to bring up topics that you would like to learn more about over the course of the school year.  Please be on the lookout for this date and further details!  Depending on the weather conditions, this parent coffee will either be held outside or through a Google Meets. 

 

Everyone at The International School at Dundee is thrilled to be welcoming our students back to school!  We are looking forward to a wonderful 2021-2022 school year full of success and inspiration.

 

Sincerely,

Eugene Matejek

Assistant Principal

International School at Dundee