The LABBB Collaborative Newsletter
May, 2015

The 2014-2015 LABBB Disney Trip

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

Practicing and Living our Mission as a Team     


My wife and I had a serious dialog many years ago about giving our daughter specific jobs in our house. We believed she should contribute to our family home, and that this would help her become a responsible young adult. Although my daughter did not have the same belief, we all agreed that her participation was going to benefit her in the future. After further discussion, we made a list of her jobs and posted it in her room.

It started off well, but a year later, we realized that we did not do a good job at holding her responsible. It was just easier to do the jobs for her. This was short-sighted. Who were we really helping when we did this? Whose needs were we meeting-hers or ours? If we are not doing the work now, how will she develop into a responsible young adult? We lost focus of our mission.    


LABBB has a mission as well: to promote academic, social, and career independence. This mission also has a philosophical approach. We believe the right environment for promoting independence is in the least restrictive placement. This least restrictive placement is embedded in our public schools, our local communities, and our businesses.


What should we be doing right now to help our students be as independent as possible? And how should we be doing it? How do we define independence for each of our students? Independence is an ever-present word widely used in special education. Somehow, just because we use this term, it has come to mean that everyone agrees we are doing the right thing and working toward the same goal concerning how or what we are doing to encourage and advance independence for our students.


My purpose for writing on this topic is because we need to challenge what we are doing to help our students reach this mission. To simply say we want our students to be as independent as possible is not good enough. We need to be looking to the future and asking the question, "What are we doing right now that supports this mission?"


For each meeting, we need to remind our team that our mission is to promote academic, social, and career independence. A simple reminder can bring us back to our purpose. We should assess the actions we are taking toward our mission. We can use backwards design not only for a student's vision statement, but also to ask the questions:

  • What will independence look like for this student when they graduate?
  • How do each of our goals, objectives, and benchmarks for this student align with this mission?
  • What are we actually doing to advance our students' ability to be more independent?
  • Are we doing enough?
  • Are we taking enough risks?
  • Are we setting the bar too low?
  • Are we doing too much for the student?

These questions should serve as the basis for creating open dialog about independence in our meetings. We need to be mindful of our mission and what we are trying to accomplish. The team should state and evaluate what we are doing to promote independence and how we are doing it. This will be the hard part of the discussion. Team members may have different perceptions regarding the what and how, but as long as all team members have the same mission, we are doing the right work for our students.

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

Recreation links:
Coming Events:
  • May 20: Special Olympics, Lexington High School:Opening Ceremonies and the parade of athletes begin at 9:00 a.m.
  • May 16 and 17: 2015 Lexington Battlegreen BBQ Festival 
  • May 28: PAC Meeting, Lexington High School Library Media Center
    Topic: ARICA Law   
    Presenter: Terri Farrell    Time: 7:00 - 9:00 
  • June 17: LABBB Chenery Graduation
  • June 18: LABBB High School Graduation
  • All Recreational activities are listed below in Recreational News
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


Mind/Body Strategies Gaining Momentum in LABBB Classrooms
by Melissa Allen, Teacher, Lexington High School
Introduction by the LABBB Mind/Body Strategies Group



After our professional day on January 12, "Building Mindfulness into our Culture" we formed a small group that we now call our, "Mind/Body Strategies Group." This group meets every two weeks to discuss how we can support staff in implementing meditation or yoga practice into their classroom. We have many staff in LABBB who are certified Yoga instructors, and some of them have been teaching Yoga or mediation in to our students for many years. Our staff who are teaching these skills are reporting positive results.

We first discovered from our conversations that many staff are currently practicing either yoga or meditation with their students, and many more started after our professional day. Some of our teachers were getting support from one of our members in the Mind/Body Strategies Group and some staff were just doing this on their own. We estimate that we are practicing one or more Mind/Body strategies in at least 80 percent of our classrooms in LABBB.

Melissa Allen, LABBB Teacher at Lexington High School, was interested in implementing this practice in her classroom. Melissa has practiced yoga on her own and felt that her students could benefit from this. She felt that if she was going to properly guide her students in mediation practice she would need some support and guidance. We invited her to the Mind/Body Group to begin a discussion. To begin our meeting, Melissa joined us in a 10 minute meditation session, then we started to discuss how we could support her and help give her the tools to facilitate these strategies in her classroom. We put a plan together and a few members of our group were going to schedule time to instruct and model this practice in her classroom. Melissa agreed that she would keep a progress journal in her classroom.

During our last meeting, Melissa presented a journal to show how this initiative started in her classroom and how the students responded. We wanted to share this with the LABBB Community.

Lisa Poirier, LABBB Occupational Therapist, and member of the Mind/Body Strategies Group, is a certified yoga teacher and has practiced mindfulness for many years. She was going to start this initiative by facilitating guided meditation with the students in Melissa's classroom.


Day 1: Monday, April 6th, morning


Lisa Poirer showed the class how to breath by using the analogy of filling and deflating the balloon.  She showed them "Lion's roar, Ocean's breath and Snake breath" breathing strategies. She then had them listen for the bells by counting how many they heard intermittently with their eyes closed. She showed them how to rub their temples.  Most students participated willingly and said they liked how they felt after they tried each activity.


Day 1: Monday, April 6th, afternoon

Students were asked what they remembered from the morning.  They were able to talk about Lion's breath and Snake breath.  We used the Mindfulness Insight Timer app to listen for the bells again. Most students were able to identify the correct number of bells.  Afterwards the overall mood in the class was calm.

I did not see a noticeable impact carried over in the next class.

Day 2: Tuesday, April 7th, afternoon

Some different students were in class today that were at work yesterday.  We reviewed and demonstrated breathing.  We listened for the bells and students counted how many they heard.  Some students had a difficult time closing their eyes and listening quietly, but by the end, all students were quiet, and most could identify the correct number of bells.  Overall, the mood in the class was calm.

I did not see a noticeable impact carried over in the next class.

Day 3: Wednesday, April 8th, morning

A student spontaneously did some deep breathing when he was asked to answer a question that he didn't want to--he said it helped him feel better.

We put on some soothing music at break time with a picture of a beautiful, tropical location on the interactive whiteboard. The students said they really liked it!


Day 4: Monday, April 13th, afternoon

I put on soothing music with a picture of the ocean on the interactive whiteboard while we were waiting for the next class to begin. One student spontaneously started rubbing his temples with his eyes closed when the music was on.  Another student also started rubbing her temples while listening to the music.  One student was quietly sitting with his eyes closed. One student was pretending he was playing the piano. The rest of the students were sitting quietly listening to the music or doing a silent activity at their desk.      

 Day 5: Tuesday, April 14th, afternoon

We used a Mindfulness app for a 5 minute selection that led the students to sit quietly and calmly and listen to their breathing.  The room was very quiet at the end of the session and for the start of the next class.

Day 6: Thursday, April 16th, afternoon

I put on soothing music and we practiced breathing. Some students put their hands on their stomachs and closed their eyes right away. Then we listened and counted the bells.  One particular student that has great difficulty with self regulation in a variety of situations across the day, has been unable to breath and be calm during any of the sessions. Actually, it seems to be more anxiety provoking for him at this time. Also, a few students that were in the "blue zone," (noticeably tired and low energy), went with staff to re-energize by doing physical exercise instead.

Note: In our once a week Problem Solving class we (myself and Jenn Malenchini) have started the "Zones of Regulation" by Leah Kuypers from Social Thinking Publishing. We have just started introducing the different zones.

LABBB Transition Program Visits Middlesex Community College

By: Rebecca Dickson, Teacher, Transition Program Belmont High School

At the Belmont Transition Program, we spend a majority of our time preparing for the future. What does life look like outside of high school and LABBB? The answers vary greatly, student to student. Based on this information, we have decided to include trips to local community colleges and job fairs, and discussions about adult service agencies as part of our curriculum. 


On Monday March 23, we brought a group of students to Middlesex Community College. Once there, we experienced what a college campus looks like and feels like for a college student.  Upon our arrival we toured the main building which houses the fitness center, bookstore, cafeteria, and student lounge.   


We were able to have a brief presentation in a classroom and learned about some of the programs available at Middlesex, including general enrollment, using disability support services, ICE and the Transition Program. The students also received a tour of the campus; everyone enjoyed seeing the library and the concert hall. 


At the conclusion of the tour, we had lunch in the cafeteria to get the true experience of college life. Our students enjoyed this trip and learned that there are many different avenues to explore during the transition years.  View our blog for a gallery of pictures from this trip.


Fox Hill Students Learn about Jackie Robinson
By: Laurie Arcovio

Students in grade 3, 4 and 5 at Fox Hill Elementary School began learning about Jackie Robinson in February. They learned about his life and the challenges that he faced.  They also learned about the values he relied on and displayed  to be successful.   The students learned that Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play Major League Baseball.  In order to achieve his dreams of playing professional baseball, Jackie Robinson had to overcome several difficult challenges. He worked hard and stayed focused on his goals. In doing so, he displayed several key values to becoming strong and successful. It was because of these values that Jackie Robinson has become a role model and hero to so many individuals.


After studying the life, challenges, and successes of Jackie Robinson, students made connections to challenges they experienced in their own lives. They then began writing about the challenges they have faced and the values that they have used to overcome them and be successful.  Students developed their writing into essays describing the details of their challenges and the values that helped them to be successful, along with how they used Jackie Robinson as a role model. 


Each year on April 15th, Major League Baseball honors the life and accomplishments of Jackie Robinson.  It was on April 15, 1947 that Jackie Robinson played his first major league baseball game for the Brooklyn Dodgers and forever made his mark in 

history.  On April 15th this year,  students at Fox Hill celebrated both their hard work and the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson by sharing their essay videos and receiving Jackie Robinson posters and t-shirts.  They even got to watch a bit of the Red Sox all wearing number 42 in their game!




MCAS Boot Camp
By: Susan Good - MCAS Specialist


Zooming with the UPS man while he stacks the last 3 boxes of the 43 boxes of our ELA testing administration.

 LABBB teachers have done an Insanely Great    job during this MCAS Season.  They have

 jumped hurdles, scaled walls, climbed obstacles and zoomed to triumph their way through MCAS Season! We are finally on our last leg with just Math and Science to complete.


This Fall marked the beginning of the MCAS Boot Camp season. We conducted the high school MCAS November Retest, and then in February we had the high school biology administration.  During the fall and winter, sixteen of our teachers, throughout nine of our programs, hurdled over the arduous task of MCAS Alt portfolios for a total of 63 portfolios being submitted in April 2015.  All the while, we jumped into the intense schedule of spring testing at all fourteen of our sites.


At the forefront of March, we scaled the walls of our high school March retests.  In the later half of March, we maneuvered around four of our high schools administering the 10th grade ELA MCAS with the Elementary and Middle school window of test administration trailing right behind.  


Teacher, Keith Muise, with a photo op while zooming with his ELA test administration and MCAS Alt shipments.


During the peak of 2015 spring MCAS season, LABBB students participated in a total of thirty-two ELA test administrations across thirteen LABBB sites.  It was a very mindful Friday on April 10, 2015 when the UPS man picked up the last three boxes of forty-three total boxes packed across those thirteen sites.

We are now gearing up for the last leg of the race with Math/Science at our elementary and middle school level programs and 10th grade math at the high school programs.  We  are mindfully approaching  the finish line of 2015 testing season in June when we complete the high school science administration.  It has been quite an adventure, and we can't wait to see the finish line.


Sending a big Thank You to all the teachers who have mindfully participated in MCAS Boot Camp Season thus far. Let's keep Zooming and have an Insanely Great finish!

Adaptive Physical Education Bowling Classes
By: Tom Brincklow, APE Teacher

The classrooms that participate in bowling, this school year, each week are:


Collins/Roberts rooms from Wellington 

Goguen/Asklund & Allen rooms from Lexington High School 

Bennett room from Chenery


These classes have been participating in candlepin bowling at the Woburn Bowladrome.  The students have truly enjoyed bowling each week, while working on their ball skills, approach skills, eye-hand coordination, counting and turn taking skills.


In addition to being a skill building activity while they are in school, bowling is a life long activity that goes beyond the students' time with the LABBB program.  After graduating from LABBB they could join leagues or go out with family and friends for a fun event.




Community Partnership with Kitty Connection
By: Chris Holet, Vocational Coordinator
Our new partnership with the Kitty Connection in Woburn is off to a terrific start. Students and staff have learned many new job skills and helped to secure homes for homeless kittens. Their work has been greatly appreciated.  

Some of the job duties our students fulfill at Kitty Connection include cleaning and refilling cat supplies, attending to the individual needs of the cats, and numerous other functional jobs necessary to support the cat shelter.  Here are some pictures of our students in action!



Recreation News
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator

We had ninteen LABBB students attend the 2015 Disney Trip. We changed the trip this year to include a day at Universal Studios in place of the Animal Kingdom. All of the students had a blast going on new rides and seeing new shows.  


We also added two new character dinners which included: Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom with Winnie the Pooh and friends, and Norway Palace in EPCOT with the Princesses.


This year we had great weather and it was a big success. The Disney trip would not be possible if it were not for the LABBB staff that chaperone. I would like make sure we all recognize and give a big thank you to to the staff that went this year: Jeff Carity, Alicyn Dawley, Kristian Driscoll, Linda Driscoll, Steve Eastridge, Kathy Farley, Kim Greene, Mike Healey, Rob McDonough, Danielle McMahon, Brenna Quinn, and Nina Riley. 


The planning has already started for Disney 2016! 


May/June Recreation Activities


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

May 18:  LABBB Around Town Dining      

May 20:  LABBB Special Olympics: Opening Ceremonies begin at 9:00 a.m

May 21:  LABBB Thursday Movie Night   

May 27:  Chenery Best Buddies Event       

May 28:  LABBB Dance at Lexington High School  7-9PM  

June  4:  LABBB Thursday Movie Night   

June  8:  LABBB Middle School and Arlington High Trip to King's Bowling       

June 12: LABBB Monthly Mini Golf

June 18: Save the Date for LABBB Graduates at Museum of Our National                     Heritage in Lexington MA.


Always remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

Vocational Training Center at Arlington High School
By: Chris Holet, Vocational Coordinator

The  LABBB  Vocational Training Center at Arlington High School prepares students to participate more fully in society through meaningful work. Students age 14-22 receive training on functional work and academic skills at various occupational work stations.


In conjunction to learning skills related to work tasks, emphasis is also placed on appropriate work behaviors and job-related skills. All work tasks have a task analysis and prompt hierarchy. In house work stations include the  Arlington High School Caf´┐Ż, copy center, laundry room, shredding, kitchen, office, housekeeping, planting, and crafts.


For students 13-14 years of age, emphasis is placed on general work behaviors. These work skills provide the foundation on which specific job training can be built. Skills include, staying on-task, working independently, work endurance, obtaining and returning materials, and requesting help.


The Vocational   Counselor  works closely with the classroom teacher, speech and language  therapist, behavior specialist and occupational therapist  on fine motor, communication, social skills, functional academic skills, and other IEP related goals in various work environments.

5th Annual Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival

Dear LABBB Community: 


The 5th Annual Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival will be held on Saturday (May 16) and Sunday (May 17) in Lexington Center, next to the police station.


Proceeds from this event go to LABBB Collaborative. So come enjoy great BBQ, Music and spread the word to anyone you think would be interested. 


For full details about this event click on the link below

 2015 Lexington Battle-Green BBQ Festival 

About Us
For more information please visit us at:


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