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Fall 2015 Newsletter
Save the Dates

October 12

Columbus Day
No School 

October 25

Ivy Street Hawks Flag
Football at Gillette Stadium

October 27

School Open House

November 4

Family Advisory Committee Meeting

November 15

Ivy Street Hawks Flag
Football at Gillette Stadium

November 25-27

Thanksgiving Break
No School 
December 2

Family Advisory Committee Meeting  

Solarium & Library
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

December 24-January 1

Holiday Break
No School

January 6

Family Advisory Committee Meeting 

January 18

Martin Luther King Jr. Day
No School

February 3

Family Advisory Committee Meeting 

February 15

President's Day
No School

March 2

Family Advisory Committee Meeting 

April 6

Family Advisory Committee Meeting 

April 18

Patriot's Day
No School

May 4

Family Advisory Committee Meeting 

May 30

Memorial Day
No School

June 1

Family Advisory Committee Meeting 

June 15


Fall Electives

At Ivy Street School,
students get the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun, engaging activities that match their personal interests. Here are just some of these groups and activities occurring in the Fall:


- Equine Therapy at

 Ironstone Farm 


- Rowing on Charles River at Community Rowing Inc.


- Theater Group at Wheelock Family Theatre


- Party People

 (party planning club)


 - Poker


- Zumba


- Yoga


- Room Designers

- Gospel Singing

- Running

- Seasonal Decorators


- Brookline Public Library


We are always looking to create more opportunities for innovative, exciting activities for our students.

If you have an idea for future activities please contact our Activities Coordinator
Anastasia Kanistras.

Solarium Solarium Restoration and Library Initiative

After having raised over
$300,000 in our fundraising campaign, the Ivy Street
School's Solarium Restoration
and 21st Century Library Initiative has begun
Through this project, our
library will be refurbished and enhanced with academic materials, new furniture, book collections, and the most advanced assistive technology and computers to support our students. The adjacent Solarium will provide a comfortable new
space for study and group projects.

We are deeply
grateful to the benefactors
 who supported this campaign and helped to create an even better learning experience
for our students, ensuring that they have access to 21st century adaptive tools and technology to meet their individual and specialized
learning needs.


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Ivy Street School!

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Second Annual Excellence in Special Education Summit  

Dr. Ross Greene delivers the keynote at the Excellence in Special Education Summit
Dr. Ross Greene delivers the keynote at the Excellence in Special Education Summit

On September 30th, Ivy Street School held its second annual Excellence in Special Education Summit in memory of our Board member John Pratt. The goal of the Summit is to promote best practices in the field by highlighting innovative research and its real-world application. 

During the day we held workshops at the school on topics relating to autism, brain injury, and transition programming, as well as a very special workshop featuring a panel of parents of our students giving their perspective on raising a child with special needs.

Later that evening, Ross Greene, Ph.D. delivered the John Pratt Memorial lecture at the Whitehead Institute. Dr. Greene is a renowned author and founder of the non-profit Lives in the Balance. Dr. Greene spoke on the importance of using a collaborative approach to solve problems with behaviorally challenging kids - an approach, he noted, that is equally as effective in dealing with all kids, as well as adults.

The evening also featured remembrances of John Pratt and his passion for the work of the Ivy Street School to help young people with special needs develop the skills they need to lead successful lives as adults. John cared deeply about furthering the special education field, and would have been thrilled to see so many great thinkers and practitioners brought together to share their expertise.

In John's memory, Staff Development Awards of $5,000 each were presented to two Ivy Street School staff members, Anastasia Kanistras and Allison Pennacchio, so that they may further their skills and knowledge in special education.

Thank you to the Whitehead Institute, to our speakers and participants, and especially to our co-hosts NESCA (Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents) and the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.
Staff Profile: Allison

Allison Pennacchio,
Assistant Residential Director &
Cottage Farm Program House Manager 

Ivy Street School Director Joel Rosenhaus presents Allison with her Staff Development Award
Ivy Street School Director Joel Rosenhaus presents Allison with her Staff Development Award

It's no surprise that Allison Pennacchio chose to pursue education as a career, receiving her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Emmanuel College in 2012. After all, it's in her blood.
"I always knew that I wanted to do something that involved helping others and giving back," she says. "There are several teachers in my family and I grew up getting to see the impact that they've made on others."

During her time at Emmanuel College, Allison tutored and even spent some time in South Africa teaching English and developing programming at an elementary school, but it was one job in particular that caused her to find her calling. Working as a social skills group assistant at an after-school program for young children on the autism spectrum made her realize that she belonged in special education.

Allison has been at Ivy Street School for four years, and is currently the Assistant Residential Director as well as the House Manager of our Cottage Farm Program, a transitional apartment geared toward students who have achieved a high level of independent living skills and self-management and are ready to experience community living.

Ultimately, the part of her work here that Allison finds most rewarding is watching the students succeed.

"I love being able to see our students progress and achieve so much over time," she says, "and seeing them genuinely happy with themselves following an accomplishment. Anytime a student accomplishes something, whether it's getting a job or mastering something that they've been working on, there is an evident change in their self-esteem that is so heartwarming to see."

At Ivy Street School's Excellence in Special Education Summit, Allison was presented with a Staff Development Award of $5,000, which she will use to further her education, as she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Bay Path University.
Staff Profile: Anastasia

Anastasia Kanistras,
Behavior Technician & Activities Coordinator  

Ivy Street School Director Joel Rosenhaus presents Anastasia with her Staff Development Award
Ivy Street School Director Joel Rosenhaus presents Anastasia with her Staff Development Award

Anastasia Kanistras received her B.A. in Psychology from Northeastern University in 2010, and from the moment she began her "Introduction to Counseling" course, she fell in love with the field of human services. After graduating, she became a Mental Health Counselor working with adolescents at Bournewood Hospital, a psychiatric hospital for youth.
In her three years at Ivy Street School, Anastasia has worn many hats. Starting as a relief staff member on the residential and educational floors, she later became a classroom teaching assistant. Recognizing her passion for problem solving and thinking outside the box, Ivy Street School's Director then selected Anastasia to join the newly developed Behavior Team as a Behavior Technician. Anastasia is also a certified CPI (Crisis Prevention Interventions) instructor.
In addition, Anastasia's drive and creativity led to her being named the school's Activities Coordinator. In this role, she conceives, plans, and coordinates a variety of activities that are fun and educational for our students. From equine therapy to trips to AirCraft Aerial Arts, Anastasia is constantly listening and responded to students' interests and needs to find new, exciting, and engaging activities and field trips.

Anastasia also has a lead role in putting together our annual Extravaganza talent revue, which is always one of the most highly anticipated dates on the Ivy Street School calendar.
"What I truly love about Ivy Street," she says, "is how when you are an employee here, you really are given the opportunity to do what you are passionate about. I love being able to talk to a student who is having a hard time and problem solve to come up with a plan on how to get them to have a successful day.
"I also love that my day can start off in an IEP meeting, then move to writing a behavior plan and graphing some data, and then end taking selfies with the students as they take part in equine or gospel class. In my split roles I see the most challenging sides of a student and then I see them smiling, singing, and performing at Extravaganza. I really have the best of both worlds here at Ivy."
This year Anastasia was selected to receive a $5,000 Staff Development Award at our second annual Excellence in Special Education Summit, which she will use to further her education. Currently she is taking courses to become certified as a CBIS (Certified Brain Injury Specialist) as well as an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician), and she intends to put her award money towards going to graduate school to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).