• 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




    Special Education Staff

    Mary Anne O'Connell - Elementary Principal/Coordinator of Special Education

    Sue Hickox - Confidential Secretary

    David Hoffmann - 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

    Brittany Bogan 3rd & 4th grade

    Melissa Morris - 5th Grade

    Karen Nolan - 6th Grade

    Ranae Waterman 7th & 8th 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: Curriculum-based measurements 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)