The LABBB Collaborative Newsletter
April, 2015
Sam Beers, LABBB Teacher, talking about the mission of the "INCLUDE" event at Memorial Elementary School!

Over the past few months, Sam Beers, LABBB Teacher, has been working with two 5th grade students and their teacher to develop a small skit discussing respect, inclusion and understanding differences. The skit they created was called "INCLUDE."


On March 27th, Sam's students and 7 students from the 5th grade, presented a show demonstrating how they having been working together. They also created a poster with 2 pieces of a puzzle representing their connection, which all the students signed. 


They have a vision to create "One-Community" for the LABBB students and the students from Memorial Elementary School.

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

The Evolution of Special Education  


On Saturday, March 21, 2015, LABBB hosted its third annual EdCampAccess conference. This event is an opportunity to engage with educators on a myriad of topics around special education, technology, and best practices. We had educators attend from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. EdCamps are a new method of professional development catching on around the world. One of the reasons I enjoy EdCamps is because it accomplishes meaningful collaboration with educators who want to evolve, change, and challenge the status quo. They are not attending on a Saturday from 9:00 to 4:00 just to go through the motions; instead, attendees have a thirst to engage and learn. They also have knowledge to share and a desire to listen to what others are sharing. Every EdCamp I attend, I learn something new, and I hear something that makes me think and reflect.


EdCampAccess begins the day with a student panel of struggling learners. This year, we also had a mother-daughter duo on the panel. What is so poignant about these discussions is the candid, unfiltered stories you hear from the students about their struggles and frustrations in school. They speak freely about their experience in school and those accommodations that have made a difference in their ability to learn. They want to have a voice, and they want educators to listen to them. This is powerful. How often do we give students a platform to express their frustrations and allow them to give their critiques and feedback? This can be difficult for anyone to hear, but as one teacher stood up and stated last year, "I am so moved by hearing what you have to say because I never listened before, and you have taught me something today by your courage to speak up. I want to thank you!"


One action that we can take, and was discussed at EdCampAccess, is to have our students attend their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) meetings right from the beginning. They are in charge, and they need to take control over their lives. I learned from one parent EdCamper that they had their son attend his IEP meetings since first grade. He did not attend the entire meeting in the beginning; he just came to introduce his parents. Each year, they increased the amount of time he attended and his level of involvement, until he was able to facilitate the meeting by himself. Not all of our students have the ability to do this, but making them as much a part of the process as we can, helps build their confidence and self-determination.


Every year I walk out of EdCampAccess and think, we cannot accept special education as it exists today. It needs to evolve, and for each and every student, our goal at LABBB is to make them as independent as possible. 

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

Recreation links:
Coming Events:
  • April 20: Patriots Day Pancake Breakfast - To benefit the Arlington High School Best Buddies Chapter                                               Time: 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM                                                                Location: Park Ave Congregational Church, 50 Paul Revere Rd,  Arlington   Cost: $5.00                                                                                      Raffles (movie tickets, music lessons, candy & more)! 
If you would like to add a resource or event to this page please e-mail [email protected]

LABBB Parent Advisory Council (PAC)


Click here to visit our Yahoo discussion group


Click here to visit our website and resource page


"A Mindful Day"
By: Rebecca Niman & Carol Chaisson / LHS


Applying Professional Development in our Classroom


"A Mindful Day"


On Thursday, March 12th, we had the opportunity to participate in the "Strategies for Teaching Literacy" professional day. This full day workshop was geared toward enhancing literacy instruction in our classrooms and teaching students various comprehension strategies. The presentation was given by Becky DeSmith and followed the Keys to Literacy program which trains teachers to provide content literacy instruction.


The day started off with a general overview of what literacy is and why teaching comprehension strategies are essential for students' learning and success. Becky broke down the presentation into four main teaching strategies:

1.    Top-Down Topic Web

2.    Two Column Notes

3.    Summarizing

4.    Generating Questions (Bloom's Taxonomy)

While engaging in the various hands-on learning activities, we collaborated as teams in order to gain an understanding of how we can bring these strategies into our classrooms. As we participated, we realized how beneficial many of these strategies could be to our students regardless of their varying abilities.


We chose to bring two of the strategies into our classroom and introduce our students to these new ways of thinking and comprehending. We started with a lesson on Bloom's Taxonomy and generated questions based on each of the different levels of thinking. As a class, we discussed what each of the levels means and how they are relatable in many aspects of their learning, both academic and functional.




The second strategy we introduced to our class was the Top-Down Topic Web for organizing texts. We are also using this method as a graphic organizer for creative writing. For example, we used the Top-Down Topic Web (below) to breakdown the main ideas in our science chapter about Symbiosis and a prior history lesson on Ancient Egypt:



As a team, we feel that both of these strategies have the potential to truly benefit our students' learning. These charts enhance how the students are interacting with the texts across all curriculum areas. Visually, these strategies seem to help the students stay organized and on task. Our students have expressed that they enjoy this comprehension strategy, and are beginning to use it more independently during lessons.          



LABBB Using Technology in Classroom to Support a Student at Home

By: Kathleen Eggers



We strive to include all students in the classroom, however sometimes situations present themselves that homeschooling is needed.  Over the past month, my class has had the unique opportunity to use technology to keep in touch with a classmate while he is being home schooled for medical reasons. As a teacher, this is not the first time I have needed to provide curriculum and oversight to a student at home, however this is the first time that I have been able to do it while still teaching in my classroom. 


Christos is currently at home recovering from an illness.  He is being home schooled for two hours a day.  Each morning, Mrs Santoro-Trainor starts her school day with Christos.   She she gets him settled in on the couch and waits for the class to place a call via Skype. Christos uses an iPad while the class projects his video on the whiteboard.  On each end, the students have been excited to greet one another, and once greetings are complete we start classroom instruction. Christos participates with the help of his classmates, instructing them to answer questions on the whiteboard throughout Morning Meeting.  One of his favorite activities is when we complete attendance and he gets to answer "Mrs. T is at Christos' home!" 


As the morning progresses, we sometimes switch between using Skype and Splashtop Streamer.  Splashtop Streamer allows Christos to interact with the activities on the classroom computer, by way of the iPad.  While his classmates participate in activities outside of the classroom, Christos still has access to all the software on the computer, through Splashtop Streamer.  It allows him to remotely access and control the programs while at home.  He is able to complete reading, math and science activities with Mrs. T. 


The best part of this has been the way the students can keep in touch and connected while Christos is out of school.  It has benefited both Christos and his classmates, who are eager to interact with him and tell everyone they see that they saw Christos.   It has motivated them to work harder as they want to be called up to answer questions in order to get their turn in front of the camera.  This process has been very rewarding for all involved, and I am confident this will help with Christos' eventual return and transition back to the classroom.  


(Permission granted by parent to use student's name)
Breaking News!
By: Tom Brown

texture-graphic-community.jpg The State of Massachusetts has added additional supports for people who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Prader-Willis Syndrome, or Smith Magenis Syndrome.  Eligible adults under the new criteria do not need to have an Intellectual Disability, but are required to have been diagnosed with ASD, P-WS, or SMS by the age of twenty-two. Eligibility requires an examination by a qualified physician or psychologist.  


Additionally, eligible individuals must have "substantial functional impairments" in three or more areas of the seven major life areas: Self-Care, Expressive Communication, Receptive Communication, Learning, Mobility, Capacity for Self-direction, and Economic Self-Sufficiency. Some of the services available include: Adult Companion, Day Habilitation Supplement, Community Based Day Supports, Individualized Home Supports, Respite, Supported Employment, and Individual/Community Supports.  


These supports are organized through the Department of Developmental Services (DSS), and may work to supplement services from other agencies, including the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC). Advocating and coordinating with your MRC counselor is suggested. An additional application needs to occur through the DDS via one of four eligibility contacts.


We, at LABBB, are extremely hopeful that these new services will help to fill a need for many of our students who have been diagnosed with one of the disorders, but do not qualify for traditional services under DDS. Contact your MRC or DDS counselor for more specific information as to the eligibility process.  

April/May Recreation Activities
By: Paula Rizzo




Take a look at the team photos for the Staff vs Students Basketball Game, held on March 12th, at Lexington High School.  The students took the win.  A fun time was had by all , whether they played, volunteered or spectated.  Staff had a 3 point shooting contest and Mr. Michael Allen won that, hitting 8 baskets.  In a very close second with 5 baskets was Mr. Rob McDonough.  Congratulations to both, and the LABBB students on the win.


Spring bowling is up and running.  Tuesday bowling has 30 students signed up, while the Thursday group has 12.  Some new students have joined in on the fun of bowling, and are having a great time making new friends.


LABBB's Wednesday Recreation at Lexington High School has 35 students signed up between Fashion Time, Arts, Waling and Outdoor Games.


LABBB Recreation Department has some new activities starting later in the Spring, when we hopefully have no more snow on the ground. The biking club has come back after being in hibernation for a few years, and we hope to attract some avid bicyclists. The golf club is brand new, and Mr. Marc Bluestein (Chenery Middle School) is very excited to help other's learn a sport that he loves.  He is eager to start teaching.


LABBB Recreation has paired up with the Lexington Recreation Department doing an open gym at Estabrook School. The group has about 10 students that having been going on Saturday mornings to do some stretching, running, ball skills, volleyball and other games, with music in the background.


LABBB has also paired up with the Cotting School in Lexington for a Challenger Little League.  LABBB will have 15 students on a team that will play games on Saturday mornings at Cotting.  This is a new and exciting event.  The basketball games vs Cotting went so well, we decided to join them again in the spring for baseball. 

Mr. CJ McAluduff will be coaching for the LABBB team. 


Special Olympics is coming up 5/20/15.  All registration forms should have been received and returned by April 3rd for all athletes.    


April/May Recreation Activities

April   6:  Monthly Around Town Dining

April   8:  Disney Parent Meeting for students' parents attending Disney Trip                           7-8:30 Lexington High Classroom 234

April   9:  Lexington High Best Buddies Tie Dying event 5:30 - 7:30 at                                            Lexington High       

April   9:  LABBB Movie Night at AMC Burlington

April 10:  LABBB Monthly Mini Golf     

April 13:  Middle School Trip      

April 20:  Patriots Day Trip for LABBB High School Students

April 28:  LABBB Disney Trip Departs Logan   

May    2:  LABBB Disney Trip returns to Logan       

May    8:  LABBB Monthly Mini Golf    

May  14:  LABBB Trip to Lexington High Baseball and Softball Games    

May  18:  LABBB Around Town Dining       

May  20:  LABBB All Day Special Olympics     


Always remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter


LABBB Basketball in GBBL Tournament
By: Tom Brinklow & Paula Rizzo

LABBB basketball A team competed in the Greater Boston Basketball League (GBBL) tournament at UMASSS Lowell in March. We won the semifinal game over Lighthouse School of Chelmsford  on 3/16 by a score of 44-19. We went on to win the championship game on 3/17 over Campus Academy of Stoneham
51-46. LABBB finished the year 7-2.


The GBBL is made up of 16 special needs schools in the greater Boston area. They have had the GBBL tournament for 28 years and LABBB has participated for the last 10 years. These schools are made up of students of all levels and abilities and are grouped into 4 teams for the tournament.  This is a great opportunity for the LABBB students to be part of a team, learn team work, and create friendships with lasting memories.

LABBB also has a B team and they competed in five games this year, 3 against the Cotting school and 2 against SEEM Collaborative.  The B team was a lot of fun to watch, and played well this season. 


The season ended on March 20th for both teams with our annual banquet at the Ch�teau restaurant in Burlington. 


Labbb A Team picture:



LABBB Elementary Student Sells 501 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies! 

Last year, Lindsey Fridmann sold 401 boxes of girl scout cookies. Apparently, she had a bigger goal in mind for this year, and putting her selling skills to work, she reached her goal.


Lindsey is a member of the Wellington School, Belmont 3rd grade Brownie troop #66287 and sold 501 boxes of cookies during this Girl Scout cookie season.The last time a Belmont Girl Scout reached this goal was back in 2013. By reaching this goal, she won 2 tickets to the Boston Celtics/LA Clippers game on Sunday, March 29. In recognition of this, the Celtics had a pre-game ceremony where Lindsey was presented with either a certificate or trophy.


What makes this noteworthy is she is the ONLY girl scout in Belmont who reached this goal this year. In Eastern Massachusetts, 350 girl scouts reached this goal and will be honored at TD Garden. The Celtics are expecting about 900 people (girls and family/friends) to show up for the event.


Lindsey plans on bringing her certificate/trophy to school to show her classmates. She also earned a special Boston Celtics 500 Club patch for the back of her Brownie vest. She worked very hard in selling all these cookies (door to door selling, booth sales, and the support of her teachers purchasing cookies).  


We want to congratulate Lindsey!

Polar Plunge 2015: If there is a Will, There is a Way.
By: Robert McDonough

On Sunday, March 29, 2015 the LABBB Legends held their own Polar Plunge event at The Lexington Reservoir. After the main event at Revere Beach was cancelled due to the immense amount of snow and ice we received this winter, the Lexington Recreation Department graciously allowed us to stage our own event at the Old Reservoir. 


There was no way the LABBB Legends were going to be held back from jumping into the winter waters for the benefit of our special olympics!


Thank you to LABBB staff: CJ McAlduff, Brenna Quinn, Jacqui Barrett, Jeff Caritey, Kim Greene, Michelle Sullivan and Ashley Snow, as well as parent, Leigh Hurley, and student, Elias O., for participating. 70% of the funds raised by the LABBB Legends directly supports our Special Olympics Event at Lexington High School on May 20, 2015. 

LABBB Memorial Elementary School Staff Light it up Blue!

In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, LABBB's Program at Memorial Elementary School lit it up bLuE! In addition to LABBB staff lighting it up bLuE, many colleagues from the Memorial school showed their support by wearing their "Light it up blue" t-shirts! April is Autism Awareness Month. So as spring comes to Massachusetts, remember to LIGHT IT UP BLUE this month to show your support!
About Us
For more information please visit us at:


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