OSS Newsletter: March 2018
Published on Mar 6, 2018 15:17

OSS Newsletter header
  MARCH 2018
flowers woods

Dear Cambridge Community,

Spring is in the air! The first day of spring this year is March 20th. Let's take a moment to enjoy the extra sunlight, the budding flowers, and that sense of new beginnings and good things yet to come.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome two new members of the Office of Student Services (OSS) Community, Justin Villet and Alyssa Tanner. Mr. Villet is the Lead Teacher for Advanced Learning and comes to Cambridge after working in the Framingham Public Schools. Ms. Tanner is assuming the role of School Psychologist/Team Chairperson for CRLS-Learning Community R; she is joining us after several years of employment with the Worcester Public Schools. Both Mr. Villet and Ms. Tanner started working with us on February 26, 2018. We are happy to have these two important positions filled by such highly qualified professionals.

Please be on the look-out for our OSS Summer Services and Programs Brochure for the summer of 2018. It contains all the necessary information about our Extended School Year Services as articulated in student Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Additionally, it also includes contact information for the OSS Summer Program Supervisors and Lead Teachers.

Members of the OSS Leadership Team and OSS services providers are and will be meeting to discuss student transitions with a specific focus on those key transition years, Special Start to JK/K, Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade, and Eighth Grade to Ninth Grade. In an effort to ensure smooth and positive student transitions, transition teams will be sharing information and engaging in collaborative conversations.

March is Women's History Month! This is an opportunity for us to celebrate, recognize and commemorate the important role of women in American history.

Jean Spera
Interim Assistant Superintendent
Office of Student Services

Literacy in Special Start Classrooms
By: Elizabeth Rollins, Special Start Lead Teacher
This year, many of the Special Start teachers have met regularly to discuss early literacy practices. During monthly meetings, we learn about best practices for supporting literacy skills in young children, and then implement these practices in our own classrooms. Many of our classrooms use a balanced approach to literacy instruction, which means using a whole language approach blended with developmentally appropriate direct instruction in specific skills (like sequencing and phonemic awareness). Shared reading and writing sessions anchor this approach. For example, a teacher might begin by reading a big book version of Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchens, in which Rosie the hen takes a walk through the farmyard, followed by a hungry fox. The teacher will stop reading periodically to model strategies such as predicting what will happen next (will the fox catch Rosie?) and how to use the pictures to help understand the accompanying text (the picture of the fox following Rosie over the haystack mirrors the text on that page). For the next reading, children read aloud along with the teacher. Finally, children will practice skills and extend their learning by engaging in center-based activities such as reading the book to each other, listening to an audio version, sequencing pictures from the book, and retelling the story using puppets.

Connecting to Families
For the past several years, Special Start classrooms have been using Kaymbu, a family engagement and classroom documentation app, to communicate with families about their child's day. Using a tablet computer, staff are able to photograph or video children playing and learning in the classroom and email the pictures directly to the child's family. Some teachers also use Kaymbu to write a newsletter for families about classroom activities and events. Special Start teachers have also begun to use Kaymbu in innovative ways to support classroom learning. Teachers may document field trips or special activities, and then later use the pictures in the classroom environment to teach related vocabulary words, or to support children's ability to recall or retell the event. Teachers can even use the app to document examples of children's work, in order to track their learning and progress over time. Over the next school year, we hope to expand the use of Kaymbu to create simple portfolios of children's work to share with parents.

Diagnosing ADHD in Children:
Guidelines & Information for Parents
Your pediatrician will determine whether your child has ADHD using standard guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These diagnosis guidelines are specifically for children 4 to 18 years of age. Learn more >>

summer services

Summer Services & Programs 2018

Types of Needs Filled by the Program

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.



Sensory Friendly Movies
Date: March 10
Location: 168 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge

IHOP (Sensory Friendly Dinner)
Date: March 6
Location: 16 Eliot St., Cambridge

Parent Support Group
*1st and 3rd Friday of the Month*
Date: March 2 & 16
Time: 9AM
Location: King School, 102 Putnam Ave., Cambridge 

Parent and Sibling Support Groups
*2nd and 4th Tuesday of every Month*
Time: 6PM 
Date: March 13 & 27
Location: FMA, 225 Windsor St., Cambridge 

More information and registration >>


Know Your Rights Workshop
March 13 | 5:30-7PM
Islamic Society of Boston
205 Prospect St., Cambridge
Details >>

Immigration Legal Screening Clinics - FREE!
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 >> 
More immigration resources >>

See more community programs & events >> 

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Stay informed via our FREE mobile app! 
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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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