Welcome to Sayreville Public Schools special Services!
Mr. David Knaster, Director of Pupil-Special Services and McKinney Vento Liaison
Dr. Cynthia DeFina, Supervisor of Secondary Special Education
Ms. Alexandria DeCicco, Supervisor of PreK and Elementary Special Education
- About Special Services
- Student Registration (New and Annual)
- Educational Programs
- Parent Resources
- Referral and Evaluation Procedures
- Project Child Find
- Child Study Team
About Special Services
Sayreville Public Schools Department of Special Services, in compliance with New Jersey Administrative Code, provides quality education in the least restrictive environment to its students who are educationally disabled and require special education services. Emphasis is placed on facilitating inclusion in general education settings to the fullest extent possible. Programs are assessed on an ongoing basis to insure that students’ individual needs are met. A range of placement options are available in accordance with Individual Education Plans. These placements include:
• Regular Education with Supports and Services
• In-Class Support Resources
• Resource Center Support
• Resource Center Replacement
• Self-Contained Classes
• Out-of-District Placements
Our Special Services Staff is comprised of experts in their fields who are dedicated to developing education plans and delivering services vital to meeting each student’s needs. Our staff consists of Child Study Team case managers and related services providers, as well as a variety of educational consultants. Our Special Education Teachers are enthusiastic and committed to providing the highest level of education available.
Sayreville School District has Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) Teams at all district schools. The I&RS Team is available to assess students brought to their attention for social, emotional or educational needs. The I&RS Team receives referrals from building principals, counselors, Child Study Team members, and teachers. The Intervention and Referral Services Team is consulted as a pre-referral intervention to the special education evaluation process.
A student may be referred to the Child Study Team for evaluation by teachers, parents/guardians, counselors, and/or building administrators. Parents/guardians may request consideration for evaluation of their child by contacting the building principal or by writing a request to the Director of Special Services.
As with any school-aged resident child, Sayreville School District provides a full continuum of services for students aged three to five years old who are found eligible for special education and related services through the evaluation process.
There are currently two Preschool Integrated Classes. Three-year-old and four-year-old students attend half day morning or afternoon classes. The ratio of regular education students to special needs students is approximately 50-50, with the scales more often leaning toward the regular education population. This integrated program (inclusionary) follows a general education preschool curriculum. Both of the preschool integrated teachers are additionally Teacher of the Handicapped Certified. The special needs students receive in-class support through their teacher, and related services are provided in accordance with their IEPs. Each preschool integrated class is additionally staffed by a paraprofessional. Behaviorist support is provided on an as-needed basis.
A Self-Contained Preschool Disabilities Program is available as well to those students who require a structured, full day program with a smaller class size than is offered in the Integrated Preschool Program. This program is offered in order to make meaningful progress in helping students meet IEP goals and objectives. The full-day program provides opportunities for intensive small group instruction and opportunities for integration into the preschool integrated sections for generalization. Related Services are provided as per student IEPs.
Sayreville School District provides special education at all of its elementary schools in the form of in-class support, resource center replacement, and resource center support to those students determined eligible. Related services in the form of speech-language, occupational and physical therapies are also provided at each elementary school. There is a speech-language specialist dedicated to every elementary school. Occupational and physical therapists travel between schools. Social Skills counseling is also provided by school social workers, school psychologists and consultants when deemed necessary through IEPs.
Speech and language services are provided to students who demonstrate, through formal evaluation, a mild to moderate disorder in language, articulation, voice, or fluency.
Secondary School Programs
MIDDLE SCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION
Just as at the elementary schools, Sayreville Middle School offers a variety of special education program options in accordance with student IEPs. There is a full-time Child Study Team on staff, as well as a dedicated speech-language therapist, and a full guidance department.
In addition to inclusion, in-class support and resource center options, a multiply disabled Life Skills class is in operation at the Middle School. The class provides programming for those students who require a structured, full day Life Skills program with a smaller class size than is offered in the Regular Education and Resource Pull Out Replacement Program, in order to make meaningful progress in meeting IEP goals and objectives.
The program provides strong academic and community-based supports, following the scope and sequence of a functional Life Skills curriculum according to student needs. The academic program follows IEP goals. Components provide small group instruction and opportunities to integrate into the community.
HIGH SCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION
Sayreville High School Special Services follows a natural continuum of programs as middle school students transition to the high school. A full Child Study Team is on staff and plays a major role in overseeing the education and implementation of IEPs for classified students. In accordance with student Individual Education Plans, classified students are scheduled in general education classes in all areas of the curriculum to the fullest possible extent. High school programs include in-class support, resource center replacement, and resource center support.
A self-contained Life Skills class operates at the high school level, as well. The program provides strong academic and community-based supports, following the scope and sequence of a functional Life Skills curriculum according to student needs. The academic program follows IEP goals. Components provide small group instruction and opportunities to integrate into the community. Social skills are addressed through the community and vocational/employment part of the program. Opportunities for job training are found within the school setting as well as the community at large. Students work at various local businesses and at the education center. Some students work independently and some are accompanied by a job coach. The goal is to fade the coaches as the students become more independent. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of regular education settings, including physical education and specials. They also have the opportunity to participate in sports and after school clubs. Students with severe disabilities are taught through a hands-on, activity-based program. Career awareness and exploration activities are begun in this program, and students eventually begin work at a variety of internships throughout the community. Repeated practice of skills and competencies is necessary for successful transition in post-school settings. As part of transition planning for all classified students over 14-years-old, staff is available to assist in the development of skills they will need to meet the world after high school.
The New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS), under the Division of Family Health Services, implements New Jersey's statewide system of services for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families. The Department of Health and Senior Services is appointed by the Governor as the state lead agency for the Early Intervention System.
Our mission is to enhance the capacity of families to meet the developmental and health related needs of children birth to age three who have delays or disabilities by providing quality services and support to families and their children.
The office implements state and federal laws and regulations governing special education to ensure that pupils with disabilities in New Jersey receive full educational opportunities. It provides statewide leadership through the development of policy and implementation documents and provides guidance to school districts and parents regarding the implementation of special education programs and services.
When a student has been identified as making minimal academic and/or emotional progress in the general education setting, he/she may be referred to the Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) for the purpose of collecting and evaluating relevant data in order to determine or identify specific barriers to student performance. This committee will create interventions to address educational difficulties in the general education classroom. Interventions in the general education classroom should be attempted prior to a Child Study Team (CST) or speech referral.
When interventions in the general education classroom are not appropriate for the student or when interventions are not effective, the student will be referred to the CST or speech/language specialist for evaluation.
Students may be referred to a CST or for a speech evaluation by instructional staff, school administration, parents and/or community agencies. Parents should submit their written request to the principal or director of special services. School staff should submit the written request to the director of special services.
A referral is the first step in the special education process. It is a formal written request that a student be evaluated by the CST to determine whether a student is eligible for special education and related services or by the speech/language specialist to determine whether a student is eligible for speech services.
Once a referral is received, the parents will be invited to an Identification Meeting that will be scheduled within 20 days of receipt of the referral (excluding school vacations other than summer vacation).
Based on a review of available information about the student’s educational progress, a decision will be made at this meeting whether a CST or speech evaluation is warranted. If an evaluation is warranted, the nature and scope of the CST or speech evaluation will be discussed. If it appears that the problem can be alleviated with interventions in the general education program and the student has not participated in the I&RS process, there may be a decision not to conduct an evaluation, but to refer the student to the I&RS Committee for development of interventions, suggestions for other interventions for the parent to pursue, or refer the student to the 504 Committee. If the student is already in the I&RS process and an evaluation is not warranted, the I&RS plan can continue or be adjusted.
If there is an agreement to perform an evaluation, a written plan for the evaluation is developed at the meeting, describing the nature and scope of the evaluation. Written consent for an evaluation is required by the parent/guardian. This consent for evaluation can be provided at the conclusion of the meeting or the parent may wish to take additional time before providing written consent. Evaluations can only begin after the parent has provided written consent. The district has ninety (90) days from the time written consent is provided to complete the entire evaluation, eligibility, and placement process. Comprehensive, diagnostic evaluations are provided at no cost to the parent and are completed in the student’s native language. They are completed by certified professionals who will explain the results of their testing.
Upon completion of the evaluations, the professional staff will provide the parent with a written report of the details of the testing results. Parents will be provided with copies of the district’s evaluation reports 10 days prior to the eligibility meeting. These evaluations will help determine if the student has an educational disability and whether special education services are required. The discussion of the evaluations and the determination regarding special education eligibility will take place at the eligibility meeting.
Eligibility for special education and related services, or eligibility for speech-language services is determined at a mutually convenient meeting. Meeting attendees will be asked to sign an attendance sheet. The Child Study Team members or speech-language specialist will review evaluation results and answer questions. The case manager will discuss the rationale for determination of eligibility or non-eligibility.
If the student is determined to exhibit an educational disability, a determination must be made as to the least restrictive educational setting in which the student can receive educational benefit from special education services. In order for a student to be found eligible for speech-language services, they must exhibit a disorder or articulation, voice or fluency that adversely affects educational performance.
When eligibility for special education is agreed upon, the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may commence immediately or within 15 days of the eligibility determination. The purpose of this meeting is to determine the student’s current educational status and develop a program designed to meet the student’s unique needs. Discussions of the students present levels of educational performance, as well as results of performance on any state or district assessment will be held. Sources of information in determining a student’s program should include evaluation data, teacher reports, classroom observations, student strengths and parental concerns.
Beginning at age 14, a transition plan for the student’s future will begin to be developed. At age 16, the IEP will list a multi-year plan for promoting movement from school to the student’s desired post-school outcomes.
Annual measurable goals may be developed that are related to the core curriculum standards through the general education curriculum, unless otherwise required according to the students educational needs. Progress reporting methods will be included in an IEP. The IEP will explain the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with non-disabled peers in the general education class and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings.
Parental consent is required in order to implement the initial IEP. The program and services recommended therein will not begin prior to signed consent.
Project Child Find is a free referral service and public awareness campaign to assist in the identification of unserved/underserved youth’s ages three to twenty-one years old who may be disabled due to physical, sensory, emotional, communication, cognitive or social difficulties. The public school system provides services for preschool children between the ages of three and five. Preschoolers who demonstrate delays in the development of motor, communication, social emotional or cognitive skills may be eligible for special education and related services.
New Jersey’s Early Intervention System provides services for infants and toddlers (from birth to the child’s third birthday) that have developmental delays or disabilities as well as support for the families. For children three to twenty-one years of age, the school district provides free appropriate public education (FAPE) for eligible students.
After receiving your written request, the district’s child study team has twenty days to have a meeting with you the parent(s). At this meeting, you and the team will decide if an evaluation is needed and what the evaluation will include.
Here are a few items to consider as a guide to help you determine if you should seek further assistance:
- Does your child play near other children by age three?
- Does your child join other children briefly in play by age three?
- Does your child share and take turns by age five?
- Does your child say his/her first and last name by age three?
- Does your child talk in short sentences by age four?
- Is your child able to kick a ball by age three?
- Is your child able to balance on one foot for a short time by age four?
- Does your child understand simple directions by age three?
- Does your child understand simple stories told or read to him/her by age three?
- Does your child respond when you call from another room?
Below are websites for more information:
How to make a referral:
- Evelyn Mendez-Sanchez, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 4070
- Jimeka Rivers, School Social Worker - (732) 525-5200 ext. 3003
- Meghan Grove, LDT-C - (732) 525-5200 ext. 4060
- Palma VonGonten, Secretary
- Alexandra Decicco, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 6071
- Cecily Kong, School Social Worker - (732) 525-5200 ext. 6073
- Christine Dughi, LDTC - (732) 525-5200 ext. 6076
- Palma VonGonten, Secretary
- Taryn Connor, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 6072
- Jennifer Barreiro, School Social Worker - (732) 525-5200 ext. 6070
- Deena Brock, LDT-C - (732) 525-5200 ext. 2070
- Marsha Platon, Secretary
- Samantha Barone, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 7072
- Jennifer Cohen, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 7073
- Jared Fazzini, School Social Worker - (732) 525-5200 ext. 7071
- Harold Quintana, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 7070
- Palma VonGonten, Secretary
- Jordana Heuvelman, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 8073
- Lauren Hammond, School Psychologist - (732) 525-5200 ext. 8072
- Dawnrae Lawrence-Force, Social Worker - (732) 525-5200 ext. 8070
- Kristin Hartnett, LDT-C - (732) 525-5200 ext. 8071
- Palma VonGonten, Secretary