Special Education Newsletter

March 2022 Newsletter

District update:

The Special Education Department is looking forward to our continued collaboration between staff and parents. We are committed to continuous improvement in our programming, processes, and our communication.                  

We recognize the need to expand opportunities for feedback and are adding these additional ways to participate: 

  • An open session for any parent/guardian who wishes to participate will be held on Thursday, March 31, 2022 from 6:30-8:00 PM.  Sam McMasters will provide a brief overview of our Special Education Department and then participants will break into smaller groups to discuss strengths, challenges, and potential focus areas for the district.  We ask that you please Register Here to allow us to have enough facilitators available.                     
  • On Friday, March 11, a brief 5-6 question google form will be sent to all families of students receiving special education and related services. We encourage you to provide feedback on areas of change as well as possible solutions.  
  • As always, if you have specific questions or concerns related to your child’s individual needs, please reach out to the Intervention Specialist who is the case manager and the building administrator.                              

We are pleased to have the opportunity for Michelle Jones, BCBA, to provide professional development for all district special education aides on Building Independence for Students during the afternoon on March 11. This will be recorded for future reference for our district.

Michelle Jones (BCBA), Cathy Rodeheffer (Special Education Coordinator), Rachael Holland (Parent Mentor),and Melissa Klosterman-Lando (Director of Employee Relations and Human Resources) will be presenting to Montrose staff in early March on PBIS- use of restraint, seclusion, and redefining how we set up welcoming spaces in classrooms and buildings. The emphasis is on creating safe spaces where students are able to have sensory needs met, reinforce self-regulation, and build a sense of community to support individual needs.

We currently have openings for peer models at our Preschool held at Montrose Elementary. Please see the attached flyer for more information.                         

This summer, we will hold Extended School Year (ESY) sessions over the below dates and times. Whether or not a student qualifies for ESY is an IEP team decision. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s Intervention Specialist. Please watch for more details to come.


ESY 2022 Dates:             

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8:30-11:00 
June 14, 15, 16
June 21, 22, 23
June 28, 29, 30
July 12, 13, 14
July 19, 20, 21            

Special Education PTO:                

With only one quarter left in the school year, we have a lot to share!                    

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, March 8th at 6:30 pm via Zoom (https://bexleyschools.zoom.us/j/87625158913). We are excited to welcome Jay Scott (Bexley High School), Brooke Shouse (Montrose Elementary), Stephanie Langley (Cassingham Elementary), and Colette Young (Cassingham Elementary), to discuss the very important topic of Transitions. As parents, that year to year transition, especially if it involves a new building and new team members, can be scary. We will hear from Bexley City School team members on what they are doing to ease that transition and how families can support their students and the staff to make the experience as smooth and productive as possible.            

THE BOOKS ARE IN! We are SO excited to announce that over 50 books purchased through the SEPTO Book Drive will be distributed to libraries across the district that feature characters with different abilities. As we push heavily toward inclusion in all spaces for all people and recognize the importance of representation, we hope these books will do just that. A special THANK YOU to all who donated and offered recommendations. We know these books will be loved by our amazing students and staff for years to come.              

We love to show our school teams just how much we appreciate them! Check out the Staff Appreciation Sign-Up Genius to see how you can help (SEPTO Appreciation Signup Genius ). Have any new ideas? Send them our way. We are always looking for exciting new ways to show staff our support.                

On March 19th the SEPTO will host a Pop-Up T-Shirt Sale! Support your Special Education PTO with the purchase of a “BExley is KIND” t-shirt. The cost is $16 for any size. They make great gifts too! Stay tuned for details!              

April’s meeting topic will focus on Mental Health options for students on IEPs within the Bexley schools. We will be joined by Joanne Mannarelli (BCS Mental Health Specialist), Nationwide Children's Hospital School Based Behavioral Health Counselors, and BCS School Counselors on April 5th at 6:30 https://bexleyschools.zoom.us/j/87625158913                 

Mark your calendars! Tuesday, May 10th from 6:00-8:00 pm, for a SEPTO Picnic at The Memorial Shelter at Jeffrey Mansion. Join us for good food and good times and bring a dish to pass using the Signup genius for the picnic. These gatherings are a great opportunity to meet other families and build community. A Sign-Up Genius will be distributed for those who would like to contribute. We hope you will join us!              

Miss a meeting? No problem! All the awesome information shared by our guests is available online at the Bexley Special Education Google Site! Past Topics include Evaluations; IEP Section 1- Future Planning and Profile, Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), Sensory Processing in the School Setting, and Postsecondary Transition- Section 5 of the IEP.                                        

Transition Corner:          

Libby Costins, Transition Coordinator for the BCS, shares links and resources.         

Summer programs:          

  • State Support Team - Summer Camps: This attached document lists many camps in the areas for individuals with disabilities of a wide range of ages and abilities.                             
  • "Test Drive Your Future" Middle School Summer Camp, June 2nd and 3rd.   This is being offered to current 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Eastland-Fairfield Career Center.  Registration will begin Feb. 14th.  Seats are limited. *These dates are set by the Career Center and overlap our last two days of school. Any students who choose to attend will be excused from school those days. We have asked that they reconsider dates for future years.*
  • Job opportunities: If your student is interested in looking into paid employment, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) has summer work options. These are limited and students have started to sign up. If your student already has services with OOD, please reach out to Libby Costin or your intervention specialist to request summer job services. 
For more information or to sign up for services, please email Libby at [email protected].
Future planning additional webinars: https://www.rrpg-law.com/programs                    

Mental Health Resources:                     

Joanne Mannarelli, Mental Health Specialist, provides links:
  • Kids to Kids: Explaining ADHD- When children are diagnosed with ADHD, they often don’t have the tools to explain it to their friends and classmates.  Licensed clinical social worker and ADHD expert Ryan Wexelblatt shared advice on how to help your children talk to their peers about ADHD.                            
  • 4 ways parents can reframe a tween or teen's social setbacks- It's hard for tweens and teens to navigate the choppy waters of middle school. But there are ways you can help them reframe situations in a more positive light and offer much-needed emotional support.  Part of CNN’s Wellness five-part series on adolescence, August 4, 2021.  
  • Teaching Kids Conflict Resolution- The National Association of Social Workers gives strategies for adults to teach kids that conflict is normal and how to handle it effectively.          

Disability in the Media/ Articles:            

Trainings and Resources:            

  • Don't be scared to talk about disabilities. Here's what to know and what to say- "Language is one of the most important signals that we have to demonstrate our acceptance or rejection of a person's identity," says Ladau.  NPR’s latest Life Kit interviews disability rights activist and writer Emily Ladau, who discusses how (and how not) to talk about disability and how it is a relevant conversation for all people.  17 minute listen or printed article,  February 22, 2022.  
  • Communicating with your child's school through letter writing- Disability Rights Ohio discusses the importance of letter writing, documentation of requests.  They provide samples of letters for various topics, concerns, and areas of requests from parents.   
  • Q: “504 Plan vs. IEP: What’s the Gateway to College Accommodations?”-  ADDitude Magazine explores how students with disabilities can advocate for accommodations in college.  
  • Equity Gaps for Students with Disabilities- a research study from University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education uses an intersectional framework to explore equity, disability, and education.  
  • Myths and Misconceptions in the Educational Identification of Autism- This document was created to address the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the educational identification of autism and is intended for district evaluation teams. Some of the information may also be helpful to families, community clinicians, and other partners.  Created by ODE in collaboration with OCALI.
  • Surrogate Parent Training- A new and improved surrogate parent training is available. All current and new surrogate parents must take this training. A surrogate parent represents a student with disabilities in all matters relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement and provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child. The superintendent of a student’s district of residence or a court appoints surrogate parents in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and the Operating Standards for Students with Disabilities. The training is available on the Ohio Surrogate Parent website. Please contact Karen Johnson and Chrissy Cline with questions.
  • Who Are School Psychologist?  - OSU Senior Olivia Spradlin shadowed our district school psychologists as part of her spring career exploration.  She created a webpage that explores the profession in greater detail and might be of interest to parents who would like to know more about the field.