To Our Families with Special Education Services

March 20, 2020

Dear Families,

As you know, out of an abundance of caution the Governor of Massachusetts has closed school
through April 6, 2020 to reduce and control the spread of the coronavirus. This is an
extraordinary and unprecedented response to protect, as much as possible, the health and
safety of all of our citizens, and does require a fluid response as additional information and
recommendations become available.

At this time, in response to the closure state and federal authorities have provided initial
guidance. While guidance is in the early stages, Peabody Public Schools has developed
responses to best meet the needs of all students to remain engaged with learning enrichment
activities. In addition, the Peabody Public Schools closure will have an effect on the time-frame
in which special education procedures are implemented and how services are provided. You
can expect the following changes to practice as a result of the extended closure:

Communication: Communication will take place primarily through email. If you have not done
so, please communicate your email address to your child’s liaison. You may also communicate
your email address to your child’s Team Chair or Coordinator listed below:
High School Team Chair- Shannon Crompton
High School Coordinator – Valerie Smyrnios
Middle School Team Chair – Marybeth Martens
Brown and Center Team Chair – Shannon Rowe
Burke and South Team Chair – Laureen LoGiudice
Carroll and Welch Team Chair – Omy McDonald at
West and McCarthy Team Chair – Maureen Merta at
Preschool Director – Kristin Hutton-Fay at
Out of District Team Chair – Amanda Dionne at
While school is not in session, be assured that we will continue to be available throughout the
extended school closure.
The Special Education Administrator – Carla Chioda can be reached at

Progress Reports: Elementary School Progress Reports are being completed. As there is no
clerical staff available at this time, all progress reports will be printed and forwarded when school
resumes. Progress Reports will be available by email to those individuals that would prefer to
receive them by email. Please look for an email the week of March 26th for instructions on
accessing a copy of your child’s Progress Report by email.

IEP Process:
New Referrals: During the period of closure, all IEP development activities are paused. As
staff is not able to be present in the buildings, any referrals that would have been received
March 13 or later will not be able to be processed until schools are in session.

Evaluation Timelines: Evaluation timelines require that evaluations be completed within 30
school days and meetings occur within 45 school days. As of March 12, 2020, the last school
day for Peabody Public Schools, this timeline is paused and will continue once school is once
more in session.

Annual Reviews: At this time, the district will not be conducting team meetings. Annual
reviews that would have been conducted during this unprecedented period will be scheduled in
collaboration with families, as effectively and responsively as possible, once school reopens.
IEP’s Currently in Development: Due to closure, the Peabody Public School District does not
currently have capacity to process paper documents. IEP’s that were recommended at a fully
completed team meeting prior to the closure will be available digitally only.

School Based Services: Our special education teachers are reviewing the enrichment
materials recommended at each school and will continue to work with general education
teachers and families to provide recommendations on varied access points, differentiation,
scaffolds and approaches to support enrichment activities that allow students to continue to
learn. Special education teachers, like many general education teachers, will be available
through the digital communication methods that you have used to communicate with them
throughout the year.

Out of District Placements: For our students currently placed away from the Peabody Public
School District, Peabody Public Schools has continued to make transportation available to those
placements that have remained open. At this time Peabody Public Schools has been notified
that most programs have closed to support efforts to reduce transmission of the coronavirus.
Residential Placements: For students requiring a residential level of service, Peabody Public
Schools will continue to monitor and follow the attendance recommendations of these programs

Home Hospital Tutoring: Home Hospital Tutoring is also being suspended in response to
recommendations to engage in social distancing. Please review enrichment recommendations
on your child’s school website.

Additional Guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Office
of Special Education can be found here:

Counseling Services:
Our School Adjustment Counselors are available to support you and your children. They are
actively reaching out to you via email, Remind, ClassDojo, or phone. If you have a child who
receives counseling services and you have not heard from them, please reach out to them
directly via their email addresses, listed on the Resource Document they have prepared. It is
attached here, but also available on the district’s COVID-19 webpage. If you need more
immediate support, there is contact information for Mobile Crisis and the Department of Children
& Families; however, you can also call 9-1-1 in a psychiatric or safety emergency or go to your
nearest emergency room.

A link to related emergency and emotional support resources can be found here:

Be safe and be well,
Carla M. Chioda
Special Education Administrator

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