The Superintendent formed the Advisory Committee on Special Education during the winter of 2010, under the leadership of Special Education Director Joyce Laundre, in order to answer the following questions:
- Are we providing appropriate services and how can we improve those services?
- What new programs or program improvements do we need to provide appropriate services?
- How can we improve student academic achievement in Special Education?
- What curriculum and instructional improvements do we need to provide appropriate interventions?
- How can we improve professional development for both special and general educators, including teachers and paraprofessionals?
- What efficiencies can we find to reduce special education costs while still providing appropriate and necessary services?
The work of the committee during its first year focused on services and enhancements to, or additions of, in-district special education programs. That work resulted in two new district special education programs, the Therapeutic Behavior Program and the pilot Language Services Program.
This year, a sub-committee chaired by School Committee member Laurie Burzlaff will be studying special education costs with a view to making recommendations that may help us in our efforts to achieve maximum efficiency at the same time that we provide appropriate services in our schools.