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Question And Answer With The SEPAC 5-6-20

Dear Georgetown Community Members,

It was once again my pleasure to have time with you yesterday via zoom to update you on what is happening in the world of special education, and to answer your questions during this time of remote learning.  I am so grateful to our SEPAC for all that they have done during this time, truly going above and beyond to spread the good word and to keep people informed.  They are so appreciated!

Following is the powerpoint slides from yesterday’s presentation.  I miss you all, and wish you my best for peace, faith, hope, and health.

Navigating Special Education During COVID-19 (1)

Another Amazing Story To Put Things In Perspective

Child – “How old are you, Grandpa?”

Grandpa – “I’m 81, dear.”

Child – “So does that mean you were alive during the Coronavirus?”

Grandpa – “Yes, I was.”

Child – “Wow. That must have been horrible, Grandpa.  We were learning about that at school this week. They told us about how all the schools had closed.  And moms and dads couldn’t go to work so didn’t have as much money to do nice things. They said that you weren’t allowed to go and visit your friends and family and couldn’t go out anywhere.  They told us that the shops and stores ran out of lots of things so you didn’t have much bread, and flour, and toilet rolls. They said that summer holidays were cancelled. And they told us about all those thousands of people that got very sick and who died.  They explained how hard all the doctors and nurses and all essential workers worked, and that lots of them died, too.

That must have been so horrible, Grandpa!”

Grandpa – “Well, that is all correct.  And I know that because I read about it when I was older.  But to tell you the truth I remember it differently…

I remember playing in the garden for hours with mom and dad and having picnics outside and lots of BBQs.

 

I remember making things and fishing with my Dad and baking with my Mom.

 

I remember making forts and learning how to do hand stands and back flips.

 

I remember having quality time with my family.

 

I remember Mom’s favorite words becoming “Hey, I’ve got an idea…” rather than “Maybe later or tomorrow, I’m a bit busy”.

 

I remember making our own bread and pastry. I remember having movie night three or four times a week instead of just one.

It was a horrible time for lots of people you are right.  But I remember it differently.”

Remember how our children will remember these times.  Be in control of the memories they are creating right now, so that through all the awful headlines and emotional stories for so many that they will come to read in future years, they can remember the happy times.

 

– Author unknown

The Way It Is

Another Week Of Life With Corona….

Dear Georgetown Community,

 

Let me just start by saying how crazy all of this is. I miss you all, and hope to see you in person soon. I am afraid our world will never be the same, even after the fear of COVID-19 subsides. Will we ever shake hands or hug again? I, for one, plan to. I will not let this become the new normal.

I want to ensure that I have consistent communication with my Georgetown family. If you ever feel that you need more information about how we are educating your students, and providing services, please reach out to me. I am always happy to engage in conversation.

As we continue to navigate the challenges facing us across all aspects of our world today, please know that I am thinking of you and your children, and how I can best have my staff deliver necessary services. Obviously, individualized instruction and services are going to look different than they would in the traditional education setting. I understand that parents and guardians have become educators during these times, and am just amazed at how well you are all adapting. As if you didn’t already have enough on your plate! Special educators should also be providing you with direction and tips to move your child forward during the closure. Accommodations and assistive technology can be used during daily activities at home.

Learning opportunities for your children will include supports, resources, instruction, and services. Special educators will continue to reach out to your children and provide services via Zoom, Google Classroom, and Schoology. Teletherapy will also be provided. But school staff should also be providing some low – tech options as well, such as phone calls and emails. Written assignments, projects, and instructional packets should be provided to help keep things as normal as possible for your kids. On a weekly basis, you will be receiving a Remote Learning & Service Plan for your children, outlining the schedule, work, and services for the upcoming week.

With your explicit permission, the district will continue to hold special education meetings via the Zoom platform. If your child has an upcoming annual review, you should expect communication from either Kris Oldoni or Katelin Kennedy.

Most importantly, I urge you to continue to take precautions in keeping you and your family safe. Nothing is more important that continued good health. Always reach out to me with questions, and know that you are in my thoughts.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

 

Jack

Powerpoint From April 8th Presentation

SEPAC & Parent Update 4-8-20

Finally Some Good News!

Each year, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) must make annual determinations regarding Local Education Agencies’ (LEA) specific needs for technical assistance or intervention in the area of special education.  I am please to inform you all that Georgetown Public Schools has received the highest ranking category of Meets Requirements.  A huge thank you to my entire staff for all that they do each and every day to provide for our students, and earn us recognition with DESE.  Please read the following letter for further information.

01050000 Georgetown Meets Requirements

 

2019-2020 special-edu-determinations_memo (003)

 

PLEASE JOIN US! Live presentation about the current status of special education at Georgetown Public Schools.

Dear Georgetown Community,

Please join us on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, for a live presentation about the current status of special education at Georgetown Public Schools.  This will be done using the Zoom platform.  The web address to attend will be posted on the Georgetown SEPAC website.  I will have a short presentation with the opportunity to ask any and all of the burning questions you have.  My goal is to provide you with as much guidance and support through this difficult time, and ensure that your children continue with the successes they have had in our schools.

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me via email at any time.  tianoj@georgetown.k12.ma.us

I wish for the entire Georgetown community and all of your loved ones to be safe and healthy.  You and your children are in my thoughts, and I miss you!

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Jack

Just To Bring Us All Back To Earth….

Educational Resources For Students And Families

Supplemental Educational Resources 3.19.20

Updated Information For Families

Dear Georgetown Community Members,

I understand that the recent public health mandated district closures have been extremely challenging for all families, and particularly complex for families of students with disabilities. I appreciate your collaboration and support as we all navigate this difficult time as a school community. Consistent with federal and state guidelines, while our school district is closed during this ongoing public health emergency, we are not providing any educational services, including special education services, to any students during this period of school closure. Georgetown Public Schools has carefully weighed the significant safety and equity concerns and has decided that all services including home services, evaluations, and tutoring must remain closed.

I appreciate everyone understanding that we are in unprecedented times, and everyone is doing the best they can under the circumstances to ensure students have equal access to enrichment resources. Georgetown Public Schools is providing optional enrichment activities for all students that can be found on the district website, in additon to resources provided individually by teachers.  I appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process. The resources sent home to students are for enrichment only and not intended to replicate learning or modifications in a school day. They are not required, and will not be counted or graded by the district. Teachers are doing their best to help families keep students engaged in practice of previously learned skills, and providing materials to make them as accessible as possible under the circumstances.   The combination of modified materials and alternative enrichment resources that special educators have been adding ensure that all students have equal access to enrichment activities during this difficult time.  Special education staff are happy to connect with you on ideas about how to make the activities more accessible for your individual child. Teachers and providers are also available for check-ins and may answer questions about the materials and resources provided, but will not be providing any direction instruction.

At present, I am not holding IEP meetings during the school closure.  However, I have asked Kris Oldoni and Katelin Kennedy to start reaching out to families to determine comfort levels with virtual meetings. I will be reassessing this possibility as we move through the school closure period.  Currently we do not have the necessary technology, procedures, and protocols in place to do this equitably and maintain our compliance and confidentiality requirements. We will reach out to reschedule your meeting when we have a better sense of our return date.

All My Best To My Georgetown Family,

Jack