April 15 Letter to SSD Families

  • April 15, 2020

    Dear Families of students who receive SSD services in Ritenour,

    I hope you and your loved ones are well and continue to stay safe despite the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As you may know, to protect our students and staff, SSD has made the decision along with the other school districts in St. Louis County to keep our schools closed for the remainder of the school year due to the pandemic.

    In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to change the way we carry out our normal business. We recognize how difficult it is for families to care for their children at home while communicating with their children’s teachers and ensuring that their children receive and complete their schoolwork. We have heard that it is difficult to manage the various student activities while also scheduling teacher contacts and phone calls. We know the organizational challenges for families are immense.

    In an effort to provide support to our families in the collaborative work with their child’s teachers, beginning April 24th, we will implement distance learning plans for students receiving SSD services. These plans which you will receive electronically will support families as follows:

    1. Plans will provide a single document to clarify, focus, and communicate the needs of each student and how those needs will be addressed.
    2. Teachers and other related service providers will be able to clearly outline for families their schedule, types of support, how support will be offered, and the learning areas being addressed throughout the week.
    3. Communication previously received from multiple service providers will be streamlined in order to simplify communication between school teams and families around services, supports, and learning activities being provided.  
    4. The plans will provide access to needed links and information to provide Instruction in one location for families.   

    Your child’s teacher will be consulting with you to complete the individual Distance Learning Plan. The plan will be based on your input, your child’s IEP goals, your child’s learning style, and the schedule for interactions between your child, you, and the teacher.  This plan will provide the team information to use in generating future IEPs and progress reports and provide documentation of service delivery.

    In addition, teachers and/or case managers currently are contacting parents/guardian to request electronic permission to provide documents related to special education meetings and for consent for students to participate in group-based online instruction. SSD is completing special education meetings remotely and implementing student instruction using video conferencing methods, as well as using other direct and indirect methods.

    In this time of closure and especially now that closure has been extended, we hope that these changes will provide greater support to students and their families.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s teacher.

    Thank you and take care.

    Sincerely,

    Elizabeth Keenan, Ph.D.
    SSD Superintendent

    Dee Byrnes
    SSD Director 
    Ritenour and Pattonville School Districts
    dbyrnes@ssdmo.org