The LABBB Collaborative
  June 2016
Living our Mission with Inclusive Partnerships 
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In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
LABBB Connections: Meet Paulina Llorente Gonzalez

When I look back on my career and our quest for inclusive opportunities for our students, the connection we have with recent Middlesex Community College graduate Paulina Llorente Gonzalez is going to be in the top five most memorable relationships we have developed. 

This story begins the very first day of our ICEI program, and I hope the story never ends. Paulina is going on for a degree in Special Education, and if the stars align, I hope Paulina is teaching in LABBB after she earns her degree. 

Paulina was named this year's Massachusetts Department of Higher Education's 29 Who Shine, an annual program recognizing outstanding students representing each of the state's 29 public campuses: 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses. Paulina has also testified at the State House with LABBB Student, Brian Guay, in support of the ICEI Grant. 

Our students met Paulina the very fist day of our ICEI program, which started in September 2014. Our first three ICEI students were enjoying the festivities of opening day at Middlesex Community College in Bedford. It was well over 90 degrees that day, but it didn't stop our students from enjoying the day's events. I had just left, and Steve Pierce, our first Educational Coach, called to update me. He was excited to tell me a story about how they met a MCC student. 

Steve started to explain that they met Paulina. She approached Steve and wanted to meet our students. From that day on, the connection was developed. Paulina started the first mentoring program for our three students, which was a tremendous success and was a big part of the ICEI experience. 

Paulina graduated MCC this year, but she handed the torch on to a very competent MCC student who will continue this program. Just like any good leader does, she is making sure they put this mentoring program in good hands for the future. 

Please click on the link below to read the profile about Paulina. Her story begins on page 24. 

Visual Arts at Chenery Middle School
By: Stephen Goodwin

The Belmont Public Schools recently conducted its annual celebration of the Visual Arts.  As part of this celebration, artwork from all six Belmont Public Schools is displayed at various town buildings in the latter weeks of May.  Several pieces of artwork produced by LABBB Chenery students were featured (pictured here).  The Chenery Middle School Art department has been a long-time leader of inclusion on behalf of the LABBB Chenery students.  Currently, the LABBB Chenery students attend a weekly Chenery Art class.  They are fully integrated into this Visual Arts experience and have opportunities to explore a wide variety of visual arts motifs as well as connect socially with their Chenery peers.  This occurs in large part due to efforts of the Chenery Art Teachers as well as the sublime LABBB Chenery Teaching Assistants who attend and assist in these classes as well.  Kudos to our LABBB Chenery students, the LABBB Chenery staff and the Chenery Art Teachers for their efforts.

Breaking the Code!
By: Becky Dickson & Sarah Cronin
The students in Mrs. Dickson's technology class have been learning to code this year.  What is coding?   Coding is simply using a program (or computer language) to tell a computer what you want it to do.  This is typically accomplished through specific words or phrases typed into a workspace.   Some of the coding websites use "blocks" that have code, generally javascript, embedded on them in order to perform a specific task.  Typically, there is a goal for each level of a specific code learning program.  Some of the sites we explored have video explanations and other projects to work on as the students move through the levels.
Students in our class are excited to code.  They enjoy the challenges, and it is interesting for them to see how video games are made!  
The class started by learning through activities on has an hour of code that has specific learning tasks to go through that help us master each area of coding. The students learned how to move objects around a field and how to use a repeat function, then used these skills to make our own "Flappy bird" games. You can check them out (and play them!) here: Flappy Bird
Similar to is Tynker; it has a lot of free options and some of the activities were easier than others.  Tynker uses the "blocks" for coding too.   There are many different types of games that allow everyone to explore something that they find interesting.
Our class also used the free aspects of Code Combat. In Code Combat we have to solve puzzles using java script.   This requires us to use our problem solving skills and typing skills, along with understanding specific directions, and in some cases multi-step directions, that are needed to perform tasks. 
The students voted and think coding is cool!  Their favorite part is being able to build games. 

Clinical Corner: Can We Be Helping Our Students Too Much?
By: Lisa Gurdin
One of our goals at LABBB is to provide opportunities for our students to become as independent as possible across school, home, community, and work settings. Independence means something different for different students and in different environments. Some students are striving to perform vocational tasks without supervision. Other students are working on initiating academic tasks without repeated teacher directives to do so. Still, other students are working on doing a leisure task on their own without a teacher nearby. 
As teachers and parents, we have become accustomed to helping our kids by talking them through tasks, repeating directions when they do not respond fast enough, or doing things for them. We repeat directives and provide assistance, maybe even remove the demand, especially when we do not have time to wait for them to do it themselves. As a result, we get into this pattern of over-talking and over-helping, so students learn to expect the help rather than try to do it themselves. They wait for someone to repeat the direction, provide some kind of assistance, or do it entirely for them.  This is sometimes referred to as "prompt dependence." However, it really is not a dependence, but rather a learned behavior. They have learned that they can delay or avoid the task or exert less effort because an adult will step in.
We can avoid this pattern and promote independence by:
  • Using nonverbal cues and less verbal cues. Nonverbal cues, such as pointing, facial expressions, and head nods, are ways to indicate what should come next or to "get going." Nonverbal cues are less intrusive and are easier to fade.
  • Using contextual cues like word reminders, pictures, lists, visual schedules, agendas, etc. These are even less intrusive and also easier to fade.
  • Delaying prompts to give your student a chance to respond independently. For example, wait 2-4 seconds (or longer) before giving a prompt or repeat a directive.
  • Avoiding doing more than is necessary to help your student initiate, maintain, or complete a task - and do not do it for them when at all possible.
Many of our students do need a lot of help doing things like making their bed, getting dressed, brushing teeth, completing assignments, and ordering at a restaurant, but have we given them the opportunity to do any of it on their own? How do we know that our students actually cannot do at least some of the task without assistance?  Have we taken a step back to see what they can do without an adult reminding them of next steps? We may be surprised at what our students can do, and how proud they feel when they do something all on their own!

Pictures from the LABBB Family Pizza and Ice Cream Social

The Blue Cockatoos play Live at the LABBB Family Pizza and Ice Cream Social
We have a talented student band in LABBB and they played live at our LABBB Family Social event. 

They are called the Blue Cockatoos. Check out the video of them playing Should I Stay or Should I Go, by the Clash.

Drums: Christian Rojas
Guitar: Micah Abraham
Keyboards: Colin Steinburg
Singer: Rebecca Zive

Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
The LABBB/Lexington High Special Olympics was a great success this year.  The phrase "this is/was the best Special Olympics yet" was heard multiple times during the day.

The weather is one of the main ingredients to a successful Special Olympics, and we had a perfect day in that department.  The athletes and volunteers are a big piece as well; we had 245 athletes and 300 plus volunteers to add to the success.

Ryan Allen from the New England Patriots
Lexington Minuteman Color Guard and Lexington Police Chief, Mark Corr, along with the Police Chiefs from Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, and other towns that are part of the Special Olympics Torch Run, were there to lead the parade of athletes onto the track.  The athletes entered to cheering fans and were followed by Lexington Officer, Sal Mirabella, and LABBB senior, Michela Zaccai, carrying the torch. 

Another piece to this being such a successful event was the presence of Rene Rancourt singing the National Anthem, and Miss Massachusetts, Whitney Sharpe, from Burlington, MA, opening the games, as well as Patriot players, Ryan Allen and Geneo Grissom, helping at the start and finish lines. 
The day had many fun events going on, from photos with the celebrities, events on the track and field, to face painting, arts and crafts, and DJ in Olympic Town. We had athletes with their faces painted crossing the finish line then heading to the awards to get their medal from a police officer. 

Miss Massachusetts 2016, Whitney Sharpe
event had Arlington, Bedford, and Lexington High Best Buddies chapters and Burlington High and John Glenn Middle School PALS programs, helping out the athletes around the track.  This was truly a community event.  This day is special to many people.  This event is not just about our LABBB athletes, but it is about the high school volunteers that take the day to volunteer, the adult volunteers that step up and help in any way they can.  To the parents, family, and friends that come to cheer on the athletes, and the LABBB communities from the Police Departments, Superintendents, Administrators, Principals, and faculty that come by to see this wonderful event.  This is a special day for everyone involved. 
Geneo Grissom from the New England Patriots with 3 LABBB Athletes

The LABBB/Lexington Special Olympics would not be what it is, if not for all the people involved to support it every step of the way, from the planning that starts in January, to the final meeting after the Special Olympics to make next year's event even better. 
Thank you to everyone that was involved through volunteering or stopping by the 2016 Special Olympics at Lexington High School.

Recreation Resources links:

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!

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

EPIC Youth Night with MILCB
Parent Resources and Events
School Cancellation: 
All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.

LABBB PAC INFORMATION: The combined LABBB PAC and Belmont SEPAC meeting held on April 27, 2016 was well attended. If you missed it, you can view it by clicking here: State of LABBB.
Communication and Contacts Links
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About Us
LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615

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