It has been said that 2020 was a challenging year.
Here at the Monarch School of New England,
we can also say we have much to be GRATEFUL for.
Please join us in seeing what has made up our world.
And why it all matters.

Yellow: Happiness, Spontaneity and HOPE


Monarch School of New England Nursing Team
Front Row, L to R:
Kayla, Amanda, Noa, Lisa and Destinee
Back Row, L to R:
Connie, Katelyn, Casey, Gary and Jenn

Throughout this time, our Monarch School of New England Nursing Team has worked tirelessly to keep students and staff safe.

It has been a Herculean effort - one that has paid off well. To these great people, we are Grateful and full of Hope as we move forward.


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is
gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

a poem by Mary Oliver -

"I Wish You More" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
& Tom Lichtenheld


Red: Passion, STRENGTH and Power

"We are stronger, gentler, more resilient, and more beautiful than any of us imagine." - Mark Nepo

Front Row, L to R: Max, Niall and Ryder
Back Row, L to R: Mary, Jenna, Amanda, Sherry, Ivy, Michelle, Paul


"It's been a good year"
Mary Sheehy, Special Education Teacher - Classroom 4

Strength and Courage

It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to share a friend's pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pain,
It takes courage to show it and deal with it.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to beloved.

It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

Author - Sylvia Kelly

Mark Bullard, AS, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Mark Bullard, AS, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Mark: "One factor that I feel has given us the ability to adapt to our ever changing COVID environment is how all staff members have become supportive, empathic listeners. We all share many of the same concerns, fears and apprehensions. Whenever a fellow staff member voiced their feelings of being overwhelmed, on any level, fellow staffers would stop whatever they were doing and really listened. We are experiencing the high demands that this pandemic has dumped in our laps - we have created an emotional bond that previously did not exist. We recognize that 'we are all in the same boat' and that we are there for one another."

Heather Murley, MS, BCBA, Behavioral Team

Heather Murley, MS, BCBA, Behavioral Team

Heather: "The definition of strength may be very different depending upon who we ask. Some may think of physical stamina and fortitude, while others may recall the ability to harness mental toughness and grit. I believe that true strength involves showing up, and simply trying with the best intentions when we know we may fail. It’s easy to show up when we have all of the answers, and are sure of success but being vulnerable enough to see something through when we understand that failure is possible is the truest strength."


Orange: Flexibility, Encouragement, Endurance

Denise Meagher, Special Education Teacher

I am a special education teacher in Classroom 1 at the Monarch School of New England High School & Vocational Center. My caseload consists of 8 students, ages 17-20, divided into two half day sessions, due to the onset of Covid19. This past year has been a challenging time for my students, staff and parents.   I have had to take on the daunting task of learning how to teach my students through remote learning on Zoom & Google Classroom. Despite all the challenges, we were surprisingly successful! In fact, most of my students have increased or maintained their academic skills as a result of our hard work and creativity.

So how did this happen? Looking back on this time, here are a few of my reflections:

1.     The biggest challenge during remote learning is getting my students to attend to academic tasks and to look at a computer screen for long periods of time.  I had to get creative using a variety of tools and lots of visuals so students knew where to look on the screen and where to focus when given choices for answering questions, etc.   For my students with CVI, I had to use a contrasting background and enlarge all materials being presented. I also had to figure out ways to motivate them. I created a joke box, used noise makers, offered reinforcing on-line games, made slide shows, and used cause & effect toys.  Visual schedules and visual timers were provided so students could predict when it was time to take a break or end a session.

2.      Working remotely is not for the faint of heart and required much preplanning and organization. In addition to training staff, I needed to train the person on the other end of the computer who was supporting my students, such as parents and/or caregivers. When we began, most parents were not aware of their child’s skill level and in order to be successful had to become more involved in their learning process.

3.     Having to work so closely with my student’s families, throughout these months, parents have increased their ability to work and support their child at home. Especially having to become proficient in the use of their child’s communication devices and how they communicate their needs & wants, which is a huge gift, both for them and for us.

4.     This past year has also brought about closer relationships with our students and their families, which again, is a great gift for us all.

I am proud of our achievements this year and are looking forward to what the next school year may bring.

First Row, L to R: Vy, Denise, Brittany, Lisa
Back Row, L to R: Maureen, Andy and Lynne

Adaptability and the Physical Therapy Team

Over this past year, we as a PT team have become quite good at being able to quickly respond to the needs of our students given the roller coaster ride of school attendance created by the pandemic.

So what does this mean?

Our team has worked both on and off-site providing creative PT interventions. Many parents of our students have also gotten creative with us in providing remote PT services (with only a few messes here and there).

Whether it’s a piece of medical equipment necessary for mobility or changing an exercise, we are experts at what we do. This past year has also brought us closer to our colleagues across all disciplines at our school, allowing us ALL to provide the highest level of care and compassion for our students and our staff.

Physical Therapy Team (L to R): Jason, Erica (kneeling), Jess and Corry

Physical Therapy Team (L to R): Jason, Erica (kneeling), Jess and Corry

This has been a challenging year but it has also been one of great growth for us.

Through all these ups / downs, we have shown how amazingly adaptable and resilient we can be to the changing situations in the world in which we live.

I’m proud of our MSNE family!

- Jason Smith, AS, Physical Therapy Assistant

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"Here Comes the Sun" - Music Teacher, Gary Leighton

"Here Comes the Sun"

"Here Comes the Sun"

When the pandemic began, Gary created music videos for our students, one of them being "Here Comes the Sun."

It is now May 2021 and Gary is playing to our students.

Note the loud applause at the end.

Diane Bessey, Executive Director



Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness.
It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”
- Amy Collette