• Respect for diversity
    and human differences
  • Best practices
  • Continuous improvement
  • Open and honest communication
  • Integrity
© 2018 ACCEPT Education Collaborative

ACCEPT Staff Newsletter

January 2018 Staff Update

Welcome back! As the New Year begins it is my hope that everybody experiences peace and that we all do our part to nurture kindness and compassion. By following ACCEPT’s guiding principles we will continue to create a safe, vibrant, and respectful environment.

Annual Report
The Board of Directors, at the December meeting, approved the Annual Report and Financial Audit. Both are available on the ACCEPT website:

A recent study by the Massachusetts Organization of Education Collaboratives (MOEC) found that ACCEPT districts spent 79% of their out of district expenditures for private schools. The remaining 21% goes to all collaboratives. I am working with our member districts to discover some of the reasons behind these decisions. To enhance our reputation and make us a provider of first choice I need your help. We are working hard to develop a positive culture of mutual respect and civility. As this culture permeates the Collaborative, it will become evident to all who interact with us. A positive vibe is welcoming, informed staff member are reassuring, and communicating our expertise is essential. I am interested in
your thoughts and ideas of how we can continue to ensure a positive culture.

PAES Curriculum Coming to ACCEPT
I am pleased to share ACCEPT received a $20,000 grant from the Flutie Foundation to use toward the purchase of PAES Curriculum. Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) is a hands-on, simulated work environment functional skills curriculum. Using the five 10 week modules, our Vocational Counselors will monitor student interest level in their “job,” as well as tasks attempted and completed. The expanded opportunities will include entry-level jobs in five contexts: computer technology, construction/industrial, processing/production, consumer/service, and business/marketing. The embedded assessment system helps students determine aptitude and interest in various occupations and skills. At the same time PAES is fun for students and offers opportunities to learn workplace soft skills and expected behaviors. PAES is well tested, evaluated, and positively received by transition programs serving students with autism, nationwide. We are excited about the new opportunities PAES will provide our students.

PATH (Positive Attitude Toward Health) Program
We are excited about our new fitness initiative, PATH. Kate Garabedian, our nurse leader, has taken the lead in ordering equipment, hiring staff, and developing a program appropriate for the full range of our students. Implementing fitness into one’s life is extremely beneficial to holistic wellbeing. Teaching students to commit to a routine fitness regimen creates less of a challenge for them to incorporate fitness into their daily lives as they become older and more independent. Fitness classes will include obstacle courses, circuit training, and much more. The PATH program will provide students with the tools to lead healthier lives. The Fitness Room is available each day before and after school. I encourage you to take advantage of the equipment. Among the benefits of routine fitness are:

  • Increased concentration and focus
  • Improved mood and self-esteem
  • Reduced general anxiety
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Increased muscular strength and endurance
  • Enhanced core stability, balance and coordination
  • Injury and chronic disease prevention


Inclement Weather
Another reminder about ACCEPT’s policy on early release, school cancellation, and delayed openings due to inclement weather. The decision will be based on a number of factors, chief among them the safety of our students.

  • ACCEPT classes will follow the same schedule as Medway and Natick; e.g. if Medway or Natick delays opening or cancels for the day, our programs in that town will follow the same schedule.
  • If the town where the student lives cancels school, ACCEPT will NOT provide transportation.
  • ACCEPT may determine that a delayed opening is necessary even if Medway or Natick does NOT have a delayed opening. In this instance ACCEPT classes will start two hours later than scheduled.
  • To minimize transporting students during the height of a storm we may decide to dismiss students early based on a forecast of substantial snowfall.


News You Can Use

  • ACCEPT received $2,000 from the Massachusetts Bankers Association Foundation. Thanks to MutualOne Bank for nominating us.
  • Leanna and Nick, make an ACCEPTional couple!
  • Professional Development Day, January 12 at the Center for Learning and Growth. All staff with 183 day contracts are required to attend; all others are welcome. Details to follow.
  • Welcome back to Lea Toney who is returning from her maternity leave.
  • Julieanne Perry is running a 10K for Autism Speaks at Disney World during February vacation. Julieanne is happy to provide more details; I encourage you to check in with her.
  • Good-looking group

Educational Collaborative Special Education Teachers

ACCEPTional Accolades
Karen Tulley #alwayscalmcoolandcollected #hereforthekids – Karen’s constant engagement with the kids and amazing work ethic every day is admirable. With and without Internet!
Kate Buck #leader #rocksteady #queenofpositivereinforcement – Kate consistently goes out of her way to recognize and reinforce growth and positivity from students and staff alike.
Vocational Staff #pretzelpower – The staff organized and pulled off a last minute pretzel making marathon without a hitch. Raising money for our students at the same time!
Nick Avery #A for Avery – Nick went above and beyond to present his wonderful Nearpod lessons to us during PD and then presented to our Assistant Superintendent’s Job Alike meeting! Great lessons showcasing innovative learning happening at ACCEPT!
MMS Team #Starcademy – Kudos to our Medway middle school programs for becoming one community! STAR and Academy affectionately renamed themselves “Starcademy”!
Lori Bowness #A Bonus to have Bowness – Lori quietly comes in and creates amazing things at ACCEPT. Alongside her artwork with our students, Lori creates such a beautiful sense of community around the holiday seasons!
Transportation Office staff #vansinarow – Thanks to our fabulous full time transportation staff all vans were cleaned, moved, and moved back again to allow snow plows to clear the parking lot.
JulieAnn Perry #alwayssmiling – JulieAnn always has a smile on her face in and out of the classroom. Her warm personality creates a welcoming environment for her students and staff.
Nicole Ashworth #busiestbehaviorist -Nicole is a busy beaver who has been working her tail off to keep the classroom in order while Becky is on maternity leave!

Thanks to all for exemplifying the ACCEPT Advantage!

I came across the following words by John Rosove. Given our theme of civility and the timeliness of his message, I wanted to share it with you:
During the coming year, may we hold in our thoughts those who suffer from tyranny, subjection, cruelty, and injustice, and work every day towards the alleviation of their suffering.
May we recognize our solidarity with the stranger, outcast, downtrodden, abused, and deprived, our understanding that no human being be treated as “other,” that our common humanity weaves us together in one fabric of mutuality, one garment of destiny.

If you would like additional details or to discuss anything in this update please do not hesitate contact me.


Marcia J. Berkowitz, Ed.M., M.Ed.
Executive Director

4 Tech Circle, Natick, MA 01760 (508) 653-6776