OSS Newsletter: April 2017
Published on Apr 7, 2017 09:40

OSS Newsletter header
  APRIL 2017

Dear Cambridge Community,

Happy spring! April is a busy month filled with lots of activities including April vacation week. We are excited to see that our students continue to learn and flourish.

Read more from Dr. Victoria Greer >>

Related Services
By: Margie Carlman, Related Services Lead
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) related service support, including speech & language, occupational therapy and physical therapy support is provided for school age children (3-21) whose disability impacts their ability to access the classroom. In Cambridge, therapists work in all of our schools. They provide in-class and pull-out services as outlined in the IEP. They work with children in varied groupings based on the student's needs. Therapists are also involved in screenings, and collaborate with classroom teachers to provide suggestions to support the respective areas of development. Learn more >>

April is Occupational Therapy (OT) Month!
By: Margie Carlman, Related Services Lead
Occupational Therapists focus on the development of fine motor and visual motor skills needed for school work (handwriting, cutting, reading, etc). This includes the strength and coordination needed to hold and manipulate objects effectively, as well as the development of eye-hand coordination, used in activities such as cutting accurately, pre-writing and printing skills, and visually tracking for reading. Additionally, OT’s support children with organizational and sensory regulation challenges, when challenges in these areas  impact school function.  

Some ideas to promote development of fine and visual motor skills...
––Resistive items such as playdough (make your own – see recipe below!), clay, putty, squeeze toys (squeezable balls, squirt guns, spray bottles with water inside, etc.), and Legos all build hand strength, as does popping plastic bubble paper!
––Drawing, painting, and other activities done on a vertical surface such as an easel or on the wall encourages a mature grasp. This position encourages the wrist to bend back slightly, and helps the child to use only the thumb and first two fingers to grasp the object being held. (The work should be at or above eye level.)
––Use tweezers, clothespins, tongs or strawberry hullers to pick up small items such as cheerios, beads, small pom poms or toothpicks. Encourage your child to use only the thumb and first two fingers to hold and squeeze the tool.
––Activities that encourage eye-hand coordination include target games with balls or beanbags, throwing and catching a ball with a partner, sewing cards, stencils, and activity books with dot-to-dots, mazes, and color-by-numbers. Cutting activities are also good. Have your child cut pictures from magazines and catalogs to make a collage. Cut a fringe around index cards or heavy construction paper. Cut coupons from the newspaper. 

Make Your Own Playdough!
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar food coloring

Mix everything together in saucepan.
Cook over low heat.
Keep stirring until it thickens & clumps.
Let cool enough to handle.
Knead and divide into 4 balls.  
Add food coloring and knead it into the balls until you get your desired color.
Play with it and store in an airtight container.

Tips to Help Students Prepare for MCAS
By: Kate Jacobs, Inclusive Instructional Specialist
As we head into the time of the year for MCAS Assessments, we want to support you with supporting your students. Below are a few strategies to support our students during this busy time. Hear more >>

science fest

Don't Miss the Cambridge Science Festival
April 14-23

By: Paula Feynman
There are many family friendly Science-tastic events happening all over the city. For full information please go to the Science Festival Website.

Here are some highlights that are completely FREE OF CHARGE:

The Science Carnival and Robot Zoo 
Saturday, April 15 | 12-4PM 
Cambridge Public Library and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 449 Broadway 
A family-friendly expo with more than 100 ways to explore, build, learn and — most importantly — have fun! Have you ever driven an underwater robot? You can at the Science Carnival and Robot Zoo! Play catch with a robot or play mind games with your friends. Launch rockets, taste a fresh batch of liquid nitrogen ice cream, hold a brain in your hands (really!), and chat with scientists.  Come early and explore everything!! FREE. Food trucks will be on site in addition to local restaurant options.

Curiosity Challenge Exhibition
April 14-23 | Mon-Thu 12-9PM, Fri 12-6PM, Sun 4-9PM
Cambridge Community TV, 438 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Each year the Cambridge Science Festival invites students to express their curiosity in a poem, drawing, essay or photograph and enter the Curiosity Challenge. Over the past several years 3500+ students have participated from Massachusetts and New England. Please visit CCTV to view a sample of the 2017 Curiosity Challenge entries and honorable mention student winners. Help us celebrate the inquisitiveness and imagination of our students. We will update extended hour information during the festival in April. FREE

Solar Lunch
April 14-23 | 12-1PM 
Museum of Science Front Plaza
Weather permitting: Observe the sun and possibly sunspots and solar flares through the Museum’s safe solar telescope. FREE

Walk Through Geologic Time
April 14 – 23, Self-guided tour
MIT, Intersection of Mass. Ave. and Memorial Drive, Cambridge
Earth’s history stretches back over 4.567 billion years. How are we supposed to grasp such a vast number? We’ve shrunken it down to a third of a mile along the Charles River, and invite you to join us on a walk through time to tour the many incredible events during Earth’s long and storied history: the formation of the oceans, the origin of life, the first animals, the rise and fall of dinosaurs and the appearance and evolution of our own species (to name just a few). With each inch representing a staggering 240,000 years, you’ll cover millions of years with every stride and feel the rush of deep time travel as you stroll through the eons to gain a new perspective on the immensity of geologic time. More info at: complex-life.org. FREE

summer services

OSS Summer Services & Programs 2017

Types of Needs Filled by the Program

summer services

11-Month Program
Students who need a longer school year and have a high level of need for predictability, structure, and familiar people and places

Extended Year Services
Students who need comprehensive services (academic tutoring, physical therapy, occupational therapy) during the summer months to combat learning loss and loss of skills

Structured Academics Program
Students who exhibit both internalizing and externalizing behavior that has an adverse impact on their ability to be regulated at school and at home

Extended Year Academic Tutoring
Students with an IEP with demonstrated learning loss over long breaks and the summer, who require individual or small-group sessions but do not require a comprehensive, specialized program.

Learning Disabilities Program
Students who are currently placed in the self-contained Learning Disabilities classroom from grades 3-5 are eligible for this specialized program. Special educators deliver one hour of instruction in Reading, Writing and Mathematics for each student.

Summer Services are Based on Student Needs
Individual Education Programs (IEPs) define the services a student needs to make effective progress at school. While some students' IEPs may include services beyond what is offered directly by OSS, our summer programs and services are designed to respond to students' most common summer programming needs. OSS also offers specially-designed supplement learning experiences for students who do not require summer services but would still benefit from a specialized program.


Parent Support Groups
Time (Daytime Group):
12-1:30PM *1st and 3rd Friday of the Month*
Location: 1 Broadway St, Cambridge 
Time (Evening Group): 6:30-8PM *2nd and 4th Friday of the Month*
Location: 85 Oxford St., Cambridge
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

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

June 12, 2017 (1 hr) Collaborative Sessions:
May 1, 2017 (2 hrs)


By: Christina Gavin, Inclusion Specialist
It has been said that those in the helping professions—teachers, psychologists, counselors, therapists, physicians—are often at risk for burnout. Teachers in particular have been known to work long hours while juggling district expectations and classroom responsibilities. A recent report indicated that teachers work on average 53 hours a week, and spend an additional 90 minutes beyond the school day on work-related duties: grading, lesson planning, making parent phone calls, providing after school help, and collaborating with peers. With all of the stacking demands and expectations, it is no wonder that many educators struggle to keep a work-life balance. Learn more >>


Cambridge Public Schools
159 Thorndike Street
Cambridge, MA 02139


Dr. Victoria Greer
Assistant Superintendent

Jean Spera

Karyn Grace

Shelagh Kelly-Walker

Desiree Phillips

Nerlande Mintor
Fiscal and Operations Manager



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