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    Steilacoom Historical School District's Student Services department is committed to providing support to families, staff, and students to ensure every student achieves meaningful and challenging learning outcomes. More information on Special Education, Childfind, and Section 504 services can be found at the links on the left. Student Services also oversees school counselors, found in each of our schools and the Home Hospital program.

     

    Contact Us 
     
    Executive Director  Gudrun Sullivan
    Assistant Director of Special Education  Tabitha Ellison
    Student Services Department Specialist Carla Cooper-Haamid
     
     
    511 Chambers Street
    Steilacoom, WA 98388
    Phone: (253) 983-2238
    Fax: (253) 582-9274 
     

    Updates on Special Education

     

    June 1, 2021 

    Dear SHSD Families, 

    As we approach the end of the school year, we want to sincerely thank you for partnering with us this year to ensure that students were able to safely access their learning. The necessity of remote learning and the frequent schedule changes were especially challenging for students with their disabilities and their families. It wouldn't have been possible to meet students' needs without your support, and we appreciate you immensely. 
     
    It will be wonderful to return to our traditional schedule in September. At every annual review IEP meeting throughout next school year, teams will be considering each student's progress towards IEP goals and determining if recovery services are needed. Our summer opportunities aren't the only chance to access additional services. Please let your student's case manager know if you would like to discuss recovery services prior to the regular annual review meeting. 
     
    Learning recovery will be necessary for all students, and additional interventions will be embedded in general education instruction next year. SHSD is committed to responding to students' needs and helping every student succeed. Thanks again for being such a vital part of our learning community! 
     

    --

    Gudrun Sullivan
    Executive Director of Student Services 
    Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1
    (253) 983-2238

     

    May 1, 2021

    It has been wonderful to have students back in school this spring. Although Pierce County has moved back to Phase 2 on Washington's Roadmap to Recovery, our district is continuing with forward momentum, maintaining the health and safety measures that keep our students, staff, and community safe. As Dr. Weight shared in an update on April 16th, we are planning for students to return full time in the fall. 

     
    As part of our planning, every school is committed to implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to meet each student where they are and help them to make progress towards grade level learning standards. Our staff has participated in professional learning for UDL this year and will continue to develop our knowledge and skills in this area. UDL ensures educational access and benefits for all students, including those with disabilities. The article linked below is a parent's guide to UDL, and includes a link to a chart that compares UDL and traditional instructional practices. The shift from traditional practices to UDL will entail accommodations that once were considered "extras" for some students with disabilities being made available for all students. UDL recognizes that all individuals learn and process information differently and seeks to maximize students' strengths. 
     
    We appreciate the opportunity to work with you to innovate and continually improve instruction and services for your child. 
     
     

    --

    Gudrun Sullivan
    Executive Director of Student Services 
    Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1
    (253) 983-2238

     

    April 1, 2021

    SHSD staff are heading into April with renewed joy and thankfulness that we are able to see students in person. We understand that building closures due to the pandemic have impacted students' social emotional well-being and academic progress, and we are committed to meeting their needs. 
     
    Part of this commitment includes providing additional learning opportunities during the summer, as well as throughout the 2021-2022 school year. While these opportunities are available for all students, extra resources will be allocated specifically for providing services for students with disabilities. If your student is experiencing greater difficulties and a lack of progress due to the conditions caused by the pandemic, their IEP team (with you as a vital member) may determine that they should receive recovery services. The purpose of recovery services is to help students make progress towards attaining IEP goals and to support equitable outcomes. The amount of recovery services required depends on individual students' needs, and generally is not equal to the numbers of service minutes missed due to building closures. 
     
    The district's summer learning program and continued extra learning activities next school year offer a valuable opportunity for students with disabilities to receive recovery services in a general education setting alongside their typical peers. While this is not the only option for teams to consider it is one that should receive strong consideration, as students benefit both academically and socially from inclusion in general education. Special educators can design and implement services aligned with specific students' IEPs within the regular summer school classes. We will be surveying families and students about interests and designing our programs to align interests with needs. Additionally, there will be credit recovery and acceleration programs for high school students that will enable them to make up missed credits or take additional credits to get ahead. 
     
    Please contact your student's case manager after spring break to discuss the possible need for recovery services. While the specifics of our summer learning program are not yet finalized, we can assure you that they are in progress and help is on the way for our kids who have been most impacted over the last year. 
     

    --

    Gudrun Sullivan
    Executive Director of Student Services 
    Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1
    (253) 983-2238

     

    March 1, 2021

    Our district has been rejuvenated with the "beginning of the school year" excitement over the last month as our elementary students returned to school in person. We are thrilled to be welcoming our middle and high school students this month. Although staff, students, and families have been working hard all year to ensure learning continues in the midst of the pandemic, we know that the most meaningful learning occurs when students have in person access to their teachers and peers. 

    This vital access to teachers and peers is also at the heart of our inclusionary practices work. Last school year SHSD joined districts across the state in multiple grant projects focused on increasing the inclusion of students with disabilities into general education classes. This work has continued in the 2020-2021 school year. Administrators, teachers, and paraeducators are learning about inclusive practices, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL). These practices benefit all students, and are especially important for addressing the learning loss resulting from the pandemic. Parents of all students (those with and without disabilities) have shared concerns about their students being behind. Please be assured that our staff members recognize that students are returning with varying gaps in academic and social emotional skills and are prepared to differentiate and design instruction so that all students are able to access learning and make progress. 
     
    Teachers will be committing extra time and effort to strengthening classroom communities, ensuring that all students feel welcomed, and that their social and emotional needs are met. Please reach out to your student's case manager to share any questions, concerns, or input regarding their program as we move forward into this next phase. 
     

    --

    Gudrun Sullivan
    Executive Director of Student Services 
    Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1
    (253) 983-2238

     

    February 1, 2021

    We were thrilled to welcome kindergarten students last month into our primary schools for in-person learning. Thanks to our amazing community, families, students, and staff the transition went smoothly. The month of February brings even more excitement, as first through fifth graders will be returning to school per this timeline shared last week by Superintendent Weight. 

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    As your students return for hybrid, please be prepared to hear from their case managers regarding possible changes to their special education service schedules. It will be necessary for some schedules to shift due to the timing of in-person classes. 
     
    Some students and their families have expressed concerns about "being behind" when returning to school. The conditions created by the pandemic and remote learning have resulted in interrupted learning for many students. Teachers are anticipating that different students will have varying skill gaps and intervention needs, and will be focusing on reteaching essential standards as necessary and meeting students' social emotional needs. Teachers will be maximizing in person time to connect with students and provide interventions for all students who need them. Your students are in great hands, and we will be so happy to see them! If you have any questions or concerns about your student's individualized program, please contact their case manager. 
     
    --

    Gudrun Sullivan
    Executive Director of Student Services 
    Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1
    (253) 983-2238

     

    January 5, 2021

    Happy New Year! 

    I hope that you all had a restorative and relaxing winter break. The new year presents us with ongoing changes and the prospect for resolution of the public health crisis with the arrival of a vaccine. While we are hopeful, we know that in order to keep our community safe and continue the momentum towards having more students on site it is vital to maintain the practices of physical distancing, wearing masks, and deep cleaning. 
     
    We are excited to welcome kindergarten students on site on January 19th. As we don't want to limit students' access to their general education class and peers while they are at school, special education service times may change for some students, depending on their current schedules. The actual number of service minutes in IEPs will not be changing unless the full IEP team (including you, of course) agrees upon changes. It is anticipated that more students will be able to return to in-person learning as COVID cases hopefully decrease throughout the remainder of the school year. SHSD is committed to increasing in-person learning while prioritizing safety and following health department guidance. As more students return, case managers will communicate with families regarding services and supports that will ensure our students with disabilities are able to continue learning and making progress, regardless of the instructional model. 
     
    Report cards will be issued at the end of first semester. Grades should be reflective of students' individual learning and progress, rather than the number of assignments turned in. The circumstances created by the pandemic have especially impacted students with disabilities. Due to many students' unique needs, it has been difficult to demonstrate learning and progress through standard assignments and students need to be provided with multiple opportunities and multiple ways to show teachers what they know and are able to do. If you have questions or concerns about your child's grades, please reach out to their case manager. We appreciate your resilience and partnership as we support our students through this very unprecedented school year. 
     

    December 2, 2020 

    The final month of 2020 presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the adversity we've overcome in the past year and to plan for the future. Our community has come together to support students' ongoing learning in the midst of a pandemic that continues to present unprecedented challenges. Many students are struggling academically and socially during this time, and students with disabilities are particularly impacted. 

    SHSD is striving to support all students' social emotional well-being, with a focus on those with the greatest needs. Yesterday the district opened a Thoughtexchange in response to the following question:

    What are the most important things our school district community can do to increase every student's sense of belonging and ensure that all students feel valued and included? 

    I encourage you all to respond and participate in this Thoughtexchange, as families of students with disabilities have unique insights and experiences related to inclusion. Our district is part of statewide inclusionary practices projects that include ongoing staff training. Inclusive school environments benefit all students, and we are committed to ensuring that every student in SHSD is provided with high-quality academic and social emotional learning opportunities. We appreciate you partnering with us to achieve this goal. To respond to the Thoughtexchange, please follow this link: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/scroll/644062836  


    Have a safe and healthy holiday season!  

     

    November 2, 2020


    The past month presented our district and community with ongoing changes and challenges. Many were positive; both students and teachers are adapting to remote learning and demonstrating creativity and innovation. We've discovered that some of our students are actually thriving in the remote learning model, as they are better able to focus and access their teachers regularly for extra help during asynchronous time. Other students with learning difficulties are continuing to struggle. Our aim is to respond to students' needs as they arise to ensure that all are able to learn as effectively as possible in spite of the circumstances. 

    The limitations imposed by the pandemic provide IEP teams with valuable information about students' strengths, needs, and learning styles. Although the health department mandates have greatly decreased available options for in-person instruction, teams are still able to analyze the unique needs of each student and implement plans to meet those needs. Teams can incorporate the methods and supports that are working for individual students during this time into hybrid and traditional instructional models when safety restrictions are lifted. The health department has given us permission to slowly increase the number of students accessing in-person small group instruction. Please contact your student's case manager if you would like to discuss in-person services aligned with your student's IEP goals or have any other questions or concerns. 

    Even as we delve more deeply into academic instruction, we are continuing our district focus on the social and emotional needs of our students, staff, and families. The neural educators in our district have reinforced the "neuroscience of gratitude," that gratitude reduces stress. The upcoming holiday season presents us with an opportunity to reflect upon all we have to be thankful for. In the Student Services department, we are thankful for the students and families that make up our incredible learning community.

     

    Gudrun Sullivan
    Gudrun Sullivan
    Executive Director of Student Services