Latest Event Updates
We’ve had a great year at the JGMS LABBB Program. Students have been participating in a variety of different things. We have worked hard and included some fun activities.
This Fall we went to Smolak Farm in Andover. We learned about the history of the farm and went apple picking. As part of our cooking class we made apple crisp in the classroom. The students enjoyed making and eating it!
As a class, we are part of an ongoing project within John Glenn Middle School. We are reading a given number of books suggested by the librarian. Students will participate in a Comprehension Challenge in which they could win an ice-cream social at the end of the year.
As part of our unit on the Revolutionary War, we visited the Heritage Museum in Lexington. We saw the exhibition “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty” and experienced what life was like in New England during that time period.
The entire John Glen Middle School took part in “A Day of Respect” in November. This included presentations on character building, group activities and discussions.
December was an extremely busy month. We saw the Nutcracker ballet and completed a unit on Winter Traditions. A number of parents came into the classroom as “Guest Chefs” to cook and teach the students about some of their family traditions. We compiled a recipe book to share with our LABBB classroom families. In addition, we were very proud to participate in a charity fundraiser for families in hardship. Students participated by doing additional chores around the house as well as giving up snack money to help this cause. We proudly raised over a $160!! With this money we were able to purchase many toys for a four-year old boy. We also attended an assembly where all of the fundraisers donated their gifts and then attended a holiday concert at Waltham High School.
We look forward to many more enriching activities during the last half of the year!
Class Description for JGMS – LABBB
This substantially separate middle school classroom (grades 5-8) is currently comprised of a diverse group of students with varying abilities which include: developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorders and emotional disorders. The classroom focuses on a combination of traditional and functional academics. Students are provided access to the general curriculum modified at their current level of functioning in a multiple modality format at a modified pace and structure. Students also learn test taking strategies and stress management/coping skills in preparation to take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System testing. We incorporate executive functioning strategies such as organization, time management, meta-cognitive and self-monitoring skills throughout our day. Functional academics include the skills necessary for students to access their environment as independently as possible. This is addressed through simulated activities within the classroom, as well as community experiences to promote generalization. All specialists (speech therapist, occupational therapist, counselor, physical therapist) are integrated throughout the day, in addition to their own scheduled classes throughout the week. Some students attend regular education classes with support provided within the LABBB classroom.
Regionalization of small school districts has been a hot and controversial topic recently; but as many school districts face difficult financial challenges they have had no other choice but to consider alternative options for cutting costs. Small school districts are most affected because of a lack of economies of scale and collaboratives just may be a solution to this dilemma.
The Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC) recently published a white paper called Educational Service Agencies in Massachusetts: Building Capacity in Small School Districts. The paper first outlines the myriad functions of Collaboratives and the cost savings they have provided for their member districts. Secondly, the paper compares and contrasts Massachusetts Collaboratives with other Educational Service Agencies (ESA) models that are used in other states. Lastly, the paper proposes an optimal Collaborative model in Massachusetts called, Collaborative Regional Organizations (CRO). This model proposes that if collaboratives work together regionally; provide a specialized function for that region, and at the same time be accountable, we will maximize costs savings for small school districts. The opportunity for collaboratives to serve as a vehicle for economies of scale with the increase budget constraints is timely and all collaboratives in Massachusetts are ready to serve this function.
Although collaboratives have been around for more than 30 years, the state has recently become more interested in the collaborative model. This recent “buzz” has brought recognition to collaboratives and district administrators are becoming mindful of a unique role and expertise that these 29 Educational service agencies in Massachusetts can provide..
If you are interested in reading the white paper click on the link below.
The score says it all, LABBB Students 86, Staff 82. It was a close game but the students pulled it out in the end last night in the annual Student vs. Staff basketball game. As always, both teams played hard and the students just came away with the win. The staff, led by Coach Tom Brincklow, will need to do some thinking in the next year because the staff have not won a game in 10 years. Mr. Brincklow was clearly disappointed, nevertheless, he will be back with a new strategy for the next year. Coach for the students, Mike DiCenso, on the other hand was very please with the students performance. Congratulations to all the students!
As always this event was a big success. Paula Rizzo has been organizing this event for many years and each year it runs smoothly. The event raised approximately $1000.00 and will be used to subsidize student recreational activities. Thank you to all the other LABBB staff who helped out during the event, we could not of done it without all your help.
The turnout was amazing and parents, family and friends filled the stands. I have to say one of the highlights of the evening was when the audio did not work to play our national anthem. The parents, staff and students in the gym realized it was not going to play and all at once everyone started singing the national anthem. It was a great way to start the game.
The book, Getting Things Done, by David Allen is a masterpiece that I just needed to share with you. This has transformed my thinking about actions. Learning and practicing the concepts of action based thinking changed my view of how I was evaluating my efficiency in my work. This was a true paradigm shift from typical organization books, do lists, and daily planners.
I am sharing this book because if put to use, although it will take time, may have a significant impact on stress reduction and personal organization. We live in a world where information is coming at us faster and the need to respond seems to be adding to our stress. How do we compartmentalize all this? How do we process it? If you don’t know, then this book may be of use to you.
Individual Developmental Education for All Learners
The philosophy of the LABBB I.D.E.A.L. Program is that every child has the right to an individualized education that will help them learn to the best of their ability no matter what their disability. We serve a variety of disabled children ages 5-11 in grades Kindergarten through Five. The children’s special needs conditions include, but are not limited to cerebral palsy, visually impairment, seizure disorders and neurological impairments. All of our children have some degree of motor and language impairment.
Housed in the Francis Wyman Elementary School in Burlington our program is an eleven month program. That includes the ten school months as well as a camp program that runs half days during the month of July. We offer two small classes no larger then six students per class. Each classroom is staffed with a special education teacher, a nurse and at least one assistant. We offer services in the area of Physical Therapy, Occupation Therapy, Speech & Language, and Social Services. Using assistive technology the children work on basic communication skills, including augmentative alternative means of communication, gross and fine motor skills cognitive skills and early self-care skills. All of our children work on individual education plans where they develop cognitive skills at there own pace.
We are a small specialized program with the benefits of being involved in a large public school. We follow an inclusion model whenever it is appropriate. At any given time you might see students in a school play, participating in regular recess, or studying the subject of wind while flying kites with a regular education class. Weekly we join our voices together in the “Big Sing” group along with other special education classrooms in our school. The children also partake in community experience programs whenever possible, such as bowling in Woburn, Bowlarama and school curriculum related fieldtrips.
On January 30, LABBB Collaborative held a “Team Meeting Workshop” for LABBB administrative staff and administrative staff who work in the LABBB districts to work on developing an I.E.P. protocol for Team meetings. The goal of this workshop was to discuss facilitation models, laws and regulations under I.D.E.A. and best practices that will promote more efficient and productive I.E.P. meetings.
Sally Smith, the LABBB/EDCO/CASE special education professional development coordinator, facilitated this meeting. Sally was the former Special Education Director in Belmont.
All participants who attended this meeting have a significant amount of expertise chairing I.E.P. meetings, therefore, the discussions was very interactive. Furthermore, this was also a learning opportunity because of the in depth knowledge of special education that the group has and we appreciated all the comments and suggestions that were offered.
A Team meeting protocol document will be created that will outline all components of a Team meeting. The objective is for all staff to understand the expectations of the I.E.P. process and increase communication among all team members. Training for staff who attend I.E.P. meetings will also be conducted when the final protocol is completed.
“Team Meeting Workshop” participants included:
Sally Smith, Special Education Professional Development Coordinator
Ken Kramer, Belmont, Director of Special Education
Tom Riley, LABBB, Life Skills and Admissions Coordinator
Jon Pike, LABBB, Program Director
Nicole McDonald, Burlington, Out of Distict Liaison
Jimmy Kelly, LABBB, Program Director
Nancy Campbell, Arlington, Out of District Liaison
Joe Brescia, LABBB, Program Coordinator
Sandy Goldstein, LABBB, Program Director
Barbara Fortier, Lexington, Out of District Liaison
Sarah Orlov, Bedford, Assistant Special Education Director
Mary Jane Weinstein, Belmont, Assistant Special Education Director
Dianne Costello, LABBB, Program Coordinator
Karen Conway, LABBB Vocational Coordinator
Patric Barbieri, LABBB, Executive Director
The LABBB Photography club was a vision of Theresa Leblanc,Vocational counselor, and Betsy Kidder, Occupational Therapist in the LABBB Collaborative. For those of you who have attended the LABBB photography club exhibits you have experienced a new feature of our program that is very unique!
Three years ago Theresa and Betsy Kidder, LABBB Occupational therapist, offered their first photography course for students in the LABBB Program. This has been a project that has received a significant amount of recognition and the student photographs have been on display at Wilsons Farms, Lexington High School, and Citibank. Furthermore, Hewlett Packard has also contacted the club to inquire about donating digital camera’s, a school committee member has been interested in having the students work displayed in the community and the photography club has had articles in the Lexington Minuteman, Boston Globe and the Council for Exceptional Children on-line magazine.
The photography clubs “unveiling” exhibits have been exciting events. This is an evening event where the students photographs are shown to the public. The attendees have included: current LABBB students, family, family friends and relatives, LABBB staff , building staff among many others.
Below are some links if you would like to look at more pictures that have been taken by the students. They are remarkable pieces of work. Not only have we been impressed by the students ability to create these works of art, but it has also been a positive social experience for all our students.
To view more pictures and articles about the LABBB photography club, please visit the sites below.
Link to the LABBB Photographers Website:
- Link to Boston Globe Article
- The Boston Globe article was also featured in the Council on Exceptional Children C.E.C. online magazine and was called, “Young Artists use Photography to view the World.” The link is below. Go to the section on Eye on Exceptionalities.