Saint Marys Area School District

977 S. Saint Marys Road, Saint Marys, PA 15857 Phone: 814.834.7831
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The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is pleased to announce the following webinar opportunity:

The Virtual 2020 Pennsylvania Community of Practice Transition Conference- Together Towards Tomorrow
July 15, 2020
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Each year the PA Community of Practice Transition Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders to share information, explore resources, and gain knowledge regarding successful practices in secondary transition. The conference attracts more than 800 participants annually. Attendees include educators, students, family members, youth leaders, therapists, agency personnel, vocational rehabilitation staff, and many others. The conference will take place virtually on July 15, 2020.

The conference will feature:
- Keynote presentations
- Twenty-four breakout sessions
- Family and youth engaging sessions

Feature Presenters
Mark C. Perna is a dynamic and motivational public speaker. As an international expert on Generations Y and Z, he has devoted his career to empowering educators and employers to unleash the tremendous potential of today’s young people, both in the classroom and on the job. In his work with educational and business organizations, he has pioneered many best practices for achieving more with today’s young people, including the Education with Purpose® philosophy and highly popular Career Tree® strategy. Mark, who interviews frequently on radio shows, television, and podcasts, is often cited as the national expert in education enrollment, retention, and performance.

Jonah Berger
We have no control over the cards we are dealt, we have full control as to how we play them. Jonah Berger brings a message of accepting your challenges and then overcoming them. Jonah owns The Rhythm Within; a Denver based business working with kids and adults experiencing special needs. He was born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy, has completed a Triathlon, and climbed the tallest mountain in Colorado! There is a great deal of wonder to be found outside our comfort zones and the perceived limitations of our struggles. Teacher, Mentor, Author, and dynamic personality, Jonah is sure to bring his unique energy to our closing keynote presentation.

On-line Registration
All participants should register for this PaTTAN-sponsored event by visiting our website at: Click training calendar and go to July. If you prefer, you may email the registration form to Paula Quinn,

The Virtual 2020 PA Community of Practice Transition Conference is a web-based conference which requires each participant to log in separately to each session using the links that will be provided closer to the conference.

For questions about registration, contact:
Paula Quinn, PaTTAN Pittsburgh,
Pam Ranieri, PaTTAN Pittsburgh,

For questions about this conference, contact:
Kim Cole, PaTTAN East,
Hillary Mangis, PaTTAN Pittsburgh,

Check out another GREAT opportunity!

Registration for the National Autism Conference at Penn State in LIVE. Registration link can be found here:

Registration is FREE for all Pennsylvania public educators (including private and charter schools) and Parents/Guardians. 

Announcement from PaTTAN and BSE:

The PA Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), in collaboration with the Bureau of Special Education, has created a website of resources for families and general educators supporting complex learners at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The website, entitled “Family Resources for Students with Complex Learning Needs,” is located at PaTTAN Family Resources Website for Complex Learners and was developed by a representative group of consultants supporting the educational initiatives of family engagement, intellectual and/or significant cognitive disabilities, multiple disabilities, sensory impairments, and assistive technology and communication. For the purpose of this website, a complex learner is a child, youth, or young adult with an intellectual or significant cognitive disability, multiple disabilities, and/or sensory impairment.


PaTTAN recognizes that everyone is doing their best to manage work, self-care, children’s online education, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and professionals supporting children with disabilities face additional challenges. You are not in this alone.  The website will be updated periodically, so families and general educators are encouraged to check back routinely to access additional resources.

What does Social Emotional Learning mean for your student at SMASD? St. Marys Area School District is continually working to implement a systematic approach to meet the learning needs of all students, this includes social and emotional learning. As a stakeholder , we value your input and as part of our continuous improvement efforts, we are asking for your participation at the survey link below.

Survival Guide for Parents with Special Needs Children

School closures and social distancing have put everyone on edge, and parents have the added stress of having kids home all day. Parents who have a child with a disability, whether it’s a physical, communication or learning disability, or ADHD, are under even higher levels of stress to keep their kids on schedule, completing schoolwork, and not climbing the walls from boredom.

Here are some simple survival tips and tricks to help you navigate until schools reopen.

  1. Keep a schedule – Kids are used to a set schedule when they are in school, so it’s crucial they continue to have consistency and predictability at home. Write the daily plan on paper, a whiteboard, poster board – whatever you have available. Most importantly, let your kids participate in the scheduling making and stick to it.
  2. Set a timer – Keep kids on-task and focused with a timer. The timer will allow them to visually or auditorily track how much time they need to attend to an activity. You can use a timer for fun or free time activities as well as academics.
  3. Make time for Fun – Make sure the kids have plenty of time to be kids with playtime. It should include both indoor and outdoor play to get needed fresh air (which is also useful for improving focus). Free time does not imply device-time. Let kids be kids with creative play. Keep the empty toilet and paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, etc. and get out the crayons, markers, construction paper, and glue or tape.
  4. Limit Device Use – We all love our devices, TV shows, and games, but make sure you include this in your daily schedule. Let them play their digital games and watch TV but put it on the schedule and use a timer to help limit their use. Encourage use of educational apps and games. Many educational companies are offering free access (Bamboo Learning, All Kids Network, Arcademics, Ascend Math, BrainPOP, Discovery K-12). Check out a list of free online resources here.
  5. Get Creative – If your kids love their TV and games, let them have them but assign a report to practice their writing. Create comic books, act out favorite scenes from books or movies, go on virtual field trips, and dance parties.

Looking for some more great tips for adjusting to at home learning opportunities? Check out the article below:

7 Guiding Principles for Parents Teaching From Home

Understanding the “why” behind teaching practices can help parents create meaningful and effective at-home learning opportunities during the pandemic.

By Laura Lee

April 3, 2020



Check out this article from for more information on:
School Refusal: What It Means When Kids Won’t Do Schoolwork  By Amanda Morin
You will learn information on:
*Complaining, Avoiding, and Refusing: What’s the Difference?
*How Can You Tell If School Refusal Is Temporary?
*What to Do If Your Child Is Refusing School