Table of Contents

Introduction

Integrated Specialized Services Program – Sprague

Language-Based Program – Schofield

Learning Center – All Schools

Skills Program – Upham

Therapeutic Learning Center – Hunnewell


Introduction

The Wellesley Public School District provides a continuum of services to support students with special education needs.  Services include academic supports ranging from general education inclusion support, small group instruction within a learning center, and substantially separate classrooms. In addition to specialized academic instruction are related services including, but not limited to speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social/emotional and behavioral, and counseling services. The level of services is determined through the formal Team process and developed with the family, special educators and general educators based on current, relevant and valid assessments. Level of service delivery is based on the impact of the individual student’s ability to access the curriculum and necessary supports to aid the student in meeting their annual goals.

All WPS special education staff are highly qualified teachers with advanced degrees/training in their field of expertise. Special Education teaching staff are assisted in supporting students by specially trained paraprofessionals and teaching assistants. Related service providers are also an integral support for students with special needs.

Special Education programming is developmentally appropriate and aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Standards and Common Core. Services are provided in small group and individual sessions and are driven by the IEP goals and benchmarks. Opportunities for children to develop friendships, while fostering an understanding of acceptance of differences is at the core of our work. We emphasize the development of increased independence and self-advocacy.

Assessment:
Instruction is guided by data collection, progress monitoring and consultation. Data is gathered through both formal and informal assessments which may include daily data collection, portfolios, reading inventories, observations, formal standardized testing, and other student specific measures designed to closely monitor progress.

Communication and Collaboration:
On-going communication and collaboration is critical to the success of individual student programming.  School staff members have on-going communication and collaboration with the special education team, with a scheduled consultation time weekly. Related Service Providers are integral members of the consultative team.  General education teachers are members of this collaborative, consultative model.

In addition to communication between school Team members, communication and collaboration with families is critical and highly valued. Families are encouraged to be productive and constructive members of the Team, providing information and suggestions.


Integrated Specialized Services Program
Sprague Elementary School

Program Description:
The Integrated Specialized Services (ISS) program is designed to meet the needs of students with global disabilities, inclusive of intellectual impairment.  Students in this program require services that address more than one of the following areas:

  • Learning – academic delays/deficits and functional life skills
  • Communication – receptive and/or expressive
  • Pragmatics – using social language
  • Motor – fine and/or gross
  • Sensory – vision and /or hearing
  • Health/Wellness –
  • Nonverbal – integrating information, visual/spatial perception, and organization

Design:
The ISS program provides individually designed instruction and specialized therapies in a substantially separate setting. The program supports inclusion at appropriate times for individual student success, while providing opportunities for more specialized instruction focused on the development of functional academics, life skills and social pragmatics. Often students participate in co-treatments, integrating skills across domains.

Entrance Criteria:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments demonstrate significant weaknesses that relate to intellectual impairment, communication disorder, or multiple disabilities
  • The student demonstrates the requirement of a smaller setting to learn skills in a highly structured manner
  • The child requires specialized support to acquire academic subject matter
  • The student’s Team determine that the child is in need of this program

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Lead Special Education Teacher with background in working with students with severe special education needs
  • Teacher Assistants who work under the direction of the lead teacher
  • Program specific Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Health Care professional, as necessary
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired
  • Orientation and Mobility Specialist
  • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA)

Language-Based Program
Schofield Elementary School

Program Description:
The Language-Based Classroom is structured to support students who present with  language-based skills significantly below average for their age and cognition. These students struggle with meeting their potential in more than one of the following skill areas:

  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Auditory processing
  • Reading skills (inclusive of decoding/encoding, fluency and comprehension)
  • Written language
  • Math (accessing math concepts with overlay of language; not computation)

The core methodology of the program is based on direct, systematic, multisensory, structured language teaching approach with instruction focused on the attainment of decoding/encoding, oral reading fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension skills and writing skills. Listening, understanding, and remembering both oral and written language are key objectives of the program.

Instruction also focuses on the development of executive functioning skills; integrating information, visual/spatial perception, and organization. The Speech and Language Therapist also supports students with developing appropriate social language to support peer relations.

Design:
Literacy and math instruction are provided in small group or individual settings.  Students are included in the general education settings of science, social studies, all specials, and other school community activities and, as needed, are accompanied by program staff to provide continuity of instructional approaches.

Entrance Criteria:

  • The student displays a significant delay in literacy and/or language arts skills.
  • This program is designed to meet the needs of students with average to above average cognitive learning potential.
  • The child requires specialized support to acquire academic subject matter.
  • Current valid and reliable assessments for speech and language, psychological assessment, medical and development history must show evidence of a language-based disorder.
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of a specialized language based program.
  • This program is not staffed to support students who present with behavioral challenges.

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Lead Special Education Teacher trained in specialized reading instruction methods
  • Teacher assistants who work under the direction of the lead teacher
  • Speech and Language Therapist with specialized reading instruction training, who provides direct and consultative services

Learning Center
Program Description:

Learning Centers are available in all elementary schools.  The Learning Centers are designed to provide a range of services to students with varied mild to moderate disabilities.  Learning Centers focus on assisting students in meeting the curricular demands of each grade.  Students in the Learning Center will receive direct instruction in academic areas as well as support with classroom accommodations and modifications. In addition, specific services include but are not limited to direct instruction in reading, mathematics and written language. Services can be delivered in the Learning Center setting or in the general education setting as determined by the Team based on student needs.

Design:
Students are included in the general education setting with special education supports available as needed, either in a small group setting or in the general education classroom. Students participate in all specials and other school community activities.  Small group instruction and individualized instruction are used to assist students in achieving individual student IEP goals.  Learning Center special education teachers consult to general education staff members. Learning Center teachers also assist in the development and implementation of appropriate modifications and accommodations.  Learning Centers provide services to students who require specialized instruction, additional support, and scaffolding to enable them to access the general curriculum.

Entrance Criteria:

  • The student meets one or more of the disability categories as determined by the Team and IEP Team process.
  • Current valid and reliable assessments for psychological assessment, formal and informal academic assessments, other area of assessments as needed; medical and development history must show evidence of a disability.
  • The child requires specialized instruction to acquire academic subject matter.
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of a specialized designed instruction.

Learning Center Staff:

  • Lead Special Education Teacher
  • Teacher assistants who work under the direction of the special educator
  • Related service providers are part of the Team as proposed through Individual Educational Plans; related service providers may provide direct and/or consultative services

Skills Program
Upham Elementary School

Program Description:
The Skills Program provides a highly individualized and modified curriculum for students with low incidence disabilities associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Students within the Skills Program struggle with meeting their potential in the multiple of the following skill areas given the complexity of their disability:

  • Verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Social interaction skills and proficiencies
  • Unusual responses to sensory experiences
  • Resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines
  • Engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements
  • Behavioral difficulties resulting from autism spectrum disorder
  • Progress in the general curriculum, including social and emotional development

Design:
Instruction is provided in small group or individual setting and focuses on skill development in functional academics, social pragmatics, daily living, and health/wellness.  Each student’s program is individually designed and may include learning opportunities within the general education settings for academic and/or social building activities. The Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are utilized to develop and address skills across all domains.

Entrance Criteria:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments which identify an Autism Spectrum Disorder presenting with characteristics that limit access to appropriate language, social relationships, academic skills, and life skills
  • The student demonstrates features of autism that require a smaller setting to learn skills in a discrete manner
  • The child requires specialized support to acquire academic subject matter
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of this specialized Autism program

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Lead Special Education Teachers with extensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Program specific Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Paraprofessionals with experience in ABA who work under the direction of the lead teacher

Therapeutic Learning Center
Hunnewell Elementary School

Program Description:
The Therapeutic Learning Center (“TLC”) program is an academic and therapeutic program for students who have difficulty with social problem solving, inadequate conflict resolution skills, ongoing inability to maintain safety with self/others, and/or are behaviorally or emotionally dysregulated and have significant difficulty accessing the general education classroom.

These students struggle with meeting their potential in one or more of the following skill areas:

  • Development of age-appropriate social relationships with adults and/or peers
  • Self-regulation of behavioral responses to typical school demands
  • Ability to appropriately make transitions from one activity to another
  • Ability to handle frustration in an age-appropriate manner
  • Ability to fully access curriculum and instruction due to emotional/social/behavioral challenges; possible academic skill deficits

Design:
The TLC provides a highly structured therapeutic setting which provides clear and consistent expectations and routines. Students in the program participate in Positive Behavioral Intervention Plans (PBIP) that are individually designed and supported by a program Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). To support the growth of social skills and emotional functioning, evidence based practices and interventions (e.g. cognitive behavior therapy, self-monitoring, coping skills, social skills instruction) are explicitly taught, modeled, practiced and incorporated into the daily routines. There are also built in opportunities for social engagement and to practice skills with staff support and facilitation.

The TLC program provides students with opportunities for inclusion. Each student’s participation in general education classes is determined by the student’s Team and is monitored by ongoing data collection. Student progress is monitored carefully to ensure successful experiences in general education classes. Staff from the program accompany each student in the general education settings to provide consistent, proactive support as needed.

Entrance Criteria:

  • Current valid and reliable assessments which identifies social/emotional/behavioral functioning significantly lower than age and grade level peers that limits access to academic skills, social relationships, self regulation, and social functioning.
  • The student demonstrates maladaptive types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances.
  • The child requires specialized support to acquire academic subject matter.
  • The student’s Team determines that the child is in need of this specialized therapeutic program.

Specialized Program Staff:

  • Lead Special Education Teachers trained in supporting a therapeutic milieu and crisis intervention
  • Teacher Assistants who work under the direction of the lead teacher
  • Program specific Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA);individual behavior programs focused on positive reinforcement of desired behaviors and responses
  • Program specific Psychologist; individual and group counseling, on-going program consultation, collaboration with outside providers, and family consultation
  • Crisis Interventionist; primary focus on behavior regulation and de-escalation, in-the-moment therapeutic support and returning students in a regulated state to the learning environment
  • All staff are trained in Safety Care, a comprehensive program to effectively prevent, minimize and manage behavioral challenges

Updated January 2018
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