I cannot believe that a full month of school has already gone by. The first few days before students arrived were busy as always but the entire Student Services' team was able to meet together briefly on the first day (Special Education, Guidance, Nursing and ELL). It was a great opportunity to have time together and to set the tone for a collaborative year in the making!
I have really enjoyed getting into the schools and feeling the energy of a new school year. I have had the opportunity to attend some staff meetings and work more closely with so many of the great staff members in the Student Services' Department as well as see services in action within the schools. I have been working on my Entry Plan and hosting conversations with parents and staff members in my office. I will continue these conversations for the next two months and then code themes from the answers and draft a report that will help to drive goals moving forward for the Department.
The department of Student Services has hired a new BCBA for the district. Catherine Casey started October 1 and will be working primarily with Wheelock, Blake and the High School. She comes to us with a myriad of experiences and is excited to work closely with Katie Aries, the BCBA at Memorial and Dale, to streamline support for students and staff across the district.
I enjoyed meeting a number of families during the Special Education Meet and Greets prior to the school year. At each building, we had reference sheets for Student Services' specific contact information. These sheets have also been added to the District Student Services' page as well (www.medfield.net/district-offices/student-services).
SEPAC held its first meeting of the year on September 18 and the Special Education Leadership team (Coordinators, Team Chairs, Out of District Coordinators and Director) enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many parents/guardians. It was an open question and answer session and a chance for me to hear a great deal about what is currently happening in Medfield as well as discuss my background and formal Entry Plan (see above).
Please reach out with any questions,
Welcome to the 2018-19 school year in the Medfield Public Schools. I am excited to be joining the district as the new Director of Student Services. It has been a busy summer talking with parents, staff and administrators as I learn more about this great district while completing all the other necessary elements to assure we are ready for school to open.
As many of you may know, we have two secretaries in the Department of Student Services- Kim Mitchell and Andrea Moores. In an attempt to streamline questions and concerns and also have it easier for all to know who to turn to, we have tried to align some of the work. Kim will now handle all in district IEP paperwork and Andrea will be the point person for out of district IEP paperwork and transportation. Hopefully, this will provide a clear understanding for all when directing a question towards the department.
I mentioned in my opening email that Melissa Devine took a new position with the Brookline Public Schools. Melissa's role was fairly new so we evaluated its impact for the district. Given our current needs, we felt it was important to try to increase student support by hiring a second full time BCBA for the district instead of replacing the duel coordinator/BCBA position. The current coordinators Nancy Giammarco (K-5 coordinator) and Meg Garvey (6-12 coordinator) will return to working with the ACCESS programs at their grade levels to assure streamlined programming for all. Meg Nelson and Missy Bilsborough will return to being the points of contact for the preschool programming.
As you may have further read in my opening email, Gina Dalan stepped down as the Out of District Coordinator at the end of the school year. We posted the position in anticipation of hiring for this coming school year. However, given the rushed timeline, we did not feel confident that an efficient process could be carried out to assure the proper candidate was found. Therefore, Gina Dalan and Meredith Becker, who has been working part time as Out of District Coordinator for the past year, have agreed to stay on for the 2018-19 school year. In this way, we can repost the position and assure a thorough process in finding the appropriate next candidate.
I have had the great pleasure of meeting and beginning to work closely with the SEPAC board this summer. I encourage all of you that are not aware of their work to check out their website and reach out with questions, concerns or thoughts.
I will update this blog at least monthly and look forward to working with all of you.