Ms. Cain’s Upper School students went to Trader Joe’s to get what they
needed to make an amazing lunch!
Information From Cotting School
Rock Your Socks on Tuesday
We had such a great Spirit Week we decided to add one more day! Next Tuesday, March 21, 2023, is World Down Syndrome Day. In recognition of this day and some of our awesome Falcons, please wear brightly colored, mismatched socks on Tuesday!
March 21 is symbolic because people who have Down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21. Socks were chosen because chromosomes are shaped “like socks” and they often look like “mismatched socks”.
Thank you to Ms. Simmons, Ms. Roper and others for the suggested extension to our Spirit Week.
Dedication Pages are due today but we’ll accept submissions through Monday! Dedication pages are OPTIONAL and usually consist of a few photos and a couple of lines of text congratulating your student and/or their class. We offer two options, half page ($25) and full page ($50). If you need another copy of the Yearbook Dedication Page Form, you can download it HERE. Questions?
This meeting will take place both in person in the Cotting School Board Room and via Zoom online. The link will be emailed out with the agenda.
Join Us at Play It Forward, a Fundraiser Featuring Falcon Trivia!
Thursday, April 13, 6-9 p.m.
Gather your friends or colleagues to support Cotting’s after-school and sports programs!
Highlights include team trivia, Plinko, bowling, raffle prizes and a silent auction.
$50 – General Admission (does not include trivia)
$75 – Solo Trivia Player
$500 – Trivia Team (2-8 people), Supporter Level
$1,000 – Trivia Team (2-8 people), Premier Level
Click HERE to purchase tickets and view featured raffle prizes. Reach out to Carly Churchill at email@example.com if you have questions.
Community Resources & Events
Starting in May, this 7-month series of programs for a peer group of young adults ages 16-28, is designed to develop leadership skills and improve self-confidence through outdoor adventures. An application process includes filling out an application and participating in a short interview, as well as a program fee (scholarships available if needed).
We are looking for applicants who can:
Have a formal interview with a Waypoint staff member
Be reasonably familiar and comfortable with social settings
Can participate in group discussions around a theme or goal
Can answer open-ended questions
Can generally follow multi-step instructions or stick to a task independently (or with few prompts)
Commit to attending and participating in all LIT programs
Do You or a Family Member Get Insurance Through MassHealth
If so, keep a close eye on your mailbox for a blue envelope this month. The state is rechecking the eligibility for all 2.3 million current MassHealth enrollees — officials expect up to 400,000 people will be taken off the state-run health insurance program over the coming year.
Why now? The end of the federal COVID emergency means the end of more relaxed eligibility requirements that allowed everyone who was part of the surge in MassHealth enrollees in 2020 to keep their coverage, even if they became ineligible later.
What to watch for: About half of MassHealth members will get a normal-looking letter saying their coverage will be “automatically” renewed. However, the other half will get attention-grabbing blue envelopes saying they need to take action or risk losing coverage. (Blue envelopes don’t necessarily mean you’re losing coverage — just that a response is needed.)
The timeline: the year-long process has already begun on a rolling basis. (State health officials say some people may have already gotten a blue envelope.) Beginning April 1, those who don’t respond within 45 days could lose MassHealth coverage, even if they’re still eligible.
Have questions? MassHealth is doubling the number of workers at its call centers to handle the expected increase in calls.
Webinar, March 21st, 2023, with the Charles River Center of Needham, MA. This presentation introduces families to the range of public funds available to pay for housing and supportive services (including for those without DDS supports).
Some examples are given of how these can be combined with private funds to create housing.
Target audience: Parents of transition-aged youth (14-22+).
This presentation introduces families to the range of public funds available to pay for housing and supportive services (including for those without DDS supports).
Advocacy for MA DDS Self-Directed Services as Envisioned by the 2014 Real Lives Law
Webinar, March 21st & May 16th, 2023, with the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy. Join the conversation about Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21) advocacy for changes to MA DDS Self-Directed Services to comply with the 2014 Real Lives Law.
Help improve regulations and waivers at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to increase transparency, flexibility, and self-determination.
Other dates to be posted. Your voice is needed!
Check out the MA21 Real Lives Law Fact Sheet for some background here.
You can choose to attend one or more of the following sessions:
Scituate, MA, March 26th – May 7th, 2023. Designed for ALL abilities in Grades 1 – 8 to help improve fitness. Workouts will include a variety of approaches from running intervals, aerobic exercises, stretching and core strengthening – customized to multiple ability levels – through a variety of fun exercises, games and teamwork activities.
This program is designed as a non-competitive physical and social recreational activity for students who would enjoy a fun experience while building skills.
Charting the Life Course: For Parents of Individuals With Special Needs Ages 14-22
Webinar: March 27th, 2023, with the Seven Hill of Central Massachusetts. For parents of individuals ages 14-22, workshop series.
Learn how to use the Charting the LifeCourse framework in practical ways: map out your community resources, build a trajectory for your loved one, create goals in simple steps, and explore what your family’s future could look like.
Charting the Life Course framework was created to help individuals with disabilities, families of all abilities and all ages, to develop a vision for a good life. The framework helps to guide individuals in thinking about what they need to know and do, identify how to find, or develop supports and discover what it takes to live the life they want to live.
Charting the LifeCourse Framework was created by families to help individuals and families of all abilities and all ages develop a vision for:
a good life
to think about what they need to know and do
identify how to find or develop supports
discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live.
Individuals and families may focus on their current situation and stage of life but may also find it helpful to look ahead to think about life experiences that will help move them toward an inclusive, productive life in the future.
There’s Still Time to Become a 2023-2024 Service Warrior
EPIC is still recruiting for its 2023-2024 Boston Service Warrior Leadership Program. Therefore, applicants have until the end of the month to submit their applications!
EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities) works to build leadership skills and experience for young people with disabilities by engaging them in community projects and leadership development workshops through our EPIC Service Warrior program. Service Warriors are youth ages 16-23 with disabilities who make a one-year commitment to monthly community service projects and regular leadership development workshops. Service Warriors gain self-advocacy, independent living skills, technical experience, and knowledge through these commitments to help achieve their personal and professional goals.
Young people and their families can learn more and apply online for our Boston team here.
Check out our FAQ page about Service Warriors to learn more.
Retirement of Nora Wells, Family Voices’ Executive Director
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Family Voices, Inc., I announce the retirement of our Executive Director, Nora Wells, which will be effective March 31, 2023. Nora has served as Executive Director since 2014.
Nora’s Remarkable Career
Like many family leaders, Nora began her career in health advocacy by seeking care and services for her own son, Dan. In 1981, Nora co-wrote a proposal to address health professionals’ knowledge of special education laws. Alongside other Massachusetts families, she worked tirelessly to educate professionals about the needs and experiences of families and to change health care services and policies. In 1985, with interest from the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Nora co-wrote a proposal to provide information, education, and support for collaboration between families and health professionals.
Nora’s work with Family Voices began before the organization was formed, when she and others focused on in-home care and community inclusion with the intent to highlight and share more about families’ experiences. As President Clinton’s health plan was being developed, it became clear that the voices of families needed to be heard and included. Together, Julie Beckett and Nora made numerous trips to Washington, DC to convey families’ needs. Family Voices was formed in 1992 by Polly Arango, Josie Wall, and Julie Beckett, with numerous other family leaders, including Nora. In 1998, Nora led a 20-state survey, “Your Voice Counts,” jointly run by Family Voices and Brandeis University, to understand and describe families’ experiences and challenges with health systems. Learn more about Nora’s contributions to Family Voices history here.
Announcing the Interim Executive Director, Dr. Allysa Ware
We are excited about the team of outstanding staff members that continues to carry the work of Family Voices forward. The core of our work remains strong, even as we grow and transition.
The Board of Directors has named Dr. Allysa Ware as Interim Executive Director of Family Voices. Dr. Ware is a social worker whose research focuses on autism, and she is the parent of a young adult daughter with autism. Her work has primarily addressed early childhood and transition to adulthood.
Dr. Ware, who began as a consultant with Family Voices eight years ago, has served as the Associate Executive Director for the past year. Her prior experience as a program manager and project director for Family Voices has helped her build extensive connections with our network, partners and funders. Dr. Ware has expertise in family engagement, finance, strategic planning, and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). She has successfully written and led multiple grant projects at Family Voices, and she is thrilled to lead Family Voices through this transition.
Universal Access Outdoor Connections in Massachusetts
Winter Recreation: DCR Programs, Parks and Trails
The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts state parks for visitors of all abilities and ages. Join them on Zoom at Universal Access Outdoor Connections to learn about their offerings and share your experience with accessible and adaptive programs in DCR Parks.
Join our Housing Informational Sessions on Zoom, led by Doreen Cummings, Director of In-Home Services! Learn about Mainstay’s seven properties and other housing resources in Massachusetts. We will review budgets, websites and meet current residents who will share their perspectives.
Mainstay coordinates supportive homes in Newton, Malden, Norwood and Walpole for adults with a variety of abilities. Residents live largely independently. Services offered include live-in overnight staffing, evening and weekend staffing, professional cleaning of common areas, a daily communal dinner, support with activities of daily living and built-in socialization and friendship opportunities.
New Series from The Arc of MA: Advocacy for MA DDS Self-Directed Services as Envisioned by the 2014 Real Lives Law
Your voice is needed! Join the conversation about the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy’s (MA21) advocacy for changes to the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Self-Directed Services to comply with the 2014 Real Lives Law.
Help improve regulations and waivers at DDS to increase transparency, flexibility and self-determination. Learn how to be part of organized advocacy with DDS to transform regulations, policies and guidelines to make Self-Direction more transparent and less restrictive.
Sessions are currently scheduled for the following dates and times. You can attend one or more sessions. Additional dates will be posted.
Overcoming Hurdles to Disability Inclusion: Community Workshop
Join an exciting workshop provided by MERGE Inclusion Consulting. This educational community offering is sponsored by is being hosted by The Office of Equity And Social Justice and Reading SEPAC. Additional partners include Reading Recreation, Public Library and Public Schools, The Burbank YMCA and Pleasant Street Center.
WHO: Anyone from a community organization seeking to be more disability inclusive in their practice like a Camps, Town Rec, YMCA or JCC’s, Scouts, Library, Churches, Sport League, Before & After School Program, Dance, Art or Enrichment Studios, Museums or businesses.
During our six-day dance and choreographic course and two-day art course, youth and young adults with Down Syndrome will have the opportunity to dance and experience live music with professional dancers, musicians and seasoned teachers. The United Dance team comprises experts in teaching art to specialized populations in a safe, engaging environment. Our program is designed to empower, foster creativity and, above all, give students the experience of a lifetime!
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Cotting School every time you shop, at no cost to you. Just select “Cotting School, Inc.” as your charitable organization and remember to shop at smile.amazon.com! Amazon will then donate a portion of your order’s purchase price to Cotting School!
Spread the Word!
Do you know someone who would like to learn more about Cotting School? Please share the information at the links below with someone you know. Cotting School parents are our best ambassadors, and our team is available to connect with families that would like to learn more!