The LABBB Collaborative Newsletter
December, 2014
The 2014-2015 LABBB Jolly Jaunter's Fundraising for Special Olympics
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

Reflections and a Mindful New Year


LABBB is an educational organization that has been providing services for students with special needs for over 40 years.  In my 26 years in LABBB, I believe we have worked with students with just about every type of disability. I was a teacher in LABBB in the early 90's and I remember receiving a referral for my classroom for a student with Asperger's. At that time, although I had heard of Asperger's, I certainly was not familiar with it. Ten years later, we were receiving many referrals of students with Asperger's, and we developed many great programs to serve these students. We recognized quickly that we needed to be trained and learn best practices with a new population of students. We needed to be prepared. We searched for speakers and experts, attended workshops, and collaborated with other professionals. Many staff were committed to researching and learning as much as they could.


Now, in 2014, I have been overwhelmed hearing about the number of students who are experiencing anxiety; not just in special education, but also in regular education. We know about anxiety, but why is it becoming such a significant problem, both in young children and adults? 


I have spent many years reading about anxiety and even wrote a few articles about meditation as a way to help students cope and self regulate their thoughts and feelings. In my classroom I practiced meditation with my students, but I was experimenting with it at the time, as it was not really accepted as a "best practice." I didn't call it meditation when speaking with my students, I just referred to it as "relaxation exercises."


We need to take this issue seriously and be prepared. We need to investigate and learn how to recognize anxiety in our students. LABBB staff have been taking an active approach by teaching yoga, meditation or just using relaxing music in their classrooms to help set the tone for an activity, or for the day. Staff have recognized and become aware of the consequences of anxiety, and I am encouraged to see staff taking action; not just by talking about it, but by actually doing something!


Furthermore, staff has been going to workshops on anxiety related topics and how to teach yoga to students with special needs. We are having more dialogue about how we can have an impact by teaching our students how to recognize and develop self regulation skills to cope with anxiety. Mindfulness is also the topic of our next Professional day after the new year. 


I am also encouraged to hear that Mindfulness in education is becoming a "best practice." To effectively use it, we need to consider the practice of mindfulness for ourselves so we an build it into our culture. 


I wrote this article over the weekend, and on Monday morning many staff e-mailed me asking if I had seen 60 Minutes with Jon Kabat-Zinn. It couldn't have been better timing! We need to stop, breathe, think, and reflect more often. This will be a focus for our new year, and as a community we will work together to promote a mindful experience in our schools.


On behalf of all the LABBB staff, I want to wish everyone in the LABBB Community a Happy Holiday and a Happy New year!

Parent Resources and Events
School Cancellation: All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.

Recreation links:

Coming Events:
  • December 18: LABBB PAC meeting, Arlington High School Teacher's Cafe (near cafeteria)
  • 7:00 - 7:30 PAC meeting 
  • 7:30 - 9:00 Presentation: "How to Help your Child be More Involved in the IEP Process" 
If you would like to add a resource or event to this page please e-mail [email protected]
December Recreation News and Events 
by Paula Rizzo
The Recreation Department is always looking for fresh ideas for activities. This month we have a brand new Robotics Class starting.  The Lexington High Robotics team came to LABBB to ask if we would be interested in running a class together. This was a great opportunity for our students, and the class started on December 2 and will run for three weeks  Currently, there are seven students signed up for this class. We are looking forward to hearing from the students on their experience during this class and hopefully will be able to offer it again for more students to join in.


The LABBB Basketball teams are getting ready for their 2014-2015 season.  On December 4 we had our first meetings to set up the teams.  All sign ups are in and we are ready to get the season underway. 


The LABBB Recreation Dept. is always looking to collaborate with other recreation programs to give our students more choices of activities. We now have an opportunity for our students to join an ice skating program at the Arlington rink through the Arlington Recreation Department. See details Below.


All Star Skating


Dates:  Saturdays, December 13- February 7 (no class on: 12/27, 1/3)

Time:10:50am - 11:40am

Cost:$85 (price does not include rentals)

Join Arlington Catholic Coaches and AC Hockey Players for

50 minutes of supervised free skate time. Program is open to

children with special needs from 6 years of age and up. Please

note parents will not be allowed on the ice during instruction.

Participants are required to provide their own single blade skates

or rent a pair for an additional charge. Helmets are required!


Look for sign ups for our Jan. trips to come out in Dec. 

One upcoming trip in Jan. is Motown - Boston on Jan. 1/28/15. 


December 4         LABBB Movie Night
December 5         Enchanted Village
December 7         Jolly Jaunt
December 10       Rudolf the Musical Trip
December 12       Monthly Mini Golf
December 15       Around Town Dining - Jimmy's Restaurant, Arlington
December 17       Enchanted Village
December 18       LABBB Dance, Arlington High School

LABBB Parent Advisory Council (PAC)


Click here to visit our Yahoo discussion group


Click here to visit our website and resource page


Busy at JGMS

by Katrina Wright


We continue to be busy at JGMS. We wrapped up our Ancient India unit in Social Studies and we made Rice Pulao, which is a rice dish served during special events. We enjoyed learning vocabulary words in this unit, such as monsoon, reincarnation, Hinduism and Buddhism.


As part of our classroom incentive plan, where we have a tally system of points on the whiteboard. Any time students are performing well, helping a classmate or taking a challenge in academics, the teacher will give the student a "tally". Once the class earns a certain number of tallies (it is always over 100), we get to vote for a fun activity, this month we went to the Burlington Mall during our community trip. Below are some picture of the events listed above, enjoy!


LABBB-Middlesex Community Collge Panel Presents Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program (ICE)

Glenn Gabbard, Coordinator of the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment (ICE) Grant from the Executive Office of Education, asked the LABBB-Middlesex Community College ICE partnership to present at Lawrence High School to discuss our model which was implemented at the beginning of this year. The panel included: Patric Barbieri, Executive Director, LABBB Collaborative; Brian Guay, Middlesex Community College/LABBB Student; Mrs. Ann Guay, Parent, and Dawn Gross, ICE Coordinator at Middlesex Community College. The attendees included district personal interested in partnering with a college to offer this model in their area, as well as interested parents wanting hear and learn about the ICE college experience for their son or daughter. 


We were all impressed as Brian Guay spoke to the assembly using his wonderful and creative Powerpoint as a guide. They say public speaking is the number one fear of most people, but you would of never have known it as Brian confidently shared his experience of being a Middlesex Community College student. This was his dream, and he is living it!


When you listen to Mrs. Guay speak about the road to getting Brian to Middlesex Community College, your eyes will water and you will be inspired. The LABBB community needs to hear this speech, and we will do our very best to make this happen. It shows that we need to listen, even if we do not believe in the moment, because if someone wants something bad enough, it will happen. Her story proves this many times over. 


Below is a recent video of a news story on NECN about the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment program. There are many pictures of the LABBB cohort at Middlesex Community College.


LABBB will be starting a second cohort of students attending Middlesex College during the spring semester. 


Please click on the link to view the video:




Fox Hill Elementary Celebrates Fall Holidays
By Laurie Arcovio


The third through fifth grade students at Fox Hill celebrated the fall holidays and reviewed the concepts and skills they learned in their first semester with a special activity. Students played a trivia game requiring them to answer questions about writing, reading, math, social studies, and science. Students reviewed their writing and grammar knowledge of types of sentences (statements, questions and exclamations), types of punctuation and contractions. They showed off their knowledge of the reading comprehension strategies including visualizing, predicting, questioning, connecting, summarizing and inferring. In math, they reviewed key words in word problems, place value, estimation, rounding, and adding/subtracting multi-digit numbers. Students expressed their knowledge of social studies concepts including map skills, the Wampanoag, Pilgrims, and European Explorers.  They also practiced their science skills related to the scientific method, states of matter, and magnets.  Students answered review questions in order to gain the materials they needed to carve/decorate a pumpkin.  After reviewing their knowledge, students worked on their fine motor, visual planning and visualization skills to carve/paint jack-o-lanterns.  


LABBB using "New Technology" in Classrooms
By Tom Riley


Over the past 2 years, LABBB has been investing in technology based innovations to our classrooms that enable teachers to enhance the learning experiences of their students. Interactive whiteboards and teaching software have become essential for today's digitally connected classrooms. Every classroom is different, and LABBB believes in providing each classroom and teacher tools unique to their classroom needs.  This allows teachers to create interactive and engaging learning opportunities that focus on student skills such as attention, communication, following directions, creative thinking and problem solving.


Interactive boards enable teachers to measure student progress by way of customized student response systems providing measurable data that can be shared with parents and staff. This also helps teachers to design lessons that support visual, auditory, and gross/fine motor skills. As LABBB looks to strengthen student learning through technology, it will be important to have fully integrated tools to assess and support their progress.


LABBB has been purchasing several different kinds of interactive boards that are best suited for individual classroom needs.  Boards  such as the Promethean 500 Pro 78" Active Board and the 500 Pro 87"Activboard with Electric height adjustment, and Smart Boards. These Boards have a surface similar in function to a touch screen computer. Some of them require a stylus pen to operate, while some do not. The Epson BrightLink 595WI  is a standalone all in one system that does not require the wall mounted  interactive surface of the Promethean  500 series Boards, but instead uses infrared sensors that can be projected onto any wall  replicating interactive input also without a stylus pen.


With continued focus on using technology to facilitate learning, LABBB will ensure that each learner is an active participant in this ever expanding world. 




Team Work at Fox Hill Elementary
By Kaitlyn Taylor

  For the month of November 2014, the students in Mrs. Veguila's and Ms. Arcovio's 3rd-5th grade classrooms focused on developing and practicing their teamwork skills. The clinical, speech, occupational therapy, and teacher teams worked together to develop a fun and interactive way for students to practice teamwork skills. The students practiced using "expected" versus "unexpected" behavior while in school. For every class period that the students practiced "expected" behaviors (e.g. focusing on yourself, using a calm voice, following directions, and having a safe body), the class earned a token for their jar. The students worked as a team to choose a field trip location, and earn their tokens; often encouraging their fellow students to stay on-track. On Tuesday, November 25th, both classes traded in their FULL jars for a field trip at the Woburn Bowladrome! The students had a blast on their field trip and are looking forward to earning their next one! We are so proud of our Fox Hill students!




Chenery Students Learn About the Planets
By Linda Bartlett

In November, Ms. Bartlett and Ms. Brown's classrooms completed a Planet Science Project as part of the Science class curriculum. The students chose a planet they wanted to research, found out ten facts about it, located pictures of it, and put together an informational poster to present to their classmates. The students did an amazing job! We are so proud of them! The classes enjoyed cheering their classmates on as each of them presented, and the projects were wonderful!! Great job to our Science learners!! 





About Us
For more information please visit us at:


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