Kindness Jar - Promoting Kindness in our Classrooms
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Interim Executive Director's

Dear LABBB Colleagues and Families:

I am very pleased to announce that, after interviewing our two finalists for the LABBB Executive Director position earlier today, the Board of Directors has offered the position to Pam Girouard. Pam has accepted their offer, pending successful negotiations of a contract.

Ms. Girouard currently works as the Administrator of Special Education with the Winchester Public Schools, a position she has held since 2014. She has also served as Director of Student Services in Rockport, as High School Special Education Department Head in Reading, and as a Speech and Language Pathologist in Reading. Pam has been active in the work at SEEM Collaborative and Northshore Education Collaborative as part of her leadership roles in Winchester and Rockport, respectively.

While the Board anticipates that she will begin her new position at LABBB on July 1, 2022, we will be working on a transition plan to ensure that Pam and I have an opportunity to work and plan together over the coming months. I anticipate that staff and families will have numerous opportunities to interact with the new Executive Director between now and her official start date.

Bill Lupini

Parent meetings for 2021-2022 will take place from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. on the following dates:
March 10 - The Transition Timeline
April 28
May 19

We hope that our parents will be able to attend!

Kindness Jar
By Class 825 students
Simon, David, Isaac, Dan, Malachi, Danny and Matt
In order to promote kindness with our students, we started a new project. We are calling it the Kindness Jar. Whenever a student is caught doing an act of kindness, a teacher will put a marble into the jar. We brainstormed ways to be more respectful and kind to each other. Some ways included, being understanding when another person is having a difficult time, holding the door when you notice someone carrying lots of stuff, lending a pencil when they can’t find theirs, and giving someone encouragement to make better choices. These are all ways that will help students feel supported and safe in our classroom. Once we fill the jar, we are going to reward ourselves with a team building treat. Some suggestions include a pizza party, bowling trip, or a trip to Dave and Busters. 
Wish us luck!
 Middlesex Community College - ICEI and LABBB successfully implement a trial of the platform
By: Brian Walsh
Middlesex Community College's - Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) program under the leadership of Ms. Dawn Gross, in collaboration with LABBB Staff, recently implemented and launched the Virtual Job Shadow ( on a trial basis and to date, have noted positive findings.    
The online platform allows students to explore the following:
-Exclusive Video Content: Authentic, real-life job shadowing videos for student exploration.
-Career and Interest Assessments: Integrated assessments that match interests and values with careers.
-FlexLessons and Lesson Builder: Integrated lesson building tool that empowers staff to create and assign custom lessons.
-Administrative Tools & Tracking: Real-time, customizable and exportable reports update instructor(s) on students progress and’s engagement and effectiveness.
LABBB students who have been using the program have found it interesting and informative. Drew, a student at the LABBB Burlington High Program, states, “I am able to watch different career cluster videos and then take a post-quiz on each cluster of my interest. This helps me learn more about jobs.” LABBB Burlington High Student Deana who participates in the MCC-ICEI adds, “There are many different occupations to explore” while other LABBB Burlington High students, Oliver and Peter mentioned their favorite things to use so far with the VirtualjobShadow, “are the career videos and follow-up assignments” related to one’s post-secondary consideration and planning.
This wonderful program is an exciting opportunity for LABBB students to learn about different career opportunities and fits with the LABBB Transition Department's goal to give students the opportunity to participate in school and community-based vocational training and exploration to help students identify vocational strengths and interests, build skills, and increase their level of independence.
Pictured are MCC-ICEI student Deana and LABBB Burlington student Drew, using their laptops to access and navigate their assignments.
Clinical Corner: Integrating Mindfulness into the Counseling Process
By: Trish Costa, LMHC

One of LABBB’s core values is mind body management. It describes a culture that supports the practice of mind-body exercises for staff and students. Within the integrated model and schedule of our program, there are several classes co-taught by teachers and specialists (ranging from Occupational therapy, Speech therapists and clinicians). Some of the classes focus on self-regulation skills and practices, such as yoga and mindfulness. This core value is also an integral part of the counseling session and crisis intervention model. Some students experience anxiety during their school day, which can often manifest into social, emotional and behavioral dysregulation. So, the first step of teaching students to manage their anxiety is to provide them a safe space to talk openly about their anxiety. The second step during intervention, is to integrate mindful breathing activities to calm the mind so students can begin to understand and label how they are feeling. Mindfulness helps the student separate negative situations from feeling negative about themselves. Using familiar cognitive visuals like the Zones of Regulation and feeling thermometers are helpful during counseling sessions to identify thoughts and feelings. Cognitive/behavioral approaches can also help students recognize cognitive distortions, fears and needs (belonging, fun, freedom, power, survival) that are out of balance or not being met. The goal is to help the student restore a state of calm to begin to examine and talk about what might be at the root of their anxiety or stress. Focusing on the positive and using Growth Mindset language is also helpful to work with the student and make a positive plan to move forward. Other counseling tools/strategies that are used to help students manage anxiety and distress are:
  • Distract Relax Cope- Help the student find ways to distract themselves, calm heightened emotions, and process through their feelings.

  • Cognitive Reframing- Examine and challenge their thought patterns to gain different perspectives on the situation, ideas, or relationships

  • Gratitude Journaling.

  • Successive Approximation- Helping students break down their goal or task into smaller, more manageable tasks.

  • Role Playing-Practice conversations or interactions to figure out what to say and build their confidence.

  • ABC Model- With visuals, discuss the activating event that caused the anxiety, their beliefs about the event, and consequences of those beliefs.

  • Behavior Activation- Incorporating activities that make the student feel more positive, comfortable and happier in their daily life.

  • Safety Planning-Create a step-by-step plan they can enact when they are feeling unsafe or in a dark, scary place.

Mindful Minute written by the LABBB Mind/Body Team


“Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body.” -author unknown


Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment of the workings of the mind and unleash our natural curiosity about what is happening in the moment, allowing ourselves to be with each moment with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and to others.

While this may sound frivolous to some, or even a little weird, the research suggests that developing this human capacity to observe ourselves and our surroundings non-judgmentally and with compassion, has deep and nourishing effects on our well-being that ripple out into our daily lives and communities. 


Unique Learning Systems
By Crystal Kaloostian, LABBB Chenery
This year we started using a new curriculum within some of our LABBB classes. It is a great platform for students with special needs because it is one of the only science and social studies curricula that was made with those students in mind. This system offers representation of many genders, abilities, and nationalities and ties them into all areas of learning from science and social studies, to math and ELA, to life skills and transitional/vocational skills.
Based on the creators of News2You, Unique Learning System is a one‑of‑a‑kind solution designed specifically to help students with special learning needs master their state’s extended standards. From one convenient, cloud‑based platform, educators deliver differentiated, standards‑aligned content enhanced by powerful assessments, data tools, and evidence‑based instructional support. Students from pre-K through transition have the advantage of consistent, high-quality instruction, a motivating interactive learning environment, engaging symbol support, and a path to independence.

So far the students are enjoying the lessons it offers and are doing well at their learning based off of this new format. 
LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

We are very happy to see the COVID numbers coming down and hope it continues in that direction so we can bring everything back in person by the end of March. We have some trips to make up that we didn’t get to do, including King’s Bowling, Dave & Busters and many more.  

Save the Date for upcoming events:

February 17 - LABBB zoom Valentine Dance
March 10 - LABBB Dance (TBD if in person or virual)
March 11 - Monster Mini Golf 
March 22-26 - LABBB Disney Trip

Look for Spring sign ups to come out the last week of March for bowling, walking & Glee club as well as April trips.

Fun Opportunities
  • Pixel Paradise is a good place for LABBB families to take their students.

  • Synchronized Swimming program is looking to host a clinic to introduce the sport to athletes with disabilities. ANA Synchro program at the Andover YMCA will be offering an introductory clinic for those who may be interested in experiencing and learning more about an opportunity to be involved.
  • DATE: March 13
  • PLACE: Andover/North Andover YMCA, Family Pool
  • TIME: 11:45-3:00 including a follow up meeting with parents for Q&A)
  • MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: a child should be able to swim a length of the pool

To view the sign up sheets for the 2021/2022 school year Recreation Activities please Click here

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter
Updated LABBB Brochure

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

Executive Director, 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|