Welcome Back!

It is my pleasure to welcome you back for the 2014-2015 school year.  I hope this message finds you well rested and refreshed.  As we prepare to embark up on a new school year I would first like to acknowledge the following people: Kristine Nickas (Beebe School), Marsha Higgins (SEEM Prep), and Christina Pignone (Middle School), who have given over 20 years of full-time service to the Collaborative.  Kristine is entering her 27th year, Marsha is entering her 24th year, and Christina is entering her 23rd year.  They have seen the Collaborative through an incredible transformation, we are fortunate to have such dedicated employees.  I would also like to congratulate Sue Coveney from SEEM Prep, and Diane Bleier, SEEM Vision teacher, on their retirement.  They will be missed.  Finally, I would like to welcome the following new and returning employees:

Hurd School:
Sydney Drane, Teacher
Jennifer Smith, Paraeducator
Jenna Wilson, Paraeducator

Campus Academy High School:
Christopher Frangos, Teacher

Mark Santoro, Paraeducator

SEEM Prep:
Renee Glover, Job Coach

Milton Brown, Job Coach
Naomi Sanon, Paraeducator
Michael Santos, Paraeducator                             

SEEM Middle School:
Donald Johnson, Paraeducator

Joshua Ragucci, Paraeducator
Jennifer Reina, Teacher
Julie Yentile, Paraeducator

Assessment Center
Melanie Jacobson, Teacher

Central Office
Claud’Jena Clotaire, Home therapist

Lauren Coen-Iltis, Vision Teacher
Kristin Diezel, Home Therapist
Amara Georges, Home Therapist
Jennifer Manchester, Vision Teacher
Elizabeith Reifsnyder, Home Therapist
Mailckely Labathe, Computer Technician

We made great progress last year implementing the Educator Evaluation System.  I had an opportunity to review the portfolios of those who were part of the first cycle; the high caliber work and the evidence of student learning taking place is both impressive and heartwarming.  I look forward to year-two and am inspired by how much I am learning from your continuous effort to reflect upon practice and improve student performance.  This year we will continue to invest in technology and professional development that fosters 21st century skill development, data driven practices, and improves our overall communication.  Mailckely Labathe will be providing additional technical support; we have upgraded our bandwidth to enable more reliable connectivity to the Internet; we are continuing to purchase IPADs and computers for our programs; and we have invested in a communication system that will allow us to communicate more effectively and efficiently with staff and families.

In closing… Holocaust survivor and psychologist, Victor Frankl said, “Success like happiness can’t be pursued.  It must ensue as the unintended byproduct of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.”  I thought of you when I pondered this quote.  Every day you walk through our doors you commit to a cause greater than yourself.   You have chosen to dedicate your life’s work to students, who until only 40 years ago could be legally denied access to a public education on the basis of their disability.  Your work is about furthering human progress and ensuring that those who are marginalized and disenfranchised are afforded every opportunity to reach their personal and professional potential.  I am grateful you have chosen to pursue this work at SEEM Collaborative and thrilled to have you back!

Best wishes for a prosperous school year,

Cathy Lawson,
Executive Director



From the Executive Director

Welcome to our new website! I am excited to now have a place to share with you news and updates about our programs and the services offered by the Collaborative.

We have launched many new initiatives across the Collaborative in an effort to ensure that every child receives the highest quality of education possible. One focus, in particular, is in the area of curriculum and instruction.  Our current efforts include mathematics curriculum mapping, new reading programs at the Ripley School, Therapeutic Learning Center, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, and vocational curriculum for our transition age students.

For the past two years, we have been working on aligning our curriculum to the Massachusetts Common Core State Standards. We have now completed math pacing guides for grades K-8 with common formative and summative assessments that will allow us to track student progress. Pedagogical efforts include continued incorporation of 21st century skills into each child’s learning experience, and we will continue to provide–and improve–each student’s access to the curriculum through the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to instruction across all SEEM Programs. Through UDL, teachers provide curriculum content in numerous ways, while differentiating instruction and engaging students in multiple hands-on opportunities that accommodates individual learning styles.

In the area of reading, we are implementing new programs at the elementary level.  The Wilson Fundations Program will be implemented at the Ripley school and at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, Visual Phonics will be implemented across the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program to enhance development of literacy skills, and we will be implementing Road to Reading at the Therapeutic Learning Center Program (Prek-8).  Rode to Reading emphasizes explicit, systematic, research-based instruction that helps students understand how letters and letter combinations represent sounds and words.

Vocational Curriculum has been another curricular focus at the Collaborative. This summer, we invested in the four remaining kits from the Project Discovery Transition System – Adapted Version.  These kits contain materials to help students with significant disabilities explore various career fields. Unlike traditional “work boxes,” Project Discovery provides lessons that tie the activities into the student’s academics.  It also comes complete with PDF and MS word files for the curriculum and printed materials  so that teachers can adapt the content to suit the individual needs of each student.  We have been purchasing 4-5 kits per summer. This year, we completed the series by purchasing Carpentry, Health & Nutrition, Mail Handling, and Skin & Nail Care.

I am proud of the programs that we offer, as well as our staff who dedicate their time and energy to providing your children with a high-quality education. We are excited about these improvements and are looking forward to implementing them in the upcoming school year.