Sharon Public Schools Special Education Program Descriptions
In recognizing that the needs of all students vary, Sharon Public Schools offers a continuum of supports for students under a model of Least Restive Educational Environment (LRE) in which a student will make effective progress and derive educational benefit. Programming and district resources focus on providing Special Education Teams the resources and flexibility to create and implement individualized student programming with ongoing parental involvement that focus on long-term goals for student achievement and independence.
Most Sharon Public School students who are supported by Special Education do so in the district’s Learning Center/Academic Lab Programs (All buildings). Special education consultation, pull out services, co-teaching and in-class supports are readily available and designed to assist students in accessing the curricula, making effective progress, organize materials and assignments and develop the skills needed to become independent learners.
Students often supported in the Learning Center are those who present with organizational, attention and executive functioning. This might also include a student with educational gaps and weaknesses related to his or her disability that can be supported through specialized designed instruction. This also is a model in which you may find students with language, motor or social deficits working on skills with special education teachers and related therapists who provide speech and language therapy, occupational or physical therapy and counseling.
Team-Based Learning (TBL)
In addition to the general Learning Center environment, Sharon Public Schools currently support the needs of students with emotional, social and or behavioral needs within our four districts TBL (Team-Based Learning) Programs (Heights, Middle, High).
Students supported in these programs require ongoing therapeutic interventions across their school day. These programs utilize methods of collaborative problem solving, cognitive behavioral supports, behavioral management and counseling to address social-emotional challenges.
Support for content area is also an area of focus. Supports include direct care under the supervision of special education teachers trained in the use of therapeutic and academic interventions. Additional staffing includes instructional assistants, related therapy providers (speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, behavior Analysts, therapeutic Interventionists, guidance counselors and psychologists). Individual IEP Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the TBL and general education settings.
In addition to the general Learning Center environment, Sharon Public Schools currently support the needs of students with mental health concerns within our two district Networks programs (Middle, High). Students in these programs require ongoing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT, DBT, ACT, ERP & SFT), and small group/individual counseling to be successful in school. These students are often those who struggle with mood and anxiety disorders that interfere with their ability to engage with learning and social interactions. Networks supports students who may require hospitalization related to mental health concerns. Social Workers, trained in the use of therapeutic strategies, (i.e. mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral and didactical Behavior therapy, exposure and response prevention and solution focused therapy), program assistants, related therapy providers (speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, behavior analysts, guidance counselors and psychologists) all support students in Networks. A clinical psychologist provides ongoing supervision and service/care coordination with any outside provider working with a student or family. Individual Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the Networks and general education settings. Replacement instruction for general course content is available for students who are not able to attend general education classrooms.
Sharon Public School’s Pathways program serves students with a range of special needs and focuses primarily on functional academics and pre-vocational and vocational education. The program is lead by a special education teacher who addresses functional academics and vocational specialist who supports students’ prevocational/vocational and work place experiences. Students balance their time in the school and working greater community. Focus is placed on functional academics, community involvement, self-advocacy, positive social interactions and post-secondary planning for young adult life. Staffing includes: speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, behavior analysts, guidance counselors and psychologists. The Networks Team work closely with Adult Program Agencies (DMH, DCF, Mass Re-Habb, Mass Commission...et al,)
(DLP) Developmental Learning Program
In addition to the general Learning Center environment, Sharon Public Schools currently support the needs of students who present with cognitive delays, a slower rate of learning, and receptive and/or expressive language difficulties concerns within our two district DLP programs (Cottage, Middle). These students may also have difficulties in physical functioning, sensory motor skills, adaptive functioning, fine motor skills and/or self-help skills and require intervention that focuses on a highly specialized and individualized program design required to address each student’s individual needs.
Often, students who are part of the DLP Program complete some or most of their academic content in a smaller learning environment and enjoy social experiences within the larger school community. Staffing includes: lead special education teacher, speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, behavior analysts, guidance counselors and psychologists. Individual Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the DLP and general education settings.
ASD Autism Spectrum Programs
Sharon Public Schools currently support the needs of students with Autism Spectrum related disabilities in one of our 3 full-year district wide ASD Programs (Heights and Middle). These students may also have difficulties in physical functioning, sensory motor skills, adaptive functioning, fine motor skills and/or self-help skills and focus on a highly specialized and individualized program using the principals of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Often, students placed within the ASD Program model complete most of their academic content in a smaller learning environment using Discrete Trial Instruction or ABA –Based Learning, and enjoy social experiences within the larger school community. Some students experience inclusion opportunities for academic or social connections for part or most of their school day. Staffing includes: Staffing includes: special education teacher/BCBA, speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, guidance counselors and psychologists. Individual Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the ASD and general education settings.
LEAP Language Extension and Practice Program
The LEAP Program, at East Elementary and Sharon Middle School, is a special education program for students who are receiving services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in grades two through six. It was developed to address the comprehensive language and literacy needs and social competency of students with language-based learning disabilities and Dyslexia/ Dysgraphia/ Dyscalculia.
Students appropriate for LEAP require an intensive, language-based learning environment, reinforced with inclusion opportunities led by highly qualified special education staff who have expertise in multi-modal instructional methods, and utilize research-based curricula.
Staffing includes: special education teachers (one for each grade2-6), speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, guidance counselors and psychologists.
The Children's Center
The Children's Center is an early childhood program certified by NAEYC, providing an integrated preschool serving children from the ages of three to five. Each class is taught by a highly qualified teacher and is supported by highly trained instructional assistants.
Integrated Preschool Classrooms
Children with special needs in the integrated classes demonstrate a significant delay (six months or more) in two or more areas of development: cognition, speech and language, social/emotional growth and fine or gross motor skills. Staff work collaboratively to provide individualized programs for each child and to maintain consistency in goals and approach.
Typically developing children who enroll in the program benefit from the high quality of staff, developmentally appropriate curriculum, and an high staff to student ratio and small and large group instruction. These children serve as role models for children with special needs.
Together, the children participate in a curriculum designed to address targeted areas of development for both individual and group needs. Through whole group circle time, individual and small group activities, creative art and cooking activities, free play, snack and outdoor time, the children develop their language, cognition, physical and social-emotional skills.
The Early Childhood ASD Program
This program is a comprehensive program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The program utilizes the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis combined with traditional teaching and incidental teaching methods. Individualized programs and direct instruction focus on pre-academics, communication, self-care, adaptive behavior, fine and gross motor skill development using systematic approaches and structure. As appropriate, children have opportunities for inclusion and reverse integration for social skills as well as generalization of previously taught skills.
While most of our students in special education can be supported with in-district programs and services, Sharon Public Schools recognizes at times, a Free and Appropriate Education is best supported in an out-of-district placement.
This most often includes placement in a School Based Collaborative (TEC,EDCO, BICO, South Shore Collaborative or LABBB). Sharon Public Schools was a member of CHARMS Collaboratives until it dissolved in July, 2017.
Out-of-District Placements can also be at a Day or Residential 766 Approved Program as outlined by MAAPS, Inc, (Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools) https://maaps.org/ This kind of placement is considered when the services in a student’s IEP cannot be met in a less-restrictive setting. Approved programs also includes a few out of state programs Massachusetts Students may access through the 766 approval process.
Finally, out-of-district placements may be made in conjunction with another state agency or medical provider (Home or Hospital setting for students who are placed by their medical doctor, DMH, DPH, or DDS)