• April 13, 2020

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    I hope everyone was able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend! The sun has definitely helped with the closed-in feeling I know we have been experiencing at our home.

    I am writing to you with information and updates regarding special education. Attached is a Special Education Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document that should address many of the questions and concerns that you may have. The FAQ can be found HERE.

    The most important aspect is your student’s and your family’s well-being. It is important to be balanced with your time and your efforts.  To that end, if you would prefer to OPT-OUT of any or all of your child’s remote special education services you may do so. The OPT-OUT form can be found HERE as well as on the FAQ sheet.  Please read all of the information regarding the OPT-OUT on the FAQ sheet or contact the Special Education Administrator at your school site.

    By now, most if not all, of your student’s special education providers should have been in touch regarding how they will be providing services.  In the next 1-2 weeks, you will be receiving an Individual Remote Learning Plan for how we will be providing FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) for your student.  Much of the information on this plan will be information you have already received from your team- in a single specific format.

    During these unprecedented and uncertain times, classroom and special education instruction and services will look different. “The determination of how FAPE is to be provided may need to be different in this time of unprecedented national emergency”. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education FAQ 3/26/20 (attached to email). 

    As a reminder, instruction and services may be provided asynchronously and synchronously as appropriate. Services will be a combination of student-directed and educator-directed material/instruction.

    With respect to counseling services your child receives during school time: the school adjustment counselor/school psychologist will also be reaching out to you and your student.  It is important to understand that these check-ins are not therapy. If you have concerns about your child’s safety or well-being please refer to the District’s resource page which is on the website and can be found here Sharon Local Resources and Support.

    Special education teachers and service providers are collaborating ongoing with their regular education counterpoints to provide accommodations and modifications as needed so your child can access the curriculum being provided.

    Annual reviews will begin again by 4/21/20.  During the period of school closure, these meetings will be done virtually.  A member of your student’s IEP team will be in touch with you with scheduling information and options for moving forward. 

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION- Notice Regarding Remote Learning:

    In accordance with state and federal laws, including the Massachusetts Wiretapping Act and FERPA, parents, and students must refrain from recording any and all remote lessons.

    Exceptions may be made on an individual basis due to special circumstances, and only with the consent of everyone involved in the lesson. In addition, while parents/ guardians are permitted to observe online instruction in a non-disruptive manner, to the extent that remote learning opportunities provide access to confidential student information, all participants agree, by participating in this remote learning opportunity, to refrain from disseminating any confidential student information about other student participants with any and all third parties. By participating in the remote learning opportunities, consent to this request is hereby provided.

    Similarly, we ask everyone in our school community to recognize that video conferences and other online services will be taking place in the homes of the educators and students who participate in the calls and to be mindful of everyone’s right to privacy. To that end, we remind our students to dress appropriately and choose an appropriate location in their home from which to participate in any and all remote learning opportunities, particularly those with a video component. Parents/ guardians should take all precautions to safeguard personal or private information that they do not wish to be disclosed.

    Parents/ guardians may choose to request that analog materials be provided as a substitute for online lessons to the extent feasible.

    By accessing these services, the District recognizes that you and your child consent to access the online instruction and agree to fully comply with the requirements of this notice

    As with anything new, it is an unnerving time for all of us. Maintaining connections between school staff and students is paramount. The Sharon Public Schools Department of Student Services is dedicated to meeting the needs of all learners.

    My best wishes to all of you and your families to continue to be well during this difficult time.

    Kind regards,

    Jessica Murphy

    Director of Student Services