LABBB Graduation 2022
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Executive Director's

To the LABBB Community,
It is an honor to be part of this amazing organization; I truly cannot explain how happy I am to be here! I will share that I am also a bit nervous … change often brings with it a case of the nerves, and my case of the nerves had me thinking about a quote from Brene Brown, “There is no joy without gratitude.” I am thankful and humbled to be part of the remarkable community of learners at LABBB. I am eager to learn from the LABBB community and share my experiences as we work together to continue to promote, develop, and uphold the excellence of LABBB’s programs and services. 
Over the last few weeks, I have enjoyed getting out into programs and meeting our students as well as meeting the most committed staff around! I look forward to opportunities to meet family members and other community members as we move through the summer and into the new school year. I have much to learn and recognize that there will be challenges. Our lives have been changed over events of the recent years, and we have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to explore new challenges as possibilities, new opportunities, and new areas of growth. My hopes and visions are to work alongside each of you to continue and grow the outstanding legacy of LABBB.
I am fortunate to have had the support of both Bill Lupini, Interim Executive Director, and Patric Barbieri, former Executive Director over the last several months leading up to July 1, my first official day at LABBB. The support and passion that Bill and Patric shared with me, remind me again of joy and gratitude, and I am thankful for their support. I join LABBB coming from Winchester, Rockport and Reading Public Schools; I began my career as a Speech Language Pathologist, moving to team chair/department head, and then Administrator of Special Education. Each experience has taught me much and I am excited to learn more!
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any ideas, questions or concerns.
Pam Girouard

All LABBB parents and guardians are welcome to join Pam Girouard for a meet and greet on Friday, August 12th, 2022 from 10-11am via zoom: Link for this will be sent out at a later date.

LABBB High School Graduation: A Night to Remember
By: Melissa Allen

Our graduations are always a highlight of the year for the LABBB community. On the evening of June 9th, at the Scottish Rite Museum in Lexington; parents, family, staff and community members joined in this very special event. If you have ever been to a LABBB graduation, you know that you will always leave feeling moved and inspired by the graduates, speakers and unmatchable energy that this night brings for all involved.
A giant thank you to Scott Procko, Belmont High School Transitions teacher, for the amazing slideshow that was presented as part of the ceremony. Another huge shout out to Theresa LeBlanc, recently retired and beloved transition counselor, for the incredible photos she takes each year. 
Check out the slideshow and a few graduation highlights here to see this year’s graduates and a glimpse into this special evening.
Crystal Kaloostian M.Ed., Leanne Aiello M.Ed., and Liz Steele M.Ed.
Chenery Middle School LABBB

Here at LABBB Chenery Middle School, we have been working on kindness and how we can help others by always being kind and considerate. We have discussed using kinder words, being nice but not always having to be open to everything, being honest but doing it in a nicer way. It is a lot to take in: you can say hi to someone but not have to have a longer conversation or play a game with them, you can tell someone you dislike something in a nicer way and ask them to stop rather than yelling at them, or you can just greet people with a smile and just keep on doing what you are doing. Even the teachers among us still work on it throughout our lives but everyone seems on board and is willing to try to be kinder. 

It ties in with our advocacy lessons and really teaches students how to be accepting but honest and say things in a way they would be willing to hear too. With this in mind, the classes agreed to make Kindness rocks. These are colorful rocks with messages of kindness or inspiration that you leave behind for others to find and feel good about themselves. All classes at Chenery participated in this project and made rocks and then left them behind at Great Brook Farms, our field trip location, to cheer up others. They loved doing something special and seemed to be happy about spreading love and kindness. Let’s all continue to be kind and spread some good cheer this summer and beyond.
A ‘SEED’-sational SPOT Activity 
By: Emma Hastings
During our sensory-activity based SPOT groups at Wellington, we planted a variety of seeds! The students previewed the activity by first watching a video of a child their age planting a seed to familiarize themselves with the materials and sequence of events. With the support of visuals and core vocabulary icons, the students followed steps to “put” “in” dirt, seeds, “more” dirt, and water. Some students enjoyed the sensory input of getting their hands dirty by digging in the dirt (and some were quickly ready to wash their hands, another way to incorporate an ADL!). After the students planted their seeds, we waited patiently for our mint, basil, and marigolds to sprout!

During individual sessions over the next couple of weeks, students followed the visual supports to independently water their plants. As an extension of the activity, some students created “How to Plant a Seed” book by recalling events and describing sequenced actions in their own words.To carry over the sensory experience and related vocabulary to home, we provided families with marigold seeds, icons for the materials/directions, a visual support for watering a plant, and their “How to Plant a Seed” books. We are excited to continue watching our plants grow!
Mindful Minute written by the LABBB Mind/Body Team


“Take a deep breath, and try again.” -Author unknown


-taken from Yoga ed.


Summer Fun!
By: Jenn Malenchini

The students in Ms. Collins’ and Ms. Brown’s classes at Wellington Elementary School are having a great summer! We have been meeting some new friends and new teachers which is always exciting. Students continue to work on all of the skills they’ve been learning during the school year, but we’re doing fun summer activities too. We are getting as much time outside as possible since the weather has been so great! Some students cannot get enough time on the swings while others prefer to explore the playground or go on the slide. We are practicing waiting our turn for swings and trying new things on the play structure. Two weekly trips to the Belmont town pool have been a great way to beat the heat. Some of our friends are continuing to become stronger swimmers or enjoying the water slide. Others are acclimating to the water by sitting and splashing, walking in and out, standing in the sprinklers, practicing kicks in the water, or blowing bubbles!  We continue to enjoy music with Amplifi once per week as well. Summer is flying by and has been a lot of fun!!  
Smile and Succeed!                                                                  
By: Brian Walsh

Foundational skills or soft-skills are at the heart of learning throughout our classrooms at Burlington High School and across our supported work placements. It's all about the practice as we take each step along the way and use each opportunity to shape, coach-up, and develop these foundational skills, which I refer to as the five (5) essential skills (outlined below).
Barbara Bush, the former first lady stated, “You don’t just luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it’s friendships or opportunities.” I like to believe our daily offerings assist each individual on their path to success.
Smile and Succeed for Teens, Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World by Kirt Manecke is a book used in our weekly Occupational/Career Education classes. Kirt joined our class earlier this year to discuss the importance of these soft/foundational skills. Students worked with Kirt to make connections between the skills in the book and their classroom assignments, supported worksite experiences, and employment outside of school.
Top Ten People Skills: as described by Kirt are:
Make good eye-contact (3-seconds is appropriate)
Turn off electronics (when interacting with people/customers/staff, etc)
Say please and thank you
Shake hands firmly
Introduce yourself: Make a friend.
Pay attention
Be enthusiastic
Ask questions
Practice proper body language
Encouraging students to grow in their awareness of these soft-skills and to encourage them to demonstrate with greater consistency each of these foundational skills across the many practice opportunities found at school and at supported worksites is sought and valued. A natural progression or step-up from these are what I refer to as the five (5) essential skills:
1. Following directions
2. Information gathering
3. Attention to detail
4. Critical thinking
5. Communication (with listening being first and foremost)
All is practice. And so, we practice learning together.
Clinical Corner: Supporting Students with Trauma
By: Kelly Sexton

Trauma is “a response to a negative external event or series of events which surpasses the child’s ordinary coping skills.” Basically, traumatic stress “overwhelms one’s ability to cope” with what has been experienced. In school, students with a history of trauma may face obstacles to learning such as trouble forming relationships, poor self-regulation, negative thinking, hypervigilance, and executive functioning challenges. 

Due to increased awareness of trauma’s impact on children, educational programs across the country are focusing on ensuring they are “trauma-informed.” According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, trauma-informed approaches within any system aim to adhere to the “4 Rs”. These include:

Realizing the widespread impact of trauma and pathways to recovery 

Recognizing traumas signs and symptoms 

Responding by integrating knowledge about trauma into all facets of the system 

Resisting re-traumatization of trauma-impacted individuals by decreasing the occurrence of unnecessary triggers (i.e., trauma and loss reminders) and by implementing trauma-informed policies, procedures, and practices.

For more information on supporting children with trauma, please visit

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

McInerney, M., & McKlindon, A. (n.d.). Unlocking the door to learning: Trauma-informed classrooms & transformational schools [Editorial]. Education Law Center. Retrieved from 

Miller. (2021, October 4). How trauma affects kids in school. Child Mind Institute. Retrieved February 19, 2022, from 

National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Schools Committee. (2017). Creating, supporting, and sustaining trauma-informed schools: A system framework. Los Angeles, CA, and Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.


UMass Lowell students will serve as Unified Partners for this program. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. Athletes can register here.

LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

As LABBB gears up for our summer programs, we also gear up for something known as Paulapalooza. On the last day of the school week, we start with a movie, followed by lunch. DJ Conor plays popular songs while students (& many staff) dance the afternoon away. Something cool and refreshing like ice cream or Italian ice helps everyone cool off from all the dancing. Students get to socialize with their peers from different classes, eat like they were in a restaurant, dance up a storm and enjoy something refreshing and cool to the pallet. Check out the attached pictures of happy faces.

The LABBB Recreation booklet will be delivered to your mailboxes in August. Keep an eye out. Enjoy your summer.

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter
Updated LABBB Brochure

Click here or on the image to view the new LABBB brochure.

Patric Barbieri, Hosts a Podcast talking about special needs planning and resources related to our community

In episode #22 we talk about our journey in building a mindful culture in LABBB. It is one of our core values that is posted throughout our collaborative. There is a significant difference between just talking about these practices and actually doing them. We made a commitment to offering mindful practices for all students in all our classrooms every single day. We also believe for us to be successful we need to offer and teach this to our staff as well. We are a community practicing together and this is the only way to get the true benefits. We have been fortunate to have many staff persons who have a myriad of unique mind-body skills to bring into our environments for both students and staff. 

This initiative started organically back in the early '90s. We realized that these practices have a significant impact on managing the pervasive anxiety symptoms that people are feeling. Our mission was to bring these practices directly into our schools and for staff and students to know they have permission to practice at any time. When one individual is practicing it is benefiting their entire community!

Rayne Pratt and Lisa Poirier, LABBB Occupational therapists, join me in this podcast. They are members of our LABBB Mind/Body team and they are also the creators and facilitators of our all-day staff retreat that we offer. 


LABBB Contacts
LABBB Collaborative
123 Cambridge Street, Burlington MA. 01803|