June 2020

Message from the Special Services Director – Dr. Shannon Hitch

Dr. Shannon Hitch

I am reaching out today to ask for your help. In partnership with our special needs PTSA group, I would like to invite you to an important meeting. On Tuesday, June 16th, we will be offering a virtual town hall meeting for our special education parent community. I will share our work from this spring, update you on planning for Extended School Year and next school year and most importantly, listen to your personal experiences with virtual learning. I also want to hear your ideas and suggestions. I know that many of you have been reading and learning about what works with virtual learning in special education and I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. 
It would be helpful if you can send in comments and questions prior to the meeting so I can try to address the common themes. We have a limited amount of time, so I want to be able to address as many of your issues as possible. This is uncharted territory for all of us and I would love to hear from as many of you as possible.
While there have been elements of remote learning that have been positive for some, I also know and understand that many of our students in special education have struggled significantly with virtual learning. Students have had challenges with asynchronous instruction, navigating technology, attending to virtual instruction and have struggled with emotional/behavioral challenges related to changes in routines and structures. Families have gone above and beyond to support their students with their learning and we are grateful for your partnership. Special education was never designed to be a virtual program – it is a personal, relationship oriented, hand-on instructional model. I have worked in this field for over 25 years and by far, this is the greatest challenge I have seen in meeting the needs of our most vulnerable learners.

Information regarding this town hall is available below. I’m looking forward to connecting with you!

Dr. Shannon Hitch
Director – Special Services


Upcoming LWSD and LWPTSA Council SEG Forum

Date: 6/16/2020
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. PDT
Location: Virtual Meeting; 
Topic: Special Education in the Fall

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone

You can also dial in using your phone. 
United States: +1 (786) 535-3211 

Access Code: 313-243-037 

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: 

Join Dr. Shannon Hitch, Director of Special Services and the LWPTSA Council Special Education Group for information and conversation on what service delivery might look like in the fall. Share your input, ideas, concerns, and questions with us beforehand at specialeducation@lwptsa.net. Make your voice heard for larger district planning.  


Inclusionary Practices Update

This year we have been working collaboratively with the University of Minnesota TIES Center, the University of Washington Haring Center, OSPI, and the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession to develop and strengthen inclusionary practices within our district. During the 2021-21 school year, we will be piloting inclusive programming at Mark Twain Elementary, Rockwell Elementary and Kirkland Middle School as part of our state grant with the TIES center. This project, along with our efforts towards launching Universal Design for Learning in partnership with Katie Novak and the Washington Association of School Administrators are just the beginning of our efforts to serve every student within their neighborhood school.  Here is our “why."

Early Learning

We are excited to see the ongoing construction at Old Redmond Schoolhouse. The LWSD website offers on-going updates and even includes a virtual tour of our new early learning center – opening September, 2020!


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. The Arc of King County’s website is a great resource for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. They provide direct support, both formally and informally, to any family impacted by disability. Here are some of the ways we are available for families in King County: 

  • IEP Parent Partner Program: connects trained and experienced IEP Parent Partners with parents and guardians needing support to navigate the special education system
  • Coffee and Conversation: A weekly, in-person support group at various locations around King County, for parents raising children with I/DD
  • Charlemos Entre Amigas: A weekly, in-person support group at various locations around King County for Spanish speaking parents raising children with I/DD
  • Pizza and Politics: A monthly support meeting and family event for African-American parents and families impacted by disabilities
  • Webinar Wednesdays: A monthly online support webinar for parents raising children with I/DD
  • Smooth Talkers: A meetup group for AAC users (and those considering AAC) and their families, available in English, and Spanish, with sessions in both Renton and Bellevue
  • Virtual support: Sixteen online support groups (including a group in Spanish) available to assist parents with connecting with other families raising children with I/DD
  • Helping Parent Matches: We’ll facilitate one-on-one introductions between new parents and more experienced, trained parents who have walked a similar road before them
  • Housing stability: Support for homeless families and those at imminent risk of homelessness 

Support navigating complex systems, including DDA and SSI, and the Guardianship process for students approaching adulthood

Please note that all the presentations, programs and services are available to parents and families at no cost, and there is no need to qualify or sign up in order to access support.

For more information and resources, visit their website: www.arcofkingcounty.org


Featured Articles

Neighbors Helping Neighbors: LWSD Students Print 3D Masks

King 5 News featured Tesla STEM High School students from LWSD on March 25, 2020. Ian, along with his fellow students, figured out how to mass produce face masks using 3D printers. They set up a GoFundMe to help pay for materials, and classmates have donated their time to be a part of the virtual assembly line to print 3D masks which are then donated to local hospitals. 

To watch the interview, click here.


Orchestra Allows Deaf People to ‘Hear’ Beethoven Through Touch

During a series of performances played by the Danubia Symphony Orchestra, Deaf patrons were invited to “feel the vibrations”. The orchestra’s conductor, Mate Hamori, devised a plan to bring music to audience members with hearing impairments – specifically the music of Beethoven, who was totally deaf when he composed his 9th symphony. Hamori placed people with hearing impairments next to instruments and orchestra members where they could touch and feel the vibrations during the performance to “connect the maestro’s music with those who were most capable of sympathizing with Beethoven”.

To read the full article, click here.


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 here 
  • 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!