Special Services Department / Forum on Special Education – July 30, 2018

Special Services Department Forum on Special Education Special Invitation

Next Session – Tuesday September 4th, 2018.  7:00pm  CHS Auditorium


Handouts from Dr. Morana to be posted once they are made available.  These notes are not comprehensive, but rather consist mostly of supplemental information to what was in Dr. Morana’s handouts, some of which became discussion points as a result of parent questions. If you were unable to attend the presentation on Monday, 7/30, we urge you to attend the presentation on Tuesday, 9/4 7-8:30 in the CHS auditorium.

  • Introductions of Special Education Staff
    • Renee Joyce and Karen Thomany are currently sharing the role of Supervisor of Special Education; haven’t yet determined who will cover which grade levels
  • Discussion of the paradigm shift that needs to take place in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness
    • Special education staff will regularly be meeting with content area supervisors to keep special education concerns at the forefront of all departments
    • Discussed codes that we must comply with
    • Easy IEP will be used to track more information, such as the name of the
    • program students will be placed in
      • Previously there were 3 pages of available options
      • Will be narrowed down for consistency of programmatic options across the district
  • Much discussion of referral data from 2017-2018 – key points:
    • High number of students referred by parents vs. schools
    • High percentage of students evaluated by CST found to be ineligible for special education
      • Dr. Morana met with a number of educators and administrators from across the district for 40 hours in total to redesign the Intervention and Referral Service (I&RS) process
      • New System will be implemented across the district in September
        • 504 Plans and Action Plans that come out of I&RS will have specific protocols to be measured at a set time interval (typically 6-8 weeks)
        • There will be a follow up process to determine if support is working and it should continue, if it’s not working and other strategies should be tried, or refer to CST
        • Monitoring 504 Plans – each building will have a 504 coordinator, as well as monitoring by:
          • Pre-k to 2nd grade: Renee Joyce
          • 3rd to 5th grade: Karen Thomany
          • Middle school – Laura Morana
          • High School – Guidance department
  • Expanded PreK and 18-21 program
    • By year 2023 will have 400 children enrolled in free full day Pre-K (at Montrose and throughout the community)
    • Transition Coordinator job description will be changing and he’ll be developing a program for students ages 18-21 (to begin transition programming at age 14)
  • IEPs/ Programmatic Issues
    • Focusing on consistent modification and accommodation options
      • Testing accommodations and modifications must be implemented throughout the school year, not just during state testing
    • Working with the IEP software company so that goals must contain certain criteria (i.e. to be measurable, etc.) in order to be fully entered into the system
    • Setting Criteria for specific programs within special education, working to create a document with this information
    • Creating an assessment inventory to be accessible throughout the district
    • Will be utilizing multiple models of related service provider delivery (i.e. pull out/ push in)
    • Setting criteria for appropriate use of paras
  • ISTEP and ESS
    • ISTEP will have added academic support, so when students are pulled out for support, they will be able to make up the educational content. Not expanding number of students this year
    • ESS currently able to serve 27-30 students, able to keep students at Columbia who previously were bouncing from program to program and/ or unable to go to school.
      • Staff number will remain the same – maintaining links between guidance, social workers and will keep the students connected to building based support, so that they are more easily able to step down from the supports within the ESS program
  • email related to special education can be sent to speciale@somsd.k12.nj.us, a new monitored email address (proposed to be effective as of 8/1/18)


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