OSS Newsletter: January 2017
Published on Jan 17, 2017 10:32

OSS Newsletter header
  JANUARY 2017

Happy New Year,

I am so excited about the possibilities for 2017. I am also pleased with the growth that we are seeing in our students. I have had the pleasure of speaking with teachers and parents about their work and experience which has been very helpful to the work that we do everyday.

Read more from Dr. Victoria Greer >>

State and Federal Updates
Hear all about: the special education professional development survey; guidance on rights of students with disabilities; and resources to help students transition out of juvenile justice settings. Learn more >> 

New Staff Highlight!

Kristin Knowlton, Lead Teacher for High School, Upper Schools, and Out-of-District

Kristin has been a special educator at Cambridge Rindge and Latin for the past ten years. She has a wealth of experience in both general education and special education settings. She provides professional development to peers and is a new teacher mentor. Kristin employs a growth mindset in her work with students and staff and offers passion and creativity to the Office of Student Services team. In her new role, she will support special education staff and teams of other teachers to best meet the needs of students with disabilities in the high school and upper schools. You can contact Kristin at via email at [email protected]. Her office is location at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School on 459 Broadway, Cambridge.

Elizabeth Rollins, Early Childhood Lead Teacher
Elizabeth Rollins is a our new Early Childhood Lead Teacher overseeing the Special Start Program. Liz joins our team bringing extensive experience in administration, social work, behavior analysis and professional development. Her background as a licensed social worker and BCBA brings a unique skill set that will greatly support our preschoolers, families, and staff. We welcome Liz to Cambridge Public Schools! Liz can be contacted via email at [email protected]. Her office is located in the Longfellow Building on 359 Broadway, Cambridge.

Dispelling Myths About Inclusion
As an educator or parent, has there ever been a time that you have heard the term co-teaching and inclusion used synonymously? If so, this may be a problem; as co-teaching and inclusion are not one in the same. In fact to hear them used interchangeably may indicate some misconceptions about how to implement effective inclusive practices. There are several myths about inclusion that will be discussed in this article. I am hopeful that it will bring clarity to us all.
Hear more >>

Transition Month (February)!
IDEA 2004 defines transition services as a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that is designed to be within a result-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student with a disability to facilitate the student's movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult service, independent living, or community participation.

OSS has designated February as "Transition Month" for the Cambridge Public School District. Come find out about OSS transition services and the scope of adult services available to facilitate your child's transition from school to their post school educational, employment, and living future at the 2nd Annual OSS Transition Fair on February 16th at the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The Big Transitions:
2017 Meeting Schedule
The special education teams for preschool, 5th grade, and 8th grade will meet with the receiving school teams in kindergarten, 6th grade, and 9th grade to plan for student transitions.  The goal of these meetings is to gather as much information as possible about the academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs of students transferring from one school to the next.  The school psychologists (team chairpersons) oversee the process to make sure all necessary information is compiled in a timely manner.  The student IEPs and other pertinent information is shared at these transition meetings and is then used to assist teams in planning for each student’s upcoming school year and to assist the district in preparing for service delivery and any programmatic needs.

February 7: RAUC (9:00-12:00) CSUS (1:00-3:00)
February 10: VLUS (9:00-12:00) PAUS (1:00-3:00)
February 14: Amigos (9:00-10:30) Haggerty (11:00-12:30)
February 28: Peabody (9:00 -11:30) Tobin (12:15 - 1:45)
March 3: King (8:30-11:30) Fletcher Maynard Academy (12:15-2:00)
March 7: Morse (8:30 - 11:30) Kennedy Longfellow (12:15 - 1:45)
March 13: King Open (8:30-11:00) Graham & Parks (11:30-1:30)
March 15: Baldwin (9:00-11:30) Cambridgeport (12:15-1:45)
March 28: April 5th & 10th: Special Start

The Massachusetts FOCUS Academy (MFA) is Offering 10 Graduate Level Online or Hybrid Courses!
SPRING SEMESTER 2017: February 27, 2017- June 12, 2017. Application deadline: Friday, February 10, 2017

–Assessment of Students with Disabilities who are English Language Learners
–Assessment of students with Disabilities who are English Language Learners II – Case   
–Studies - (Course description will become available soon)
–Collaborative Co-teaching: Meeting the Needs of All Students
–Creating and Sustaining Positive School-Wide Learning Environments
–Differentiated Instruction                                         
–Partnering with Families of Middle and High School Students with Disabilities                                        
–Partnering with Families of Preschool and Elementary School Students with Disabilities                                     
–Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Variability 
–Universal Design for Learning: Addressing Learner Variability in Mathematics Instruction    
–Universal Design for Learning: Student Affect and Engagement

The courses are asynchronous, and content is delivered through assignments, weekly readings and an online discussion board. Some courses require face-to-face sessions.

Questions? Please email [email protected]. Thank you!

Educators should plan on spending 8-10 hours each week on coursework. Please note educators may only be enrolled in one course per semester.

Collaborative Problem Solving in the Structured Academics Program
The Structured Academics Program staff are learning to implement Collaborative Problem Solving as a program strategy to teach students skills that will ensure their success socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Collaborative Problem solving is an evidenced-based approach to understanding and helping children and adolescents with behavioral challenges. Teachers will learn to advance their skills in applying the model through a combination of didactic lectures, role playing, video tape examples, case presentations and break out groups with topics of specific interest to the teachers.

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Parent Support Groups
Time (Daytime Group):
12-1:30PM *1st and 3rd Friday of the Month*
Location: 1 Broadway St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Time (Evening Group): 6:30-8PM *2nd and 4th Friday of the Month*
Location: TBD
More information and registration >>

The dates for Extended School Year (ESY) for the summer of 2017 are as follow: ESY Dates for 11 Month ASD and Special Start Classrooms June 28–July 31, 2017 

The dates for the Comprehensive Program and Services for the summer of 2017 are as follow: June 28–August 3, 2017

June 27, 2017 has been designated as teacher classroom "set-up" day. 

Please be aware that there will be no services on July 3 and July 4, 2017 in recognition of the July 4th holiday. 

The Office of Student Services is able to sponsor five Orton-Gillingham Level 1: Associate level practicum this Winter through the Professional Learning Institute. The Orton-Gillingham Associate Level practicum provides teachers with the opportunity to apply the theory of O-G instruction to working with a student at their own school site. The practicum offers support and instruction as the participant designs and teaches 100 lessons under the supervision of a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham. This practicum experience requires a minimum commitment of 8 consecutive months, during which the teacher will work 1:1 with a dyslexic student and receive 10 formal observations from the Fellow. The participant also will attend five three-hour evening seminars at our center in Needham during the school year and complete the required assigned readings. This additional training time will complete the 60 hours of required coursework. When the practicum hours, seminars, and required readings are completed, participants will have met the requirements of the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators for certification at the Associate Level of membership. The instructors are Fellows of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. (Professional Training Institute, 2017) The OSS goal is to have remaining 13 staff who were Level 1 trained in Fall, 2016 be offered the practicum in the 2017-2018 school year.

March 20, 2017 (1 hr)
June 12, 2017 (1 hr) Collaborative Sessions:
February, 13, 2017 (2 hrs)
May 1, 2017 (2 hrs)



Cambridge Public Schools
159 Thorndike Street
Cambridge, MA 02139


Dr. Victoria Greer
Assistant Superintendent

Jean Spera

Karyn Grace

Shelagh Kelly-Walker

Desiree Phillips



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