Weekly Update: September 8, 2023

Weekly Update

First day fun! The 2023-2024 school year is off to a great start.

Information From Cotting School

Upcoming Transition Listening Sessions

Preparing students for rich, independent lives has long been our mission. Most recently, supporting transition and success has been one of our defined strategic initiatives. For the last several years, with focused effort, we have updated a school-wide transition curriculum, developed better communication tools for students and families to describe transitions within our program levels, reorganized our Vocational Department and piloted two new parent transition curricula. These initiatives have augmented the work we have always done. And we will never be done working on our transition programming.


We are at an exciting juncture, and we need your help. We are in the early planning stages for a Transition Institute at Cotting School. We envision this center serving both current students and families as well as young alumni. As we build our plans and prepare to update our strategic initiatives, we invite you to join us for some listening/brainstorming sessions. WE will listen as YOU brainstorm the possibilities for this new Transition Institute.


Please join President Bridget Irish, Trustee Tim Connelly and other members of the Board and Senior Administrative Team for hors d’oeuvres, beverages and lots of creative thinking at one of our upcoming listening sessions!


  • September 13. 2023 from 5-7 p.m. in the Campus Center
  • October 4, 2023 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. over Zoom
  • October 17, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. in the Campus Center

We look forward to seeing you, sharing our early thoughts and hearing your great ideas!

Please RSVP to Christine Dagostino at cdagostino@cotting.org so that we can plan to have adequate food and materials or to provide the appropriate Zoom link for our virtual session. Questions? Feel free to call us!

SAVE THE DATE: Cotting PTO’s Annual Fall Family BBQ!

Sunday, September 24, 2023

12-3 p.m.

Rain or shine on the Cotting grounds!

The PTO kicks off the new school year once again with this much-anticipated community event! Mark your calendar so your family won’t miss out on this fantastic afternoon, complete with a catered BBQ lunch, games, crafts, THE FAMOUS RAFFLE, and other fun stuff.



Of course, you do! Here’s what you can do right now:

  • Become a sponsor of the BBQ
  • Volunteer to join the planning team
  • Send in raffle items or themed baskets



Contact Family Support Coordinator Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org.

A Message from the Cotting School PTO

Thank you for your generous support during our donation drive! We have received feedback that the donation link and QR code have not always worked–we apologize for these difficulties. We are still accepting donations! If you wish to do so, please click here.

Once on the donation page, if you wish to donate the suggested amount of $60, you must click on the $60 so that the background turns black in order to advance to the payment page. If you wish to make a donation for a different amount, you will advance to the payment page as soon as you enter that amount. If you run into trouble, please email Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org. We hope this helps, and thanks again!

Community Resources & Events
BINA Farm Center Music Therapy Program is Back
Now, that’s music to our ears! The BINA Farm Center Music Therapy Program is relaunching in partnership with the Worcester Center for Expressive Therapies for a 10-week session at 55 Allen Street, Lexington, MA 02421. Join us every Saturday from 3-4 p.m. from September 9- November 11, 2023. The session starts tomorrow but you can start at a later date.

Registration is open NOW! Space is limited, first come first served.

For more information or to register, email info@binafarm.org or call 781.862.5020.

Grants for Local Therapeutic Programs

The Genesis Foundation of Massachusetts is accepting applications now through September 30, 2023. A limited number of grants are available to fund clinical, educational and therapy programs for children and young adults with genetic disorders, rare diseases and intellectual and physical disabilities.

  • Notifications of funding decisions will be delivered by Dec. 31, 2023.
  • The therapeutic programs that will be approved for funding allow children and young adults with rare diseases or genetic disorders the opportunity to participate in various arts and recreational programs.
  • In addition to receiving therapeutic benefits from these fun activities, children also gain new and rewarding experiences from which they develop self-confidence.

For more information or to register, click here or contact us by calling 617.367.7070 or emailing office@thegenfound.org.

Sing Along Chorus: Sing with us! (Including Cotting Alumni!)


Do you love singing? Do you have a loved one with a disability who loves to sing?


Come join our Sing Along Chorus! Learn about music and singing, make friends and create social connections!

Registration is confirmed once payment is received. Led by SNAP Music Director, Marisa Giangregorio. SNAP Piano Accompanist, Harley Smith.


Fall session: cost $280

Mondays, September 11, 2023-January 29, 2024 from 6:30-8 p.m.

Wednesdays are FULL


Spring session: cost $280

Mondays, February 5, 2024-June 3rd, 2024 from 6:30-8 p.m.

Wednesdays, Jan. 31, 2024-June 5, 2024, 6:30-8 p.m.


To register for Sing Along Chorus, please click here.


Registration is on a first come, first served basis and enrollment is limited.

Program location: Lexington Community Center


Questions? Email us at info@snaparts.org or call 781.325.8025

DDS Self-Directed Adult Disability Services

Webinar, September 12, 2023, with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. Self-directed service delivery models allow the participant and their family the opportunity to create individualized supports based on their vision and needs. Join DDS to learn how participants and their families can design individualized services to meet their needs through the Participant Directed Program or Agency With Choice services.

  • The individual and family have authority and responsibility over a budget and can decide who they would like to hire, when the supports will be provided, what the individual will do, where the supports will be provided and how services will be arranged.
  • The services are flexible and can be customized to meet the changing needs of the individual as they learn and grow.
  • Each of the two options, Agency With Choice and the Participant Directed Program, requires the individual and family to have shared responsibility for the administration and management of the services they have created.

For more information or to register, click here or email amy.nazaire@mass.gov.

“Beyond the Spectrum” Art Classes for Teens

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, September 16, 2023. For teens with Autism Spectrum and Aspergers Disorders ages 13-18. Focus on specific art topics and incorporate discussion, critical inquiry and sketching in the galleries. Students then work independently on a project with guidance from an experienced instructor.

September Theme: Exploring Colors! Explore the fascinating history of colors and pigments within the MFA’s artworks. From ancient Egyptian blues to modern synthetic pigments, discover the unique stories behind each color and how they have been used throughout history.

  • After exploration, head to the studio to put newfound knowledge into practice by creating a collage inspired by your favorite colors. Using a variety of materials and techniques, create unique designs that reflect your own personal styles and creative visions. This hands-on experience will allow participants to channel their inner artists and express themselves in new and exciting ways.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the history of colors and their use in art while also unlocking your own creative potential.

Fees apply, registration is required. Contact artfulhealing@mfa.org or 617.369.4027.

DDS Intake and Eligibility Webinar

September 19, 2023, with the Charles River Center of Needham, MA. The Charles River Center’s Department of Developmental Disability Services (DDS) Intake and Eligibility Team Coordinator Anthony Mavilla will be sharing information on what the intake process looks like.

Charles River Center is a community organization that offers various services for parents/guardians and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as family, day and employment and residential services.

RSVP to familysupport@charlesrivercenter.org.

Webinars: Help With Problem Solving the Transition Process

The ARC of Massachusetts is offering webinars to help problem solve the transition process:

Virtual Navigation Help with ARC staff.

  • Have issues navigating services?
  • Want tips on Turning 22?
  • Where do you start?

12-1 p.m.

  • Sep 20
  • Oct 18
  • Nov 15
  • Dec 20

Registration is required.

AANE Webinar: Understanding Disclosure and the Importance of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

September 28, 2023, 6:30-8 p.m., $25

Register now and watch this webinar live or later on demand. See below for details.

Disclosure is not mandatory. This webinar covers the ins and outs of disclosure in the workplace, including why and when people disclose (or don’t), the impact disclosure can have, how to approach disclosure as an employee and how to respond to disclosure as an employer. Additional topics include:

  • Accommodations and Universal Design
  • Recognizing Ableism and Understanding Unconscious Bias
  • Toxic Tactics such as Gaslighting & Subtle Workplace Bullying
  • The 4 Components of Psychological Safety
  • Assessing Psychological Safety at Your Workplace
  • Creating a Psychologically Safe Workplace Culture

SPEAKER: Becca Lory Hector, Director of Training AANE (She/Her) is an openly autistic professional on a mission to close the disability gap in leadership by working with companies to attract and retain disabled talent.

This webinar will be recorded. If you register and are not available during the live presentation, you will receive the video link to access the recording of the presentation two business days after the session ends. Registrants can access the recorded presentation for 30 days.

REGISTRATION: Advanced registration is required. After you have registered you will receive a confirmation email. Registrants who do not receive the confirmation email should check their email spam folder. Registration closes 24 hours prior to the event. Early registration is highly recommended as many programs fill quickly.

Have a great weekend!


Please share your own resources and questions with Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org.

Helpful Links
Family Resources Dashboard
2023-2024 School Year Calendar
Cotting Admissions Information
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Cotting’s Viewbook: Reaching New Heights!
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