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2nd Message from Director of Student Services
Carol Riccardi-Gahan
Friday, April 03, 2020

April 3, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians of our Students Receiving Special Education Services,

I hope you are well and staying safe while we all try to deal with this national/global crisis.  Not only is it hard to stay home but you have the added responsibilities of working from home and assisting your child(ren) with learning in this new virtual format.  All the staff at Maynard Public Schools are dedicated to your child(ren) to access remote learning opportunities and activities provided by the general education teacher(s) and their special education service providers.

Since my last message, we have received more guidance from the Federal and State level in regards to Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and how we provide this during this national emergency.  I have provided you with the link to the Updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). This document includes guidance from the Federal and State level. Updated DESE FAQ-March 26,2020

I have been in many “Virtual” meetings at the State level, with Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner and State Director of Special Education.  The Administrators, Team Chairs and special education staff have worked diligently on developing Student Learning Plans for our students who receive special education services.  We hope this plan will explain how the service providers will be delivering remote learning tools and instructional materials to develop and provide students with appropriately structured and supported ways to keep learning as it connects to their IEP goals. It will also be one place in which you can access each provider's office hours and their weekly plans of sending out tools and materials. We are developing the Remote Special Education Plans for each student with IEPs.  We are working hard to get these done.  Please be patient but feel free to contact your child(ren) special education liaison and/or service provider if you have questions.

Both the Commissioner Letter to Families and the FAQ discussed Virtual IEP meetings.  As a district, we are discussing the possibility of Virtual IEP meetings and working out some of the challenges and obstacles to those meetings.  You will receive more on this in the weeks to come. If you have any questions about upcoming meetings, please feel free to reach out to your Team Chair.    

As Commissioner Riley stated in his March 30th letter to parents, “We are committed to maintaining connections between school staff and students and helping all students continue their learning.”  Web page for Commissioner Letter to Families

The key to all this is communication. All of our service providers should have connected with families by now.   If you haven’t connected with your service providers, I encourage you to reach out to them via email. The Special Education Department members are here to help you in this unprecedented situation.  Team members can assist you with establishing a schedule, adding in physical and mindfulness activities, or modifying any of the activities you may be receiving from the regular classroom teacher. Additionally, we will be seeking your feedback throughout this closure to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help you and your children.

We want to thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times. Please continue

to look for our district email blasts from MaryJane Rickson to keep up to date on next stages of our

planning.

Sincerely,

Carol Riccardi-Gahan

Director of Student Services