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MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR

Welcome! We have had many changes this year in SESS and it is so exciting to see all of the moving pieces fitting together.  We have new staff at all three levels. It is great seeing new faces, learning new strategies and sharing ideas.

Added for 2018-19 is a new program, College Transition Program. This is a project long in the making, as we first initiated this idea in 2012, but were unable to secure a college placement until May of 2018.

We continue to increase after school opportunities for our students and expand Best Buddies and Unified Sports.  This continues to be a SESS initiative.

Annual Review season will be upon us soon.  That is a time each year to reflect on growth and look at best options.  I hope you work closely will our staff to do this planning and help us to be partners in programing.

Finally, we are looking forward to the formation of a Parent Advisory Committee.  We are reviewing the Parent Survey results and comments. We will be announcing a first meeting date after the New Year!

Have a great Holiday Season!
Kathleen Johnston

WHO'S WHO AT SESS?


Kathleen Johnston

SESS Director,
kjohnston@bethlehemschools.org.

 

Dena Sanders

High School CSE Chair; BOCES, Private & Non-Public Schools CSE Chair; and High School 504 Chair 
dsanders@bethlehemschools.org.

 

Sarah Flannery

Middle School CSE Chair; Elementary and Middle School 504 Chair, sflannery@bethlehemschools.org.



Heather Quinn

Elementary Schools CSE Chair,
hquinn@bethlehemschools.org.

 

Laura Bronson

Preschool CPSE Chair,
lbronson@bethlehemschools.org.

PARENTS RIGHTS: PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS

At least once a year, the parents of a child with a disability must receive from the school district an explanation of all procedural safeguards.  These safeguards are designed to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability and at the same time give families and the district a few options on how to resolve a dispute should one arise.
 

What is the purpose of the safeguards:

The notice informs parents completely of their rights under IDEA.  The IDEA states that parents must be sent or handed these safeguards one time per year.  In addition you should be offered a copy if: it is an initial evaluation, first meeting of the year; a discipline procedure or at any time you request a copy.


What information is contained in the safeguards:

  • Confidentiality and the rights to inspect and review the educational records of your child;
  • The right of a parent to participate in a meeting related to the identification, evaluation and placement of their child;
  • The right to obtain an independent education evaluation (IEE) at district expense;
  • The right of the parents to receive “prior written notice” on matters relating to the identification, evaluation or placement of their child and the provision of FAPE (free and appropriate public education);
  • The rights of parents to disagree with decision made by the school district;
  • The opportunity to present and resolve complaints through procedures for due process complaint;

Availability:

Here at the Bethlehem Central School District, we have the safeguards on our website (so you may review at any time) and a copy of the procedural safeguards notice is also available at every school.

PARENT SURVEY RESULTS

In November, we sent out a parent survey to help us know your thoughts, comments and concerns regarding the special education services, supports and implementation of your child’s IEP.   We were pleased to have so many responses and really appreciate the comments that will help shape the future work we do.

We will be sending an update out, providing feedback on the survey results. Positive feedback was received in several areas, including a variety of communication methods, evaluation reports are clear and easily understandable, and parents feel included as member of their student’s team.

We appreciated the comments related to parent concerns and frustrations. These are areas of concern and the need for improvement will be the starting point for the new Parent Advisory Committee.

Please look for information on the first meeting which will be held after the holiday break.

PREPARING FOR YOUR CHILD'S ANNUAL REVIEW

At least once a year, you and the other members of the Committee on Special Education (CSE) will review your child’s IEP.   Together, you will make decisions about your child’s program for the upcoming year. This is called an annual review.

Coming prepared allows the Committee to focus their efforts towards arriving at consensus for recommendations that will support your child and help them develop independence. The goal of the CSE is for all to work together to support the child so that he/she can be successful in school.

Review past reports/IEPs and current information.  Consult with your child’s school team regarding student progress, strategies, and areas of continued need.

  • Write down questions you have and bring them to the meeting.
  • Identify what you believe will support your child’s growth and development.
  • Students who are 15 years of age or older are invited to their meetings.  This allows them to be involved in the meeting.

Things to consider for your meeting:

  • Make sure you are able to describe your child’s disability and how it affects his or her school performance.  
  • Has your child met the goals on the previous year’s IEP?
  • Why is a change being recommended?
  • What approaches have been tried within the general education program?
  • What were the results of these approaches?
  • What other supports are available?
  • How will this program provide for my child?
  • Are there other options that may be considered?
  • You have the right to an interpreter at the meeting. If you would like one, contact your child’s school at least three business days before the meeting.  
TIMELINE INFORMATION FOR PARENTS

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION TRANSITION NIGHTS
FOR PARENTS

 



 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Eagle Elementary School - Library





Wednesday, January 9, 2019
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Bethlehem Middle School - Library



Tuesday, January 8, 2019
DCT/Resource Room: 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
LEAD: 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Eagle Elementary School - Library
FLEXIBLE SEATING

In our classroom, flexible seating helps to increase motivation throughout the day. It also helps the students to work at their comfort level (standing, rocking, laying on bellies, etc.)  During Reading Workshop, students can choose the seating to best suit their comfort level and read at their fullest potential while staying focused.

In our classrooms, we have:

  • wobble stools
  • tall stools at tall table
  • balls inside of crates so students are
    able to bounce without rolling around
  • flat benches at low table
  • yoga mats
  • scoop rockers
  • stadium seats
  • memory foam mats

BC'S SCHOOL TO WORK PROGRAM

The LEAD School to Work program is for students at Bethlehem High School. Students begin this program in their junior year and continue participating until they leave or age out at 21.  Students go out into the Delmar community with a job coach to work at different job sites during part of the school day. This allows our students to have a hands-on work experience with support and gain valuable hard and soft employment skills.  Students are evaluated daily by the job coach and given immediate feedback. This helps to bridge the gap between school and work to generalize employment skills. The feedback from the job coaches aids the teachers in the LEAD program to develop lessons to improve student independence at work. Students are able to apply what they learn in their classes to a real life job setting and have it reinforced by the job coach.    

Soft employability skills that students are working on include appropriate work attire and hygiene, maintaining good attendance, workplace social skills, self-advocacy, problem-solving skills, taking initiative, time management skills, and working as a team member.  The hard skills are in the areas of retail, food service, maintenance, clerical, laundry, janitorial, and childcare. Our current job sites include the YMCA, McCarroll’s, Bombshell Uptown, Peter Harris, Top Form, Good Samaritan, Delmar Beverage, Bethlehem Town Library, St. Stephen’s Preschool, High School School Store, and BCSD Bus Garage.  Students are able to rotate jobs a few times a year which allows students the opportunity to try a variety of job sites.

Currently, we have two students involved in the Student Employee Training Program (ETP) through New York State.  These students have excelled in their job placements sites and were recommended for this program based on their work evaluations.  The students continue to work under the guidance of a job coach, but are expected to be more independent on the job sites. They are required to fill out a timesheet and receive a bi-weekly paycheck.  The students in this program will transition to Adult ETP upon aging out to work toward independent employment. 

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY AT BC

Did you know that the Chromebook your child uses at school has many accessibility features built in and extensions to support their learning? Tools include voice dictation, reading the text on screen aloud, and adjusting the font size, style or color.

You can access these features on your computer at home by logging into their student account and linking the account data. Then you will see all their school tools.

For example, when you are in google docs, you can go to “tools” on the toolbar and choose voice typing. When the microphone pops up, you can activate it and speak your words. They will become text on the screen.

MEET SCOUT, THE BCHS THERAPY DOG

Scout is a 6 year old certified Therapy Dog that visits BCHS each week. She stays in a special education classroom all day but welcomes visits from teachers, staff, and any student that needs a little extra attention. She has been visiting for over a year now and she has become quite popular with the students and staff. Providing therapy can be exhausting so Scout takes her fair share of naps during the day.

BEST BUDDIES

Best Buddies has hit record numbers this year with over 80 participating members. Back in September, students met and participated in getting to know you games and pumpkin painting at Kleinkie's Farm. During the month of October, our Buddies had a great time at Homecoming and scooting around during scooter games. In November our Buddies got together for board games and had a rocking good time at bowling.

This month they have already spent time at the Delmar Atria Assisted Living Community entertaining the residence with holiday tunes. Towards the end of the month our buddies will be spending time together celebrating the holidays with cookie decorating.

UNIFIED SPORTS

The Unified Bowling and Basketball teams had very successful seasons last spring. The purpose of unified sports is to break down barriers that exist in schools between students with and without disabilities. All teams are coed.

The Unified Bowling team finished in second place at the end of the season tournament in its first year in the league. The team consisted of 14 athletes in grades 9-12.

The Unified Basketball team completed the end of the season tournament in first place.  The team consisted of 13 players and two coaches. The team coaches are students from the school basketball teams.

This past fall, the Youth Activation Committee, a group of students that work with Unified Sports to promote other opportunities to bring students together, sponsored a two day kick ball tournament. The event was attended by four teams of 15 students.

THE COLLEGE TRANSITION PROGRAM

The 2018-2019 school year is the first year of the College Transition Program, a partnership between Bethlehem Central School District and The College of Saint Rose.

This program allows students to audit college classes, practice employment skills both on campus and in the Pine Hills neighborhood, participate in student events, receive tutoring from Education Majors, and socialize with same age peers. Students have enjoyed attending the Saint Rose volleyball games, ugly sweater parties, and life sized board games with new friends from Best Buddies.

One of the best parts of being on a college campus is the increased independence that students are able to have. Students transition to and from their classes and job sites independently. The CTP students get to make their own choices about how they would like to spend free time, what they would like to eat for lunch, and decide which events they would like to attend during the school day and for community training days.

The opportunities that they have at the College of Saint Rose are endless. The students have attended press conferences, made sand mandalas with a Buddhist Lama, and attended various presentations from professors on campus! When students are not in their college classes or at work, they are participating in functional academic lessons that help prepare them for life after school ends.

The program is seen as a classroom without borders; because students are able to practice something in the classroom, take a short walk or bus ride off campus, and then use that skill in the community!

MAINSTREAMING AT GLENMONT
 

Weekly activities:


Monday through Friday, students have lunch and recess with same grade peers. 5th grade goes to lunch, 4th grade will go to recess and then they switch.

PE is scheduled for the students at the same time as a 4th grade class. Most units are combined.

5th grade attends Art and Music with Mrs. Aupperle’s 5th grade class, while 4th grade attends Art and Music with Mrs. Riegel’s 4th grade class. The subject is switched every other day.

Academics:


All of the Glenmont 5th graders push into Mrs. Aupperle’s classroom for science on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The students were taught a unit on Crayfish and are currently studying a Freshwater Unit!

Special activities:


Students have combined with Mrs. Bowen’s 2nd grade class and Mrs. Gentile’s 5th grade class to form school buddies. Each of the students have a 2nd grade and 5th grade buddy. The students have special events together, especially around holidays.
CLASSROOM SNAPSHOT: PRIMARY SKILLS

This year, our primary skills opened a new classroom at Hamagrael. This classroom is a first and second grade classroom. The students are having fun and making great progress! Having a mixed classroom of both first and second graders allows us to have a wide focus on literacy and math skills. Students have the opportunity to work at their own pace, and also engage in their individual or group related services as determined in their IEP (such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.). They have opportunities built in throughout the day for mainstreaming, and spend time with their peers during lunch and recess. The classroom structure and schedule is designed similarly to the other first and second grade classrooms at Hamagrael. Students participate in morning meeting, work in small groups for the core subjects, and are able to receive individual support throughout the day.

Copyright © 2019 Bethlehem Central School District, All rights reserved.
Your student participates in programs through the district's SESS program.

Our mailing address is:
700 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, NY 12054

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