OSS Newsletter: October/November 2017
Published on Oct 24, 2017 10:34

OSS Newsletter header
fall leaves on path

Dear Cambridge Community,

We are off to a wonderful start of the 2017-2018 school year! I was so impressed by the elevated level of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement in the air beginning on August 30th and carrying through to the present. It is my hope that we can move forward this year by building on this engagement and momentum and channeling it into our daily work with students. As you know, the Office of Student Services is charged with ensuring that students receive a high quality education in the least restrictive environment. The Office of Student Services is focusing on providing students with rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning experiences recognizing that this one of the key components of effective inclusive practices.

For this school year, we look forward to continuing our work on realizing our vision and accomplishing the goals of the Office of Student Services Strategic Plan and, further, to collaborating with our general education colleagues around the implementation of the Cambridge Public Schools District Plan Framework. Additionally, and most importantly, the Office of Student Services remains committed to partnering with families and students to ensure engagement and opportunities for input and voice. We also want to acknowledge our continuing work with our many community partners who support our work with students.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Student Services Coordinators, Karyn Grace, Desiree Phillips, Shelagh Walker, and/or me with any questions or concerns.


Jean Spera
Interim Assistant Superintendent
Office of Student Services

New Interactive Parent Guide to the Next-Generation MCAS
The Department published has an interactive next generation MCAS guide that provides helpful tips for parents on:
–how test results used to support teaching and learning
–the ways the next generation MCAS test better measures the critical skills students need for success in the 21st century.

Website Redesign
This summer the Department unveiled an updated website that allows families, educators and school administrators to more easily find information about schools, instruction and education policy. The redesigned website has the same address as the old version and was developed in-house with help from the Executive Office of Education. The site includes larger print, an updated search function, Google translation, and the ability to adapt to mobile devices. The new design does not extend to the entire site, but makes the information available easier to access. The Department hopes to spread the redesign to additional areas of the sire in the future.

To give feedback on the design and functionality of the new website, email technical concerns to [email protected] and general comments to Jass Stewart ([email protected]).

Leading the Nation
Because of students’ hard work, educators’ dedication, and the consistent, bipartisan support of policymakers and community members, Massachusetts schools are the best in the country and competitive internationally. During the 2017-18 school year, students, parents, and teachers will gather to celebrate their accomplishments and prepare for continued success.

To learn more, visit www.doe.mass.edu/leadingthenation, which has a link to sign up for updates and will include more details.

pile of pumpkins

Fall Festivities and Disabilities
Fall activities in New England are often romanticized and imagined to be picturesque. We all know that when children are involved, particularly children with disabilities, activities like apple picking, pumpkin carving, or trick-or-treating can be challenging. As you plan to take advantage of the last warm and crisp days, there are some ways to support your child during your adventures. Hear more >>                                     

7 Ways to Teach Your High-Schooler Organization Skills
It’s important that teens understand how to organize and prioritize responsibilities. Here are ways you can help him improve these skills at home >> 

How to Develop Task Initiation in Children
Initiation is a child’s ability to independently start tasks. Many children with executive functioning deficits struggle with initiating actions, leading to difficulties completing tasks. There is, unfortunately, a lack of research examining effective interventions for initiation. However, the research that is out there strongly emphasizes cueing the “how” and “when” aspects of tasks. Read more >>

girl drawing

3-Year-Old Program Lottery Registration
The deadline for Cambridge Public School's 3-Year-Old Program Lottery for the September 2018 school year is on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. This lottery is available for children born between April 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015.

The FRC hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8:30AM to 3:30PM (except holidays).

FRC has also created extended hours for families to register for the 3-Year-Old Lottery.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 | 8:30AM - 7PM
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | 8:30AM - 7PM
Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 8:30AM-7PM
Monday, October 30, 2017 | 8:30AM - 7PM
Tuesday, October 31 | 8:30AM - 4PM

Visit the CPSD website to learn more about the 3-Year-Old Program.

Register Now: 
Family Resource Center
Located in the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
[email protected] or [email protected]
459 Broadway



Bright Kids Who
Can't Keep Up

Date: November 16
Time: 6PM
Location: Cambridge Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Please join Dr. Ellen Braaten of the Massachusetts General Hospital Clay Center for Young, Healthy Minds for a discussion of slow processing speed.

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 >>

teachtown graphic

The Office of Student Services (OSS) focused on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Substantially Separate Program during the 16/17 school year. As a result of the program enhancement review, the ASD program will be implementing Teachtown and ACE ABA Software programs starting in November. Teachtown provides educational treatment with an Applied Behavior Analysis approach. ACE is a teacher-centered software which includes lesson plans and a program database which focuses on Communication, Social Skills, Academics, Self-Help, Discrimination, Health and Safety, Recreation/Physical Education, Community, Vocational, and Transition to Adulthood.


Mindfulness /
Conciencia Plena

Strengthening our families & reducing family stress
Fortaleciendo nuestras familias y abordando el estrés
Mondays: October 20, November 13, 27, December 11
Amigos School
Learn more >> 

Family Flu Clinics
–October 26
5:30 - 7:30PM
Kennedy Longfellow School, 158 Spring Street 
–November 2
5:30 - 7:30PM
Peabody School, 70 Rindge Avenue
The Cambridge Public Health Department is offering flu shots to people who live and work in Cambridge. FluMist and high-dose vaccine are NOT available at the clinics. While there is no charge for flu shots, people are encouraged to bring their health insurance cards with them. Learn more >>

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Stay informed via our FREE mobile app! 
Details >>  

find it

Looking for things to do in Cambridge? Then take a peek at Find It Cambridge!


Cambridge Public Schools
159 Thorndike Street
Cambridge, MA 02139


Jean Spera
Interim Assistant Superintendent

Karyn Grace

Shelagh Walker

Desiree Phillips

Nerlande Mintor
Fiscal and Operations Manager



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