LABBB Visits The Enchanted Village
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Interim Executive Director's

To the LABBB Community:
Our Executive Director Screening Team was very pleased to have received 24 completed applications for the Executive Director role. Over the past two weeks, the group completed initial interviews with twelve (12) outstanding candidates for this important position. Our goal is to recommend finalists to the LABBB Board of Directors by Tuesday, February 1, 2022.
I want to thank the members of our Screening Team, who have devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to this search process. These incredible people have dedicated themselves to making certain that LABBB has an Executive Director who will build on the outstanding history of this organization, while carrying on with a culture of continuous improvement at LABBB. The following individuals served as members of this team:
  • Joe Adams, LABBB Business Manager
  • Melissa Allen, LABBB Coordinator
  • Skip Avery, LABBB Coordinator
  • Emily Bachmann, Parent Representative
  • Michelle Collins, LABBB Teacher (Elementary)
  • Tom DiPaulo, LABBB Teaching Assistant
  • Erika Lyons, LABBB Teacher (High School)
  • HamdAllah Modupe Olona, Parent Representative
  • Karen Myers, Community Representative
  • Rayne Pratt, LABBB Department Head
  • Erin Salipante, LABBB Teaching Assistant
  • Marianne Vines, Director of Student Services (Bedford)
Expect to hear more in February regarding the finalist process, which will include opportunities for parents and staff to meet the finalists for the position, feature visits by these candidates to LABBB programs, and culminate with interviews by the Board of Directors. We expect that the Board could appoint the next Executive Director on or before Tuesday, March 1, 2022.
Enjoy these beautiful winter days and stay safe.
Bill Lupini

Parent meetings for 2021-2022 will take place from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. on the following dates:

February 10
March 10
April 28
May 19

We hope that our parents will be able to attend!

Holidays Around the World
By: Susan Good

One of our favorite units this year has been about “Holidays Around the World!” The students have enjoyed learning about other holidays and cultures. It is a very busy time of year, but bringing the holidays into our classroom to learn and also teach each other about our own celebrations and traditions has been so fun! As much as our classroom is small we have many different cultures, holidays, and festivities that are celebrated.

We have weaved themes and topics of ‘Holidays Around the World’ and ‘Sports and Festivals of Unique Cultures.’ into our days. Our class has been studying these units all year, by reading, watching videos, answering questions, and comparing and contrasting all the different cultural celebrations. The students learn and appreciate the meaning of traditions, feasts, family, and community rituals. Our weekly readings and group discussions have enhanced excitement for the holiday season! Students and adults alike tend to get more excited and also anxious or overwhelmed with the anticipation of the holidays, so learning about it in our daily activities and routines helps keep students engaged and having fun! 

We love reading articles and stories about each holiday to really help get a picture of the celebrations! Holidays around the World widen students’ perspectives and help them experience different cultures. We took time before our break to participate in our own classroom traditions and feasting! We had our traditional pajama day, while we watched some of the student’s favorite classic movies, “Home Alone” and “Elf!” The students and staff also enjoyed feasting on favorite foods eaten during different holidays. We capped off the day by giving small gifts to each other which are a very common activity practiced in many cultures. We feasted and enjoyed all aspects of the day before we rolled into our winter break.

Classroom D113 hopes you all made the most of the holidays you celebrate! 
Arlington High at Good Pickin’ Farm
By: Tori Dennis

Arlington High School students travel to Good Pickin’ Farm every Thursday morning to participate in a robust hands-on work experience. The farm, located in Westford Massachusetts, is home to many types of animals, (horses, alpacas, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, and rabbits!). Arlington students participate in a variety of activities when visiting. Students are learning about animal care (specifically, “mucking” stalls, replacing shavings and hay, cleaning and filling water buckets, sweeping the barn, and some hands-on animal care). After a morning of work, the students enjoy hiking on the farm's 89 acres of land through groomed trails that traverse both fields, and woods. At the end of their hike, students finish off their visit with a packed lunch amongst the chickens and everyone’s favorite cow, Helen.   

In addition to the hands-on activities, a farm lends itself to learning. The entire experience gives students an opportunity to participate as part of their community. Students practice travel training to and from the farm, they learn to interact with new staff members and volunteer organizers, they adjust to changing schedules, weather conditions, and ever changing barn tasks. The experience at Good Pickin’ gives students the opportunity to increase both their knowledge and potential recreational interests. Students are in constant motion while getting involved and enjoying the fresh air. As the weather becomes warmer, the activities at the farm will begin to shift and increase to include garden preparation. There is always more to learn!

“Good Pickin’ Farm is a working farm, education and recreation center dedicated to providing experiential learning for children, teens and adults. Through farming, arts, workshops and recreational activities, we foster an environment where people and nature can reconnect.” For further information, or interest in visiting or participating in farm events, check out 

Pictured is YG doing a great job wrangling a wheelbarrow after cleaning a horse stall.
Clinical Corner: Hope for the Future in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
By Kelly Sexton, LICSW

In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association issued a Declaration of a  National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. The U.S. Surgeon General followed in December with an additional advisory titled Protecting Youth Mental Health. While the pandemic highlighted the concerns, there were growing concerns about youth mental health in the years leading up to the pandemic.  

As a mental health professional, the increased focus on youth mental health has given me hope for the future. There is increased acceptance of mental health as a part of overall health. The stigma surrounding mental health is fading, leaving young adults more comfortable asking for support. Increased funding creates opportunities to build more effective mental health treatment locally and nationally. 

LABBB is taking steps to support our students’ emotional health as the pandemic continues. Staff has received training in evidence-based approaches, including trauma-informed classrooms and Psychological First Aid. New curriculum is being used, including the Second Step Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum. LABBB recognizes this is a challenging time for many students. We look forward to providing the support our students need to optimize positive social and emotional health both now and in the future. 

Mindful Minute By: The LABBB Mind/Body Team

“We can always begin again.”-Sharon Salzberg


Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain, but the neural mechanisms underlying the relief were unclear. Now, MIT and Harvard researchers have found a possible explanation for this phenomenon.

In a study published online April 21 in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, the researchers found that people trained to meditate over an eight-week period were better able to control a specific type of brain waves called alpha rhythms.

“These activity patterns are thought to minimize distractions, to diminish the likelihood stimuli will grab your attention,” says Christopher Moore, an MIT neuroscientist and senior author of the paper. “Our data indicate that meditation training makes you better at focusing, in part by allowing you to better regulate how things that arise will impact you.”

From MIT News

"Supporting our Community”
By: Leanne Aiello

December is the month of giving and our class was busy giving back. Room 212 at Chenery spent a lot of time planning a trip to donate food to the Burlington Food Pantry. We started with a budget, contacted the food pantry to see the items they were low on and made a list. Using technology to our best abilities, we searched online grocery stores to price out our trip, make sure we had enough money, and were able to get everything we needed. Then, we headed to Burlington Market Basket for some shopping! After we shopped (and took a little break for some pizza!), we drove over to the Burlington Food Pantry where we donated 87lbs of food and got the best tour! We all felt so proud to give back to our community and help our people in need!

This past month, we also took a trip to Bitty and Beau’s coffee shop in Melrose. This coffee shop employs people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. It is a place where everyone is not only accepted, but celebrated for their differences. After stepping one foot in the door we all felt the positive energy and love that fills Bitty and Beau’s. Students got to order off the menu and really enjoyed talking to the employees that worked there! It was an inspiration to us all! We will be going back soon to enjoy some yummy treats and continue to support our community.
Student Gift Swap at LABBB AHS
 By Mike Harrington
The students at LABBB Arlington High School prepared for the holiday season by participating in a gift exchange. Students in each of our three classrooms interviewed classmates to ask about interests, responded to questions by making choices related to their interests, and went out on community shopping trips to help purchase items for their classmates. After wrapping the gifts, the students took turns presenting gifts to their classmates. Special thanks to Ms. Keren, Ms. Janet, and Ms. Sarah in helping us organize and experience a successful event!

LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

We had over 60 LABBB students attend our virtual Holiday Dance including many Best Buddies from our Lexington and Bedford programs. We always have so much fun dancing with DJ Conor, who plays our favorite songs and has the best backgrounds. We get some time to socialize at the beginning and enjoy hearing what everyone has been up to over the past month.  

We will be having our Ring in the New Year January dance on zoom and hope more can join us.

Please see the link below:

Paula Rizzo is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom Dance.
Time: Jan 20, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Dance
Meeting ID: 775 631 5360
Passcode: Walking

Take time to enjoy all the fun activities available outside. Sledding, skating, skiing, walking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing and just being outside smelling the freshly fallen snow. All can be done on your own or with a friend, buddy or with family. Remember to use caution when participating, dress for the weather, and enjoy getting exercise while having fun.  

Save the Date for upcoming events:

January 20, 2022 Zoom Dance
February 3, 2022 Zoom Valentine Dance
Look for Spring activities coming out just before February vacation.

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|