Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Teachers Excelling at Latham Centers

Meghan Pouliot (left) with Kara McDowell (Pictured Right) Meghan with two Latham students.

Two months ago, I had the pleasure of nominating one of our employees for the “2015 Excellence in Teaching Award” hosted and awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools (maaps). In contemplating which teacher I would nominate amongst our vastly talented teachers, Meghan stood out for many reasons. The award was given to another deserving candidate, however, Meghan deserves extreme recognition for her  contributions and dedication to Latham Centers.

Meghan has taught in one of our older classrooms, “Nauset”, for two and half years, and has expanded her career in many aspects. Meghan is enrolled in her masters and continues to volunteer outside of Latham. She ran the Falmouth Road Race in Latham’s honor this past year and raised significant funds for the work we do here at Latham. She created and instructs our, “Lights Camera Action” club which uses digital media to create the announcements that are played in all of our classrooms each morning. Meghan expanded her mastery of this by creating more differentiated forms of media and is teaching the students how to use each one. Meghan also creates a yearbook each year for the students and staff. She utilizes different electronic cameras to take pictures of staff and students, and utilizes a program on the computer to put together a yearbook. Meghan is also proficient in her use of the iPad and Promethean Board in her classroom. Her expertise in many modes of technology is one to be admired. She is consistently finding new resources to utilize in her curriculum and integrates the vast and expanding world of technology in her classroom.
One of the most outstanding contributions Meghan has made here at Latham is her integration of a class entitled “Nauset Circle”. Meghan has created a time block in her classroom schedule dedicated to students learning how to communicate with one another on a variety of topics. Meghan has created a curriculum that encompasses the need for positive, effective communication amongst both staff and peers. Upon viewing this class, one sees that all students are active participants; raising hands, speaking clearly and softly, and engaged. Meghan ensures that all of her students’ voices are heard, and that all thoughts and feelings are shared. Meghan also has created a dynamic where voices are talked about; what one student brings up, the entire class has a discussion on. Meghan has instilled an amazing atmosphere in her classroom.

Meghan has also been an influential member of our team in that she goes above and beyond for her coworkers. She is the first to volunteer to stay late on a shift, come in early, or go the extra mile in any way. She is always willing to assist students in any area, including off-campus opportunities, sensory art integration, and vocational work. I cannot express the overwhelming gratitude we have for Meghan and her work. She is a honest, engaging, and hard-working coworker who is always striving to be a better version of herself. Her dedication to the educational team here at Latham and her dedication to her students is inspiring.

Submitted by Kara McDowell
Assistant Principal

Monday, March 2, 2015

What My School Means to Me

What My School Means to Me
By: Jeremy

Latham is the best. I like to do stuff on outings. My staff is nice. My class is fun. I have animals and I give them food. We have a fish and tadpole frogs. I also clean the tank and give medicine. Brewster Falls classroom is fun and the best. I play on the i-Pad. Candy Crush is my favorite and my class has a sensory room and two computers. I like my class, the students, and teachers, too. Students help me when I have a little issue. I have a job, I put up the flag. I love it!

Friday, February 27, 2015

TIP of the WEEK: We Are Rare

This weekend we celebrate International Rare Disease Day. One day of the year that the spotlight is on those that live with diseases so rare that, in some cases, very little is known about them. But what about the other 364 days of the year? Who is watching, learning, studying, worrying and loving those living with rare diseases? We are. The families, staff, and educators who commit and dedicate our lives to the rare and beautiful people in our lives.

So this Saturday don’t simply celebrate the people in your life living with a rare disease, celebrate yourselves and those equally rare people who support you and your child. Reach out to families who have less support or who are currently in crisis. Educate everyone every chance you get. Look back on the past year and rejoice in the successes, no matter how small, because every step forward is a huge achievement. The world celebrates rare diseases on Saturday 2/28 but for us every day is rare disease day and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Learning Life Skills at Latham

On February 12th, 2015 I attended a luncheon with Latham Centers’ Rock Harbor classroom students. The class wrote me an invitation which was sent in advance, greeted me when I arrived at the restaurant, and prepared many questions to ask me in order to carry conversation throughout lunch. They were all exceptionally well-mannered! You can read their great invitation below! 

January 21, 2015

Kara McDowell
1646 Main Street
Brewster, MA 02631

Dear Kara,
How is your new position going? We are very proud of you and are happy that you are our new Assistant Principal.
As you know, once a month we go on a restaurant outing where we practice our table manners. We would like you to be our guest. We will be going on the fifth of February at 11:30, and would like to know if this is feasible for you. Please let us know at your earliest convenience if this works for you. If it does not work for you, is there another Tuesday or Thursday that does?
The Rock Harbor Class

Thank you for the invite, Rock Harbor Class!

By Kara McDowell
Assistant Principal

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Circle of Courage at Latham Centers: Mastery

I believe that every member of the Latham community has a powerful contribution to make. Being good at what we do- having “Mastery” in our life- is a basic human need. When you consciously align with “Mastery”, when you step forward to make a contribution, and when you consciously strive to improve your skills, you obtain a high level of satisfaction with your life. 

Latham success increases when all members of the community are engaged and contributing. The specifics of these contributions are not as important as the need to be engaged and to feel responsible for the welfare of this community. For our employees, “Mastery” may focus on honing their professional skills while community supporters may contribute by spreading the message of what we are doing to other people. Students and adult residents can lead by example and be accountable for positive peer to peer interactions. Fostering this skill in your personal life leads to marvelous outcomes.

The world needs more people who feel fulfilled and competent in life.  “Mastery” is important in our individual lives as well as our collective future.

CHALLENGE: Pick one of the activities below and commit to your own personal Mastery.

1. Think of something that you are naturally good at. Find one simple and new way to contribute those skills in an easily achievable project. Spending more time doing things that come easy to you and that you enjoy results in more fulfillment and joy. It’s a double bonus if your project benefits another person.

2. Look to either side of you. Find a way to make the life of the people around you better in a small way without looking for anything in return. 

3. Do something for Latham today that contributes to our Mission. Whether big or small, how can you contribute your spirit to our important work? Whether it is volunteering time, telling a friend about our organization or providing a donation of your skills- get involved with the community by giving of yourself. It will benefit all of us and will leave you feeling you fulfilled.

By Tim Vaughan
Director of Leadership & Growth

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life with PWS from a Student's Perspective

The below autobiography was composed by a student at Latham Centers as the first to a series about her life. Her positive take on Prader-Willi Syndrome and her willingness to discuss her journey are truly admirable.

“Hi, my name is Bess. I live with a wonderful disability. I am not your average 19-year-old girl. I have PWS which stands for Prader-Willi Syndrome. It affects the 15th chromosome at birth . But because I have PWS, it affects some minor delays when you are growing and old[er]. [People with PWS have] a low body tone, and small hands and feet, and [problems with certain] behaviors.

But I am a strong young girl who lives with PWS. I couldn’t have done it without [first] going to Pittsburg and then getting the help I need[ed]. I weighed 213 pounds, and that was when I was borderline diabetic. That scared me. Then I took the weight off after I was there 2 months. I worked really hard in the setting to take the weight off. Using the Red, Yellow, Green Diet helped me stay healthy and the 60 minutes of exercises was hard, but it was fun to see myself lose weight.”

Bess now resides at Latham Centers and is a leader amongst her peers. She has carried over lessons learned in her previous placement to Latham Centers, where she accepts challenges and flourishes with PWS.

Katrina Fryklund, MSPC
Development Coordinator

Monday, February 23, 2015

Restaurant Night Success!

As students shuffle into the Campus Dining Room eagerly anticipating Restaurant Night 2015 the excitement in the air is palpable. Annually students are invited by kitchen staff, school staff and residential staff to attend this favorite night. Senior administrators, clinicians, and supervisors act as the wait staff and a healthy, three course meal is delivered to the students in two separate sittings. This is an opportunity for students to be pampered so close to Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate positive relationships, mutual support and tasty food! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

TIP of the WEEK: Keeping your Cool

It is crucial that we keep our cool during an incident- remain calm, keep distractions down, use a calming tone of voice. It is equally as important, however, to remember these tips after an incident has occurred:

1. Don't judge. Even if the trigger seems trivial to you, something caused your child to become extremely upset. Whether or not you think it warranted a strong reaction is not important. 

2. Remain calm. Your adrenaline is high, you are upset and if the incident was in public you are embarrassed and angry. Don't let those emotions get in the way of the final goal of keeping your child calm and teaching the appropriate tools for preventing this in the future. 

3. Teach. After the incident and recovery time, talk about what happened gently and calmly. What was he or she upset by? What can be done differently in the future?

4. Take time for yourself. You need some recovery time as much as your child does. Take it.

No one wants to see their child melt down but this will inevitably happen. Do what you can to prevent it but know that sometimes even the best plans are not going to prevent a loss of control caused by any number of possible triggers. Allow yourself the time that both you and your child need post incident to regroup and learn from the experience.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Latham Players Present: A New Community Center in Brewster

On February 7th, the Latham Players, the Latham Centers Adult Theater Troupe, gathered at the Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis. The Players, their family members, staff, directors, and videographers gathered together on Saturday morning to film this lighthearted and inspirational video entitled “Latham Players Present: A new Community Center in Brewster.” The video emphasizes the need for a new rehearsal space for the Latham Players at the highly anticipated future Latham Community Center. Click HERE to watch video.

In the video adult residents are interviewed and share their love for singing, dancing, and acting. They were hopeful and enthusiastic about the prospect for a new center where they could rehearse and stage productions. Latham staff were also interviewed and shared their perspectives about their work “[Latham is] a wonderful mixture of professionalism and family. We love our job,” and “the players enjoy performing so much, and look forward to the [Latham Players] rehearsals and appearances.”

Finally, parents were interviewed who explained how critical Latham Centers has been to their son’s success. They continued to explain that the Community Center will be, “great for Latham students, Latham adults and the community. It’s a win-win.

The new rehearsal space will be located at 1439 Rt. 6a in Brewster, just a quarter mile from the Latham School Campus. The auditorium will be housed in the new Latham Community Center, which will provide opportunities for the general community, but most importantly serve as a learning and training space for Latham Centers’ students, adult residents, and staff. Highlights of this new property include technology, art, woodworking, vocational training and physical education spaces, as well at the auditorium and stage for the Latham Players.

To help fund the Latham Community Center, please click HERE.

Submitted by: 
Katrina Fryklund

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What My School Means to Me

What My School Means to Me
By: Alyssa

I love school. I think it's fun. I also like to read. My favorite book is Charlotte's Web. I also love Math. I think it's awesome. My teacher is awesome too. They are always supporting me. I am thankful that I have awesome staff that cares for me. I also thank Amie for helping me and to help me achieve. When I get out of Latham I am going to college to be a teacher just like Amie. I also have good staff and friends to be there for me in hard times. I want to thank everybody for all their help and kindness.