Emergency School Closures: Resources for Our Community

Following are some important resources and sources of information for parents of students with disabilities in Cambridge.

Federation for Children with Special Needs

The Federation for Children With Special Needs has extensive resources for parents of students with disabilities – including distance learning resources and information about students’ legal rights while school buildings are closed. Some key guidance from this website is directly linked below.

View these resources here >


Federal Guidance

“How a district will provide FAPE will look different during this unprecedented period of national and state emergency. While ensuring the health and safety of students and educators is a priority, it may not be feasible during the current period of school closures to provide, for example, hands-on physical therapy, occupational therapy, or tactile sign language services. However, many specialized instructional opportunities and related services may be modified to be effectively provided by sending resources and supports

to students or online or telephonically. Such forms of specialized instruction may include, for instance, accessible reading materials, speech and language services through video conferencing, and videos with accurate captioning. Moreover, districts may continue to implement many of the accommodations on a student’s IEP, such as extensions of time for assignments, large print, and use of speech-to-text and other assistive technology.”

Read full guidance >

Department of Elementary & Secondary Education – Guidance to Special Education Leaders

  • Begin services as soon as you can; add more over time
  • IEP amendments are not required
  • Online or virtual remote learning in this emergency is considered an alternate mode of instructional delivery
  • Give written notice to parents of remote learning plans – what to expect and how services will be delivered
    • Send email or correspondence to documenting services, accommodations, and modes of delivery – could use N1
    • Let parents know who to contact with questions

Read service delivery guidance from April 3 >

First Annual Dyslexia Community Fair

Image of teen girl's hands holding a pen, captioned: Cambridge Public Schools Celebrates Dyslexia Awareness Mongth

First Annual Cambridge Dyslexia Community Fair
Saturday, October 19 from 1-5pm
Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
459 Broadway • Cambridge, MA 02138 

Join us for an afternoon of workshops, guest speakers, simulations, and parent panels. Barbara Wilson, author and co-founder of the Wilson Reading Program, will give a keynote address. Refreshments & childcare will be provided. 

Please RSVP Here >>

Presented by the SEPAC Dyslexia Working Group and the Office of Student Services. Questions? Contact the CPS Office of Student Services 

Cambridge Dyslexia Diaries: Part 1

Principal, Anthony I. Byers, PhD shares his personal story about how he struggled to learn how to read. As an elementary school principal, he offers encouragement and advice to students telling them that with the right instruction and support they will succeed. It is important to raise awareness about dyslexia and highlight the stories of role models so that students do not feel invisible or ashamed but rather understand that they need to learn differently.

Welcome Back!

Message from Cambridge SE-PAC Liaison Zuleka Queen-Postell

I am a lifetime resident of Cambridge and a Cambridge Public School Graduate. My position as SE-PAC Liaison (Special Education Parent Advisory Council Liaison) is to serve ALL families who have a student in Cambridge with an IEP or 504 plan by helping you to better understand your Special Education Rights, assisting with navigating the CPSD programming, and organizing opportunities for families to meet with the school committee and administration to add an important voice to a school district’s dialogue and decision making.

ALL parents of students with an IEP or 504 are members of the Cambridge SE-PAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council).  SE-PAC’s have tremendous potential to have a positive impact on special education programs in a school district. PACs can provide invaluable activities for parents, and as mentioned above add an important voice to a school district’s dialogue and decision making.

SE-PAC meeting are generally held the third Thursday of each month, with this year’s schedule as follows:

  • September 20, 2018
  • October 18, 2018
  • November 15, 2018
  • December 13, 2018
  • January 17, 2019
  • February 21, 2019
  • March 14, 2019
  • April 18, 2019
  • May 16, 2019
  • June 13, 2019

The SE-PAC board members meet monthly with Dr. Alexis Morgan, our new Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and have meetings throughout the year with members of School Committee.

At this time we would like to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year, and invite you to become an active member of the SE-PAC. We will be holding elections for this year’s officers at our monthly meeting on Oct. 18. We would love to have you run of office, please see our ballot HERE.

New Website: Educational Placement Options

FCSN logoThe Federation for Children with Special Needs has launched a new website that aims to support families of students whose needs are unable to be met within their school district. According to FCSN, this website is designed to benefit:

  • Families of children receiving special education services (i.e., on an IEP or 504 Plan) but who do not feel that their child’s needs are being met;
  • Parents of have questions about alternative options to their child’s current placement;
  • Parents of children with complex needs who may require an alternative school program or private day school;
  • Parents considering or already coping with residential placement for their child of any age (including adult children), and would like emotional support for the unique stressors of this experience;
  • Professionals working with children with complex challenges wishing to better understand the perspective and needs of families considering and experiencing private placement.

Read more at https://fcsn.org/sepo/

Resous nan kreyòl ayisyen (Resources in Haitian Creole)

FCSN logoYou can find videos, slideshows, and audio presentations in Haitian Creole, providing important information about special education. Go to fcsn.org/outreach/haitiancreole to access:

  • Special Education Audio files / Edikasyon Espesyal Atelye Dosye Son
    • Dwa Debaz nan Edikasyon Espesyal
    • Konprann Pwosesis Planifikasyon Tranzisyon
  • YouTube Webinars / Webinars sou YouTube
  • Slideshare Presentations / Prezantasyon sou Slideshare

Educar, Informar y Empoderar a las Familias (Educate, Inform & Empower Families)

FCSN logoLa Federación para Niños con Necesidades Especiales se creó en Massachusetts 1974 como un pequeño grupo de padres de familia con un interés en común, organizar una mejor asistencia para sus hijos con necesidades especiales.

Un nuevo sitio web está disponible para proporcionar información útil en español. Los videos, hojas informativas y más están disponibles en http://fcsn.org/spanish.

 

Meet with CPS & OSS Leadership

Please Join us…

End of Year Roundtable
with Superintendent of Schools Kenny Salim
and the Office of Student Services Cabinet

Thursday May 17th at 6PM
Cambridge Citywide Senior Center – 806 Mass Ave
Childcare and Dinner provided

Come hear what CPS has accomplished this year and what their plans are for next year! This is also an opportunity to share your experiences of your 2017-2018 school year. Please RSVP HERE.

If you have questions or require childcare, please contact Zuleka Queen-Postell at ZQueen-Postell@cpsd.us or (617) 593-4402.

 

DESE Needs Our Help!

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) wants your feedback for the Massachusetts IEP Improvement Project. This feedback is needed to make advancements with this initiative.

District administrators and other staff have provided their feedback, and DESE is following up with a second survey specific to families, students with IEPs, and other interested parties. They need our assistance sharing and completing this survey, which is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. This survey is open now through May 18th.

You can assist by completing the survey HERE

Updated information about the status of the Massachusetts IEP Improvement Project will continue to be posted on their website. (http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/ImproveIEP/)

Input from family members and students with disabilities is essential in order to strengthen the direction of the state’s new IEP. Feedback from stakeholders in your community is critical in advancing the Massachusetts IEP Improvement Project, and impacting outcomes for students with disabilities. Your your support and participation in this survey is sincerely appreciated.

 

“Deej” A documentary on Inclusion

Inclusion shouldn’t be a lottery.

View Trailer>>
Reserve Tickets>>

Description:

Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, society’s obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

  • Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018
  • Time: 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM EDT
  • Location: AppleCinemas – 168 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge
  • Cost: FREE