The LABBB Collaborative Newsletter
November, 2014

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
LABBB Events
Recreation Updates
LABBB Transition Program: Growing, Expanding, and Moving Forward
Message from Nursing Department
LHS Life Skills
Look What We've Cooked up!
Happenings at Chenery
Art Therapy in LABBB Classrooms
Preschool celebrates Diwali
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

The Power of a Community 




LABBB has a mission: to promote academic, social and career independence for all our students. Philosophically, we believe this should be practiced in the least restrictive environment which includes our public schools, local communities and businesses.  


On a daily basis, LABBB students are scheduled to learn and work in over 50 different locations within our schools, local businesses and colleges. Building these individual communities has taken over 40 years, and we continue to look at ways of expanding our community to benefit our students. 


Recently, LABBB expanded its community to include Middlesex Community College through the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program (ICE). Building this relationship has now given our students an opportunity to attend college. Our next step is to build a connection with our Best Buddies in college as we have done in our public schools. LABBB's experience with Best Buddies in all our schools has made this a natural step in supporting our students as they experience these new settings. 


Building relationships in each of these settings is a day to day challenge on which we thrive. We meet, and have to contend with, many barriers, but we know that each time we build a connection, a new relationship, it benefits our students. 


We want our public schools, business owners, and the community connecting with and believing in our students. We want so show that our students can make a contribution, and they can be an important part of each community culture to which they belong. 


Each one of us has a responsibility to contribute to building this culture. The LABBB community creates possibilities. The members of the LABBB community look beyond the barriers. 


We look forward to building it with you. 


November 12: What is LABBB? Parent Information Session
Burbank Elementary School, 266 School Street, Belmont, MA
6:30 pm Parent Mingle
7:00 - 8:30 pm Presentation

November 13: Belmont Special Education Advisory Council Coffee/Tea

10:30 am Brueggers Bagels

41 Leonard Street, Belmont Ma


November 13: LABBB PAC Meeting at Lexington High School

6:30p.m. - 7:15:   General LABBB PAC Meeting

7:15p.m. - 9:00:   Presentation: "Post 22 Options and Resources" by Michael Weiner, Financial Advisor 



December 13: Best Buddies Craft Fair

Time: 9:00a.m. - 3:00p.m. 

Location: Lexington Public Schools Central Office

146 Maple Street


March 21:  3rd Annual #EdCampAccess Boston (More details here) 

 November Recreation News and Events
Paula Rizzo

The Recreation Department activities are going strong this fall. Our Tuesday/Thursday bowling has 58 students participating, while our Wednesday recreation activities, have a total of 42 students signed up for one of the following groups: Walking, Flag football, Pottery and Photography.  


We have 13 students signed up for a new drawing and sketching class on Mondays, which will running for 10 weeks. The students are working on still art, and charcoal and pencil drawings.  Clara Palmer, an Art Teacher Intern, is teaching this class. 


We are excited about the new Robotics class we are starting in December.  Sign up flyers have gone out in the mail. This class is for our high school students and will run for 3 weeks, so please keep an eye out for this mailing.


On October 16, The LABBB Halloween dance was rockin and rollin! It was a huge success. We had approximately 100 students in attendance, and we had many students with some creative costumes. Our next LABBB dance will be on November 13 at Lexington High School for our middle and high school students from 7:00-9:00pm in Commons II. 


Please see dates and activities for November activities below. For activity sign-ups please click here: Recreational Flyers

November 6       LABBB Movie Night

November 13     LABBB Dance at Lexington High

November 14     Taza Chocolate Factory Trip

November 17     Around Town Dining

November 20     LABBB Trip to Bountiful

November 21     Monthly Mini Golf

November 22     Turkey Gobbler 5K Race / Hike


Click here to view all recreation events in the 2015 LABBB Recreation Brouchure

LABBB Parent Advisory Council (PAC)


Click here to visit our Yahoo discussion group


Click here to visit our website and resource page


LABBB Transition Program: Growing, Expanding and Moving Forward

by Sarah Cronin & Scott Procko

We would like to introduce you to Mrs. Cronin's Transition Program classroom.  The Transition Program was developed last year. The concept and principles are so important for so many of our students that they created another classroom.  Our program started in September and is designed for students that are age 18-22.  Our students work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and come to school on Thursday and Friday.  The focus of the program is stated in it's name: transition. 


Our curriculum is designed to move forward from traditional academics to a more hands on/functional approach. Each unit is based on learning opportunities that best suit individual students as they transition from the teenage years of high school to young adulthood.  All students focus on the skills that will make them the most independent in all areas of their lives: vocational, domestic, recreational and adult learning. The continuous collaboration from the various departments at LABBB offers each student a multi-layered approach when working through a specific unit.


We recognize that communication is an important part of a successful program. Therefore, the students have been exposed to forms of communication using technology.  We have covered Internet safety with an emphasis on social media.  Our students have obtained an email address, learned how to write casual letters and have begun to use google calendar. Visit our blog! It is an access point into our class for students, teachers, parents and visitors. The blog communicates our daily activities via posts/ twitter feed, student assignments, teacher materials and contact information.


Blog: LABBB Transition Program


Twitter: @labbbtransition




Staying Healthy from our Nursing Department
Brenna Quinn and Amanda Cincotta 


"Cold & Flu" season is upon us! There have been a number of students and staff with colds already. This is an important time to make sure we all get plenty of rest, nutritious food, and practice good hand hygiene so that illnesses do not have the chance to spread. If your student feels ill during the evening, especially if they require the use of medication, that's a sign that they need a day of rest from school. 


If your student has a runny nose, congestion, or a persistent cough that interferes with his/her ability to learn effectively, even in the absence of fever, you may want to consider keeping him/her home for protection, and to prevent the spread of any infections. Children frequently will not have a fever once they wake up in the morning because their bodies have been resting, but that does not mean that they are not ill or infectious to others. 


The town of Lexington will be holding a few different upcoming flu clinics.  There will be an employee flu clinic held at St. Brigid's Church on November 20th, and the final public flu clinic will be at Lexington High School on December 3rd from 4:00-7:00PM


Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this.


Lexington High School Life Skills Classroom
by Dennis Goguen

Hi to all!  


Greetings, from our Life Skills Classroom at Lexington High School. We are excited to share some of the great activities in our weekly schedule. Soon you will be able to read about them on our blog at:! 


We like to keep busy at the High School.  Along with our regular activities of Math, Reading and Science throughout the week, we also have special activities that we all participate in. On Mondays we have Music Group with Mr. Peter Asklund on keyboards and me on guitar. On Tuesdays, we go to Market Basket to practice our math and shopping skills. Here we are getting groceries at Market Basket.

We use both low and high technology devices to practice our language skills while out in the community. After finding her shopping item,  she uses low tech Step by Step communicator with photo and voice output to state the name of the item, "Eggs."


On Wednesdays, it's swimming at Belmont High School Pool. On Thursdays, we have Cooking Group in the morning and bowling at the Woburn Bowl-A-Drome in the afternoon.  Specialized ramps allow our students to participate more fully in bowling.  They love it!!


Here is a student using his low tech Step by Step communication aid in a basic object to photo matching skill.  His device is programmed to state the name of his shopping item, "Cereal."



Here  is a student learning to make language choices, matching objects to the correct photo using an iPad, as an example of using high tech while in the community.  First he makes a photo to object match.  Next he finds the correct choice of  "Apples"  from the shelf on his own.


This student can make a direct match of an iPad photo of milk to the objects themselves.  The iPad states the item name, "Milk", for identification and language reinforcement.  He is quite proud of himself and we are, too.


Last week we taught this Market Basket employee, Francisco, the American Sign Language symbol for "friend." He remembered it and showed it to us as we were walking to the check-out. He was happy to take a picture with us on shopping day!  


On Fridays, it's time to catch up on some academics for the week using an art project.

It's time for Math


Two red apple
Here's my apple tree



Look What We've Cooked Up!
by Sarah Bennett


Last year, the students in Room 112 at Chenery Middle school, began participating in a weekly Cooking Group throughout the school year. This year, we teamed up with Ms. Roberts, our Speech Teacher, to further incorporate augmentative communication strategies into our cooking activities. Each week the students participate as a group to make a snack or small dessert related to the classroom theme.


For the month of October, our theme in Room 112 was "Falling into Learning." All of our recipes were somehow related to the season of fall, including apples, pumpkins and Halloween! Some of things we made included: Scarecrow Cupcakes, No Bake Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Pie Crescent Rolls.


Although the recipe differs, Cooking Group follows the same format each week to provide repetition and routine for the students. First, we review the ingredients in the recipe and the students are given a chance to tactilely explore each one. From there, they move on to following step-by-step instructions to create the snack or dessert. Using both low and high-tech augmentative communication, students request turns to add ingredients and read steps from the recipe.  


After the recipe has been completed, each student participates in a comprehension worksheet related to the activity. Using a total communication approach, students answer questions about the week's recipe including what they made, how they helped and if they liked the snack or dessert.


Cooking Group has been a great opportunity for the students in Room 112 to work on increasing their independent communication skills through a variety of augmentative communication devices. Cooking also illustrates how teachers and specialists can collaborate in the classroom to promote group learning. It doesn't hurt that there is a delicious end product every week!


The students have thoroughly enjoyed Cooking so far this year and are ready to zoom into the Thanksgiving season!


Happenings at Chenery Middle School
by Linda Bartlett


Best Buddies is in full swing at Chenery and we kicked off this school year with a big October Best Buddies event! We had a large turnout of Chenery students who were excited to join the LABBB Best Buddies program this year. The students had a great time getting to play games, work on art activities, and do some fun movement activities. We were very happy to have Joe Quinn, a Chenery staff person, join our Best Buddies staff team at Chenery as well. He has been helping us spread the word about Best Buddies at Chenery, and we are thrilled to have him on board! It is going to be an insanely great year for Best Buddies at Chenery!

The LABBB teachers at Chenery have been working diligently with the wonderful Chenery Art teachers to find art class times for our students to join the Chenery mainstream art classes. The Chenery art teachers (Katherine Kelly, Kat Byrnes, Sarah Libertini, and Kristen Ripley) have been amazing with how accommodating they have been, as well as their wonderful collaborating efforts to intertwine Chenery's 6-day schedule with our 5-day schedule. After several meetings, and exchanging of several schedule templates, art integration is up and running for LABBB students at Chenery. I had the privilege of being able to go to each art class that our students would be integrating into, and discuss the LABBB program and what integration is, to the Chenery mainstream students, as well as answer any questions they had. Once these discussions were completed, art integration began. Our students have been loving the classes they are joining! This has been a great catalyst in building knowledge about the LABBB program at Chenery, as well as building important social and learning connections for all students involved. We are excited about what is to come with integration this year, and looking forward to even more ways to fold into the larger Chenery community. 


Art Therapy in LABBB Classrooms
by Clara Palmer



I am very excited to be joining the LABBB community as an art therapy intern. As an undergraduate student at Lesley University, I have come this fall to do art in classrooms throughout Lexington High and Bedford High. My goal is to integrate art-making into goals determined by students' individual needs, as well as strengthen group dynamics in classrooms.


Art therapy has a capability to achieve personal insight beyond other therapies, but it also allows for great conversation and interpersonal skills to develop around art. Projects that are focused on this can facilitate great conversation, and leave students feeling a sense of pride for their work. This pride often translates to other parts of their lives, increasing self-esteem.


Students' first project asked them to line up emotional cartoons based on good or bad feelings, and then associate a color with the feeling in front of them. They each used a chalk-pastel color and worked together to fill the timeline. This strengthened their ability to work together as a class, and asked them to make associations between feelings and colors. 



Another project asked students to build on their fine motor skills, as well as work with abstract shapes. They were asked to trace their hand 4 times on a paper leaf, and then fill in the shapes that the overlapping outlines made. Students got to cut out their leaves and paste them together to make a classroom decoration. 



WorkWithoutLimits: Putting Abilities to Work in Massachusetts
by Tom Brown


On Friday, Oct 31st, Vocational Counselors Stephen Goodwin and Tom Brown, along with several LABBB students, attended the

WorkWithoutLimits Raise the Bar Hire!
Career Fair, which took place at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Norwood.


This Career Fair was a wonderful opportunity for our students to apply the interview, communication and self-advocacy skills that they have been practicing at school. We were extremely proud of the students who attended, as we observed them initiating conversations, making eye contact, and providing information about their work experiences to the many employers present at the fair. All the classroom role-plays, handshakes, and mock interviews paid off!! 


Over twenty employers were represented at the fair, including Eastern Bank, Boston Children's Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mass Department of Transportation, and TJX Company.  We will be following up with the contacts we made.  In fact, some of our students have already heard back from some employers.  This event was a huge success, and our students gained great experience. 


WorkWithoutLimits is a wonderful organization whose goal is to have the unemployment rate in Massachusetts the same for people both with and without disabilities!  You can check them out online at


Preschool celebrates Diwali with the help of a Special Guest
by Lisa Costa


October 23rd was Diwali and the LABBB integrated preschool was able celebrate it with help from a classroom parent.  Parul Khemka was our very special guest and volunteered her time to come in and teach the students and staff about Diwali. 


Diwali is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (or deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.

Diwali is celebrated with family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks, strings of electric lights, bonfires, flowers, and sharing of sweets.  We celebrated Diwali by having each student decorate their own clay lamp.  The clay lamps were a gift from Mrs. Khemka. The students painted them, added some glitter, and many also glued on some gems. They worked very hard on their clay lamps and they all looked so beautiful. The students were very excited to be able to take home their clay lamps or deepas. 

The students and staff were then invited to enjoy some Indian sweets that Mrs. Khemka brought in for us to try. They were delicious.  The students and staff had a great time.  We would like to thank Mrs. Khemka for her time and generosity.     

About Us
For more information please visit us at:


LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615