Events

  • May 23 | SpEdPAC: ADHD & SpEdPAC Board Elections


OSS Newsletter

Office of Specialized Services Monthly Newsletter

Office of Specialized Services (OSS) Newsletter


May 14, 2024


Read the OSE newsletter online here and click the translate button on our website.

Introduction

The Office of Specialized Services (formerly the Office of Special Education) Boston Public Schools' vision is that students with disabilities will have equitable opportunities to engage in innovative, high-quality instruction in the least restrictive environment (LRE) as appropriate to meet individual needs, empowering each student to achieve high levels, leading to post-secondary success.

 

Our aim is to provide you with information on upcoming events, updates, and resources.

Community Bright Spots

Autism Acceptance Celebration

In honor of Autism Acceptance month, BPS’ Office of Specialized Services provided insights into the principles of Autism Acceptance, featured notable figures on the autism spectrum. We also highlighted early childhood, transition, multilingual learners, adapted literacy, augmentative and alternative communication, Applied Behavior Analysis, and therapeutics services and supports for students with autism which included Boston Ballet, Special Olympics, and Easterseals.

We also had the privilege of showcasing students, who shared what makes them feel most proud and accomplished at school. Their achievements reflect dedication and creativity, spanning from academic accomplishments to personal growth and community contributions. Each success is a testament to their unique strengths and abilities.

Their stories serve as powerful reminders of the importance of embracing neurodiversity and fostering inclusive environments. Experience our students journey through their remarkable storytelling in the Autism Acceptance: The Student Experience video.


Thank you to all who contributed to bringing this event to life!

Special Education Team Leader Institute: Introduction of New IEP Forms and Process

On April 26th, Dr. Francisco "Frank" Vicente, Deputy Chief of Academics, and Alexis Florence, Assistant Director of Compliance represented Boston Public Schools at the Special Education Team Leader Institute (SETLI). Frank and Alexis previously worked for Lowell Public Schools and were early implementers of the new Indvidualized Education Program (IEP) forms and process due to roll out for all districts in September 2024.

The new IEP forms and process will bring further collaboration to IEP teams. Its focus is to support families and students by highlighting student strengths and needs in a family friendly manner. Boston Public Schools will hold informational sessions for families this week on May 14 and 16 (more information below).

HBCU Tour

Over the April Vacation, the Office of Student Support visited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and attractions in 4 days and 3 nights in hotels and 2 nights on the road.

The Student Support team traveled with 97 high school students and 12 chaperones. They visited: 

  • Norfolk State University
  • Morgan State University
  • Coppin State University
  • Hampton University
  • Virginia State University 
  • Howard University
  • Bowie State University
  • African American Museum

Special thanks to the chaperones for their guidance and mentorship, ensuring a safe and memorable experience for everyone, and to the staff and faculty of the visited institutions for their warm hospitality and insightful presentations, which left a lasting impact on students. Lastly, we extend our gratitude to all who contributed to the planning and organization of this trip, enabling BPS to create lifelong memories and inspire students to reach for their dreams.

The Board Room

A few weeks ago, Shantell Jeter, Special Projects Manger for Student Support, in partnership with colleagues from TD Bank including Christopher Sylvestre, Eric Rivas, and Jeison Gonzalez, successfully concluded "The Board Room" initiative. This program provided students with the opportunity to present themselves and their business ideas to TD Executives. The students approached the event with diligence, composure, and self-assurance, impressing all in attendance! We take great pride in the remarkable display of professionalism and determination exhibited by these talented young individuals.

Summer Resource Fair

On April 12, families and community members gathered at the Sportmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center for an unforgettable event. Amidst the vibrant atmosphere, attendees had the chance to explore an array of summer programs and resources offered by our community partners and BPS teams. While some students enjoyed a game of tennis or tried their hand at double dutch.

As the day drew to a close, with over 200 families and 30 internal and external partners in attendance, families eagerly gathered information to plan their children's summer adventures and expressed their gratitude and anticipation for next year's Summer Resource Fair. Moreover, the event provided a valuable platform for vendors to connect and network, fostering collaboration and innovation within our community.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Community Engagement and Partnerships teams for orchestrating this exceptional gathering, and we look forward to building upon its success in the future.

Fenway Fusion Program

Fenway Fusion House encompasses two specialized classrooms dedicated to students diagnosed with autism at Fenway High School. Our commitment lies in providing our students with rich vocational and life skills experiences. Explore the Fenway Fusion House website to discover the array of businesses they operate, all designed to empower students and foster their growth and development.

Resources for Families

Visit the Office of Specialized Services website to learn more about:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Extended School Year
  • Family Guide for Students with Disabilities
  • Specialized Services & Strands
  • Meet the Coordinators of Special Education
  • Parent’s Notice of Procedural Safeguards (PNPS)
  • Join Our Team
  • Boston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEdPAC) and more!


The BPS Helpline is available to assist you with any questions, or concerns.


The Department of Transportation is available to assist you with transportation related questions or support needed.


The Welcome Services is available to assist you with the following:

Upcoming Events & Updates

  • Tuesday, May 14th, 5:30-7 PM | Specialized Services Educator Fair
  • Tuesday, May 14th, 6-8 PM | DELAC
  • Tuesday, May 14th, 6-8 PM | CPC
  • Thursday, May 16th, 7-8 PM | New IEP Overview
  • Saturday, May 18, 12-4 PM | Kite & Bike Festival
  • Thursday, May 23, 7-8:30 PM | Boston SpEdPAC
  • Friday, June 7, 4:30-8:30 PM | DELAC Conference


To learn more about these upcoming events see below.

Office of Specialized Services Updates

Specialized Services Educator Resource Fair

Join us today at the Virtual Specialized Services Educator Resource Fair at 5:30 pm. Members of the Office of Specialized Services, the Recruitment Team, and School Leaders will be present to recruit specialized staff for BPS, including Teachers, Paraprofessionals, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), ABA Specialists, and Related Service Providers.

There is special need for candidates who have fluency in one or more of the following languages: ASL, Arabic, Cabo Verdean Creole, Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish or Vietnamese.


If you're interested in applying please complete the Candidate Registration Form.


Questions? Email recruitment@bostonpublicschools.org

New Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Hosted by the Office of Community Engagement in partnership with the Office of Specialized Services


Join us on Thursday, May 16th at 7 pm for a virtual information session to learn more about the release of the new Individualized Education Program (IEP) form by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Starting this Fall, districts across the state will implement the new statewide Individualized Education Program (IEP) form.


This updated form will bring several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Collaboration: You are a vital member of the team!
  • More Clarity and Consistency: Effective transitions for students!
  • Comprehensive Documentation: Better tracking of student’s achievements!


Boston Public Schools is dedicated to supporting our community through this new process. Let's learn and grow together!


Meeting Details

Webinar Linkbit.ly/NewIEP

Webinar ID: 869 9974 7421

Dial-in: +1 (646) 518-9805


Questions? Call (617) 635-8873 or email New-IEP@bostonpublicschools.org

MassHealth Medicaid Consent Form

You may have recently received an alert via EdPlan Parent Connect prompting you to sign a document titled Massachusetts Parental Notice with One-Time Consent to Allow the School District To Access MassHealth (Medicaid) Benefits.


The purpose of Mass Health (Medicaid) consent form is to ask for your permission to share information about your child with MassHealth. Local communities in Massachusetts have been approved to receive partial reimbursement from MassHealth for the costs of certain health-related services provided by the district to your child (or children). In order for your community to get reimbursed for services provided, the school district needs to share  some information with MassHealth.


Families may sign the Medicaid consent form and provide the signed copy via email or return the paper copy to the Coordinator of Special Education (COSE) at your child's school. This form is a one time form so if you have already signed it you do not need to sign it again.



For more information, visit: doe.mass.edu/sped/28mr/

Extended School Year


You should have recently received an email or a survey because your student was recommended for Extended School Year (ESY) services at the most recent Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. The Extended School Year program provides services to ensure continued academic, socio-emotional, transitional, and related services during the summer.


This year’s ESY program will be held on July 8 - August 9, 2024. Only students who have transportation on their IEP and whose families opt in for BPS transportation will be routed. Students without transportation in their IEP may receive transportation in accordance with BPS Transportation Eligibility due to the distance between their home and their school site assignment.


To confirm your student's transportation needs, please complete the enrollment form below by Friday, June 14, 2024 to guarantee transportation for the first day of ESY.


To learn your student’s school site assignment for ESY please enter the following in the enrollment form: your student’s last name(s), date of birth, and student ID. Once you enter this information, please confirm or decline your student’s attendance on the enrollment form.


Enroll for the Extended School Year

English | Español | عربى | Kabuverdianu | 中文 | Français | Kreyòl | Português | Afsoomaali | Tiếng Việt


Frequently Asked Questions

English | Español | عربى | Kabuverdianu | 中文 | Français | Kreyòl | Português | Afsoomaali | Tiếng Việt



For questions you may visit: bostonpublicschools.org/esy or email esy@bostonpublicschools.org.

District-Wide Parent Advisory Councils & Community Collective

Boston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEdPAC)

The Boston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Boston SpEdPAC) is an independent group of parent volunteers established under Massachusetts General Law to ensure that Boston Public School students with disabilities get the services and support they need to develop their full potential. The duties of Boston SpEdPAC include but are not limited to:


  • Providing information and support to members through direct communication, outreach and monthly meetings, with translation of materials and interpretation services, as highlighted in the SpEdPAC Electronic Newsletter
  • Advising the district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities
  • Meeting regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of the school district’s special education programs
  • Promoting communication, collaboration and cooperation between families of students with disabilities and the Boston Public School district. 


Parents, guardians, educational surrogates and BPS students with disabilities aged 18 and older are SpEdPAC Members, as well as any other interested party.  

Our Next Meeting Will Focus On:

ADHD & Board Elections


Join the next SpEdPAC general meeting on Thursday, May 23rd at 7 pm. General meetings are organized for Boston SpEdPAC members and focus on a specific topic related to supporting student with disabilities. The May meeting will be a virtual meeting which will focus on supports for students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). SpEdPAC will also facilitate Board Elections, with all eligible board positions open at the time of elections.


You can access presentations from past meetings on the SpEdPAC website under the 'General Meetings' tab.


Want to stay up-to-date with SpEdPAC? Join the SpEdPAC mailing list.

 


 General Meeting Flyers:


English | Español | عربى | Kabuverdianu | 中文 | Français | Kreyòl | Português | Afsoomaali | Tiếng Việt


Visit our Website

District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)

District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) is a multicultural and multiethnic, parent-led committee. All Boston Public Schools parent/guardians of English Learner and Former English Learner students are automatically members.


The purpose of the DELAC is to provide recommendations to school and district officials in regard to programs and services provided to English Learners and to promote the implementation of the LOOK Act. For more information about the Look Act visit their website.


To join DELAC at their next meeting see the flyers below for more information. Join the DELAC mailing list.

Our Next Meeting Will Focus On:

New IEP for Multilingual Learners & Inclusive Education


Join us to learn more about the release of the new Individualized Education Program (IEP) form by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Starting this Fall, districts across the state will implement the new statewide Individualized Education Program (IEP) form. This session is specifically about changes to the New IEP for multilingual learners.


We will also learn more about the Inclusive Education Plan for Multilingual Learners. We will learn the components of high-quality teaching and how families can make program choices for their students to fit their needs. 


 

General Meeting Flyers:



English | Español |  العربية | Cabo-Verdiano | 中文 | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Português 



Visit our Website

DELAC Conference


Join the BPS' Office of Multilingual and Multicultural Education (OMME)-Family team on Friday, June 7, 2024 from 4:30-8:30 pm to celebrate and reconnect with ALL BPS multilingual families. At the conference, we will provide updates, information, resources, and tools to support and advocate for their children and their learning experience in our district. Food will be provided! 


Event Details:

  • Date: Friday, June 7th, 2024 from 4:30 pm- 8:30 pm
  • Location: Bruce C. Bolling Building - Community room, 2nd Floor
  • Address: 2300 Washington St, Boston, MA 02119


Questions? ellparentteam@bostonpublicschools.org

Citywide Parent Council (CPC)

Made up entirely of current BPS family volunteers, the Citywide Parent Council (CPC) for Boston Public Schools (BPS) is the official voice of all our 49,500 families. The CPC is the umbrella organization of each of our 125 schools’ School Parent/Family Councils (SPCs)/(SFCs), and we are constituted by the elected representatives (reps) from each of our schools. We advocate as one voice for all of students and their families.


CPC meetings are open to all BPS parents and community members to participate in. Many schools elect representatives through their School Parent/Family Councils, though you do not need to be an elected representative to attend meetings.  


We have a fantastic agenda prepared that covers all the Title 1 requirements for Family Engagement, including the formation and parent participation requirements for every school’s Parent/Family Council and School Site Council, and family engagement compacts and plans.


Learn more and get involved with the CPC!

  • Attend our next meeting on Tuesday, May 14th from 6-8 pm via Zoom
  • Attend your school’s Parent/Family Council’s monthly meetings
  • Ask your school’s Family Liaison how to get involved!



Visit our Website

Related Services

Mainstream Team for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing


The attached infographic highlights the MTDHH discipline within Related Services and the services and supports we provide throughout BPS.

Questions? Email azucker@bostonpublicschools.org

Occupational Therapy

Parent-Child Playgroup


Countdown to Kindergarten Play to Learn Groups will be ending for the year in June. Fill out the interest form to apply for school year 2024-2025 which starts September 2024!


Questions? Email khughes4@bostonpublicschool.org

Boston Saves:

Every BPS K2-4th Graders Receive $50 Children's Savings Account


Help your student prepare for life after high school. Get started with Boston Saves! Every K2 - 4th grade student in BPS gets a student’s savings account with $50 from Boston Saves. The $50 can be used for college, career training, or disability-related costs for independent or supported living. Plus, you can take simple steps to start earning more!


If you are looking to register and make a Boston Saves Portal, you can scan the QR code and fill out the form.


Questions? Email sasha.vanderzee@boston.gov

Flyers: 


English | Español | العربية | Cabo-Verdiano | 中文 | Français | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Português | Soomaali | Tiếng Việt


Visit our Website

Countdown to Kindergarten: Kite & Bike Festival

Started in 1969, the Kite & Bike Festival is a Boston tradition that gathers more than 1,000 people at Franklin Park each May to enjoy picnicking, kite flying, bicycles & music. One resident describes the Kite & Bike Festival as “My favorite day ever in the twenty years I’ve lived in Boston!”


Picture endless blue skies dotted with colorful kites, children and families running and laughing across bright green fields — this event is not to be missed! Hosted by the Franklin Park Coalition. Check out photos from past festivals!


Date: Saturday, May 18, 2024

Time: 12-4 pm


For more information visit the Franklin Park Coalition website.

Attendance Matters

Please join Region 6 Attendance Supervisor Steve Desrosiers for a presentation on chronic absenteeism and how parents can partner with schools to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for their children.


Workshops will take place on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024
  • Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Interpretation will be provided in Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.


Registration Link: bit.ly/Region6AttendanceMatters


For questions, email: sdesrosiers@bostonpublicschools.org

Partnerships & Opportunities

Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL)


Parent/Professional Advocacy League is a statewide, grassroots family organization that advocates for improved access to mental health services for children, youth and their families. PPAL’s goals are to support families, nurture parent leaders and work for systems change. PPAL is the only Massachusetts organization whose work focuses solely on the interests of families whose children have mental health needs. Founded in 1991, PPAL continues to work on behalf of children, youth and families as a critical voice shaping policy and practice.





Rise Up for Youth Mental Health: Bridging Gaps and Sparking Change 


Join the Boston Public Health Commission to discuss the mental health challenges our young people are facing today from school to afterschool to home. The Commission’s Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness is hosting Rise Up for Youth Mental Health: Bridging Gaps and Sparking Change. We’ll explore solutions, share stories, and more across our three events in South Boston. Please register for the event date:


  • Tuesday, May 28 from 3–7 pm - For families and caregivers of youth ages 14-18


The event is free. There will be activities, food, and giveaways. Youth ages 14-18, families, and caregivers who register and attend will also get $25 gift card while supplies last.



PPAL's 13th Annual Children's Mental Health Conference

Providing hope for children with mental health needs and their families through education, advocacy, outreach and support.


When: Friday, May 31, 9-3 pm


Register for the PPAL's 13th Annual Children's Mental Health Conference.

PPAL has a series of events every month. To learn more visit their website.

Visit our Website

Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)


Mass General Partnership


FCSN has an exciting new partnership with Mass General to offer and study wellness groups to parents of kids with Specific Learning Disabilities or Attention – Deficit. These groups will be free and offered in English and Spanish. Look for sign ups coming in a few months.


Questions? Email Karen Lopez at klopez@fcsn.org

Planning A Life (PAL) Conference


Planning A Life (PAL) is a transition conference for transition-age youth (14-22), their families, & professionals who support them.


PAL provides parents and professionals with useful skills and information necessary to support youth as they prepare for full, meaningful lives during and after high school. Among other topics, we will discuss how to begin the transition planning process and how to determine transition goals on the IEP. We will discuss ways parents, caregivers, and professionals can encourage independence and self-advocacy in their students.


When: Friday, May 17th from 8 am to 4 pm (Virtual)


During this PAL, we will talk about the differences between high school and college and how to prepare for success in college. We will also discuss how to navigate healthcare transition. Youth are encouraged to attend separate activities on preparing for college and brainstorming their vision of a fun, meaningful adult life!


Register for PAL: College and Beyond

Visit our Website

Adaptive Sports Program at Franciscan Children's


The registration for the two weeks of summer camp is now officially open. Back by popular demand the first week (Aug. 5th – 9th) will see the return of our Adaptive Sports Camp. The second week (Aug. 12th – 16th) will be a Fitness and Wellness Camp! Both camps will be led by Shanice Milord (Kennedy Day School APE teacher). 

 

For those of you who are new to the Adaptive Sports summer camps, we have a morning session (9 a.m. – 12 p.m.) or an afternoon session (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.) available each week. They provide a 1:1 to those who need it and PCAs or personal nurses are welcome. Additionally, we will have a nurse on staff to assist with general first aid, toileting, medication, etc.

 

For more information, please see the Adaptive Sports Camp and the Fitness & Wellness Camp flyers. 


Financial aid is available for those who need it.



Questions? Email Karen Lopez at paward@franciscanchildrens.org