• January 10, 2024

     

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Happy New Year! As we bid farewell to the past and welcome the opportunities of a new beginning, I want to extend my warmest wishes to you and your family. I hope this newsletter finds you in good health and high spirits.

    Special Education Action Plan Update
    In July, when appointed to the role of Director of Special Education I was asked by Dr. Glass to create an entry plan.  I created an entry plan that consisted of immediate action items as well as a process for information gathering.  Subsequent to the creation of my initial entry plan, there were notable developments that impacted the “landscape” of the special education department.   In October, the BOE received the final Hanover report.  Bedford’s BOE, parent community and our special education department were all disappointed in the report. Hanover did not provide any programmatic information about our continuum of services nor did it provide information regarding the structures of our department.  It did not help us to better understand how we are doing compared to other districts with similar populations.   It did, however, allow us to hear the voices of parents which had been missing for years. In addition, a  BOE subcommittee for Special Education was established.  I participate in these meetings along with the Interim Assistant Director of Special Education. This committee has established an agenda of special education topics to address over the course of the school year.  I believe that the work of the committee will interface with the goals of this action plan. The plan can be accessed through the attached link, and is also posted on our website for your convenience. 

    2023-2024 SPED Action Plan

    Acting Interim Assistant Director of Special EducationDana Keith, Interim Assistant Director of Special Education will be on leave through mid-February.  We extend our best wishes to Dana for a swift recovery and all the very best during this time. Ms. Lisa O’Shea will be stepping in during Dana’s absence.  We are particularly fortunate to have Lisa here as she held the role of Acting Director of PPS here in Bedford last Spring. This means she is well-acquainted with Bedford Schools, the programs, staff and students. Prior to coming to Bedford Lisa held the positions of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Pupil Personnel Services and Principal in the Yorktown Central School District. schools.  Lisa can be reached by email at loshea5225@bcsdny.org and at 914-241-6154. Welcome back Lisa! 



    The AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) Team

    The AAC team, led by Margaret Browning Barnickel, Erica Rogan and Jamie Marro, started a project two years ago to add AAC communication structures to our playgrounds. They submitted grant requests through the Bedford Foundation and were able to get approval to begin our vision for the BVES and WPES playgrounds. They are beginning the grant cycle for MKES for next fall. The boards promote opportunities for communication, learning, and friendship.  I attended the ribbon cutting ceremonies at WPES and BVES, and was so pleased to see the children immediately using the board to communicate with friends on the playground.  Bravo to the entire AAC team and many thanks to the Bedford Foundation! 

     

    Transition Specialist

     Bedford Central School District is fortunate to have a Transition Specialist in the district to help support parents and students with postsecondary plans. Our current Transition Specialist, Carin Horowitz has taken another position within the region. We appreciate what she has done here in Bedford and wish her well in her new position.  We are thrilled to welcome Jaclyn Kanusher to this role beginning January 22nd.  Jaclyn comes to us with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling. She holds a Certified Rehabilitation Counseling Credential and a Provisional School Counseling Certificate. For the past 7 years she has worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for ACCES-VR which is a part of the New York State Education Department.  Welcome Jaclyn! 

     

    Winter Parent Night 

    On February 8th we will hold our winter parent night, focusing on transition.  There will be a brief opportunity to mingle before heading to your session.  Four different sessions will be held: 

    • CPSE-CSE Transition

    • Elementary- Middle School Transition

    • Middle School- High School Transition

    • Postsecondary Transition

    Please use this link to access the flier and to RSVP.  Childcare and translation available on request. 

     

    As we set our sights on the possibilities that the new year brings, let's work together to set positive and achievable goals for your child. Your collaboration and partnership are instrumental in creating a supportive and enriching educational experience. Here's to a fantastic year ahead!

     

    Warm regards,

     A black and white drawing of a handwritten noteDescription automatically generated with low confidence



    Dr. Toni Ann Carey

    Director of Special Education

    Bedford Central School District



     

     

    November 3, 2023

     

    Dear Parents and Guardians,


    I hope you and your children have had a smooth start to the school year, and that everyone is settled into their routines. It’s hard to believe it’s almost time to turn the clocks back! I wanted to take a moment to share some updates with you.


    Parent Communication

    In September, it was brought to my attention that there was a technical error and not all families received my welcome letter or the invitation to our first Meet and Greet. I am happy to report that the district is now able to use ParentSquare to reach our Special Education community, and we are hopeful this will be the fix we have been looking for. 


    Special Education Website Updates

    Our special education website was quite outdated and contained inaccurate information. It has been updated to include the correct contact information for our office and leadership team. Our goal is to provide families with a resource that will help them navigate their special education journey. Our website is currently a work in progress, and we are open to suggestions.

    Entry Plan Interviews

    I have had the pleasure of sitting down to speak with many faculty members, parents, and administrators as a part of my entry plan. Parent feedback has been extremely important in helping to shape a plan for improvement. If you did not originally sign up to speak with me and are interested in doing so, please reach out to my office.


    IEP Progress Reports

    An Individualized Education Program (IEP) progress report is a way to measure student progress toward meeting their IEP goals. This report is sent to parents and guardians each marking period at the same time that report cards are sent.

    Your first marking period IEP Progress Report will be sent home in the mail on the schedule below: 

    Elementary Schools: December 1st

    Fox Lane Middle School: November 17th 

    Fox Lane High School: November 13th 

    Please reach out to your special education teams if you have any questions regarding your child’s progress.

    Accessibility Team

    This summer we created an Accessibility Team. The team consists of special educators, related service providers, administrators and coordinators. The goal is to take a more proactive approach to the inclusion of all students in school-wide events. You may have noticed increased and more accessible communication for Fox Night this year. Our team worked closely with Adam Lodewick, Michele Brooks, and Kristy Emery to plan a more inclusive event. This included a visual schedule, social story, Fox Den sensory tent for breaks, and prioritized parking opportunities. The team is looking forward to collaborating on upcoming events.  


    Best Buddies Club at FLHS

    For several years, our SEPTO board has been advocating to bring Best Buddies, a nationally recognized program to Fox Lane. I am happy to report that this new club is off and running! The co-advisors are Nicole Goldstein-Regan and Alex Kuritzky. They are enthusiastic leaders and have already created many fun opportunities this year. Buddies have been decorating cookies, exchanging numbers for hang-outs, and completing buddy art projects. Future meetings will include collaborations with other clubs such as ASL and Chess. 


    We appreciate your ongoing support and involvement in your child's education. We believe that a strong partnership between school and home is essential for the success of our students. We are excited about the learning and growth that the upcoming winter season will bring. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  


    Warm regards,

     A black and white drawing of a handwritten noteDescription automatically generated with low confidence

    Dr. Toni Ann Carey

    Director of Special Education

    Bedford Central School District

     

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    August 30, 2023

     

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

     

    I hope that this note finds you enjoying the last rejuvenating days of summer with your family. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as the newly appointed Director of Special Education in the Bedford Central School District. I have had the privilege of working in Bedford for the past eight years, most recently as the Assistant Director of Special Education and prior to that as the Elementary Coordinator. As Director, I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with each of you and support the academic and personal growth of our exceptional students.  

     

    Please help me welcome Dana Keith as Interim Assistant Director of Special Education. Dana previously held the position of Elementary Coordinator and has been a part of Bedford Central School District for the last 28 years. Her leadership and dedication will play a pivotal role in ensuring that our students with diverse learning needs continue to receive the highest level of support and educational opportunities. We also welcome Kristina Carofano, Elementary Coordinator of Special Education. Kristina is coming to us with 15 years’ experience as a special education teacher in the Rye City School District. She is currently completing her SBL/SDL in Education Leadership at Manhattanville College. Our department is lucky to have them both.  

     

    On September 26th, we will hold a Special Education Open House. This will be an opportunity for you to meet our Special Education Leadership team, make connections with other parents, and to meet some of our wonderful teachers. Please click on the attached flier to RSVP to this event

     

    Since my start in early July, I have had a chance to begin speaking with parents and to review recent survey information. In the upcoming weeks and months, I look forward to continuing these conversations and learning more. Through close collaboration with all stakeholders, I’ll prioritize areas of focus, and our team will work to create long-term goals and a vision for our department. If you would like to participate in these conversations please use this link.

     

    I encourage you to reach out to our Special Education Department whenever you have questions, concerns, or suggestions. We are here to listen and work collaboratively to meet the needs of our students effectively. Together, we can identify strengths, address challenges, and celebrate every milestone achieved.

     

    As we embark on this new school year, let us remember that we are a community united by the common goal of nurturing and empowering our students. Together, we can create an environment where all children can flourish and become valuable members of society. Thank you for entrusting us with your child's education. I am looking forward to a successful and rewarding academic year for all.

     

    Warm regards,

     A black and white drawing of a handwritten noteDescription automatically generated with low confidence



    Dr. Toni Ann Carey

    Director of Special Education

    Bedford Central School District