LABBB Collaborative 
March 2014

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
by: Patric Barbieri, LABBB Executive Director

Dear LABBB Community:


We have some exciting events coming this spring, and we are all looking forward to some warm weather to accompany them. One event that we are all gearing up for is the LABBB Special Olympics on April 30. This is not just an event for athletes; it is an event that brings the LABBB community together including our student's, families, LABBB staff, general ed staff, local businesses, superintendents, town selectman, and school committee members, among others. This is the one time during the year when all of our programs are together in one place. 


Students and staff will be coming from 15 different school buildings within the five LABBB districts where LABBB programs are housed, to meet at the Lexington track and field. We hope to see you there. If you have not experienced the opening ceremonies, I highly recommend you arrive at 9:00 a.m. to be part of this. It is certainly one of the highlights of the day.  


This past weekend, LABBB hosted its second annual edcampAccess with Karen Janowski and the edcamp team. This is a professional development event that many people refer to as an "unconference." It is new and different and you can read more about it in the article included in this newsletter. LABBB is driven to be the leader in special education; and bringing people together to share their expertise and best practices is important to developing this vision. When you get the best and brightest educators together, you are going to be inspired, and this will lead us to evolve. When you engage with innovative educators, you cannot help but be motivated by their creativity and passion.  

Please follow LABBB Collaborative users and hashtags:

An Innovative Approach to Teaching Banking Using Apps  


by Rebecca Dickson, LABBB Teacher, Lexington High School


During the past quarter, the students in Mrs. Cronin and Mrs. Dickson's functional/real life math class have been discussing and learning how to use technology for banking. Mrs. Cronin and Mrs. Dickson were looking for ways to move into the 21st century with a new approach to teach banking to our students. They researched many apps and decided to use the checkbook app by Appxy. This free App was chosen for several reasons: it had great graphics, and the interface was very simple to use.  Not all apps are perfect and we had to solve a few technological problems before we could implement this app. We found it was hard to delete and some of the functions were different based on the type of device we were using. This is the world we live in now and solving these issues is just part of our learning.


During this lesson each student was required to download the app onto their Apple product or Android. The students were taught how to set up a savings / checking account and wallet in the app. During the quarter, the student's have been running a simulated budget using these accounts. The activities include: making deposits and withdrawals, transferring money, and utilize the graphing aspects of the app to determine where their money is going. The goal for each student is to become comfortable using this app and generalize these skills to their environment so each student can manage their personal banking accounts.       

Checkbook - Spending, Income, Cashflow and Account Tracker App



LABBB Upcoming Events

  • Recreation Activities: For more information please click here: LABBB Recreation. 

    • March 22 EdcampAccess, Burlington, Marshall Simonds Middle School 
    • April 10  PAC Meeting 6:30 - 7:15, Lexington High School followed by Speaker, Lindsay Rice, 7:15-9:00 Topic "The Rights of Parents/Guardians and Students in Special Education
    • April 30  9:00am, Special Olympics, Lexington High School Track and field on Worthen Rd.    
    • March 31, April 1 LABBB Program Audit I
    • April 14-April 18 LABBB Program Audit II

LABBB Ottoson Middle School and Arlington Enrichment Collaborative


by Peggy Sheehan, LABBB Teacher, Ottoson Middle School, Arlington


Students from the LABBB Ottoson Middle School classroom and the Arlington Enrichment Collaborative (AEC) get together once a month to do a project and socialize.These activities are a nice opportunity for LABBB students and Ottoson students to get to know each other in a relaxed setting.  This past January, we made some colorful paper snowflakes. The student's worked together to choose colors and assemble the snowflakes and then have a little time to share a snack. 


This is the second year that LABBB Ottoson and AEC have partnered for these activities. Other activities that we've been able to do together have been cooking, short trips to Dunkin Donuts, and in the summer, we work together in the Ottoson garden.  It's been a great collaboration!


For more information click here: The Arlington Enrichment Collaborative  



LABBB Elementary Life Skills Classes at Francis Wyman


by Maria Cormier and Carol Pappin, LABBB Classroom Teachers, Francis Wyman Elementary school, Burlington 


Our life skills classrooms at Francis Wyman Elementary School in Burlington have have enjoyed watching the Pals club grow over the last 6 years. We were encouraged by the Buddies group at the LABBB Lexington campus to start our own club. This club is made up of our LABBB students from our pre-school through grade five and the fifth graders here at Francis Wyman. The goal of the group is to build bridges and friendships. The children integrate daily during their recess period to allow all of the children to find ways to play and understand each other's abilities and disabilities. The fifth graders dedicate one recess a week to come in and interact in a positive way with the students in our LABBB classrooms. The Pals club started 6 years ago in 2008 with 10 LABBB students and 5 fifth graders, and it has been growing ever since. This year we have 9 LABBB students and 44 fifth graders. Our motto is, "All friends are created equally."

The fifth grade pals come into our classrooms once a week during their recess to play with the LABBB students. You might see them playing on the computer, doing a craft project or just learning to play with toys on the rug. No matter what the children are doing, you always hear a lot of laughing and happy sounds from everyone in the room.    

Some of our fifth grade pals





Music Therapy Thrives at LABBB Memorial Elementary School 


By Jane McGrath, LABBB Occupational Therapist 

The LABBB physical and occupational therapists that work in the elementary programs in Burlington would like to thank the Knights of Columbus of Saint Margaret's Church in Burlington for their kind donation of funds to purchase therapy equipment. The equipment has allowed us to work on balance, strengthening and motor coordination skills. We are able to provide alternative seating for students to help them attend to classroom lessons. In addition, the students will have an opportunity to take a sensory break from the stimulation of the classroom environment in a safe manner. Both the children and staff have appreciated the addition of these therapy items.

The Knights of Columbus also made a generous contribution to support the music therapy program that services the LABBB Elementary Programs. Laetitia Brundage, music therapist, does a great job using music to interact with and engage the children. She uses her beautiful voice and a variety of special instruments to encourage eye contact, vocalizations, turn taking, and following directions, as well as other social and language skills. By using various novel percussion instruments, Laetitia promotes rhythm, movement and coordination.

Please enjoy the pictures and watching our music therapy classes with Laetitia by viewing the videos below.

Music Therapy Drums! 
Music Therapy Drums!
Music Therapy Singing 
Music Therapy Singing

Evolving through EdcampAccess: A forum where educators come together to share their expertise.

By Patric Barbieri


Where do staff come together to engage, share, connect, and learn, in an informal setting without any pressure to sit and listen to one speaker for 3 hours? If you go to any edcamp this is what you will find. It is the new professional development experience for educators. For the second year LABBB partnered with Karen Janowski and her edcamp team to facilitate EdcampAccess which is focused on sharing strategies and technology innovations for struggling learners.  


On Saturday, March 22, edcampAccess participants were not coming to listen to a popular speaker and they didn't even know what workshops would be presented. They also came in the spirit of potentially offering to run a workshop on the spur of the moment. The question is, why would so many educators show up on a Saturday to do this? Well, that is the power of connecting and learning from your peers. Professionals want to be engaged and take on the responsibility of being an active participant in this type of forum. They want meaningful dialogue in a place where they can work in small groups. Many participants like that edcamp promotes the freedom to move from group to group if you feel you are looking for something different.  


The informality of an edcamp is what makes them fun. Educators want to manage and direct their own learning and this provides that opportunity. At the same time, we are observing what other educators are doing and the innovative technology that is being used. We can actually sit down one to one and talk to the person during the day to ask questions and be able to have our own personal demonstration. Everyone who attends an edcamp is eager to share, and this is best practice that helps all our struggling learners.  


EdcampAccess was first introduced last year and was held at the LABBB central offices. We had so many people sign up last year that we decided to move to a larger venue at the Marshalls Simonds Middle school in Burlington this year. This was a perfect place for offering an edcamp and the day was filled with exciting workshops.


 EdcampAccess Student Panel


We can't imagine or feel the emotions and impact on a student's attitude towards school until we actually sit back and hear their personal stories. This is how the edcampAccess day started.  Five struggling learners were part of a panel, and they articulated their feelings about school and how they use technology to help them adapt in their learning environment. This was not an easy path for them. When you hear a student say, "It was so painful for me to go to school every day, I just didn't want to attend", how can you not empathize with not only their struggles trying to keep up, but also their frustrations with how their peers and teachers viewed them in school. These are students who have persevered and have a special quality that they shared with the audience at edcamp, but there are many more struggling learners out there!


The panel session ended with a powerful message by an edcamp participant. This participant bravely stood up at the end of the session and spoke to the students directly, and emphatically told them how they are the pioneers who are paving the way for our future students and it is up to us as educators to learn what they need! This message set the tone for the day!


Thank you for everyone who attended. I want to send a special thank you to Karen Janowski who has such a passion for learning and sharing. I also want to thank Mike Marotta who drove up from New Jersey with his daughter to attend. His daughter also sat on with the panel of students.  Mike is now running edcampAccess in N.J. We look forward to collaborating with him.


Student Panel at edcampAccess talking about their learning struggles and the use of technology 



Winston Chen, developer of the Voicedream App, sitting in on a session at edcampAccess


March 19, 2014  -  Happy March MCAS!


by Katrina Wright, LABBB Teacher, John Glenn Middle School, Bedford 


The John Glenn Middle School LABBB student's work very hard to be well-prepared for their MCAS. For the last eight weeks the class has worked on MCAS practice tests. On our testing days, we take frequent breaks, get snacks and the best part is there isn't a lot of homework on MCAS days. At JGMS-LABBB we know that this can be a stressful time, therefore, we practice and encourage students to try their best.   


8th Graders taking a break after working on the 8th Grade ELA section of MCAS


Adapted Physical Education and Recreation News


by Paula Rizzo, LABBB Integration and APE Coordinator


This month we saw both the Lexington and Arlington Best Buddies Chapters put on "Say No To The R Word" assemblies. Lexington High School had their assembly on March 12 and LABBB Student, Jacob Myers, debuted his speaking talents as he spoke to the audience about what the R-word means to him and how it makes him feel. Arlington High School had their assembly on March 14, and Jacob did so well in Lexington that they asked him to speak again in Arlington. Both events were well attended and were a huge success.


Our Spring Bowling and Wednesday Recreation programs have officially started. We have 80 students signed up for bowling and 50 students signed up for our Wednesday after school Recreational program.  


This spring we will also have our yearly spring trip to the Flower show. It is always a pleasure to see the budding flowers and the warmth. Spring weather will hopefully be upon us soon.  


Special Olympics Update 


This year the LABBB Special Olympics will be on April 30, 2014. Registration forms went out in the mail and should be returned by April 1. The Best Buddy chapters are getting ready to provide over 200 athletes with buddy matches for the day of the event. Students from all of the LABBB programs from elementary to High School will be participating. This year is our 10th annual Special Olympics for LABBB. Please come and join over 500 volunteers, parents and staff to cheer on the athletes. It is a fun day for all.  


Always remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter


Polar Plunge 2014

by Caroline Brown, LABBB Teacher, Chenery Middle School, Belmont 

Recently, several members of the LABBB community participated in Special Olympics of Massachusetts' annual fundraiser, the Polar Plunge. This year was the LABBB Legends' fourth year of diving into the frigid waters of the Atlantic mid-winter. This year, the team consisted of nine participants, which included teachers, assistants, parents, students, and a member of the administrative team.

This year, The LABBB Legends were able to raise $4,420, bringing our grand total over four years to over $22,000. Of that money, 70% comes directly to LABBB to help fund our annual Special Olympics event in April.

A special mention goes out to our LABBB Legends team member, Rob McDonough, who raised $1,820 for the Special Olympics. Rob was the top fundraiser, not only for our team, but for the entire event.

As previously mentioned, the Polar Plunge is an annual event organized by Special Olympics of Massachusetts. The LABBB Legends team has participated in four consecutive plunges, and will likely continue to do so! Stay tuned to the LABBB newsletter for more information regarding next year's plunge... the more, the merrier!

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