Department of Pupil Services

Special Education Updates - Spring 2022

Thank you to our Teachers!

Teacher Appreciation Week was celebrated May 2nd - May 6th. Although we appreciate and recognize the hard work and commitment of our teachers each and everyday, we would like to take this opportunity to formally acknowledge the teachers for their lasting contributions to not only the academic success, but also the social and emotional success of our students.

With this, we are happy to use this newsletter to highlight some of the amazing things that happen in our classrooms each and every day!

Special Education Week: May 8th - May 15th

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Authorized by statute, the second week in May is designated Special Education Week in New Jersey. This year's theme for Special Education Week 2022 is “Education… Key to Success.”

We would like to take this time to honor our students, their educators, parents, schools, and the school board members that are all the "keys" to our success and the high quality special education services in our district.

NeuroDiversity Awareness at Bradford

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The ABA staff in the ASD program at Bradford promoted awareness about neurodiversity, by showcasing picture books and chapter books with neurodiverse characters, information, adaptive tools, and well-known neurodiverse individuals. Ms. O'Sullivan facilitated a school-wide presentation for all learners, followed by creating diversity bracelets. Lastly, the school met outside to form a rainbow to celebrate their neurodiverse community.

- Submitted by Vanessa Ehrmann

Community Based Instruction at Montclair High School

For approximately a decade the Community Based Instruction (CBI) program has been “housed” at the Salvation Army under the instruction of Katherine Stanton Paule and Leslie Wallace. The CBI program is an 18-21 year old transition program that provides opportunities for students to gain independent living skills, social skills, employment, and self-advocacy in real-life settings and to participate in age-appropriate activities in their communities. The district wishes to thank Michelle Kroeze, Business Manager/Director, and her staff at the Salvation Army for providing this wonderful space for our students and staff!

Life Skills through Reward System at Northeast

In Ms. Alday's class, a reward system is utilized everyday. Students are "paid" each day based on their achievements on the classroom chart. This system provides daily, hands-on work with money, as students are building life skills, exchanging coins for bills and making the important decision of how to spend or save their hard earned "money."

- Submitted by Judy Alday

Colorful Learning at Nishuane

In Mr. Supel's Kindergarten class at Nishuane, they believe in celebrating everything and everyone. March was full of colorful celebrations. For Mardi Gras, students painted pasta and worked on their fine motor skills by making necklaces. For St. Patrick's Day, students used stencils and dot markers to make shamrocks. For Holi, students used their watercolor sets and straws to make color bursts to celebrate the festival of colors!

For school-wide Tie-Dye Day, Mr. Supel and Mr. Mino's classes made their own tie-dye shirts! All of the students and staff members had so much fun. They also made "colors" the theme of the week, using colorful Magna-Tiles along with their imaginations to creature shapes and structures!

-Submitted by John Supel

Centers at Watchung

On a weekly basis, students in Ms. Pillar's class work in Centers to enhance their Language Arts curriculum. In the photos, students are working on Sound Boxes, which help to enhance the phonics program. Along with Sounds Boxes, students are tapping out sounds and manipulating individual sounds to form words using magnetic tiles. Another center encourages students to work independently by following a series of directions. Students also participate in centers that allow them to review what sentences are and practice writing complete sentences.

- Submitted by Kathleen Pillar

The Pupil Services Department was excited to participate in the second annual Montclair Disability Pride Parade held on Sunday, May 1st.

The event allowed the community to come together to not only bring awareness, but also to celebrate all those with disabilities. It was a wonderful showing of current and former students, showing their pride and sharing their journeys and talents, as well as allies and other members of the community.

We thank Ms. Schneider, the Montclair State University Disability Caucus, and the township's People with Disabilities Advisory Committee for organizing and sponsoring this event.

Spring 2022 Updates

Below is an update on the initiatives shared in our Winter newsletter:

  • Standardizing initiatives, programs, and interventions in all schools

The Pupil Services Department has been working closely with building administration, EC&I, and CSTs to compile information and formalize suggestions for the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Increasing instructional capacity within the area of multi-sensory reading

Working in collaboration with the EC&I Department, building administrators have received training in the Science of Reading, while CST members and Related Service Providers received training from Ms. Miller of the Robinowitz Education Center, specifically about dyslexia. Following this training in April, Dr. Goldblatt issued a formal statement to CST members regarding language for use in IEPs for students with Dyslexia or characteristics of Dyslexia.

  • Planning and implementing the Extended School Year program

Ms. Stafford and Mrs. Finnerty are hard at work with our CST teams identifying students, hiring staff, and planning programs for this summer's program, slated to begin on July 11th.

  • Collaborating with the Transportation Department for summer and fall bussing

The Pupil Services Department is excited to share that the case managers have worked diligently to provide all anticipated busing information for both the ESY and Fall 2022 school year. This information was shared with the Transportation Department as well as ERESC in a formal meeting in May. By receiving this information earlier than normal, this will allow the process to begin earlier in regards to the steps that the transportation department must take. We are hopeful that this on-going conversation and collaboration will make for a smoother start to both ESY and the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Partnering with EC&I to continue intervention initiatives as well as professional development opportunities for staff

The Pupil Services Department and EC&I have strived to meet a minimum of two times a month to share progress, ideas, and collaborate for the upcoming school year. The Pupil Services Department created and shared a Needs Assessment Survey with all special education teachers, which will be used to guide our planning of professional development over the summer and into the next school year.

  • Summer assessments and evaluations

Supervisors are beginning the process of gathering information from case managers to plan for summer assessments and evaluations. The goal of the Pupil Services Department is to take a "team approach" with cases over the summer, having teams work with families from the beginning to the end of the process to ensure that programs are in place for September.

Summer 2022/Fall 2023 Department Goals and Initiatives

As we end the 2022 school year, we are actively planning for the 2022-2023 school year, with the following departmental goals in mind:

  • Formalize process, procedures, and documents across all CSTs in district.
  • Utilize data from special education teacher Needs Assessment to plan and implement productive and meaningful professional development.
  • Continue to collaborate with Human Resources to standardize hiring process for paraprofessionals throughout the district.
  • Continue to work with Parent Handbook Committee, with a goal of disseminating in September 2022.
  • Complete program reviews for MAP, ABA, and CBI programs.
  • Engage in recruiting and hiring practices for all open positions as well as equitably distribute team members in schools based on caseloads.

Extended School Year - General Information

While all families participating in ESY, will receive a letter, please mark your calendars with the dates below for this summer's ESY program.

July 11th - August 4th (Monday - Thursday)

  • Bullock - K-5 - 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • Renaissance - 6-8 - 8:30am-11:30am
  • MHS - 9-12 - 8:30am-11:30am

Students in ABA Programs

July 11th - August 11th (Monday - Thursday)

  • Bullock - K-5 - 9:30am-2:30pm
  • Renaissance - 6-8 - 8:30am-1:30pm
  • MHS - 9-12 - 8:30am-1:30pm

Kindergarten Registration

Please remember that all students transitioning from Pre-K to Kindergarten, must complete the registration process through the Montclair Public School's website.

"Teachers are like flowers; they spread their beauty throughout the world. Their love of learning touches the hearts of their students, who then carry that sense of wonder with them wherever they go." ~Deanna Beisser

Dr. David Goldblatt

Interim Director of Pupil Services

Mrs. Jennifer Finnerty

Supervisor of Pupil Services

DLC, Bradford, Hillside, Nishuane, Watchung

Dr. Shivoyne A. Trim

Supervisor of Pupil Services

Montclair High School

Ms. Carla A. Perez

Supervisor of Pupil Services

Edgemont Montessori, Buzz Aldrin, Glenfield, Renaissance at Rand

Ms. Tameka Stafford

Supervisor of Pupil Services

Charles H. Bullock, Northeast