Superintendent Insider: Specialized For Success
  • Familly Engagement Month

    Posted by Special School District on 11/1/2022

    On November 9, 2021, Special School District proclaimed November Family Engagement in Education Month. 

    To honor our commitment to family engagement, SSD will celebrate the families we serve by hosting our first Family Academy on November 5, 2022, from 9 AM to 12 PM at Northview High School in Florissant, MO. The Family Academy is an opportunity for us to partner with families, staff, and community agencies to improve student achievement, social well-being, and post-graduate outcomes. This event is an inclusive and entertaining learning opportunity open to all families.                

    Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team members have collaborated with departments throughout the district to offer engaging learning experiences to families throughout the year. FACE hosts interactive sessions to support student growth in math, literacy, transition planning, social-emotional learning, self-care for families, and more. FACE also creates opportunities to network with community vendors and other families to learn about vast resources and opportunities available throughout our communities to support their needs. 

    Because Special School District recognizes that our students and families have unique needs, FACE seeks to co-create opportunities to support each family.  They offer multiple virtual learning opportunities that range from IEP process overview to executive functioning and host Lunch and Learn options for bite-size learning once a month. For families seeking to enhance their leadership and advocacy skills, FACE’s Family Leadership Institute (FLI) is offered two times a year.  Families may find their community at one of the Family Cafes, where every voice is valued, and all have the opportunity to learn and lead. Please visit the FACE website for details and more information about our offerings.

    Building family engagement is an ongoing process, and SSD will continue to seek meaningful feedback, collaboration opportunities, and valuable ways to support our students.

    Thank you for allowing us to partner with you to help our students achieve their greatest potential.

    Comments (-1)
  • Teacher Workload Updates

    Posted by Special School District on 9/8/2022

    I am constantly amazed by the level of support our staff provide students each and every day. It is clear that we all want what’s best for students. From the trusting relationships staff build with students and their families, to the creative lessons that celebrate students’ individuality, none of this could be possible without our teacher-level staff. 

    However, when our staff face unmanageable demands, not only does their own well-being suffer, their ability to connect with students and families is compromised.  

    In late 2021, the Teacher Workload Committee was created to better understand the breadth of non-instructional tasks that teachers are asked to complete. The Committee identified the most time-consuming tasks by connecting with teachers and administrators. They spent time reviewing research and District-level data to develop potential solutions for alleviating some of the workload stress experienced by instructional staff. Through staff surveys, discussions with Teacher Advisory and Union groups, it became clear that SSD teachers in our partner districts, SSD schools, and technical education buildings are all facing a significant paperwork burden. In many cases, we realize this is a challenge experienced across the field of education, particularly special education, but we recognize that we can do better.  

    We can do better by:  

    • Making use of existing information before creating new forms.
    • Critically thinking of how we use the information we are collecting. If it is not informing action, discontinuing its use.
    • Controlling the introduction of new paperwork.

    Recently, the Teacher Workload Committee announced limitations to certain unnecessary or non-instructional tasks like lengthy lesson plans, widescale Fastbridge screenings that extends beyond its recommended use, ad-hoc staff surveys, and duplicative Safe School courses. Within the next few months, a paperwork approval process will be introduced to slow the flow of new information requests to teachers. 

    Our teacher-level staff have consistently asked for leadership to consider available time before introducing new initiatives, paperwork, and tasks. It is critical for the wellbeing of our staff, the success of our students, and achieving our vision as a District, that we continue to work together to address teacher workload. I invite you to submit your thoughts via Let’s Talk (selecting the Teacher Workload topic tag), as we continue to work on new measures. 

    I am incredibly proud of the commitment and care SSD staff show to students, families, and their colleagues. It is our hope that these new measures allow our teachers to do what they do best- teach

    Comments (-1)