Summer Car Wash at Lexington High
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Interim Executive Director's

I am thrilled to have been asked by the LABBB Board of Directors to serve as Interim Executive Director of the Collaborative beginning on July 1, 2021. I want to thank all of the members of the LABBB community who I have had the opportunity to meet over the past months during my transition and initial weeks for helping me to learn about LABBB, its programs, and what makes this Collaborative such a special place for students, families and employees.
During my 25+ years as a Superintendent, I have had the opportunity to work closely with members of the LABBB Board of Directors, to observe Patric Barbieri’s work from outside the organization, and to work with many special educators who have had direct dealings with him. Patric is known statewide for his commitment to students, families and teachers and his efforts at LABBB have set an example for special educators and collaboratives throughout the Commonwealth. It is an honor and a challenge to have this opportunity to uphold the excellence of LABBB programs and services, while ensuring that we challenge ourselves to continue to explore new possibilities of how to better meet the needs of our students and families.
In addition to my role as Interim Executive Director, my responsibilities will include facilitating the search for a permanent Executive Director, who is anticipated to begin service with LABBB on July 1, 2022. With respect to the search process, I will be working with Dr. Conti and the Board to finalize a timeline and plan that provides LABBB employees, families and other stakeholders with an opportunity to be involved in identifying the next Executive Director. We will provide you with more information on the search process, as well as how you can be involved, in September. 
I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with all of you in service to our students and look forward to meeting each of you in the coming months. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at with any questions or comments.
Bill Lupini

That's what umbrellas are for!
By: Sarah Ervin, MS, OTR 

On a Monday morning in June, students in Mr. Harrington’s class at Arlington High School were scheduled to go on a walk to work on pedestrian safety skills as part of a lesson in OT group. However, when we looked out the window, we were surprised to see that the weather had taken an unexpected turn. What was once a sunny day was now rainy and overcast. Mr. Harrington and I shrugged our shoulders and shared the sentiment of “Well that’s what umbrellas are for!” and quickly found enough umbrellas for each student before heading outside. We stuck to our plan and practiced scanning for cars as we crossed the street, but we also were able to work on so many other skills! The students worked on body-spatial awareness while they strategically positioned themselves under the umbrella to stay dry and while providing enough space between peers to avoid bumping into each other. Inevitably, we did get wet, but we were able to address wet vs dry discrimination and problem-solving in a functional way. Some students chose to towel off, and others chose to change into a dry shirt. Our students certainly impressed us with their adaptability given the unforeseen circumstance!
826 Travels the World
By: Michael Bernardo

This school year in room 826 during our weekly social studies class, we traveled around the world. Every two weeks, we chose a new country to explore. Some of our explorations took us to the countries of Italy, Russia, India, United States, Mexico, and Japan, among others. While touring these countries, we learned about animals that inhabit the country, different religions practiced, languages spoken, resources used, geography, populations, and cultures and traditions of the people who reside there. Fun fact we learned about Italy was that pasta has been around for over 1,000 years and there are more than 5,000 gelato shops. 

During these lessons, in order to enhance learning and to differentiate instruction, we used technology such as YouTube, Kahoot, Quizlet, and Ed puzzle. The students thoroughly enjoyed learning about all the different countries and cultures in the world. “What country would you like to visit?”

Goodbye, Ciao, Adios, Sayonara, and Au Revoir,
Room 826
Clinical Corner: Planning: A Crucial Executive Function Skill 
By Kelly Sexton
Planning is the ability to think about an end goal and create a roadmap to help you get there. It includes thinking about and visualizing the future and anticipating possible challenges that may arise. The frequent schedule changes and transitions occurring in the summer present a unique opportunity to work on planning skills.
To teach planning skills, use opportunities to practice visual imagery, otherwise known as nonverbal working memory. Ask your child probing questions about simple tasks (ex. making a sandwich) and large tasks (ex. getting ready for a vacation) to help them develop a visual image of the final result. Examples of probing questions include “who will be there,” “what will we do when we get there,” “what do you need to make the sandwich,” “where will this happen,” and “when will this happen?”
Another tool to consider is a visual schema strategy. This strategy includes taking a picture of the final result and asking your child to identify the steps needed to get there. Write the steps down and have your child check them off. This strategy also helps children see both the big picture (final result) and the little picture (steps to get there). 
When you can hold an image in your mind, you can plan your road map to great summer memories. Happy planning!

INDEPENDENCE – Global and Close to Home
By: Donna Goodell

I spent the July 4th holiday weekend reflecting on independence, as I’m sure many people did. The history channel showed movie after movie of the long battles and hard-fought wars that gained our country and other countries freedom from oppression and the ability to live as independent nations and people. It’s hard sometimes not to take the freedoms we have for granted and remember to be grateful for them.

Of course, as I reflected on the broader concept of independence, I couldn’t help but bring my thoughts to the kind of independence that LABBB’s programs, staff, families, and students strive for every day. Our collective goal every day is to help our students build their sense of independence with their academic, social, community, behavior and emotional regulation, and daily living skills.

The level of independence in each of these skill areas is what will help open new doors and broader opportunities for our students as they advance from grade level to grade level and eventually on to adulthood. The more independence they develop, the more of the world that opens up for them to enjoy. Of course, this independence comes at a cost. While it may not be a war in the traditional sense, it certainly can be a series of battles that take time, effort, and perseverance when things feel hard. It takes courage to take risks and try new things and accept that we might not always be successful the first time. As we move through the new school year, let's remember to celebrate every small step our students take toward gaining greater independence in their lives; each step is a success worth celebrating!

Retail Training with CVS Healthcare
By Brian Walsh, LABBB Transition Counselor  

Drew, age 20 from Methuen, presently enrolled with LABBB Collaborative at Burlington High School, had participated in numerous supported school work experiences, including at a local CVS store where his interest and desire for further training as means to employment with CVS culminated with his graduation from the Retail Training Program - “Abilities in Abundance” hosted by CVS and the Regional Employment Collaboratives (REC’s) on April 22, 2021. 
These virtual weekly training sessions made quite an impression on Drew and his family so much so that it gave him the confidence to complete an online application to CVS for a part-time Sales Associate position.   
Jon DaSilva of CVS Healthcare, Heather Mantell, and Kristianne Widman of North East Employment thoughtfully adjusted their program to meet the limitations due to Covid and masterfully arranged virtual lessons and engaging activities so that Drew and his cohort of participants could easily access the soft-skills and retail skills presented to them.  
As Drew stated, “Jon, Heather and Kristianne were really helpful to me. 
I learned more about the specific job skills sought by CVS and could make connections to what I had learned through my LABBB Career Education classes." Drew added, “I really enjoyed the customer service training, especially learning about the process of managing outdated/expired items, as well as the basics of operating a CVS register.”
CVS Health’s Workforce Initiatives Department offers exciting externship opportunities. Through the CVS Health Externship Program, participants have the unique opportunity to improve the quality of lives in the communities CVS serves. The program focuses on developing not only clinical skills, but also team building, interpersonal, and management skills that will expose participants to quality training. Participants of the CVS Health’s Externship Programs are provided guidance, encouragement, academic and career development support. 

It was through such an externship, that Drew was first introduced to retail and CVS. In speaking with his LABBB Transition Counselor, Drew continually advocated for additional opportunities with CVS. This self-advocacy led Drew to the “Abilities in Abundance” program. 
Drew’s perspective, awareness, and confidence grew across the weeks. As he says, “I still need more practice with the buttons on the cash register and getting used to how to deal with multiple customer questions and assistance, but I know that with practice I’d learn to manage this too.”
Was such a program a success? His words speak volumes to this: “My CVS weekly schedule was really organized and easy for me to access.” And as to further pursuits, Drew states with with confidence, “I’m hoping to find employment with CVS near my home in the future. I would like to start off as a retail store associate and then would be interested in working at the CVS pharmacy.”  

Second Step
By: Crystal Kaloostian, LABBB Chenery
This summer our class is trialing the Second Step Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum course. Second Step is a research-based and easy to teach, adapt, and use Social Emotional Learning Program designed to be taught in schools with online support. SEL skills include emotional regulation, self-awareness and responsible decision making. We perform our lesson every morning as part of morning meeting/check in and then have two days with a full lesson with videos and handouts.
This past week we were working on Goal setting and coming up with a SMART goal. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. The students decided to work on playing a game as a group and working on cooperative learning and socialization. They liked the idea of being able to pick their own goals and deciding what they thought they could and could not accomplish in a weeks time.

Everyone has been enjoying the curriculum so far and encouraging each other to try new things and work together to come up with solutions. It has been a good start to our SEL curriculum and we are excited to keep working on it.

LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

Hello LABBB families, be sure to look for the LABBB Recreation Brochure to come in the mail in August. We have some new activities as well as our usual fun events. 

Please take a look at the booklet with your student and be sure to send registration & check for activities by the due date. 

Looking forward to a new start in a September. 

Stay tuned for our LABBB Recreation brochure to come out in August.  

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|