March 8 Dept. of Teaching and Learning Update: Services for English Learners, Special Education and Gifted Students

Dear Parent or Guardian,

Please take note of the following services, supports and opportunities that are available for Students with Disabilities, English Learners and Gifted learners.

Special Education
Student Support Coordinators (SSC) are available at every school. The SSCs help our schools and families navigate the Student Support Process. The Student Support Team (SST) is a team assembled to assess the concerns and needs of any student referred. Committee members include parents/guardians, and usually a school administrator or designee, a classroom teacher, and/or others invited by school and/or family. The person who has referred the child will share concerns. Important information regarding the student will be discussed. The team may recommend strategies and/or interventions to be tried in the student’s classroom(s). The team may refer the student for evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services, and/or a Section 504 evaluation. If the team recommends an evaluation, and parents/guardians provide consent, the student will be tested by qualified personnel (persons who hold the required license from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) or other appropriate state or national agency) in all areas related to the suspected disability. These may include, if appropriate: health, vision, hearing; social and emotional status; general intelligence; academic performance; communicative status; motor abilities; and adaptive behavior. Recommended assessment components may include: Socio-cultural, Psychological, Educational, Teacher Narrative, and others, as needed, such as Speech/Language, and/or Occupational Therapy. Information on who your Student Support Coordinator can be found here.

English Learners
The Bilingual Family Liaisons (BFLs) are an important part of the school staff. They are bilingual/bicultural staff liaisons who work closely with other members of your school’s staff, including: administrators (principal, assistant principal, etc.), teachers (including English Learner teachers), special education and gifted staff, counselors, social workers, technology staff and others in order to provide supports to students and families. The Bilingual Family Liaison serves as a liaison between families and the school. They will welcome you into the school community and help connect you to the staff in the school who can answer your questions.

The BFLs can also help connect you to community resources and other supports in the community. Please contact the BFL with your questions, concerns and needs. They will do their best to connect you with the appropriate resources. In addition, once schools are back in person, many of the BFLs have classes, meetings, volunteer opportunities and other activities. Now is a good time to get to know your BFLs!

School Bilingual Family Liaison APS Cell Number Email Address
Abingdon Aminta (Caty) Branco 703-969-0758
Ashlawn Celia Arnade 703-969-1331
Arlington Science Focus vacant vacant vacant
Arl Traditional Victoria Metz 703-969-4105
Barcroft Marcelo Ribera 571-327-6875
Barrett Diana Bustamante 571-327-4262
Campbell Joyce Navia Penaloza 571-970-7867
Carlin Springs Lyzbeth Monard Eguren 703-969-3709
Claremont Haydeé Colón-Jennings 703-969-3101
Drew Evin Rodriguez 703-969-2633
Fleet Lidia Reyes 703-969-3682
Glebe Ana (Beronica) Salas 703-969-0253
Hoffman-Boston Mungunzaya (Zaya) Coughlin 703-969-3857
Hoffman-Boston Augusto Wayar 703-969-0274
Key Marta Gomez 703-969-3778
Long Branch Evin Rodriguez 703-969-2633
McKinley Maria Montas 703-969-3725
Montessori Henry Cardenas 571-327-4593
Oakridge Hanim Magzoub 703-969-2954
Randolph Elvira (Jackie) Garcia 703-969-2527
School Bilingual Liaison APS Cell Phone Email Address
ACC Yesenia Martinez 703-969-4203
ACHS Daniel Castillo 703-969-1755
Gunston Diana Claro Gerardino 703-969-2063
Hamm Cecilia Oetgen 703-969-1057
HBW Daysi Palomeque
Jefferson Irma DeLeon Veliz 571-481-7222
Kenmore Noemi Yerovi 703-969-3963
Kenmore Alam Lainez (part-time) 703-969-0080
Swanson Nohra Rodriguez 571-249-0981
Williamsburg Celia Arnade 703-969-1331
Wakefield Eddy Guerrero 571-439-1075
Wakefield Martha Heredia 703-969-3780
Wakefield Carlos Murillo 703-969-0367
W-L Jimmy Carrasquillo 703-969-3329
W-L David Hernandez 703-969-1791
Yorktown Juan Peredo 703-969-3572

Gifted Referral for Gifted Services Deadline
Families who would like to refer their child for gifted services may submit a referral form by Monday, April 5th. (The referral deadline each year is always April 1st. Since this date is during spring break, schools will accept referrals according to this extended deadline.) Referral forms can be found on the APS Gifted Services website in the eligibility section. Families may also find more information in the updated FAQ section.

Universal Screener Planned
A universal screener/ability assessment is planned in April for multiple grade levels as outlined below:

  • elementary students in grades 2 – 4 and 5th graders new to APS
  • middle school students who are new to APS in grades 6-7 (grade 8 administration is optional for schools)

Students who have a benchmark score of 120 or higher will be automatically screened for gifted services. Schools will notify families of assessment windows. Please see the Assessment site and calendar for additional details.

Universal Screener Postponed
With the return of students to in-person learning in March and the previously scheduled Naglieri Nonverbal Assessment (NNAT) scheduled for March 16-26, the Department of Teaching and Learning has decided to postpone the 1st grade universal ability screener until the 2021-22 school year. This will allow schools and staff to focus on transitioning back to in-person instruction.  Per VDOE gifted regulations 8 VAC 20-40-40, if a referral is received, an ability assessment will be scheduled so that the student may go through the screening process. Your school will be in touch by the end of April with more information on how the screener will be administered keeping in mind COVID guidelines. In addition and since we are not planning to do a universal screener at Grade 1 this year, school teams will use yearlong student portfolios/work samples and teacher observations to group students who are showing advanced potential and ability  in the 2nd grade clusters.

Jack Kent Cook Foundation Young Scholars Program
The Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program is a selective 5-year pre-college scholarship for exceptionally talented 7th grade students with financial need. It provides comprehensive academic and college advising, as well as financial support for school, Cooke-sponsored summer programs, internships, and other learning enrichment opportunities. Applications are due on March 22, 2021. Here are some tips for submitting your application.

CTY Offers Free Resource for Parents
Have you joined the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Parents Group on Facebook?  This is a great way to learn more about resources, opportunities, scholarships, and issues in gifted education.

Gifted Services in Action @APSGifted: Spotlight on Schools


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Dorothy Hamm

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