The LABBB Collaborative Newsletter

July, 2015
2015 Graduate Stephen Pham and Friends from LABBB Burlington High School
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director

Patric Barbieri

Summer Memories and Building Independence

In 1974, I went to my first two-week overnight camp, Camp Massapoag. I was 10 years old. It was not my choice to go, and I did everything I could to try and talk my parents
out of sending me. I was relentless.

This experience happened 41 years ago, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the smell, the sounds. Every olfactory sense from this camp is still alive within me. I didn't want to go because I didn't know what to expect; in fact, I had never been away from home before, and I was going to be away with people I did not know - for two weeks! Unfortunately, I did not have a vote in this decision. I resisted, but once I accepted it, everything changed. Camp turned from a 

fear into a gift. Above is a picture of my first year at camp in 1974 and my first cabin. I am in the middle with the red shirt and shorts. 


My parents knew this experience would be beneficial to me. The purpose for sending me to camp then was the same as the mission we have today for all of our students attending LABBB - to promote independence. This camp was a vehicle for me to gain this independence.


For all of our students who attend LABBB, our mission is to promote academic, social, and career independence. Our goal is to create opportunities for them during their time at LABBB. Along with these opportunities comes some risk that we may resist. We want to keep our students safe, but at the same time, we need to make sure we build in goals and objectives that align with our mission. The gift we want to give is independence. We need to take advantage of this mission now. Being part of the LABBB community, you have the support of a team. You have a team that wants the very best for your child; and together, you will begin a journey that will have ups and downs, fears, and mistakes. However, we all need to keep the same question in mind, "How are we helping this student be more independent?"


My sister, who will be 39 years old next month, has Down syndrome. She went to an overnight camp every year, starting at a very young age. As an adult, when she moved into her group home, the transition was fairly easy for her. This is not always the case for young adults who leave home and move into an independent living arrangement for the first time. I can still remember the day my sister spent her first night at her group home. As one would expect, my parents were incredibly nervous and worried. One of the parents of another young adult who lived in the house called my mother to give her an update on Michelle. She said to my mother, "Right now, Michelle is in the living room, lying out on the couch with a bowl of popcorn on her lap watching a movie. I think she is going to be just fine." Did going away to camp every summer help my sister prepare for this day? I have to think it had a significant benefit. She didn't seem to have any fear.


Most parents have the same fear. They can't imagine the day their son or daughter will be living on their own. For our students, to live on their own is the best gift for each and every one of them, and we want to help prepare them for that day. I have heard, many times, from parents who spoke about their child living independently. They'd report that their child stated that once they became settled in their new home they would visit. But as it turns out, they usually can't wait to get back to their group home. This is their life now . . . their independent life.


Last summer, after 40 years, I visited Camp Massapoag. The camp is only a day camp now, but what amazed me is that everything is exactly the same. The cabins look like they did in 1974. The camp ground was just the same, too. It was easy to navigate, and I could easily find the cabins I lived in. I certainly built some vivid memories.


I often think of this experience. I am fortunate my parents didn't listen to me; otherwise, I would not have been able to reflect on this summer, which we then encouraged our daughter to experience.  


My daughter also started going away to camp at age nine, but the only difference was that she wanted to go on her own volition. She was much braver than I! I didn't know how my wife and I were going to deal with this, but she was adamant about going, so we found a YMCA camp in Connecticut that was about 2.5 hours away. I couldn't imagine how my parents felt when they dropped me off, but I had to face my own fears as a parent. It would have been easy to say "no" at the time, but this camp has been one of the best life experiences we have given her. 


I want to welcome all the students and their families to the LABBB community. We talk about community quite a bit because being part of LABBB is not just about being connected to your respective school, it is about connecting with the entire LABBB community.


Many of our students have started in a LABBB Elementary school, transitioned to a LABBB middle school, and finally graduated from a LABBB High School. This journey, and being part of this community, has many benefits. You will connect with parents from more than 70 districts, and you will learn about resources for your children and enjoy the benefits of being a part of this larger community.


Enjoy your summer and build memories. We are honored to have you as part of the LABBB community. 



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

Recreation links:
Coming Events:
  • 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


LABBB High School Graduation Video
Congratulations to all our 2015 Graduates!

Congratulations to the 2015 LABBB Graduates. Below is a video of the High School Graduation that was held on June 18 at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington. 



John Glenn Middle School Moving on Ceremony 

By: Cynthia Kenney, Social worker & Katrina Wright, Teacher








The JGMS Graduation Ceremony was held on Thursday, June 18. This year the LABBB Program at JGMS had six graduates. The ceremony was beautiful with the Graduates Processional to "You'll be in my heart".  All graduates were beaming and so very excited to be moving onto their new high school program at LABBB.  Congratulations to all the students and the wonderful JGMS educational team who supported them on their journey! 

Michael Potts Completes his Eagle Scout Project at Bedford High School

By: Bedford High School staff


Michael Potts, from the Bedford High School LABBB Program, has fulfilled his Eagle Scout project requirement! He did this by building two benches and designing signs for doors around the outside of the Bedford High School building.  All of which will benefit the students who attend the high school.

It all started with Michael generating a written proposal. He then presented his proposal to a team of administration which included LABBB staff, the BHS Principal, Vice Principal, and Maintenance Director of Bedford. Their support of this project was truly astounding.  Once the proposal was reviewed and signed off on, Michael presented his ideas to his classmates. He spoke of his plans to have his peers be the benefactors of his project. He also spoke of his love for the Eagle Scouts and what they stand for.   


Michael recently completed his project with the installation of the signs and benches. His troop, his parents, and all of his LABBB classmates watched in amazement as he put the last nail in the bench! These pictures speak to his efforts and his contributions to Bedford High School.  Congratulations Michael!


Bedford LABBB Staff


LABBB Supports Aspiring Educators

By: Janessa Roberts
Event Subtitle

This year I had the pleasure of working with two college students. Sarah Rose Goldfinch is attending Boston University, and Isabel Percival is attending Colby-Sawyer College. They have both shown dedication and passion for working with students with special needs. 


Sarah has immersed herself in our classroom with energy and a true love of learning.  The connections she made with each student were amazing to watch and nurture.  The experience she gained with the on goings of a busy energetic classroom were immeasurable, including; data procedures, curriculum, behavioral programming, community opportunities, engaging in therapies and team building.  It is my hope that these experiences will carry her through her educational career as she moves forward.   


Sarah Writes:

It has been my absolute pleasure working with Janessa and LABBB this year. The experience started as a pre-practicum through Boston University, but it was such a great experience that I was able to extend the experience for a summer job. From first contact, I found LABBB to be incredible welcoming. As a program, they have encouraged my involvement in all aspects of the students' days.  Being relatively new to the world of special education, I've been incredibly lucky to be paired with Janessa Roberts. Her experience, dedication, and clear love of teaching have been invaluable to shaping me as a future teacher. Janessa and all of the LABBB staff I have worked with have gone out of their way to explain all aspects of the classroom and to give me plenty of guided and independent experiences.  It has been my experience that LABBB staff gives plenty of careful explanation and support as I, and other college students, move towards comfort and mastery of the skills needed. It has been an experience that I will always value. 


Isabel has been in my classroom this summer and has jumped in with both feet.  She displays a love of learning, deals with challenging behavior with the utmost positivity, and has become an asset to our summer programming.   It is a pleasure watching her grow and nurturing her talents.  Her talents include teaching with a whole communication approach incorporating signs, language, gestures and augmentative devices.   She displays a positive attitude and engages her students at every opportunity.  


Isabel Writes:


I have been a substitute teaching assistant at the LABBB elementary and middle school programs for the past three years. I have gained experience from helping out in various classrooms during the school year and summer program. This summer I have the pleasure of working in Janessa Robert's classroom at Wellington Elementary. I have learned many things about communication with students and staff, organization skills, and classroom management skills while being in her classroom. My experience at LABBB has helped me gain experience and has also helped with my internship hours for my Early Childhood Education degree from Colby-Sawyer College. I am currently a senior child development major working on getting my teaching certificate in K through 3.  


LABBB is so fortunate to have these opportunities to work with future educators in the Special education field.   LABBB looks forward to making more ongoing connections with colleges and universities, assisting with building our future teachers.


Hirth Classroom Trip to Middlesex Superior Court

By: Michele Hirth, Teacher, Burlington High School

Experiential Learning...a fun and effective way to deepen our knowledge!



This spring, the Hirth classroom visited the Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn as part of our U.S. History class with support from Mrs. Wells, Mrs. Driscoll and Mr. Eastridge. In class, we read articles, watched videos, and studied vocabulary relating to the court system. Some words and topics were familiar from all the high-profile trials in the news this year. But, there is still a lot to learn about! So, we concluded our month-long unit with a field trip to court. After going through security at the main entrance, we went up to a courtroom and were ushered into the jury box. We spoke with a judge, an Assistant District Attorney, and the court clerk while sitting in those big, comfortable chairs. The holding cells were interesting...but, not really a fun place to hang out! As we walked to Probation, security cameras marked our every move. Ankle bracelets and check-ins...who knew? Our "day in court" concluded with lunch at Applebee's, as we practiced ordering, budgeting, calculating the tip in and socializing with our friends in the community. 

Locks - of - Love

By: Victoria Dennis, Teacher, Arlington High School
Below is a picture of Erika Wong, LABBB Assistant Teacher, with student Kendall Shock. Kendall's mother gave us permission to cut her hair! When we realized just how long it was, the family decided to have her donate it to Locks-of-Love :) She is holding her ponytail in a bag to be sent out to make a wig for a child in need. Yay!

Recreation News

By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator


Coming Soon ....

Our new 2015/2016 Recreation Brochure


It will be mailed to you in August.

You will also find it posted on our website at


If you have new ideas to offer, please email them to [email protected]. We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities our students will enjoy!

Technology: Reflector and Splashtop
Tom Riley, Program Coordinator


Reflector and Splashtop app's give teachers the ability to move around the classroom while teaching. Instead of being tied to a desk, teachers and educators can interact and engage directly with students. Teachers can use Reflector and Splashtop to be an effective mobile document camera aiding in the collection of data needed for MCAS and other required testing and documentation. These app's allow teachers to directly interact with the student 1:1 or class as a whole.


Reflector is a wireless mirroring and streaming receiver that works great with iPads and other tablet like devices. It mirrors content to Smart Board technology devices such as our Promethean Boards without wires or complicated setups. Teachers are able to project applications they are using on a portable device from the palm of their hand. Every action a teacher or student produces on the device are wirelessly sent to the Active Board for all to see.


Splash Top allows teachers to share their desktop and applications. Once connected, students can view, control and annotate over lesson content directly from their own devices. Splashtop allows teachers to increase student engagement allowing students to take control and present their ideas or responses from their own device.

About Us
For more information please visit us at:



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

Labbb Collaborative | LABBB Collaborative | 36 Middlesex Turnpike | Bedford | MA | 01730