Pupil Services Quarterly

SPECIAL EDITION (11.11.19)

Over the next few months, the Special Education Department will be reviewing the Millbury Public Schools Special Education Process and Procedure Manual. This manual was developed to ensure consistency across the district and aligns with 603. CMR 28.00 Special Education Regulations.


All special education personnel who are responsible for the coordination and implementation of special education evaluations and services should review this manual. In addition, some components of this manual will be helpful to all MPS staff.


Millbury Public Schools is committed to providing students with disabilities access to the curriculum and general education programs. With strong and successful inclusive practices, we will be able to provide the instruction necessary to help students with and without disabilities work toward grade level expectations.


Special education services are not viewed as a separate model, but instead as a part of the continuum of supports, interventions and services created to ensure that the general education environment is responsive to the diverse learning needs of all students.


The vision of the Millbury Public Schools Special Education Department is to:

  • Provide a continuum of programming that meets the individual needs--academic, physical, social, behavioral, and emotional needs-- of every student so that each student has equal opportunities to a comprehensive range of instructional and related services to expand inclusionary opportunities, in order to develop self-advocacy and independence

  • Include students as permanent members of the general education classroom so that they feel a sense of belonging. To the maximum extent possible, services and supports are brought directly to them.

  • Collaborate to ensure that all students have access to general education curriculum with rigorous expectations, to set and achieve the highest possible goals, and to be accountable for data-driven results

  • Engage community resources to support students, children, and their families

MPS Special Education Process and Procedure Manual: The Referral Process

A student may be referred for an evaluation by a parent or any person in a caregiving or professional position concerned with the student's development. Under the regulations, a District must ensure a responsive school environment that meets the needs of all students, including implementation and documentation of the use of attempted instructional strategies on a case-by-case basis.


A parent's right to refer their child for a special education evaluation, however, is not limited and should never be delayed because the school district has not fully explored and/or attempted some or all of the available instructional support programs or any other type of interventions. In any case where the parent or person making a referral has concerns about the student's development or a suspicion that the student may have a disability, the school district must promptly send notice and seek permission to conduct an initial evaluation to determine if the student is eligible for special education. The building Principal will contact the referring parent to gain their input on areas of concern to inform the evaluation process as well as to clarify the process. (Refer to Principal’s Role in Special Education)


Any parent referral (verbal or in writing) should immediately be given to the Team Chairperson and building principal. The building principal will contact the parent for more information, and simultaneously initiate an Instructional Support (IST) Team referral for that student.


The school district has five (5) school working days from receipt of referral to send the parent the evaluation consent form for their signature. Parent consent for evaluation must be obtained before initiating the evaluation. Once a signed consent form is received, assessments are to be conducted to determine the presence of a disability and, whether that disability impacts access to the student’s general education, making them eligible for Special Education and/or related services. An evaluation must be completed for Teams to review in making the determination of adding or ending any Special Education service.


Referrals may also be made by the building based Instructional Support (IST) Team. The IST is a general education committee made up of school personnel. IST members gather and review data, including a student’s progress within the Multiple Tiers of Student Support, to assess student needs and provide scientific, research-based interventions with frequent progress monitoring to inform decision making to improve student outcomes.


Once it has been determined that through the complete IST/SST process (initial meeting, interventions and progress monitoring, review and progress meetings) that all efforts have been made and sufficient progress has not been demonstrated, the IST may refer the student for evaluation in order to determine Special Education eligibility. The IST may also consider referrals for other school-based supports or services within the community.

All referrals, with complete paperwork, must be given directly to the Team Chairperson to begin the process. Parents are contacted to clarify concerns and help develop the evaluation plan in any/all areas of suspected disability.

Have you read renewed IEPs and 504 Plans? Have you updated your accommodation tracking forms?

Be sure to read and follow IEPs and 504 Plans.

All staff members working with students on an IEP and/or 504 Plans must read, sign off on, and follow them. Please remember:
  • to check with the special education secretaries and/or Team Chairs regarding updated IEPs.
  • to check with Guidance Counselors regarding updated 504 Plans
  • All IEPs and 504 Plans can be accessed through your Aspen account.
  • Implementation includes service delivery as well as allowing students access to his/her accommodations and modifications.
  • Accommodations are to be used routinely, during daily classroom instruction. If a student is not accessing the accommodation(s) or refusing to use them, please have a conversation with the Team Chair or Guidance Counselor
  • Maintain an updated Student Accommodation Sheet

REMINDERS FROM HEALTH SERVICES

Field Trips, Extracurricular Outings

Given the wide range of medical needs among our students, field trip coordinators and club advisors must connect with the school nurse at least 4 weeks before the trip to review the medical needs of students that may potentially be participating in the trip or outing. This provides time to review the individual needs and to determine if a nurse must attend or if staff can be trained to administer medication.


Advance Notice and Planning Needed

When food is to be included for club activities, classroom celebrations or rewards, please be mindful of the District's Wellness Policy. Per the Wellness Policy, parents are to be notified and at times, permission is needed. We never want a student to feel singled out or excluded, so planning is important. Please reach out to your building's nurse for specifics.


When to See the Nurse, a Guide for Teachers

HELPFUL RESOURCES

ESL Resources: this folder contains resources to support you in your work with our EL/FEL population


AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators): this document will provide you with the location of the District's AEDs, what they look like, and on overview of how they work.


Educational Stability: this presentation was shared during the first few days of school. Please review as a refresher to our obligation to support homeless students and students in foster care.


IEP At a Glance: this document will allow you to make note of key aspects of a student's IEP. This is not required, but you may find it helpful. (I have been told that the first document is more user-friendly and preferred.)


Student Accommodation Sheet: this document will allow you to record, by class/period, all students on IEPs or 504s and their appropriate accommodations. Copies of this must be maintained in your sub folder.

Pupil Services Office

Kate Ryan, Director of Pupil Services

Mary O'Brien, Administrative Assistant