Monday Message: October 5, 2020

Monday Message imageHappy October – one of the busiest months for our community. During the month of October, we acknowledge Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Month, Blindness Awareness Month, Disability History and Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, and Down Syndrome Awareness Month. We are excited today to announce two series that will begin this month – Project Core and a Transition Series, as well as the APS 2020 Virtual Dyslexia Conference, which will kick off next week. Please see information below about these and other events.

In addition, tomorrow evening we will celebrate the nominees for the 2019-20 SEPTA Special Education Awards. We hope you will join Arlington SEPTA, online, along with Dr. Francisco Durán  APS Superintendent, Dr. Kelly Krug and Heather Rothenbuescher, APS Directors of Special Education, and other distinguished guests who will gather together with our parent, student and staff community for this important evening.

Congratulations to ALL of the 2019-20 nominees!

  • Crawford Award – Outstanding Educator
    • Kira Atkinson, Wakefield High School• Allison Brown, Hoffman-Boston Elementary• Adam Cook, Tuckahoe Elementary• Carmen Fallone, Jamestown Elementary• Matthew Gavin, Thomas Jefferson Middle School• Amy Juengst, Dorothy Hamm Middle School• Christine Katcher, Dorothy Hamm Middle School• Lisa Lee, Arlington Career Center• Michael Lewis, Alice Fleet Elementary• Virginia Maloney, Yorktown High School• Shanna McVey, Vision Services Team Leader• Michele Micael, Abingdon Elementary• Leslie Morgado, Kenmore Middle School• Megan O’Brien, McKinley Elementary• Anna Zwegat, McKinley Elementary
  • Exceptional Ally Award • Outstanding Student Ally
    • Grace Chen, Washington Liberty High School • Sofie Dalton, Yorktown High School  • Ava Drewer, Washington Liberty High School • Sophie Gamboa, Wakefield High School • Kari Green-Orset, HB Woodlawn at The Heights• Ella Robertson, Yorktown High School
  • Turner Award • Outstanding Administrator
    • Jennifer Cranston, Syphax Education Center• Michelle McCarthy, Jamestown Elementary• Dr. Lynne Wright, Oakridge Elementary
  • Nannini Award • Outstanding Student Advocate
    • Shannon Luzius, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program at The Heights
  • Howie Award • Outstanding Volunteer
    • Jorge Lemus, Nando’s Peri•Peri Chicken
  • Exceptional Support Award • Outstanding Aide/Assistant or Support Staff
    • Tarana Aktar, Arlington Career Center• Loyda Alcantara, K.W. Barrett Elementary• Olivia Green, Thomas Jefferson Middle School• Neiza Loayza, Kenmore Middle School• Tonique Mason,  K.W. Barrett Elementary• Maria Small, Kenmore Middle School
  • McBride Award • Outstanding School or Program• Doing ART Together (DARTT) Program

Upcoming Events image

Arlington Public Schools and Parent Resource Center Sessions and Meetings

Arlington SEPTA Special Education Awards Ceremony
Tuesday, October 6, 2020: 7:30pm
Live on Zoom, Recorded for YouTube
Join Arlington Special Education PTA (SEPTA) in celebrating Arlington teachers, staff, volunteers and students who have gone above and beyond to help Arlington students succeed.

Project Core Parent Series
Mondays, October 12 – January 11: 8:00pm – 8:45pm (No sessions on December 21 or December 28)
Registration is required. Register online here.

Project Core is a 12-part series of learning modules that aims to build capacity to support students of all ages with disabilities and complex communication needs who are emerging in their communication and literacy skills. While this series was designed for educators, we believe that the information is important for families so they can support the development of their children’s communication skills in the home, community environments, and partner with school staff to support learning.

Project Core is a research-based, federally funded grant project from UNC-Chapel Hill, Center for Literacy and Disability Studies (CLDS). This project was developed and led by  special educator and researcher (Dr. Karen Erickson) and Speech-Language Pathologist and researcher (Dr. Lori Geist). It applies an interdisciplinary approach to teacher communication and literacy skills and most importantly provides explicit instruction strategies to support teacher/therapist who work with APS students with complex learning needs.

This series will be offered in a live virtual format and we will forward links to join the sessions to the emails provided when parents/guardians register. These sessions are designed to take place over 12 weeks, so please plan to join us from 8pm-8:45pm each Monday evening for the duration of the series. (We will take a break during APS’ winter break, and wrap up the end of the series in January). Thanks for committing to join us for this important series – we are looking forward to getting to know you, and know that the time we spend together will support your child’s learning.

The series is free and open to Arlington parents and guardians. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Parent Resource Center at or 703.228.7239.

Arlington Public Schools Virtual 2020 Dyslexia Conference

APS Virtual 2020 Dyslexia Conference Logo

A series of free, online sessions

We are delighted to announce that APS will hold a Virtual Dyslexia Conference this year. Below is a list of scheduled sessions this month, with several more sessions to be added.

  • Recognizing and Supporting a Student with More than Dyslexia
    Tuesday, October 13th: 7pm-8pm
    Presenter: Brian Razzino, Ph.D.
    Register here
    This session will discuss behavioral and subjective aspects children can face and display. Too often these can include behavioral problems (ADHD, ODD, conduct problems) as well as anxiety and depression. Participants will learn more on the experiences children face, resultant social-emotional-behavioral warning signs, and an introduction to strategies which help support their growing child.

  • A Step in the Writing Direction
    Thursday, October 15th: 7pm-8pm
    Presenter: Therese Pickett, Implementation Specialist, Voyager Sopris Learning
    Register here
    Come explore practical, multi-sensory writing strategies to improve students’ reading and writing skills. These strategies can be applied to a multitude of literacy tasks, and can easily be adapted to various ages and skill levels.  This will be a hands-on session. Please have the following handy during the session:

    • 6 Sticky notes, any size or color
    • Green, yellow and red or pink highlighters, crayons, or colored pencils
    • Several sheets of lined notebook paper

  • Practical Strategies for Parents
    Friday, October 16th: 6pm-7pm
    Presenters: Kelley Hyner, ATSS Supervisor and Dr. Donna McConnell, ELA Elementary Teacher Specialist
    Register here
    This session will provide practical strategies for supporting phonemic awareness and phonics for parents and caregivers, and is best suited for those supporting early elementary school students.

  • Dyscalculia: What We Know and Strategies to Help
    Monday, October 26th: 7pm-8pm
    Presenter: Judith L. Fontana, Ph.D., Mild Disabilities/Instructional Support Teams Coordinator, George Mason University’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC)
    Register Here
    The ability to calculate and understand basic math concepts and principles are life skills. Dyscalculia is a learning disability that impacts one’s ability in mathematics. Like, but not to be confused with dyslexia, the impact of dyscalculia falls along a continuum. Each case is unique. The session will address common characteristics, assessments and instructional strategies. Resources will be provided.

  • Read & Write Literacy Software Tool
    Thursday, October 29th: 7:30pm-9pm
    Presenters: Sandra Stoppel, OTR/L, Assistive Technology Specialist; Lauren Kravetz Bonnet, PhD, CCC-SLP, Assistive Technology Specialist; and Marbea Tiernan Tammaro, MEd, OTR/L, Assistive Technology Specialist; Arlington Public Schools
    Register here
    Read & Write is an educational literacy software program that makes lots of everyday tasks easier. It makes the web, documents and files more accessible on the APS staff’ and students’ personal learning devices. Read & Write was targeted to support reluctant writers and students with learning disabilities in the areas of reading and writing; however, it is beneficial for anyone who prefers to use these robust tools.  Arlington Public Schools has this software available to all staff and students in three versions, depending on the type of device that is issued. To get information on how to install Read & Write on an APS issued personal learning device, visit Arlington Tiered System of Support (ATSS).
    Read & Write features include:

    • hearing documents read aloud to support comprehension;
    • text and picture dictionaries to support understanding of unfamiliar words;
    • translates individual words into other languages
    • develops writing and spelling skills with word prediction;
    • highlighting and collecting text to build vocabulary lists;
    • turning speech into text;
    • simplify and summarize text on web pages; and
    • annotation.

Please visit the conference website for additional information on sessions, presenters and resources, including an opportunity request a complimentary registration to this year’s Dyslexic Edge Conference on October 17th. (We have 25 complimentary registrations available, generously donated by the Dyslexic Edge to remove financial barriers to conference attendance for Arlington families). Contact the PRC today at or 703.228.7239 to request a free registration code).

Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC) Meeting
Tuesday, October 27th: 7pm – 9pm
ASEAC monthly meetings are open to the public and address a range of issues of importance to the disability community. A public comment opportunity at each meeting provides members of the community the opportunity to bring issues to ASEAC’s attention.

Understanding Transition Services and What Needs to Happen
Wednesday, October 28th: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Register here
Arlington Public Schools Transition Services, Parent Resource Center and Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP) are sponsoring a Transition Series this year, which will feature monthly transition topics. October’s topic is Understanding Transition Services and What Needs to Happen. Speakers will include representatives from:

  • The ARC of Northern Virginia
  • Arlington’s Community Services Board (CSB)
  • Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
  • Program for Employment Preparedness (PEP)

For further information contact Christina Eagle at 703-228-5738 or, or Kelly Mountain at 703-228-7239 or

Arlington County Events

Ticket to Work – Virtual Event
October 8, 2020: 3:30 pm EST
Presented by Emily Hoban, Arlington Employment Center
Learn More

Community Webinar/Virtual Learning Opportunities/Meetings

CHADD of Northern Virginia and DC (NOVA DC CHADD) Annual Resource Fair
Tuesdays, October 6 – October 27, 2020: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
NOVA DC CHADD announces its 2020 Resource Fair, which is a series of lectures via Zoom to celebrate ADHD Awareness Month.  The theme is: Strong Minds, Healthy Lives: Strategies to Empower People Affected by ADHD”.

Facing Fall: Are You Forgetting to Care for Yourself? A Webinar Workshop on Managing Parental Stress
Wednesday, October 7th: 7pm – 8pm
Register here
The pandemic parenting journey rolls on this fall. The daily toll on families raising children and youth with special needs is significant. Many parents and caregivers are searching for quick, simple techniques for managing their personal stress reactions and finding opportunities for renewal and relaxation. Join yoga instructor and stress management consultant Tia Marsili for a 60 minute webinar workshop that applies practical tools to help reduce stress, improve physical well-being, and develop self-awareness. Tia will teach useful, at-hand techniques to address stress. Learn how to manage stress by using accessible physical exercises, breathing techniques, and relaxation.
Sponsored by Formed Familes Forward

Transition University – Fall 2020
October 11 – November 23, 2020
Register here

Topics covered in this course will include:

  • What is Transition and Why is it Important?
  • Transition Services in the IEP
  • Supported Decision Making, Power of Attorney, Guardianship and Age of Majority
  • Future planning including Special Needs Trusts, ABLE accounts and Letters of Intent
  • Transitioning into Independent Living (employment, further education, housing, etc.)
  • Connecting to Your Community and to Adult Services- and much more!

The course begins October 11, 2020 and will be open until November 23, 2020.
Learn more
Each session will open on Sunday and then be open the remainder of the course.
Sponsored by PEATC

Falling into Place: Celebrating Family Resilience
Saturday, October 17th: 9:45am-10:45am and 11am-Noon
Register here
Foster, adoptive and kinship families, are invited to a virtual Falling into Place: Celebrating Family Resilience family event.
Learn more
Note: Children and youth who register by 5 PM Thursday, October 8 will be MAILED a craft kit for use during the sessions on October 17.
Sponsored by Formed Families Forward

Managing Unstructured Time
October 27th: 7pm
Register here
REACH is excited to announce a Parent Support Series. These groups will be geared towards families and caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities. This is a wonderful opportunity for families and caregivers to engage in information sharing, learning, and collaboration.
Registration is mandatory. Please note registration will end 10/23/20.
Additional upcoming sessions:
Tuesday (11/17) – Understanding challenging behaviors
Tuesday (12/15) – Community resources
Sponsored by REACH

Check out these new resources logo

New Resource: Please check out this new resource database for anyone impacted by intimate partner/domestic or sexual violence in Arlington. Whether they are the person who has been harmed or the person who has harmed others, there are resources to support healing and safety. Please help us by spreading the word by sharing this new resource.”

Virginia 4H STEM Month Resources and Activities

October Parks and Recreation News and Activities