The DeCristofaro Learning Center
November 16th, 2023
Tours of the Dr. Rick DeCristofaro Learning Center
Public tours are beginning next week of the Dr. Rick DeCristofaro Learning Center. Interested parents have signed up using the google link below. Tours have been scheduled on the following dates: November 14, 21, 28 and December 5 and 12. If you are interested in scheduling a tour please use the following link: https://forms.gle/7FhYzrn2ZJzMr41p9
Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions about the DeCristofaro Learning Center
Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the RDLC?
The Dr. Rick DeCristofaro Learning Center Program for grades K-8 is designed for students who need significant support in communication, academics and social/emotional development. Our goal is to provide them with the support that they need in a small specialized classroom. The program will be primarily for students with Autism, although not all children with Autism will be recommended for this school. Inclusion opportunities will be available as deemed appropriate by the TEAM.
The Learning Center will also include 19 Pre-Kindergarten and CARES classrooms. The Pre-Kindergarten program will remain the same, just moved into a new state of the art building, with bathrooms in every class. After Pre-Kindergarten, CARES classrooms will be available in the RDLC as well as in other Quincy Public Schools. If a student is in the CARES program, the IEP Team may recommend continued placement at the RDLC, or in a CARES classroom at another Quincy Public School, with parent input being an important factor in the decision making process.
What is the optimum student teacher/paraprofessional classroom size ratio? Will new paraprofessionals be hired, and if so, how will they be screened and trained?
The optimum ratio is three to one. One staff member for every three students, unless otherwise specified in a child’s IEP. New paraprofessionals will be screened through the interview and hiring process. All paraprofessionals will be trained by our BCBA and training will be ongoing throughout the school year.
How will current in-district students be selected for attending the Learning Center?
Students selected to attend the Learning Center will be based on IEP Team recommendations. Parent input is a critical component of that process and parents always have the right to accept or reject the proposal.
Do parents have a say in their child being moved from their current Out-of-District school to the RDLC?
Yes. Students selected to attend the Learning Center will be based on IEP Team recommendations. Parent input is a critical component of that process and parents always have the right to accept or reject the proposal.
Will all out-of-district placements stop once the Center is open?
No, some students may remain in out of district placements.
Many students coming back from out of district will need extended school year and/or extended day as an IEP accommodation. Will the Learning Center provide these accommodations?
The Learning Center will have a 6-week extended school year summer program. There will also be extended day opportunities. We are exploring a partnership with Quincy After School and South Shore Autism.
What will be the screening process for accepting students from other towns?
There will be an application and admissions process. Admissions will include, but not be limited to, an observation of the student in their current program.
What will staffing look like in the Learning Center?
The Pre-K program will be staffed by all current teachers & paras. The Learning Center Program for K-8 will be staffed by QPS teachers moved into the Learning Center and newly hired trained teachers. Administration will have a special education background and there will be multiple Board Certified Behavioral Analysts.
Will the DeCristofaro Learning Center have an indoor motor space and quiet/calm space?
The DeCristofaro Learning Center classrooms are divided into learning neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are based on grade levels (i.e. prekindergarten, kindergarten- grade 2, grade 3-5, grade 6-6). Each neighborhood has a therapy space. In addition the DeCristofaro Learning has a sensory room, a calming room and two multi-purpose rooms that can all be used as quiet spaces. There is also a larger motor room on the third floor.
What will be the impact on traffic at pickup and drop off? What will the flow be for cars and buses at pickup and drop off?
The drop off times will be staggered to assist with traffic. In addition, there will be 2 different drop off and pick up locations. The front of the building will be for parent drop off and the back of the building will be for bus drop off.
The DeCristofaro Learning Center Design Team Update
The Design Team is hard at work updating the programmatic elements and preparing the documentation for the Department of Education. Thank you to the parents, administrators and staff who have been completing this important work. Currently the Team is researching the most up-to-date curriculum resources and materials that will be used at the DeCristofaro Learning Center. Below are some samples of the programs Team members have been researching.
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