OSS Newsletter: December 2017
Published on Dec 7, 2017 11:51

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Dear Cambridge Community,

Can you believe it is already December? It certainly has been a very busy, but productive, few months. I am really proud of the great work being done by our Office of Student Services (OSS) staff, some of which is highlighted in this Newsletter. Specifically, our Transition Services School to Work Program is doing a masterful job in ensuring that students have the job readiness skills necessary for success beyond school. In addition, OSS Staff members have been designing and delivering meaningful professional development activities for both special educators and general educators with a focus on effective inclusive practices. Across the department, we continue to develop and enhance the knowledge base and skill set of all service providers through training in the Orton-Gillingham approach, co-teaching models, inclusive practices, team building and facilitation, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Pilot, therapeutic intervention, and IEP Development.

The OSS remains committed to its vision and mission and, thus, is partnering with district leadership in an effort to raise the achievement of all Cambridge Public Schools students, with and without disabilities. Currently, one of the district’s strategic initiatives targets the importance of scheduling dedicated time during the school day for special educators and general educators to collaborate around lesson planning and inclusive instructional strategies. Through collaboration, educators, both special and general, assume joint responsibility for the learning and success of every student. This is one more important step down the long road to building inclusive school communities in the Cambridge Public Schools!

The OSS Leadership Team wishes everyone a restful and peaceful Winter Break and a wonderful New Year.


Jean Spera
Interim Assistant Superintendent
Office of Student Services

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) CAST, Inc.
The Morse School and the Office of Student Services have partnered in offering professional development to both general and special educators around universal design for learning. This collaborative work with school staff will include professional development, classroom observations and in person coaching. We begin this work on December 4th and look forward to this exciting work together over the upcoming months. In addition, the Office of Student Services has delivered UDL webinars to the Office of Student Services staff during their assigned professional development hours since the start of school year.

What is UDL?
"Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people by removing barriers in the curriculum." CAST, 2017

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OSS Transition Services School to Work Program
The ability to “get a job and keep a job” is crucial to one’s success as an adult. Many times the skills needed for employment are not ones that are naturally developed without direct teaching and training. OSS Transition Services coordinates School to Work programming for students with disabilities who require adapted, direct instruction in basic job readiness skills.

The School to Work program is dependent on long standing partnerships with community employers. Broadway Market, under the supervision of owner, Richard Sabounjian is a strong supporter of School to Work activities. Students and their job coaches are welcomed into the store as part of the family. Broadway Market provides students the opportunity to develop entry level soft skills in a retail environment. Spaulding Hospital is another long time supporter of the School to Work program. Hospitals are a major employer in the Boston area and Spaulding provides the opportunity for students to gain food service and dietary experience in this local setting. The Material Assistance Center, Fletcher Maynard Academy and our own administrative offices have also opened their doors to partnerships with the School to Work program.

Questions or ideas for new partnerships? Contact: Sarah Werner, Transition Coordinator, Ph. # 617-349-6791

Photo (left): School to Work students and Tom Cappuccio, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge
Photo (right): School to Work student and Rosalind O’Sullivan from Fletcher Maynard Academy

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Social Thinking
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The Inclusion Toolbox
This Fall, I set out to design a course that could be a “Makerspace” for teachers to create student-centered Inclusion Tools. My vision was for teachers to use the Design Thinking approach and educational technology to create inclusive tools and visual aids. I decided to call my course, The Inclusion Toolbox. Read more >>


Sensory Friendly Movies
Date: December 9
Location: 168 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge

Parent Support Group
*1st and 3rd Friday of the Month*
Date: December 15
Time: 9 AM
Location: FMA, 225 Windsor St, Cambridge 

Parent and Sibling Support Groups
*2nd and 4th Tuesday of every Month*
Time : 6PM 
Date: December 12 & 26
Location: King School, 102 Putnam Ave, Cambridge 

More information and registration >>

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I joined Kulturecity 4 years ago. The reason I joined was because I wanted my son to know he was not alone. He knew he was different but he didn't know why, I didn't know why. I was so confused and didn't know what to do. My son is autistic. One day, one of his doctors said to me, if you're ashamed, he will be ashamed. From that moment on I knew I was going to make sure my son would never be ashamed of who he is. So I decided I was going to make a difference. Every child is different but every journey is the same. We all want our children to be accepted for who they are, not who they should be. At Kulturecity, that is exactly our mission. We do not want to change our children to fit into this world, that is not fair to them, we want to change the world to fit our children. During the last year, we launched our sensory inclusion initiative. We are working with businesses to create inclusion spaces in sports arenas, zoos, aquariums and restaurants. We are training their workers to recognize and respect all individuals with special needs. I am proud and honored to bring our efforts to my home town and my high school. CRLS will always be in my mind and now it's in my heart.

For more information on any of our programs please visit www.kulturecity.org or you can find us on Facebook @KultureCity Boston. If you have any questions please feel free to email me anytime at [email protected].


Immigration Legal Screening Clinic
This FREE monthly clinic offers participants a consultation with an immigration attorney and the chance to learn more about how immigration law affects them and their families. Details >>

A Cappella Jam
December 9 
Fitzgerald Theatre, CRLS
Details & tickets >>

December 15 & 16
Fitzgerald Theatre, CRLS
Details & tickets >>

See more community programs & events >> 

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Stay informed via our FREE mobile app! 
Details >>  

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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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