Darien SEPAC Reading Buddy Program

Darien SEPAC is pleased to present a new Reading Buddy Program. The program, piloted successfully in the winter of 2016/17 with space and books provided by Darien Library, is now open to student volunteers.

What is a Reading Buddy Program? It’s older kids (“Big Reading Buddies”) paired with younger kids (“Little Reading Buddies”) for one-to-one reading time. Research has shown that academic performance, motivation to read, reading skills, and self-confidence are all gained through participation in these programs. Two SEPAC Representatives; Lynne Andren, who has a MA in Reading and Kara Callahan, who has a MS in Special Education, run the program, with some assistance from SEPAC co-chairs Courtney Darby and Tricia Bresnahan. Both Andren and Callahan are thrilled with the idea of helping parents through the sometimes dreaded daily reading homework requirement while helping the buddies develop new friendships and foster a love of reading. The group meets once a week on Thursday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 PM. Either buddy can require support; in fact this program is perfect for a teen who is struggling with reading.  For program information or to sign-up, contact Lynne Andren (lynneandren@yahoo.com) or Kara Callahan (kwcallahan@icloud.com).

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Integrated Improvisational Music & Drama with Billy Ayres

Thursday, April 20, 4:30 pm – 6 pm
Darien Library Community Room
All ages welcome
RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com

SEPAC and Darien Library are excited to present integrated improvisational music and drama with Billy Ayres, an award-winning musician and teacher. Billy uses the integrated arts — acting, singing, joking, dancing, drawing — to help children connect and open up. When a child’s talents are unlocked and allowed to shine, their self-esteem, self-confidence, and social skills are enhanced.

Billy will first explain his process to parents, caregivers and educators while children take part in a read-aloud. Then kids will be invited on stage to collaborate and perform.

Billy Ayres is a multi-award winning singer, musician, writer and director specializing in improvisational musical theater with special needs children and adults. Billy has a Masters degree in Special Education and a B.S. in Psychology, is the Musical Theater Workshop Coordinator at Arts for Healing in New Canaan, and has created, directed and performed in more than 100 original musicals at the Westchester Center for the Arts, The Greenwich Youth Stage and Ability Beyond Disability. Billy is the founder of Lifeline Theater & Art Center, a non-profit organization that provides an outlet for unlocking the potential of children and adults with special needs through singing, dancing, artwork and other integrated arts and life skills programs. http://www.Lifelinetheaterinc.org.

Understanding Dyslexia/Reading Disabilities by Dr. Margie Gillis

Thursday, April 6th
9:30-11am
Darien Library Community Room
RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com (Please note READING in subject line)

Please join us for an educational presentation on Understanding Dyslexia/Reading Disabilities by reading expert, Dr. Margie Gillis.

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia affects 80% of those diagnosed with learning disabilities. What do parents and educators need to know to help students reach their full potential? From identification and instruction to advocacy and empowerment, Dr. Margie Gillis will discuss the process of getting the best support for every child who needs it and will answer your questions. Topics will include:
What is dyslexia?
What are the signs of dyslexia?
How is it diagnosed?
Expert teaching is the best treatment
What CT law says about dyslexia
Orton-Gillingham training and certification
Parents and teachers as advocates

The presentation is co-sponsored by Darien SEPAC and Darien Library.
Dr. Margie Gillis is the president of Literacy How and a research affiliate at Fairfield University and Haskins Labs. Among her many accomplishments and presentations, she was recently (January 2017) the primary presenter of the live webinar, “Using Literacy Screening Data to Support Students with Reading Difficulties,” attended by approximately 300 Connecticut educators and hosted by the State Education Resource Center of CT (SERC) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).

Colleges with Support Services Panel

Wednesday, March 29th
7:15 PM
Darien Library Community Room
Please RSVP to dariensepac@gmail.com

Students with IEPs/504s and parents are invited to attend a panel discussion, which will include representatives from colleges offering support services. The panel will share details about available academic, social and living supports. Paul Ribeiro, Director of Guidance, Darien High School, will moderate. Darien SEPAC, DHSPA, Darien Public Schools and Darien Library are sponsoring this evening program. Panelists will include:

Wesleyan University
Laura J. Patey, M. Ed., Associate Dean for Student Academic Resources

University of Connecticut
Lindsay Morales, M.A., Strategy Instructor, Center for Students with Disabilities

Mitchell College
Jacqueline Jewett, Director of Individualized Services, Director of Thames Academy

Fairleigh Dickinson University
William N. Presutti, MS, Florham Campus Director of the Regional Center, Adjunct Instructor in the Learning Disabilities Program

Understanding Dyslexia/Reading Disabilities by Dr. Margie Gillis

Thursday, April 6th
9:30-11am
Darien Library Community Room
RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com (Please note READING in subject line)

Please join us for an educational presentation on Understanding Dyslexia/Reading Disabilities by reading expert, Dr. Margie Gillis.

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia affects 80% of those diagnosed with learning disabilities. What do parents and educators need to know to help students reach their full potential? From identification and instruction to advocacy and empowerment, Dr. Margie Gillis will discuss the process of getting the best support for every child who needs it and will answer your questions. Topics will include:
What is dyslexia?
What are the signs of dyslexia?
How is it diagnosed?
Expert teaching is the best treatment
What CT law says about dyslexia
Orton-Gillingham training and certification
Parents and teachers as advocates

The presentation is co-sponsored by Darien SEPAC and Darien Library.
Dr. Margie Gillis is the president of Literacy How and a research affiliate at Fairfield University and Haskins Labs. Among her many accomplishments and presentations, she was recently (January 2017) the primary presenter of the live webinar, “Using Literacy Screening Data to Support Students with Reading Difficulties,” attended by approximately 300 Connecticut educators and hosted by the State Education Resource Center of CT (SERC) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).

The Evaluation Process

An Understanding of Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Evaluations
Tuesday, February 28, Noon to 2:00 PM
Board of Education Boardroom, 35 Leroy Ave.

Please RSVP: Dariensepac@gmail.com

Please join us on Tuesday, February 28th, 12-2 PM for our upcoming meeting on testing and evaluations. The IDEA provides the authorization for a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation to be conducted by certified personnel to assess current levels of a student’s cognitive, academic, and linguistic functioning as recommended by the PPT.

The presentation will foster an understanding of standardized assessments that are conducted and how current levels of cognitive, linguistic, and academic functioning impact teaching and learning in the classroom and student performance.

Presenters:
Dr. Terry D’Elisa, School Psychologist, DHS
Ms. Christine Pochetti, Speech and Language Pathologist, MMS
Ms. Carolyn Hoette, SESS Facilitator, Tokeneke

Transition to DHS, MMS & K

New Date!

Preparing Middle School Special Education/504 Students for Transition to DHS
February 23th: Middlesex Middle School Auditorium
12:15 PM to 1:45 PM
Co-sponsored by MPA and SEPAC
Please join a panel of DHS and MMS administrators and staff for an informative discussion and explanation of
the high school transition process for middle school students
with IEPs and 504 accommodations.

Topics will include:
• Understanding the transition process to Darien High School
• What are the supports for students with IEPs and 504s at DHS?
• When do articulation PPTs take place?
• Who does a student typically go to for help?
• Overview of DHS course options and class requirements

ELP Transition/ Articulation to Kindergarten for Children with IEPs
February 9th: BOE Meeting Room
10am to 11am
Sponsored by DPS
Please join a panel of ELP and kindergarten educators who will provide an overview of the transition to kindergarten for students with disabilities.

Middlesex Middle School Special Education Overview for Incoming 6th Grade parents
March 9th: Middlesex Middle School Auditorium
9:30AM to 11:00AM
Co-sponsored by MPA and SEPAC
More information to follow.