OSS Update: May 2023

The Office of Student Services (OSS) is proud to share updates in all four of its divisions, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Multilingual Learners (MLL), and Special Education. As a newly restructured department, a primary focus is to integrate the extensive support, services, and impact for students and families in a highly organized, effective, and systematic department. Using data and a collaborative process, OSS is beginning to develop and revisit our vision for additional review and refinement. The District Plan, district initiatives, and department vision, reflecting strong alignment, will drive the work and decision making.

Introducing Cartwheel
Through the district’s SEL and Mental Health grant, the SEL Division has partnered with Cartwheel, a Cambridge-based company that partners with school districts to expand mental health services for students and families via telehealth. Cartwheel has experienced, diverse, multilingual therapists and child psychiatrists that provide families with rapid access to clinical care. It offers short-term counseling, parent guidance support, and medication evaluation as needed. Referrals to services will be made through our school-based general education and special education social workers. We are excited to partner with Cartwheel to further expand our community partnerships and build our continuum of care around mental health support.

Strategic Tutoring: We want to hear from you!
The MTSS Division is currently in process of refining the draft Strategic Tutoring plan which is in addition to current school based interventions. Before/after school tutoring opportunities to be Excel tutors will be offered first to CPS staff. Please see the updated slide deck of the emerging plan that is reflecting recent feedback. This is a short term, 1-2 years, that will be offered before/after school sessions and embedded into afterschool and summer programming. Please provide your feedback on the draft plan using this link.

Workload Audit
The Special Education Division, under Dr. Alves leadership, is in the last phase of the external Workload Audit that will provide additional information to the CEA Workload Audit that was provided in 2021. OSS is eager to incorporate these findings into the important work of addressing identified barriers for educators to do their best work. The auditor, Sumaya Kumar, is expected to share her over the next several weeks. Thank you for your participation and if you have questions, please continue to reach out to Dr. Alves.

School Committee Presentations
The SEL Division, led by Kim Huffer, presented a well-received School Committee presentation last month on SEL reflected in the MTSS Framework. Kim has begun participating in SEL walkthroughs using an adapted CASEL protocol that is expected to become part of the SEL Toolkit resource for staff that is currently in development.

The Multilingual Learner Division is excited to present to the School Committee, educators, and the public on Tuesday, May 16 on Multilingual Learner Education. OSS invites you to join Director Beth Kershner and the incredible MLL team to learn more about MLL services and supports.

504 Services
A special shout out to Teacher in Charge Section 504, Christine DeAmbrose, for her incredible work in improving access to 504 services and supports. Christine is an advocate and pioneer in this critical work. She is in the final stages of finalizing an informational 504 brochure to support access and consistency.

Professional Learning
OSS is excited to invite nationally and internationally recognized expert, Dr. Samuel Ortiz, on Monday, June 5 to an OSS professional learning collaboration of the MLL and Special Ed Divisions, welcoming psychologists to attend a full day session, "Preventing Disproportionality of ELLs: Evidence-based Practices to Determine Language Difference vs. Specific Learning Disability." More information will be shared closer to the date by OSS Executive Secretary, Desiree Campbell, and staff on assignment will be provided.

New Interim Special Education Coordinator
We are honored to announce that Siobhán Reardon has been named Interim Special Education Coordinator under the Office of Student Services, effective today. Siobhán began her career with us as a student teacher and paraprofessional before becoming a special education teacher in the Autism Sub-Separate Program and a Recovery Team Special Educator. Siobhán has also worked as a Special Education Administrative Intern, working on K-12 district curriculum implementation, MCAS-Alt coaching, staffing, and facilitation of several professional learning courses. Please join us in congratulating Siobhán!
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