Friday, September 2, 2016

Answers to some frequently asked questions

Wow! What an incredible turnout last night at our ice cream social! It was so exciting to meet so many of you and give our kids the first chance to get to know each other. Those of you that were there last night know that there was a lot of things going on, and a lot of questions. I've posted some answers to frequently asked questions below, as a recap, and also for families that weren't able to attend.

Stagger Start for kindergarteners
Kindergarten students start the school on two different days based on their last name. This is district wide, so that our littlest learners have the easiest and most comfortable start to their school year. Below are the start days for our mixed grade classroom:

Tuesday, September 6th: First grade students
Tuesday, September 6th: Kindergarteners with last names starting A-L
Wednesday, September 7th: Kindergarteners with last names starting M-Z
(A-L kindergarteners will stay home this day to allow M-Z kindergarteners their first day)

Drop off/Pick up
If you choose to drop off and pick up your student, please be very aware of the traffic flow patterns and rules at Sexton Mountain. These rules are in place for everyone's safety. The right lane is for dropping off/picking up ONLY. In the mornings, you will not need to get out of your car. Between 8:15-8:30 a.m. SRC staff will be standing outside to help your student out of the car and walk him/her into the building. In the afternoons, the pick up line can be quite long, and there will be hundreds of people outside on the front sidewalk area. Oftentimes, parents find it easiest (and least stressful for kids) to park in the parking lot or on the street and wait by the maroon colored doors. At 3:05 p.m., my staff or I will walk students out that door. If you would prefer to drive through, please know that you will not be able to get out of your car in the right lane, and there is absolutely no pickup in the left lane. Again, this is for traffic safety.

Lunch time
Our students eat lunch as class in the cafeteria with our peers from general education classes. Students have the option to bring cold lunch from home or eat school lunch. If you choose for your child to eat school lunch, you can send in cash or check and we can deposit it into your student's lunch account, or you can bring it into the school, or you can deposit it online (Link to lunch accounts). Once in the cafeteria, several adults will be with your students the entire time to help them complete mealtime routines as independently as possible.

Bathroom time
There will be several adults with students in the bathrooms at all times. We will be there to help with buttoning, changing, cleaning, handwashing, sensory processing, and all of the challenging parts of bathrooming. Please don't worry if your child is still in the process of learning this huge skill--as I joked with a few parents last night, in my 10 years teaching, grades K-5, I've never started a year with everyone in the class fully, confidently toilet-trained. This is part of learning functional life skills which is part of what we do.

Changes of clothes
Whether it be from accidents, a surprisingly wet slide or a messy meal, kindergarten is messy! It is always a good idea to keep a clean, seasonally appropriate set of clothes in your student's backpack. We know that students with sensory processing difficulties sometimes have aversions to feeling wet or dirty, so we want to make sure we have spare clothes to change into so we can go back into the hard work of learning as comfortably as possible.

As always, if you have any further questions, please feel free to email me at any time. This is going to be a great year!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome to the new year!

Welcome families!

I hope that you have had a refreshing and restful summer.  I would like to welcome you to the Structured Routine Center (SRC)! The SRC aims to encourage social and academic growth for students impacted by a variety of disabilities by creating an environment that discretely teaches skills and functional routines.  We also provide a communication intensive environment so that we may foster authentic uses of communication. 

Students will receive specialized services in academics, social skills, communication, behavior modification, and fine and gross motor skills through a variety of research based curriculums. This class will be a primary grade blend classroom

Just for some background information for those of you that I don’t know, I have been working with individuals with disabilities for more than 15 years in a variety of settings.  I have worked with children of all ages in private and public settings, as well as in the group home setting with adults with developmental disabilities. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in so many avenues of services, because I feel that it informs my teaching practices in a very authentic way. I aspire to teach in such a holistic way that my students are being prepared with valuable skills for their lives across all settings. This is my tenth year teaching the SRC, I am so excited for another fantastic year! If you have any questions about our staff, or myself, please feel free to ask at any time.

Since your student will be starting in a new classroom, he/she might be overwhelmed at first by all the new people and experiences. To help the transition as much as possible we want to have toys, schedules and systems in place that will help welcome our students. Since you know your student best, I have created an essential information survey. You can find it in the pages tab on the left side of the page. Please fill these out to the best of your ability and return them to me when you can. This way we can be sure to have some things set up for your student to make his/her first day great! Returning families: I do have your surveys from last year, please feel free to supplement with any new information.

Looking forward to a great year!

Ashlee Rice