||Welcome to Special Education
Welcome to a new school year! We are committed to our students and families in Westmoreland. If you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact me or any staff member listed below. Have a great school year!
-Mary Anne O'Connell
Parenting Tip of the Week:
When we are patient, we are calm. Calm is a very effective influence we can bring to any type of circumstance we may encounter. When we are calm, our thinking is clear and we tend to take appropriate steps to a resolution. Panic and fear create chaotic thinking and ineffective action. Patience andcalm create clear thinking and effective action. A calm approach to a situation will improve the atmosphere surrounding us and lead us to a calm resolution.
Teaching tolerance to our children is more than just a good idea; it is important and necessary. From an early age, children need to learn how to accept people and opinions that may be different than their own. An effective way to teach tolerance is to model constructive behaviors thatdemonstrate and reinforce acceptance and respect of other people and their opinions.
Special Education Staff
Mary Anne O'Connell - Elementary Principal/Coordinator of Special Education
Sue Hickox - Confidential Secretary
David Hoffman - School Psychologist K-12
Kathleen Eisele - School Social Worker K-12
Rebecca Burrows - Speech/Language Therapist K-12
Special Education Teachers
Kathy Plows - K, 1st & 2nd Grade
Melissa Morris - 3rd & 4th Grade
Karen Nolan - 7th & 8th Grade
Judith Sieperman - 5th & 6th Grade
Marcy Thompson - 9th & 10th Grade
Tom Jennings - 11th & 12th Grade
Committee on Special Education (CSE)
Each Board of Education in the State of New York must appoint a Committee on Special Education in the district. The district must locate and identify all children from birth to age 21 who reside in the district. The purpose of the Committee on Special Education is to determine whether a child has a disability that impairs or affects his/her learning. The CSE determines the particular needs of the child with disabilities and recommends the appropriate educational program and/or services to meet each student's individual needs. The CSE is an interdisciplinary team composed of district staff and other required members. If you wish to refer a student, please notify his/her teacher and/or principal. Academic Intervention Services are the first step in this process.
Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
Academic Intervention Services are services designed to help students achieve the state learning standards. New York State requires school districts to provide academic intervention services to students who score below the State designated performance level and/or who are at risk of not achieving the State learning standards.
Academic intervention services must be provided to students with disabilities on the same basis as non-disabled students. AIS services are provided in addition to, and must not supplant special education services, and should not be indicated on the individualized educational plan (IEP). Student’s needs for AIS are determined by a multitude of factors. The building Child Study Team meets to discuss a child’s needs and plan services. Parents can contact the building principal to inquire about specific services offered.
Response To Intervention (RTI)
Response to Intervention represents an important educational strategy to close achievement gaps for all students, including students at risk, students with disabilities and English language learners, by preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps. It has also been shown to lead to more appropriate identification of and interventions with students with learning disabilities. Each day educators make important decisions about students' educational programs, including decisions as to whether a student who is struggling to meet the standards set for all children might need changes in the nature of early intervention and instruction or might have a learning disability. This decision as to whether a student has a learning disability must be based on extensive and accurate information that leads to the determination that the student's learning difficulties are not the result of the instructional program or approach. Response to Intervention is an effective and instructionally relevant process to inform these decisions
Elementary School Procedures for using the Response to Intervention Model:
Appropriate instruction is delivered to all students in the general education class by qualified personnel. Appropriate instruction in reading means scientific research-based reading programs that include explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency (including oral reading skills) and reading comprehension strategies.
Screening tools (ie DIBELS: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) are administered to all students in the class to identify those students who are not making academic progress at expected rates.
Instruction is matched to student need with increasingly intensive levels of targeted intervention and instruction for students who do not make satisfactory progress in their levels of performance and/or in their rate of learning to meet age or grade level standards.
Repeated assessments of student achievement are administered which include curriculum based measures to determine if interventions are resulting in student progress toward age or grade level standards.The information about the student’s response to intervention us used to make educational decisions about changes in goals, instruction and/or services and the decision to make a referral for special education programs and/or services.
Written notification to the parents when the student requires an intervention beyond that provided to all students in the general education classroom that provides information about the:
amount and nature of student performance data that will be collected and the general education services that will be provided;
strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning; and
parents’ right to request an evaluation for special education programs and/or services.
An evaluation helps to determine if special education services or programs are needed. An evaluation includes various tests and assessments to determine what your child’s learning difficulties may be. An initial evaluation must include:
• A physical examination
• A psychological evaluation
• A social history
• Observation of your child in his or her current education setting
• Other tests or assessments that are appropriate for your child (such as speech and language assessment or a functional behavioral assessment)
• Vocational assessments (required at age 14)
Special Education Programs/Services
Consultant Teacher services:
Students requiring Consultant Teacher services Special education teachers may provide consultant teacher services to students with disabilities who are enrolled in regular education classes. Direct or indirect services may be provided depending upon the needs of the child, for a minimum of two hours per week. The student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) will outline the specific needs to be addressed.
Resource Room Teacher services:
Students who are classified by CSE may receive resource room services. Resource room programs shall be used to supplement classroom instruction of students with disabilities. Each student with a disability receiving services shall receive three hours of instruction per week or more. Instructional groups in a resource room program shall not exceed five students per teacher and be clustered based on similarity of individual needs. Students may be grouped based on the levels of academic or educational achievement and learning characteristics, levels of social or physical development, or management needs of the students. The Westmoreland Central School District Resource Room teachers address the student's needs as per their IEP goals. They also practice strategies to promote student learning such as pre-teaching vocabulary and concepts, scaffolding knowledge, using graphic organizer and other effective learning strategies. The resource room teacher services are designed to focus on the student's disability and are not a tutoring session. The resource room teacher can also consult with the general education teachers to assist with program modifications within the classroom for the student.
Related Services are provided to students with disabilities throughout the district. A student may receive speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing services, and counseling. The frequency, duration, and location of the services are specified in the Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Students may receive any combination of the above services based on qualifying for the service. Speech and language services are provided for a minimum of two thirty minute sessions each week. Other related services are provided based on need.
Special Class 15:1
A 15:1 special class is a special education class that has a maximum of 15 students, with one certified special education teacher. A student who requires a 15:1 class would need a more restrictive setting than a resource room student. The student in need of a special class would need a small class structure and a consistent environment designed to meet their needs. The special class teacher utilizes a prioritized curriculum to teach the general education curriculum. Any modifications would be noted on the child's IEP. The 15:1 class may be provided to the student for particular subjects or for the majority of the school day. This class serves all types of disabilities. In addition to the special class, the students often receive related services as per their IEP.
Special Class 12:1:1
A 12:1:1 special class is a special education class that has a maximum of 12 students, with one certified special education teacher and one teaching assistant. The students that are recommended for this class would need a more individualized program in a more restrictive classroom. The Westmoreland Central School District currently contracts with Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES for our students that need a 12:1:1 classroom. These classes are school based and are located in school districts throughout our BOCES region.
Special Class 8:1:1
An 8:1:1 class is a special education class that has a maximum of 8 students with one certified special education teacher and one teaching assistant. The students that are recommended for this class usually have the need for a more structred environment with a focus on behavior management. The Westmoreland Central School District currently contract with Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES for our students that need an 8:1:1 classroom. These classes may be school or center based depending on the needs of the student.
Student Services Update: We've been talking to students in school about the dangers of "sexting"-sending nude pictures or messages via cell phones. The following guidance was given to students in freshman seminar.
Cell phone safety tips
Reposted from ConnectSafely.org
Mobile safety in general. Just as in chat rooms and social sites, kids need to think about who they text and talk with. They should never text/talk about sex with strangers. Phones should only be used to communicate with people they know in the real world.
Bullying by phone. Since young people’s social lives increasingly fold in cell phones as well as the Web, cyberbullying and harassment have gone mobile too. Talk with your kids about how the same manners and ethics you’ve always taught them apply on phones and the Web as in “real life.”
Mobile social networking. Many social sites have a feature that allows users to check their profiles and post comments from their phones. That means some teens can do social networking literally anywhere, in which case any filter you may have installed on a home computer does nothing to block social networking. Talk with your teens about where they’re accessing their profiles or blogs from and whether they’re using the same good sense about how they’re social networking on their phones.
Social mapping. More and more cell phones have GPS technology installed, which means teens who have these phones can pinpoint their friends’ physical location – or be pinpointed by their friends. Talk with your kids about using such technology and advise them to use it only with friends they know in person.
Media-sharing by phone. Most mobile phones we use today have cameras, some videocams – and teens love to share media with friends on all types of mobile devices. There is both a personal-reputation and -safety aspect to this. Talk with your teens about never letting other people photograph or film them in embarrassing or inappropriate situations (and vice versa). They need to understand their own and others’ privacy rights in sharing photos and videos via cell phones.
‘Smart phones.’ We’ve already been over many smart- or 3G-phone features above, but remember they usually include the Web. That means more and more people can access all that the Web offers, appropriate or not, on their phones as well as computers. Mobile carriers are beginning to offer filtering for the content available on their services, but they have no control over what’s on the Web. Parents of younger kids might want to consider turning off Web access and turning on filtering if they’re concerned about access to adult content.
Text messaging costs. On some mobile services, a single text message can cost 15 cents to send and a couple of cents to receive. Check to see if your carrier has flat-rate texting that can be included in your child’s or family’s service plan; otherwise your teens could be using up their entire college fund.
© 2008 ConnectSafely.org
NEED HELP DOWNLOADING:
||pdf file: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or higher) to view this file. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC or Macintosh.
||doc file: You need the Microsoft Word program, a free Microsoft Word viewer, or a program that can import Word files in order to view this file. To learn more about the free Microsoft Word Viewer, visit the Microsoft Word website.