March 2019

Message from the Special Services Director – Dr. Shannon Hitch

I feel like I blinked and it’s March! There is a lot happening in Special Services this month. We are currently in the middle of the hiring season. We are spending time at job fairs and working with our amazing Human Resources department to find the best candidates. Interviews are happening weekly and will continue as we move towards the end of the school year. We are currently hiring for special education teachers, school psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, nurses, speech therapists and paraeducators. If you know someone who might be interested in a position here in LWSD, please encourage them to apply. We want the best for our students.

In addition to hiring, our district promotion process is underway. This is the process in which your child’s current teacher works with teachers at the next grade level to discuss the upcoming transition. We focus on the transition from preschool to kindergarten, 5th grade to middle school, 8th grade to high school and 12th grade to our transition academy (if needed). Parents are often anxious about these transition points for their children. Moving a student into elementary school, middle school or high school can be a stressful experience for any parent, but when you have a child with special needs, it can seem particularly overwhelming. It may be helpful to know the work that happens behind the scenes. In most cases, teachers from the upper grade levels spend time visiting and observing students promoting from lower grades. Current teachers pull together information on their students for next year’s teachers including student strengths and needs, areas of service, needs for support, potential class options, etc. Then, on March 8th, our special education teachers come together to meet across levels to talk and share information on students. Teachers and therapists are invested in your child being successful at the next level. They work hard to ensure a smooth transition enabling your child to feel confident and capable moving up.  

Finally, a special shout-out to our Special Needs PTA Group. They hosted an amazing resource fair for families last week. We truly appreciate their efforts to share information and opportunities for our families.  

Thank you~

Support for Families

If you are looking for support, further knowledge on how to help your student, or are new to the special services programs and want to learn more about what to expect at all ages, we have got an incredible resource for you. Informing Families, Building Trust is full of invaluable information that will lay out how to navigate through multiple systems, provide helpful resources for grandparents or siblings of children with special needs, as well as sharing some emergency preparedness tips. This website is definitely one to explore! 

ABLE Savings Plan

The Washington state ABLE savings account allows people with disabilities to save tax-free for living expenses without jeopardizing eligibility for federal aid programs. "This is a groundbreaking program," says the mother of one participant. 

Read the full article! People with disabilities can save for college, life expenses with new Washington state savings plan.

The Arc Workshop – Silver Tsunami [RESCHEDULED]

The Arc rescheduled their workshop geared towards aging families to help them plan for the future. This workshop, titled “Silver Tsunami - What's Your Plan?” was originally planned as a 2-part series, but because of the snow has been rescheduled to be a 1-part, 3-hour workshop. See below for details. Heavy snacks will be provided. All are welcome!

What: “Silver Tsunami - What's Your Plan?”
Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Highland Community Center, 14224 Bel-Red Rd, Bellevue, WA 98007

Read the flier for more information.

For questions, contact Tracie Warren at or 206-829-7053.

Featured Articles

An autism diagnosis hasn't stopped this young woman from becoming a lawyer
As a toddler, Haley Moss’ parents worried about her progression and development. After an autism diagnosis, her parents took early action and enrolled her into early intervention programs. Ever since these early interventions, Haley has turned her autism into her strength. 

Currently, Haley is the first openly autistic lawyer working in the state of Florida, according to her law firm. Recently, Haley won the Occhigrossi Family Youth in Service Award from Unicorn Children’s Foundation for her work as an advocate for neurodiversity. 

Read Haley’s whole story.

Family Events Happening in our Area in March
The Seattle Aquarium is hosting their annual, Dream Night event soon. The last date for this is March 16 – 6:30-9:00 p.m. This is a free event for chronically ill and disabled adults and children and their families for an evening of exploration and discovery. Space is limited, so register early. 

Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities: 

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to take a look at the Special Needs Resource Flier, created by the Lake Washington PTSA (LWPTSA) Council Special Needs Group/Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Special Services Department. You can also pick up a hard copy at your child’s school, and/or from your child’s 504 or Special Education Case Manager at your annual review meeting. 

Special Services Newsletter – Available in Multiple Languages! 

If you, or someone you know, would like to read our Special Services Newsletter in a different language, this is now possible!  

  • Follow the link for access to all of our newsletters 
  • Select the month and year that you would like to read (Ex: December 2018, November 2018, etc.)
  • In the top left-hand corner of the web page, there is a small globe icon/drop down
  • Click on the drop down and select the language that you would like to have the newsletter translated to

Happy Reading! 

PTSA SNG Meetings and Child Care Support

Our monthly PTSA SNG meeting (see schedule below) is a great time to network with other parents, learn more about resources in our community, and learn more about strategies and supports for students with disabilities. We are now offering student care during these meetings, to assist you in being able to access this wonderful opportunity to meet with parents. Please RSVP each month, by emailing For our March meeting, please RSVP by/before March 14. In your email, please include the age of your child, so we can ensure we have enough staff to cover all the students. The Special Services Director and Associate Directors participate in a meet and greet before each meeting at 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you all there. 

Upcoming LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group Meetings:

Date: 3/19/2019
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: LWSD Resource Center – Board Room (1st Floor)
                 16250 NE 74th St
                 Redmond, WA 98052
Topic: IEP and 504 Basics, presented by Carrie Griffin Basas, the Director of the Office of Education Ombuds. 
March SNG Flyer: LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group - IEP and 504 Basics

Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2018-19 PTSA Special Needs Group Meetings:

  • 4/16/2019
  • 5/21/2019
  • No Meeting in June