LABBB Students Volunteer at Food Link in Arlington
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Interim Executive Director's

To the LABBB Community:

Thank you to those who took the time to complete the Executive Director Search Survey, as well as to all of you who were able to attend one of the employee or community forums. In all, 108 members of the LABBB community provided input to the search process through this survey.
I'm writing to share preliminary results of the survey with you, specifically regarding the role of those who completed surveys, as well as the most important attributes/skills identified by those participants.
Role of Survey Participants:

  • Current Parent - 25 responses (24.1%)
  • Aides or Assistants (Unit B) - 29 responses (26.9%)
  • Teachers or Other Licensed Professionals (Unit A) - 37 responses (34.3%)
  • LABBB Administrators - 10 responses (9.3%)
  • Member District Administrators/Educators - 6 responses (5.6%)

Most Important Attributes/Skills:

  1. Establishes strong lines of communication with and among stakeholders, including employees, member districts and families - 84 responses (77.8% of respondents included this item among their top 5 attributes/skills)
  2. Ensures that educators have the materials and professional development necessary for the successful execution of their jobs - 63 responses (58.3% of respondents included this item among their top 5 attributes/skills)
  3. Involves teachers and administrators in the design and implementation of important decisions and policies - 56 responses (51.9% of respondents included this item among their top 5 attributes/skills)
  4. Has quality contact and interactions with educators, students and families - 41 responses (38% of respondents included this item among their top 5 attributes/skills)

We will be spending a great deal more time summarizing and digesting the full data picture from this survey, which will be used in creating a position survey for discussion with the LABBB Board at their October meeting.  
Next steps in the search process include finalizing the position profile and recruitment plan for the position and finalizing membership of the Screening Committee.
Again, my thanks to all of you who have contributed to the search process to date. I’m looking forward to your engagement as we move forward with this important hiring process.

Bill Lupini

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

October 21
November 18
December 16
January 20
February 3
March 10
April 28
May 19

We hope that our parents will be able to attend!

Volunteerism In Motion
By: Amanda O'Leary/Transition Department

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn

The last 18 months have been nothing short of challenging for all of us. Like everyone else, the Transition Department had to spend time being creative and thinking outside the box, especially when it came to providing community experiences for our students. Many of our students love to work and volunteer in the community and that all came to a stop in March of 2020. When we returned to school that September, we all hoped for a return to normalcy but the pandemic had other plans. Many of our community partners were closed and remain closed to this day. 

In the winter of 2021, we found an amazing volunteer opportunity with Cradles to Crayons. Their Giving Factory is located in Newton but at that time, they were still not having people volunteer in person but their need for volunteers was enormous. They began farming out their work for people to do at home - or in our case, at school! A partnership was born and we began picking up items from them once a week to sort in our high school program. This partnership was highlighted in our April 2021 newsletter. Over the summer, Cradles to Crayons began accepting groups into their Giving Factory to volunteer in person. Starting this past September, we have been able to start volunteering in person, one day a week, with a small group of students from Mrs. Langone’s classroom. We are also still performing volunteer tasks in our high schools, but being able to volunteer in person allows our students to truly understand and appreciate the mission of Cradles to Crayons and see the work in action.

We were also able to rekindle our in person relationship with Food Link, a food rescue organization located in Arlington. Students from one classroom are able to go there on Friday mornings with the support of classroom and transition staff and perform whatever tasks are needed that day. They may do laundry or some cleaning, but most Fridays, they help sort through donated food items and repackage them for distribution to local food pantries. 

This summer, we also began volunteering with another non-profit organization that helps with food insecurity, Food For Free. They are located in Somerville and pack hundreds of boxes with mostly fresh produce for delivery to local food pantries and other non-profits. This is a high production opportunity and we are able to go for two mornings a week. 

The hope for all of our students is to participate in an experience that is meaningful to them, while focusing on increasing their skills across many areas that will allow for them to be as independent as possible in their post high school life. At each of these sites, our students are able to do this, all while working with other community members to reach a common goal and give back to others. It is a win, win for all of us!
Clinical Corner: Why Social and Emotional Learning is Essential for Students
By Kelly Sexton

The benefits of social and emotional learning (SEL) are well-researched, with evidence demonstrating that an education that promotes SEL yields positive results for students, adults, and school communities. Research finds SEL leads to beneficial outcomes related to social and emotional skills; attitudes about self, school, and social topics; social behaviors; conduct problems; emotional distress; and academic performance. Other benefits include improved attendance and overall commitment to learning. 

In the classroom, students with SEL competencies are more likely to take an active role in creating a safe learning environment, form friendships, set and work towards goals, analyze and solve problems, and remain focused on a path to success. When students take an active role in creating a safe learning environment, they feel more comfortable taking risks and facing challenges. Because SEL provides a foundation for creating an open and accepting educational environment, positive friendships and relationships form. Ultimately, students develop trust in themselves and gain skills that help them interpret the world.

To learn more about the importance of social-emotional learning, please visit
LABBB Bedford Room 112 and 113
By: The LABBB Bedford Students and Staff 

We would like to extend a warm WELCOME BACK to our 2021-2022 Bedford classrooms and families! We have many new friends that have joined us along with many of our old friends too for sure!
First, we are all so thrilled to be back in our classrooms full-time after many remote/in-person scenarios last year. We have returned to many of our favorite activities and we have had many exciting changes! One change from the summer that we have all had to adjust quickly to was wearing masks again while in the classroom. We are handling it like champs and are hoping they will be gone for good in the near future! However, until then, we will continue to adhere to practicing staying safe, healthy, and following the rules!
Upon returning, we jumped right in participating in activities around Bedford High School. A favorite is uniting with our Best Buddies again! We are planning that much anticipated Best Buddies match party, which is always a hit! This is a great event when our LABBB students are paired with a Bedford High School student, with whom they share a relationship throughout the year. Not only do we have our Best Buddies back in person, but we also have our Bedford High student classroom interns in the classroom. We value their assistance and friendships while in the learning environment.
Also, LABBB students continue to take on the responsibility of the Bedford High school-wide recycling program. This is a fun job that all really enjoy doing which allows for practicing very important prevocational skills.
In addition to our recycling program, we are also ecstatic to have access again to the Bedford High culinary room after a year of COVID restrictions. We are back brewing up some good snacks and small meals. The students in classroom 112 have the responsibility of doing all the weekly shopping, so we can put forth our skills and experience making tasty delights in the kitchen. 
Moreover, after a year of not having community based internships and work experience, they are slowly but surely coming back! Our older students to our newest 16-year-olds are currently experiencing internships/job site trainings at Whole Foods, CVS, Food for Free, and Cradles to Crayons! We look forward to more worksites being added in the future.
From our academics corner, Classroom 113 would like to share that we are reading the chapter book “Hoot.”
We are learning about characters and their traits, and themes such as friendship and teamwork! We are identifying the settings, the main idea of the chapters, new vocabulary, making predications, and the conflicts characters are facing! We are all very much looking forward to reading about the mysteries and how a group of students comes together for an environmental cause. We are have been glued to our seats listening to this story!
Last but not least, a favorite for old and new students is that we love that our Friday functional community reading and math trips are back in full swing! We are selecting and buying personal items of need at the local CVS and purchasing our lunch at the local restaurants. We are learning how to safely maneuver around the streets and shopping areas of Bedford. Moreover, we are back eating in the cafeteria everyday instead of our classrooms. 
Bedford Classroom 112 and 113 hope you are all having a wonderful fall and are staying safe just as we are here at LABBB Bedford!
Until next time!

"The Jaders Post"
By: Leanne Aiello

In room 212 at Chenery Middle School, we started our own business! Students in class have begun our own newspaper business, The Jader’s Post. At The Jader’s Post, we write monthly newsletters about what we’re doing in class, spreading messages of positivity, Artwork, and more. Each month, we deliver these newsletters to all the classrooms at Chenery. This helps us stay in touch with the other classrooms in our building. Our first delivery in September was our introduction letter and a card! The cards contained positive words of affirmation to spread kindness into our school community. In October, we celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness month. On October 8th, Chenery had a Pink Day that we all got involved with. We wore pink and incorporated the event into our Jader’s Post. We colored artwork to go along with our newsletter!

Best Buddies has also begun at Chenery Middle School! We are so happy to be back in-person for our Best Buddies Program this year. We had our first meeting at the end of September for our Match Party. It was a great time where we all got to connect and build friendships again with our community peers! We got right to work at our first meeting and began working on our first fundraising project for the LABBB Best Buddies Craft Fair on October 16th. Buddy groups made ghost lollipops to hand out with raffle tickets at the fair. We will be raffling off a large Best Buddy’s themed basket filled with so many goodies! The students couldn’t wait to get started and we’re so excited for future fundraising projects to come this year!
Promoting Health and Wellness in Our Classrooms 
By: Melissa Allen

One of LABBB’s core values is Mind/Body Management. We believe in a culture that supports the practice of mind/body exercises for staff and students. Now, more than ever, the need to build the overall health and wellness of our youth is strong. How do we do this? One way is through the mindfulness blocks that classrooms have in their daily schedule. During this time, some classrooms use Yoga 4 Classroom cards. They are a fun way for students of all ages and abilities to practice yoga and mindfulness in the classroom. As Lisa Fynn, an OT and creator of the card deck describes, “the activities promote a positive, peaceful and productive classroom while supporting students' social and emotional learning, physical health, and success both in and out of school.”

Many of our students are working on finding strategies to improve their self regulation skills. Learning different types of breathing, engaging in posture prep exercises before starting a class, or going on an “Imagination Vacation” to visualize a place that helps them feel calm and happy, ultimately supports our students so they can be ready to learn. “Changing the Channel'' is one example that you may have heard your child or one of their team members talk about as a self-regulation tool to reset, change perspective and get into a good space when feeling stuck or having a hard time getting and staying on the right track. Our OTs, PTs, SLPs, and counselors work in conjunction with the classroom teaching staff to adapt and integrate the skills necessary for students to participate in these types of mind/body activities in a way that supports their motor, communication and social emotional development. 

The ultimate overarching goal is to promote overall health and wellness that can be carried over to other parts of their lives outside of school. Another positive result of this practice is that not only do the students benefit, but so do the staff. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take a few moments out of a busy day to escape on an Imagination Vacation?

LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

Bowling, and Wednesday Recreation are up and running. So far everyone seems to be having a good time. Students and staff are getting used to a longer day and enjoying being back together for a fun activity.

Our annual Halloween costume dance will be on October 21st. We will be outdoors at the Lexington Community Center under a very large tent. This dance is for current LABBB students in high school and middle school. Best Buddies will be joining us as well. For this particular dance, we have to open windows to get some air in every year. Hopefully being outdoors will work out perfectly this year. 

We also have a fundraiser coming up on October 16, 2021. The annual LABBB Best Buddies Craft Fair will also be outdoors in the Lexington High School parking lot. Please see the flyer below. Remember to bring a gently used coat (or 2 or 3) with you. The Lexington Lions Club will be collecting coats for their yearly coat drive at the fair. Last year, without the craft fair, we collected over 800 coats. Please help the Lexington Lions Club beat that total this year.
Other Upcoming events:

October 14         LABBB High School Open House, no Thursday bowling
October 15         Mini Golf Trip
October 16         LABBB/Best Buddies Craft Fair
October 1          School Photos for LABBB high schools
October 18         Apple Picking Trip
October 21         Halloween Dance
October 25         Apple Picking Trip

October 23 - Therapeutic Recreation/Lexington MA - Third Annual Harvest Fest

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|