Programs & Services
The Student Services Department serves students with special needs and consists of a director and assistant director, secretaries, para-professionals and certified staff members including Special Education Teachers, Speech/Language Pathologists, School Psychologists and Counselors, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists.
When recommended by the Planning and Placement Team, special education instruction and related services are provided to students, at all grade levels, by certified and/or licensed professional staff members. Programs for special-need students are designed to encourage participation in the regular school program whenever possible.
Special Education Resource
The Special Education Resource Program is designed to provide academic support to students in grades K-12 who have special education needs. Due to identified learning disabilities, emotional needs, or other identified disabilities, these students require support in one or more academic area in order to be successful in the regular classroom. In addition to academic support, students learn about their individual strengths and weaknesses in the learning process. Support from the Special Education Resource Teacher can be provided in a number of ways. The traditional "pull-out" system is used when deemed appropriate for one-to-one or small group instruction of specific skills. This can also be provided within the regular classroom as part of the student’s regular class work. An additional option for providing support to identified students is team teaching between the Regular Classroom Teacher and the Special Education Resource Teacher. In this manner, the teachers are able to plan lessons together and make adjustments to the presentation of material and/or assignments and tests as necessary for specific learning styles. All of these options are referred to as direct service options.
Another very important aspect of the Special Education Resource Program is consultation. Whichever mode of direct service is chosen for an individual student, the consultation between the Regular Classroom Teacher and the Special Education Resource Teacher is crucial to that student’s ultimate success. It is important to note that depending on the individual student’s needs, the options described above may be delivered in any variety of combinations.
Learning Center I
LC I classes are designed to provide programs for moderately, severely, and profoundly intellectually disabled and/or multi-disabled students. These students are provided functional academic education, communication, self-help, social, emotional, fine & gross motor, and pre-vocational/vocational programs to help them develop their skills in all of these areas.
Students are included in regular homeroom activities and other regular classes as deemed appropriate for the individual student by the PPT.
When a child's health condition causes absence from school for three weeks or more, homebound instruction may be provided. Parents will be expected to provide appropriate documentation, on a form provided by the school district, from the child's physician, indicating that the child is unable to attend school for medical reasons, and confirming that the physician has consulted with the school district. If the requirements for homebound instruction are met, a tutor is then assigned and a schedule determined. An adult must be present in the home at all times the tutor is working with the child. Homebound instruction may also be recommended through the PPT (Planning and Placement Team) process. If the PPT determines homebound instruction is necessary and appropriate for a student with a disability, the IEP (Individual Education Program) will be revised accordingly. In these cases, homebound instruction is typically used as a short-term, interim placement while other appropriate program options are investigated, however decisions regarding the appropriateness of any placement for students requiring special education must be made on an individualized basis through the PPT process.
Students demonstrating a communication disorder which adversely affects his or her educational performance are provided service in either individual and/or small group settings. The Speech and Language Pathologist in each building works closely with classroom teachers and other staff involved with the student in an effort to facilitate communication skills and promote academic success.
Psychological & Counseling Services
Every school in the Region has both a School Psychologist and at least one Guidance Counselor who are active members of the PPT. Individual and/or group counseling is provided by them based on the individual student's needs. School Psychologists are also instrumental in the evaluation and diagnosis of students with disabilities. These staff members also work as the liaison between the school and other community agencies working with the students and their families.
The Learning Center Program is designed for those students with identified disabilities who require considerably more than support help in order to be successful in their school programs. Students receive direct instruction in as many academic areas as deemed necessary by the PPT, based on the individual student's needs.
It is not unusual for a student to receive reading and math instruction in the Learning Center, but with modifications, be able to work in the regular classroom for Science and Social Studies. Students are assigned to a regular class homeroom, and attend Unified Arts classes (i.e. Music, Art, Physical Education, etc.), lunch, and recess with their regular class peers. The goal of the Learning Center Program is to provide an intensive academic program and transition students back into the regular classroom as soon as they indicate they will be able to do so successfully. The Learning Center Program, as described above, is available to students in at all grade levels.
The Alternative Education Program is a specialized high school program designed to offer selected students recommended by Pomperaug High School (PHS) Planning and Placement Team (PPT) an optimal learning environment off campus, to facilitate their academic progress, social-emotional growth and development and assist them in meeting the requirements for graduation from PHS.
It is also designed to enable them to develop the maturity, self-confidence, independence, sense of responsibility and social skills necessary to successfully make the transition from adolescence to young adulthood.
A Pre-Primary Learning Center is available for students from 3-6 years of age. These students have developmental delays (intellectual, physical, social, emotional, or language) which will significantly impair their progress and adjustment in school when they enter Kindergarten. The children are given special instruction in order to develop their cognitive, perceptual, speech and language skills, as well as their self-help, social skills, and fine/gross motor coordination.
Occupational & Physical Therapy
Some disabled students require physical and/or occupational therapy services to enable them to benefit from their special education program. These therapies are provided by fully-trained and licensed physical and/or occupational therapists. A prescription specifically written for each student must be approved by the student's attending physician before these services can be provided.
The Health Offices in Region 15 are supervised by Registered Nurses who are the primary health care providers in the schools. The school nurse provides care for the student with emergency injuries and illnesses. If further care is required, the student is sent home and/or referred to their personal physicians. The school nurse also provides nursing care for students with special health care needs while at school, conducts state-mandated health screenings, monitors and provides appropriate nursing interventions for communicable diseases and maintains health information on all students in the school.
The role of the nurse is to be an advocate for the student to attain and maintain an optimal level of wellness. The school nurse utilizes the resources of the educational, medical and town communities to collaborate with the student and his/her family allowing the student to achieve his/her own personal growth and educational potential.
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