June 2020

A LABBB Collaborative        Newsletter
   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
Finding Our Way to The Roots
Our March newsletter was not mailed when our schools shutdown. We were in a different mode at that time. The LABBB logo for March is a clover and it is symbolic of an analogy we have been speaking about in LABBB about change.
There are many questions that arise at a time like this...
How much did we fall behind, did we move ahead in any way, did we get stronger, weaker, more anxious?
Did we become a closer community facing a pandemic together? 
Do we need to repair, fix and refurbish? 
How will we heal from this? 
What about trauma and mental health and educating our community on race and social injustice so we become a better world?
Dan Harris stated that we have not seen the peak of anxiety. That will come when we return to normal, so we better be prepared to help everyone through this. 
How do we prepare? We believe a strong community that supports one another heals the quickest. 
I spoke to the LABBB staff in one of my many video messages to them in the midst of the protests. I was searching, I was reflecting, struggling, I was trying to learn as much as I could, trying to find some answers and a response.
The analogy I used was my war on the clovers in my yard over the past two years. It was a process of dealing with the present and hoping there would be a more significant impact on the future. Quick fixes never work, but sometimes I learned the hard way?
When my yard was infested with clovers, my wife said to me, "our lawn is turning into a mess, all the clovers are taking over the grass." I take pride in how our yard looks, but I let it go for a while, I just wasn't paying attention. 
My work to fix the problem started by incessantly pulling clovers by hand, almost in a frenzy as the clover flowers starting to show their white heads. I pulled them from the tops thinking I was pulling up the roots. I did this for weeks. Nothing was accomplished, they just grew back.
My next action to make a more significant impact was to purchase a thatching rake. It was better but there were times when my back stiffened up to the point I couldn't even walk some days because of my aggressive raking. My wife just looked at me outside and knew that I was in a war. She pleaded with me to get someone to help, but I refused. 
A question could be posed, and believe me I heard it, "Why don't you just do what everyone else does? Didn't you see all the companies spraying our neighbors' yards to kill the weeds last week, it took them 10 minutes. They are all using the same company, maybe you can get a discount. No thinking, no back breaking work, no worries...
Unfortunately, the clovers continued to slowly grow back, but I did make some progress. At one point, I was exhausted, but didn't want to stop working. I could only rake lightly now, but surprisingly, I noticed something. When I raked lightly, the roots of the clovers would pop up. I never noticed this before, I never even knew what the roots looked like. The roots are on the surface of the soil and they are thick and strong. The root vines are spread out throughout my lawn. I thought about this in a strategic way. I pictured my lawn as it might be viewed if I could only see the roots. I realized my job was bigger than I thought.
Raking lightly and slowly was a technique. When the roots popped up, I stopped and pulled them by hand. I grabbed as low as possible on the root and slowly pulled the long threads of vines. It wasn't back breaking work anymore. Now it was a slow process where I had to be mindful to look for the root popping up. It was actually satisfying pulling those roots because I imagined my lawn healing. 

The clovers never came back in the areas where I pulled out the roots. This work was having an impact. It would effect change, but it would take a year and a half to accomplish. 
How I approached clover extrication took longer than it should have. My back was in pain, my mind was not settled. I didn't have a good system and I suffered until I did. Sure, chemicals may have worked, but I would have never understood how clovers grow, how they return, what they thrive on, or how strong their roots are.
I was told that clovers were almost impossible to get rid of, but extricating them in the right way, at the right time, was the right action.
If we are going to heal and make effective change, we need to find the right actions and define our role in eliminating systematic racism, and this we will do as a community.
Clinical Corner: Commitment to Diversity
Kelly Sexton
LABBB is committed to providing a welcoming environment that cultivates a sense of community and respect for all. This summer we will offer a parent forum to discuss diversity and support families in facilitating conversations with their children about this important topic. Below you will find a variety of resources related to racism and diversity for both parents and students. 

CASEL CARES: Owning Your Power to Raise Kids Who Challenge Racism

View the recording of this CASEL CARES webinar to watch a heart-to-heart conversation between Dr. Deborah Rivas-Drake, author of Below the Surface: Talking with Teens about Race, Ethnicity, and Identity, and Dr. Bloodine Barthelus, CASEL Senior District Advisor, around the pain and struggle of being a parent particularly at this time, and the work that is required of us to mitigate racism starting at home.

Link to Key Takeaways & Recommended Resources 

Talking About Race Website from the National Museum of African American History & Culture

Since the opening of the National Museum of African American. History & Culture, the number one question people ask is how to talk about race. The NMAAHC education department's mission has made deliberate strides toward being a "brave space" to discuss race, equity, and inclusion. We explore how these topics relate in both a historical and cultural context.

CNN/Sesame Street Diversity Town Hall 

Sometimes You're A Catepillar: A Video for Middle School Students about Diversity and Differences
This is What A LABBB Zoom Dance Looks Like!

Remembering Teresa Maung Video

In Memory of Theresa Maung


Dear LABBB Community,

We are writing to provide updated information regarding Extended School Year services which will start remotely on July 6th. That being said, please be assured that we are working hard to plan and prepare to offer some in-person services if at all feasible this summer.

On June 7 th,  we received Summer 2020 Guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Before receiving the guidance, LABBB organized a team of staff to be prepared to review the guidance carefully so we could immediately begin putting forth our best effort to meet the requirements and determine to what extent we might be able to provide some in-person instruction to students later this summer. Like all things related to this pandemic and unprecedented time, the guidance and requirements are complicated. In order to provide in-person services and instruction to students, some of the necessary requirements include the following: 
  • We must identify, purchase and supply at our locations all of the necessary protective equipment prior to providing in-person instruction to students. At this writing, LABBB has moved forward with the order for the necessary PPE, however, we have not yet received a shipping date.  LABBB is located in 16 buildings, with 33 classrooms. We also have over 20 worksites where students are located every day. That is over 50 different places we need to prepare and plan for as we move forward to provide our services safely in these unprecedented times.
  • We are now moving our attention to developing situation-specific protocols as outlined in the DESE guidance for health and safety procedures, screening and monitoring protocols, personal care protocols for students who require assistance with feeding, changing, and toileting, and protocols for students who may require physical intervention and restraint. These will need to be in place prior to providing any in-person instruction to students.
  • After protocols are developed, training needs to take place for staff on the use of protective equipment as well as the protocols listed above, prior to providing in-person instruction to students. 
LABBB staff are looking forward, as we know you are all as well, to having students back in school. At the same time, we need to place the utmost importance on ensuring that we do this in the safest way possible for students and staff alike.

We will continue to reach out to you as we move forward with our planning and preparation. We understand that starting remotely may be hard news to hear and it is certainly hard to share. We all want the same thing. 

We appreciate your continued support of our staffs' efforts as well as the amount of time and support you have provided for your children as they participate in remote learning.  As we move forward with our remote services, the weekly activity grid that you receive from your son or daughter's teacher will continue to serve as their remote learning plan. If you have any questions or concerns about those plans, please reach out to your respective program coordinator.
Return to School Team Update
LABBB put together a Return to School Team that has been meeting for the past few weeks. At this time, the team consists of Sasha Reed (Lead Nurse) Paula Rizzo, Melissa Allen, Kiley Malloch, Jim Kelly, Janet Sainte (LABBB Transportation), Donna Goodell, and Myrto Flessas (LABBB Parent). Naomi Stongberg (LABBB Counsel) will also be joining us.  Team members will be added as needed.

1. Our first focus was on ordering PPE (Personal Protection equipment). We have received a quote and that is being ordered immediately. 

2.  Staff training is a necessary component of preparing to go back to school and has been a topic during the weekly meetings with the department of education. We are doing our own research as we await final guidance from the department of education.

3.  We have started to discuss the potential ways we could open our programs and services given the high needs of our students. We are working with our member districts around protocols and making sure LABBB meets all the district requirements as well. 

We will continue to give updates each week regarding our progress. 
LABBB Graduation 2020
LABBB graduation is such a special event in our community. Every year we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our students together. 

We are still planning on having an outdoor graduation for both our middle school and high school students. Paula Rizzo has been the point person for this and she has secured a location in Lexington that the town has agreed we can use. There is still some work to be done with the board of health giving us the final approval, but we are continuing to make progress. 

As we get things finalized, we will get the information out to you. 
Updated LABBB Brouchure: LABBB Students circa 1973-74
We are about to finalize the work on our new brochure and we are always proud to show how we have grown and expanded our services since the last brochure. Post-22 services will be a big part of this. 

LABBB technically started in 1973 at the 45 Forest Street House n Lexington. This was a house where our students learned how to live independently. Our students also went out to local businesses to work.

As we were building our new brochure we found many old pictures of LABBB students working and socializing at the Forest Street house back in 1973-74 that we wanted to share! We have many more pictures we will share soon.
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