We had a very informative Meeting with the members of Glen Ridge’s GRASE and our SEPAC members featuring a presentation from the law firm of Manes & Weinberg on what makes for a good IEP for your child.
Additionally, we learned about a new service under the auspices of the State of New Jersey Department of Education, to assist parents during an IEP Meeting. It is called an IEP Facilitator, available at no charge to parents. This process is in place in our District and when a parent requests the service of an IEP Facilitator, it has typically taken approximately 5 days to schedule one to come to your IEP Meeting. More info below:
We also touched on the topic of ESY, (Extended School Year) and the options of some Summer Camps, one of which is CAMP FATIMA. Applications for 2019 Summer Camp are NOW OPEN.
Extra Special thanks to G.R.A.S.E. President, Ms. Jocelyn Gottlieb for contacting Manes & Weinberg and coordinating this special Meeting. Also thanks to BHS Home & School Association President, Ms. Jen Vigna, for very kindly providing the hot coffee and doughnuts; which were deeply appreciated and enjoyed on a wintry evening. Thank you to all those parents who came out to participate in the Meeting, as well as to Bloomfield Special Services Director, Ms. Keri Regina who provided various insights into many questions.
Our next Bloomfield SEPAC Meeting is scheduled for May 1, 201 at BHS at 6 P.M..
There were two very informative presentations at the May 8, 2018, Bloomfield Board of Education Meeting. One was about “What’s Ahead” in Special Education in our schools, with Bloomfield’s Director for Special Services, Keri Regina and one of the Crisis Counselors at BHS, Heather Cannon, MSW, LCSW.
Ms. Regina told us about a special grant from the NJ Department of Education that will provide 10 days training to Staff who are involved with the Early Intervention Process. This deals with the very young children that are incoming to our District, from age 3 and up. She cited the need to better identify the situations these students face and to help develop more and improved ways to communicate with their incoming parents to help them understand the Special Education Programs, evaluations etc.. There were some videos of students in Inclusion Classes at Grammar Schools with the teachers co-teaching. It showed a seamless process of blending Special Needs students and typical students at two schools.
Ms. Regina mentioned the large scope of the task of managing our Special Needs population which is close to 1,000 students. She had thanks and praise for all of her Staff, describing the collaborative efforts from Supervisors, Educators, School Psychologists, Paraprofessionals, Therapists, etc. in working to find methods that are helpful and utilising them. She also spoke of learning new approaches for Special Education. also a new method for helping students with Dyslexia. The month of May, being Mental Health Month, and mental health being so vital for all of our students, Ms. Regina introduced Ms. Heather Cannon, MSW, LCSW, and one of the Crisis Counselors at BHS.
Ms. Cannon described working along with the other BHS Crisis Counselor, Ms. Cindy Sherman and the vast job of helping some of our students. They deal with things that are bothersome on students minds on any given day, along with groups of students dealing with more serious ongoing situations. There will soon be a website and smart phone app where students can contact her staff and even contact Bloomfield Police in dire emergencies and this app will be functional all year round. Ms. Cannon also described connecting when needed with Mountainside and Clara Maas Hospitals, Bloomfield Police and other local agencies.
Ms. Kristie Arnold and Ms. Suzanne Johnson gave a fine presentation about “Researched-Based Literacy Instruction.” They described the many ways of increasing literacy among students of all ages and described various methodology used by the District Educators in both book form and digital form. References were made in particular to Newsela, Newsela, Click here. This site breaks down current news stories and presents them according to a student’s reading level. They also described methods for students being able to annotate text digitally and being able to have interaction with their teachers through online methods, including the capability of handing in homework that was done online using the Google Platform. All high school grades will have Chromebooks next year as well.
My favorite part was video clips of the students “caught” reading. Sometimes just for fun, sometimes for classwork and reading both regular books as well as online material.
These were two truly informative presentations and we at Bloomfield SEPAC are grateful for the dedicated work of all those involved.
(Please note: This is merely a synopsis and is not intended to cover every item discussed at the Meeting during my time there.)
“This form is for all individuals interested in joining one of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)’s Statewide Assessment Collaboratives. These Collaboratives will represent interested stakeholders from across New Jersey who have direct and diverse experiences with the realities of statewide assessments and who represent various New Jersey education and community stakeholder groups.
The Collaboratives will meet for a single half-day to reflect on experiences and to form recommendations for the future of statewide assessment in New Jersey. We are particularly interested in perspectives on the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments, which are the current statewide assessments for English language arts/literacy and math.
All feedback will be recorded and responded to in a document to be published this summer. The NJDOE is looking to host and to hear from different participants at each gathering of approximately 40-60 attendees. The number of Collaboratives and specific meeting locations will be based on interest and are expected to be announced on May 11.
If you are interested in participating in a Statewide Assessment Collaborative, please complete and submit by May 8 11:59 P.M.
Please note: We are collecting personal information on the interest form with the sole purpose of building a diverse community of stakeholders at every meeting. Your information will not be shared or used for any other purposes. This is an initial form to gauge interest. The NJDOE will make every effort to include all interested individuals who submit a complete survey by the above deadline. However, due to space, location and time constraints, not every person who is interested may be able to participate in the Statewide Assessment Collaborative. We will notify you when dates, times and locations are finalized. We will also be contacting you when the listening tour dates and online questionnaire launch.”
PLEASE JOIN FAMILY SUPPORT ORGANIZATION OF ESSEX COUNTY AS WE ADDRESS QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR CHILD’S IEP AND 504 PLANS.” Free Registration – Press Here