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Add On a cold winter afternoon in Lexington, a high school basketball team is warming up in their newly-donated blue and white reversible jerseys. This is not your typical basketball team, and certainly not your typical high school sporting event.
There is no school band or student section full of rabid fans. There are no cheerleaders. Fans don’t have to pay admission to take in the action. This game is purely about healthy competition, sportsmanship, and most importantly, fun. The
Lexington, Arlington, Bedford, Burlington, Belmont (LABBB) Program basketball squad is comprised of 14 special needs students, both male and female, who compete in the Greater Boston Basketball League and play one game every week against other special needs programs.
The LABBB program has a presence in each of the towns’ high schools, and has been providing a positive and safe learning environment for kids with special needs for more than 30 years. The collaborative program was initially founded in 1972 as a response to the growing need for more specialized programs. It has flourished since, and currently provides educational programs and services for over 350 special needs students with a variety of special needs.
LABBB Adaptive Physical Education teacher Tom Brincklow started the basketball team six years ago. Brincklow, who has been with the LABBB program for 19 years, is a former standout basketball player at Lexington High School who went on to play at Westfield State and was recently named to Westfield’s athletic hall of fame.
After moving on from playing the game, Tom has continued to stay involved as a coach. He spent some time as an assistant coach for the Lexington High School boys’ varsity team, and currently serves as an assistant coach for the Cambridge Ringe and Latin boys’ varsity team.
“The kids really love it, it’s a good way for them to get that feeling of being part of a team that they probably wouldn’t get under different circumstances,” said Brincklow. “They just have a lot of fun with the team, they get to get out of class on game days, which they love, and we do a lot of team activities and outings as well, so it really gives them that chance to bond like most athletic teams do, which I love.”
The team is made up of kids from all of the LABBB programs, from Lexington High School to Belmont High School, and is comprised of kids with varying levels of disabilities. The program offers the unique opportunity for these kids to compete against other kids with similar situations, something that they normally would not get in a regular high school setting, Brincklow said.
It gives them a sense of status, being able to tell their classmates that they are a part of the basketball team. It’s inspiring, from an outsiders’ perspective, to see these kids set aside their disabilities and get out there and represent their school, brimming with pride, he said. ”
You know, they get to tell their friends that they’re a part of the team, which just makes them feel really good about themselves,” said Brincklow. “Like I said, the biggest thing that they get out of this is that they get to be a part of the team, which they really love. We try to make it a fun experience for them always, and it’s nice that they are learning to work together, and learning good sportsmanship. It’s just been a real joy for me to be a part of it all, and to see them get so much out of it is just fantastic.”
The team includes a number of kids from our local communities. Nick Boivia and Dan Bustamante are Bedford residents. Luke Moscatel and Nick Nole represent Lexington on the team. Zack McLeon hails from Belmont. Nick Papppas lives in Arlington. And the team’s leading scorer, Steve Castellerin, is a native of Burlington. Together, though, they all proudly represent LABBB.
Every week, usually in front of a small crowd that consists of teachers and classmates, the LABBB basketball team takes to the Lexington High School fieldhouse court to take part in a competition. Win or lose, the coaches are always happy with the effort that their kids put forth.
However, like any high school aged kid, the members of the team are always striving to come out with a win. Starting point guard Nick Cedano (Framingham) said it best when he explained to me his motivations for playing. “I’m competitive so, I like to win,” he said. The LABBB team plays every Thursday afternoon, usually at home in the Lexington fieldhouse. Interested in a follow-up to this article?
By Mike Manfredi
Even the most grizzled high school coach will grudgingly admit that the games are not all about wins and losses.The same is probably true for our boys’ basketball action yesterday at theMustang cage. There can be little doubt that the final scores were disappointing, but it was reassuring to see a fairly good-sized Tuesday afternoon crowd cheer the junior-varsity team, led by Robert Russell, and the varsity squad led by John Fusco. Both groups are young, willing, and able to make significant contributions throughout the year.
Another bright feature of yesterday’s tilts was the return of the Minuteman Mustangs cheerleaders, in a club format led by Karen Withrow of our Retail Marketing Program and the LABBB Program’s Tracey Pisano, Minuteman class of 2000.
Check out the action the next chance you get.
ntcamp 2011: Burlington
What: ntcamp is an unconference devoted to new teachers, K-12 Education issues, and ideas.
Where: Burlington High School, Burlington, MA
When: February 26, 2011
Time: 8am – 4pm
In the spring of 2010 ntcamp was conceived from a conversation on #ntchat following my experience at my first “unconference”, #edcamp Philly. By July, ntcamp had roughly fifty people signed up to attend. The power of personal learning networks and social media turned #ntcamp into a trending topic that many followed and prescribed to before and after the event. So what is all the hype about?
WHAT IS NTCAMP?
First, ntcamp stands for new teacher camp. It uses the unconference model to promote engaging, participatory professional development for teachers, librarians, administrators, technology specialists, and college students. Ntcamp is not only for new teachers, but also for anyone in the education field looking for a variety of professional development packed into one day. While the focus remains on professional development for new teachers, those who have had years of teaching experience will not get bored.
IS NTCAMP ONLY FOR NEW TEACHERS?
No! You do not have to be a new teacher or a student teacher to attend. I promise you we will not be carding at the door. The “new teacher” phrase has many layers to it. First, we hope to bring in new teachers and introduce them to new and evolving best practices. Secondly, we hope that teachers who are new to personal learning networks (PLN) and social media in education can find their way into this world by connecting with a network of teachers face-to-face. And finally, as teachers, we should consider ourselves new every school year. We should want to change and evolve our methods and learn what others are doing in the classroom. Ntcamp allows for this exchange of ideas in an engaging, participatory-driven format.
IS NTCAMP JUST A TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE?
No. ntcamp sessions focus on best practices and methods in the classroom. It also allows time for teachers to network, build relationships, and enhance personal learning networks. While ntcamp should not be categorized as a “technology” conference, many of the sessions and workshops will include ways in which teachers can integrate technology.
CAN I GET PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CREDIT HOURS FOR ATTENDING NTCAMP?
No. However, this is something we are working on improving. We hope that future versions of ntcamp will allow teachers to acquire professional development or Act 48 credits by attending.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO NTCAMP?
Once you register on ticketleap.com, print out your registration confirmation. Bring this with you as you check in on the morning of ntcamp. You should bring a laptop if you have one or simply bring a notepad and pen. You do not need a laptop to get the most out of ntcamp, but some prefer to have one. There will be free wi-fi. That is pretty much all you need for a day of ntcamp.
WHO ARE THE PRESENTERS AT NTCAMP AND HOW CAN I PRESENT?
The unconference model allows for anyone to be a presenter. Once you register at ntcamp, there will be a schedule posted with room numbers. If you have an idea for a presentation, simply walk over to the scheduling table and you can sign up for a time slot and a room. If you need a projector or IWB for your presentation, please be sure to sign up for a room with these tools.
WHAT IF I AM NOT PRESENTING?
If you are not presenting at ntcamp you can simply choose your own adventure. Participants can select from a variety of sessions during each time slot and can even attend multiple sessions during each time slot. It is not seen as rude if you get up and leave a session to attend another. This conference model encourages participants to get the most out of their day.
WILL I NEED TO PACK A LUNCH?
We will provide a light breakfast for all participants at ntcamp. We will have coffee and a continental breakfast spread. Depending on your appetite, you may want to pack a snack and water to get you through the day. Plus, we will provide a list of nearby restaurants and cafes that you can visit during the lunch period. We break for an hour and a half lunch to allow everyone time to eat, digest, and network.
About 40 students enrolled in the Behavioral Intervention Program (BIP) through the Lexington, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont and Burlington (LABBB) special education collaborative took part in the annual after-school football game organized by the Arlington High School football team and the AHS Best Buddies chapter.
LABBB Arlington and Wellington BIP Program Director Sherry Krause-Mazza said the students, some parents, coaches and teachers all showed up for the event Monday afternoon. The Best Buddies chapter was just introduced to Arlington this year and is an offshoot of the Special Olympics.
“The football team is wonderful. They set up all kinds of drills for the kids and the kids just love it, they thrive on it,” Krause-Mazza said.
She said AHS special education teachers established the yearly game with coaches years ago, which a former LABBB program director said began in 2001 or 2002. More events with LABBB, Best Buddies and various other AHS sports teams will take place throughout the year.
“The climate and spirit at AHS is like no other high school I’ve ever seen,” Krause-Mazza said. “The spirit and the whole school, the acceptance of diversity in the school is beyond belief.”
Staff Writer Maria Chutchian can be reached by email@example.com.
Readability is our Technology Tip of the Week shared with us by Antigone McHugh, LABBB Speech Pathologist.
I tried it on boston.com and it worked great.
“Thought you may find this free tool interesting. It is called “Readability” and it is a free tool that you install on Firefox that will remove the clutter on a web page and make the readable information clear. You can enlarge the text too. It is very easy to install- you just drag the icon to your toolbar above.
Website is below…”
Click here: Readability
The cafe will host thirty vendors this year! Some of the vendors include: Photographers, Knitters, Snow Pond Farm, Jewelry, Candy, Bouquets, Fleece, Tastefully simple, as well as homemade jams and jellies, something for everyone.
Come by and join us for this special event. It’s sure to be the first of a long running annual event.
If you are a person who does not understand what Twitter is all about, I can understand, I was there. Unfortunately, I missed time utilizing this resource because I was unfamiliar with its use and function. Then, a few years ago I started a few accounts and just learned how to follow people who had similar interests; one account was for educational practices and another for a hobby. At first it was difficult because I didn’t know how to get started finding these resources. That changed very quickly and before I knew it I was learning and acquiring useful information every day that was cutting edge . I was learning what the world was doing. Not just in Massachusetts but around the United States, Canada and many other countries. I was inspired!
Here are some reasons why Twitter might be valuable to you.
1. Professional Development: I have never used a tool that has been more valuable than Twitter to connect with people who share information, teach, and guide me in learning about skills that can improve my awareness of improving my job. Teachers, Principals, Superintendents, Support related services, authors and many other school personal use Twitter to share resources. The resources are endless and people want to share. It is as cutting edge as you can get and will challenge you. The playing field is even and there are no hierarchies, you will be following and sharing with anyone you want.
2. Best practices: If you want to know the best practices going on in the world of education, find educators on Twitter who have an expertise you are interested in and follow them, then follow the people they follow, then follow the people they follow etc… and just learn and read about the amazing things they are doing. It is inspirational. I wanted to learn about technology and used Twitter to find people who are using technology in their schools. At first I was overwhelmed and then I was motivated to learn what this was all about. The “Tweets” are backed by articles, data and resources that come directly to you by following the right people.
3. Create your own PLN: If you would like to connect with a group on Twitter to share your expertise you can be a leader and will be engaged by creating a planned learning network or being a participant in a PLN sharing a common initiative. It is fun and you will learn and get ideas that you never knew existed. Get outside of your environment to gain expertise. This is a window to the world that we never have been able to experience before.
4. It is quick and easy: Using Twitter is much more resourceful than having to search multiple webpages or sites for you to get information you need. It saves time! The best and brightest people are tweeting their best stuff, why not have it come directly to you. Be a part of their network and hear what they have to say.
5. Special interests: Find your special interest, hobby, sport, art or anything you find stimulating and become part of a group that shares information about this topic. You all know my interest in GTD by David Allen, I follow three people on Twitter who practice GTD including David Allen. It keeps me motivated, gives me tips, sends me articles and updates me on current practices. I never have to go look for it again, it will come to me.
If you want any information on how you can use Twitter give me a call or send me an e-mail.