Office of Special Education Monthly Newsletter

Office of Special Education (OSE) Newsletter

May 24, 2023

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


Boston Public Schools' vision is that our 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 information on upcoming events, updates, and resources.

Community Bright Spots

Lunchtime with Samnang by Tracy Guan

Vincent Yee, Jessica Tang, and Tracy Guan (from left to right).

We are excited to announce that Tracy Guan, BPS Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, has written a children's book Lunchtime with Samnang. Lunchtime with Samnang celebrates a child’s love of learning, imagination, and exploration. As Samnang enjoys his favorite Cambodian dishes, he hears stories about his native country. The book was featured in Kelly Clarkson's show!

Celebrate the Renaming of McKinley Schools to the Melvin H. King South End Academy

School community honors late visionary Boston leader with school renaming ceremony 

On Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - Mayor Michelle Wu, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper, School Leader Cindie Nelson, and Ms. Joyce King celebrated the renaming of the McKinley Schools to the Melvin H. King South End Academy in honor of the late Melvin H. King.

“Mel King’s visionary leadership transformed Boston’s communities and empowered our residents to reimagine what’s possible. His legacy will continue to shine as an inspiration for generations to come,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m thrilled to celebrate him with this renaming to honor his legacy and inspire future generations of BPS students and families to make an impact in their communities.”

King is a Boston Public Schools alum who spent his life representing and advocating for families in the City. He is a visionary leader who maintained a focus on equity to ensure all of Boston’s students have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. His work as a teacher, community activist, and local leader over the decades has inspired many residents to become leaders in their communities and to continue to advocate to make Boston a city for everyone. 

He passed on March 28, 2023 at the age of 94. The City of Boston honored him earlier this month with services including a wreath laying at Boston City Hall, a day of remembrance, and a funeral in the South End.

School Committee Vice Chair Michael O'Neill, Superintendent Mary Skipper, School Committee Chair Jeri Robinson, Joyce King, and BTU Representative Jessica Tang (from left to right).

The school underwent an extensive naming process that engaged many stakeholders in the McKinley community. The process included surveys, various public meetings with different constituent groups, and using the Racial Equity Planning Tool (REPT) as a guide to uncover any weak points or gaps that may have impacted their work throughout the process. The BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool lays out a clear six-step process to operationalize our commitment to ensure each decision we make is aimed at closing opportunity gaps and advancing racial equity.

“Modeled by Mel King, the power of education is exemplified across our city,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper. “Learning begins in homes, classrooms, and schools, but it does not end there. Mel demonstrated how education can be used to mobilize and empower community members to bring about positive transformation in our village for a lifetime, directly impacting our young people. We see these efforts from our families, educators, school leaders, and district administrators. Let us continue Mel’s legacy by recommitting ourselves to this work, and by working together, every single day for the benefit of our students.”

During the event, students and school staff unveiled a banner with the school's new name. The design was developed and created by the school art teacher, Ari Hauben. He worked with the school's students who helped to design the crown. The heart that is displayed represents hugs. The image of Mr. King mirrors the mural on the side of the building. One of the seniors, Jaylen Rodriguez, read the poem “Struggle” written by Mel King during the ceremony to pay homage to his memory. 

“It is an honor for this school to carry the name of Melvin H. King, a lifetime, the legendary leader of Boston,” said advocate and former Boston Public Schools teacher and administrator Edith Bazile. “Mel King’s leadership and service to generations of Bostonians have empowered them to advance educationally, socially, and economically through his mission of love and racial justice. I look forward to the ongoing transformative work occurring at Melvin H. King South End Academy so educational outcomes exemplify his unwavering commitment to college and vocational pathways of success and leadership for our young people.”

“Mel King, one of Boston’s champions for equity, inclusion, and progress, is a fitting example we’re striving to follow in this school community,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Jeri Robinson. “We’re working hard, together, to imagine and produce a facility that will set a standard of excellence in the City for offering students of different abilities the support and setting they'll need to thrive in their education.”

“We are honored to be able to have Melvin H. King represent the school and serve as a beacon that guides our work integrating high-quality instruction and specialized therapeutic supports,” said Melvin H. King South End Academy School Leader Cindie Neilson. “He did so much to advance education and opportunity in Boston, and future generations will continue to benefit from his life’s work.”

Autism Acceptance Month

The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Team (clockwise); Morgan Hodlin, Zachary Houston, Stephen Cohen, Lisa Hannaford, Erica Andresen, Niki Reardon, Colleen Smith DeTora, Kristin Lombardelli, Steph Moreau, Jacquelyn Tierney, Rachael Llanes, Blake Grider, and Maggie Zara.

Nicole Curran (left) from Nicole Curran Photography speaking with Superintendent Skipper (right).

Alice Zehner (left) from Little Beavers Running Club at MIT speaking with a parent (right).

Last month we celebrated Autism Acceptance Month with a Recreation & Wellness Vendor Fair. We hosted organizations at the event who provided sensory friendly and autism accessible activities for our students. We would like to thank our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) team for hosting and our families and BPS community for their support. For more information see the handout below. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Vendor Fair Handout:

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Yashira Perez, Special Education Family Engagement Coordinator, Dr. Ana Tavares, Deputy Superintendent of Equity, Family and Community Advancement, and Angelina Camacho, Constituent Services Director (from left to right).

Julia Deney (left) from Sensational-You speaking with Julia Whyte from New England Zoo (right).

Upcoming Events & Updates

District-Wide Parent Councils

Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEdPAC)

The Boston Special Education Parent Advisory Council (Boston SpEdPAC) is the independent district-wide volunteer parent advisory council of families with students with disabilities and other interested parties. The volunteer parent advisory council duties include but are not be limited to:

  • 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

  • Establish by-laws regarding officers and operational procedures

  • Provide information and support to members through direct communication and outreach, and monthly meetings

SpEdPAC has access to an interpreter platform that BPS uses to speak with multilingual families. Families can reach out to SpEdPAC and request the use of these services to address any questions or concerns that families may have. 

You may also share your feedback by completing a feedback form. Boston SpEdPAC wants to hear your thoughts and concerns, please share information with us here

Join us at our last monthly meeting of the school year on Thursday, May 25! Topics for the May meeting include a discussion and overview about Extended School Year, 5th Quarter Summer Learning Academies, and SpEdPAC Board Elections.


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Visit our Website

Join the SpEdPAC Board

SpEdPAC members at the Family Social in December 2022!

Charlie Kim, Kelsey Brendel, Bethany Moffi, Edith Bazile, Sharon Daura, Latiaya Grooms, Roxi Harvey, Danielle Tierney, and Kim Emery (clockwise).

Please consider being a SpEdPAC board representative for Boston Public Schools. As a representative, you will have the opportunity to advise the Boston Public Schools

district on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities; meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning,

development, and evaluation of the district’s special education programs and to advocate for the appropriate supports and special education services necessary to meet the individual needs of children with disabilities.

SpEdPAC needs you! Join the SpEdPAC board and help advocate for all of our children to get their needs met. Interested? Join us on the Thursday, May 25, 2023 monthly meeting. See this document to learn more about the SpEdPAC Board member roles.

SpEdPAC School Parent/Family Council Member

Please consider being your school's SpEdPAC representative for the School Parent/Family Council. As a representative, you will have the opportunity to learn more about special education services and resources and share this information with families in your school community. Interested? Contact the family liaison in your school community for more information.


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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. On November 22, 2017, Governor Baker signed into law the LOOK Act. Broadly, the new law aims to provide districts with more flexibility as to the language acquisition programs they choose to meet the needs of English learners, while maintaining accountability for timely and effective English language acquisition. For more information on the Look Act visit here.

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



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Visit our Website

Additional Upcoming DELAC Community Events

DELAC Conference

BPS Office of Multicultural and Multilingual Education (OMME) parent team is hosting the annual District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) Conference on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 from 6-8pm on zoom.


Guest Presenter Dr. María Luisa Parra-Velasco, Harvard University will facilitate a discussion about “How to engage with your child’s school and why it is important” For more information please see flyer or email

Citywide Parent Council (CPC)

Made up entirely of current BPS parent/caregiver volunteers, the Citywide Parent Council (CPC) of Boston Public Schools is the official voice of all our 38,000 families. The CPC is the umbrella organization of each of our 125 schools’ School Parent Councils (SPCs), and they are constituted by the elected representatives from each of our schools. CPC advocates as one voice for all of our students and families.

For the full meeting calendar and past minutes click here.

Visit our Website

BPS Department of Behavioral Health Services-Monthly Wellbeing Digest


Check out the Behavioral Health Services Digest for practical tips around social, emotional, and behavioral development. This month’s digest will focus on habits to support parents’ and student’s mental health. To sign up for the digest click here.

MassHealth Eligibility Redetermination

As a partner in your child’s success, we want to ensure you have easy access to health insurance. If you are enrolled in MassHealth, please read on. This section contains timely information and action steps for you.  As you may know, the federal government declared a public health emergency in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed for MassHealth to put in place measures that prevented members' coverage from ending. These protections will expire in the coming month and MassHealth will soon return to their standard annual eligibility renewal processes, including restarting the review process regarding member eligibility for their current health coverage. 


If MassHealth has enough information to confirm your eligibility, your coverage will be renewed automatically. If they are not able to confirm your eligibility automatically, they will send a renewal form in a blue envelope to the mailing address they have on file for your household.


What you need to do now:


  • Please ensure that MassHealth has your most up-to-date address, phone number, and email, so you do not miss important information and notices from MassHealth. If they are not able to contact you, your coverage may change or you may lose your coverage.

  • Please notify MassHealth of any changes in your household, such as a new job, address, changes to your income, disability status, or pregnancy. MassHealth wants to make sure they have the latest information for you and all members of your household.

MassHealth will begin their standard annual eligibility renewal processes starting Saturday, April 1, 2023. Please update your information and report changes using your MA Login Account at

Don’t have an account? To create one, call MassHealth Customer Service at (844) 365-1841. Find out more about MA Login Accounts Online at


If you have questions or need assistance with your MassHealth coverage, or if you have lost coverage, please contact MassHealth Customer Service at (800) 841-2900.

The Mayor’s Health Line (MHL) specializes in MassHealth and Medicaid and is here to assist residents with their application during the redetermination period and assist any residents who no longer qualify for MassHealth find the best coverage available to them. The MHL regularly provides multilingual support in more than five languages to 10,000 residents annually to find the health insurance benefits that are best for them. All services are free and confidential regardless of immigration status. The MHL is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. For support, call 617-534-5050 or visit

Transportation Updates

If your student has transportation through their IEP and you have transported them to and from school due to a lack of transportation, you are entitled to seek mileage reimbursement at the prevailing state rate and/or taxi and rideshare costs for any trips between your home and the school. For example, if your child’s bus did not pick up your child for school and/or your child’s bus was not available to transport them home after school, you are encouraged to seek mileage reimbursement.

For more information visit our website:

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with the BPS Helpline at 617-635-8873 or via email at The Helpline is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am until 5:00 pm.

Coordinated Pandemic-Related Transition Services

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has appropriated 10 million dollars for transition “services for individuals with disabilities that reached age 22 between March 10, 2020 - September 1, 2023 and were entitled to special education services up to age 22.”

This funding is being used to collaborate Mass Commission for the Blind, Department of Developmental Services, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, and Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative.

The enclosed flier provides information on connecting with the Federation for Students with Special Needs to learn how to access these extra services.


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For more information you may click here or you may visit the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) website for additional support.

Summer Programming

Extended School Year (ESY)

Extended School Year (ESY) is a five (5) week summer program for students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) Teams have identified are at risk of substantial regression of skills over the summer. Not every student with a disability will be eligible for Extended School Year (ESY). Breakfast and lunch is provided for students at all sites. For more visit:


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5th Quarter Summer Learning Academies

Summer Learning Academies are five-week, non-credit programs focused on academic acceleration and enrichment, run by a school or community-based organization with interest-based experiences, like outdoor exploration, sailing, soccer, or arts.

Eligibility/RegistrationSchool Mint

FCSN Camp Guide

The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) has put together a camp guide for families to navigate private summer programs.

Contact/Helpful Links