Building Contacts for Special Education (Team Chairpeople)
Ms. Jayme Szymczak 617-696-4285 x2028
Ms. Nicole Kemesis 617-696-4282 x 2030
Ms. Kathy LaPierre 617-696-4285 x 2014
Brittany Williams 617- 696-4288 x 4102
Ms. Amanda Gray 617-696-4586 x3110
Milton High School
617-696-5040 X 5545
Ms. Lynda Lee Sheridan 617-696-5040 x 5608
Office of Pupil Personnel Services
Danielle Wetmore, Director of Student Services
617.696.4470 x 5574
Andy Cavanagh, Assistant Special Education Administrator
617.696.4470 x 5572
Qualifying for Special Education
In order to qualify for special education, your child must first be evaluated by the Team of providers in your child's school.
You should contact your building Chairperson. Testing will be completed in the area(s) of suspected disability to determine
if your child requires modification and or accommodations to access the curriculum.
If your child is enrolled at a Private School, you should start the process by establishing residency by contacting the district registar.
Parental Rights & Procedural Safeguards
Please review this document if you have questions or concerns regarding Parental Rights and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Procedural Rights related to Special Education. Please note this document is mailed home annually.
Special Education Referral Process
Milton Public Schools is required under state (Chapter 766) and federal (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) special education laws to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. These laws also guarantee students and parents/guardians certain due process rights in the event of a disagreement about the content of the IEP or the child's educational placement.
Milton Public Schools utilizes a Response to Intervention Model as a way to support student growth along the entire continuum of a student’s educational experiences. This includes general and special education supports.
The Milton Public Schools identifies and evaluates children from age 2.6 through 21 who may be eligible for special education services. Referral sources include parents, teachers, pediatricians, student support teams and private community providers. If a concern is raised about a school-aged child related to school performance the child may be referred to the building-based student support team (RtI Team- Response to Intervention). The team may further refer a student for a special education evaluation once all regular education instructional support efforts have been considered. Parents may refer their child for an evaluation at any time if they suspect their child has a disability. In this case the RtI process takes place simultaneously. A special education evaluation may only take place with parental consent. Special education eligibility testing focuses on assessments and evaluations in the area(s) of suspected disabilities.
To determine eligibility, the evaluation team must review and answer the following questions:
1. Does the student have one or more than one disability?
2. Is the student making effective educational progress?
3. Is the lack of progress due to the disability?
4. Does the student require special education in order to make effective educational progress?
The results of a comprehensive battery of assessments including teacher reports, specialist evaluations, and information from parents and outside providers are used to answer these questions.
An educational assessment may include:
-a history of the student's educational progress in the general curriculum
-a summary of pre-referral activities including documentation of support provided through regular education
-information regarding the student's attention skills, participation in class and extracurricular activities, and social relations with groups, peers and adults
-a review of the student's attendance record
-a narrative description of the student's educational and/or developmental potential
An evaluation team may include a chairperson, special educator(s), regular educator(s), speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, vision or hearing specialist, behavior specialist, adjustment or guidance counselor, school nurse, building principal, and school psychologist.
Assessment information must be comprehensive and sufficient to allow the educational team to:
1. Determine the presence or absence of a disability and eligibility for special education services under legal standards
2. Evaluate factors related to the student's performance in school
3. Plan appropriate services to respond to the student's needs.
Some students are entitled to a Section 504 Accommodation Plan under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A Section 504 Plan may be developed for an individual who has a disability requiring assistance but does not require special education to make effective educational progress.
Special Education Continuum of Services
In recognizing that the needs of all students vary, Milton Public Schools offers a continuum of supports for students under a model of Least Restrictive 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.
SNAPSHOT! See this chart for quick access as to which building houses which special education strand. please note that all placement decisions are team driven and therefore students may or not be assigned to a strand unless outlined within the IEP process.
Learning Center/Academic Support:
Most Milton Public School students who are supported by Special Education do so in the district’s Learning Center/Academic Support 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 Academic Support Centers 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.
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for Learning Center and Academic Support have an active IEP with goals related to academics, social, organization and executive functioning. These supports are available to all students in special education.
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 at Cunningham and Tucker:
Children with special needs in the integrated classes demonstrate a significant delay 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 a 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.
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for our integrated preschools have an active IEP with goals that show they require a preschool setting with specialized instruction in order to derive educational benefit. This includes that students have not been successful in a community based preschool without special education supports and services, or require a special education prek setting to learn, master and practice prek readiness skills under the direction of a special education teacher verses early childhood provider.
The Early Childhood Self-Contained Preschool at Cunningham Elementary School:
This program is a comprehensive program for children with Autism Spectrum and related 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 designed by a child ‘s educational team, children have opportunities for inclusion and reverse integration for social skills as well as generalization of previously taught skills.
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for our sub-separate preschools have an active IEP with goals that show they require a preschool setting with specialized instruction in order to derive educational benefit. Students most appropriate for these classrooms have a diagnosis (school based or medical) on the Autism Spectrum. This includes that students have not been successful in a community based preschool without special education supports and services, or require a special education prek setting to learn, master and practice prek readiness skills under the direction of a special education teacher verses early childhood provider These programs use an ABA methodology.
Self Contained SLD Programs at Glover:
Language based: neurodiverse and Language Based SLD :
Students appropriate for our two self contained language classrooms (neurodiverse OR SLD - specific learning disability) are in elementary school on an active IEP for these distinct disability types. Each classroom is supported with a lead special education teacher and para support as appropriate. Therapies are provided per each student's IEP. Students appropriate for this program have experienced less success in either the co-taught or full inclusion program and present with one of these disability profiles, requiring explicit reading, math and integrated supports across the day to show academic growth., Both program utilize structured ELA and math curricula and use the IEPs to guide services both in the self contained environment as well as appropriate inclusion activities.
Co- Taught Classrooms:
The Co-Taught Strands at Glover Elementary School and Pierce Middle School, are designed for students who are receiving services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in grades one through eight. 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 Co-Taught Glover and Pierce require a 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: Team taught with one special education and one general education teacher provide daily instruction across all content areas. Special education teachers provide ongoing phonological support. Additional supports include (speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, and guidance counselors).
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for consideration in a co-taught classroom at Elementary or Pierce usually present with an SLD or related profile. Students must have an active IEP and require a higher level of support than a single strange program (push in or pull out services) to make effective progress.
Collaboratives CCCs (Cunningham) and REACH (Pierce Middle School):
The Collaborative Strand at Cunningham Elementary School supports students in kindergarten through grade five. Similar to the Co-Taught Strand, there is one general education and one special education teacher in each classroom. Students who require ongoing modifications to content, small group instruction, ample time to preview and review, as well as explicit skill building for remedial skills may be appropriate for the Collaborative Strand.
Reach at Pierce Middle School cognitive delays, a slower rate of learning, and receptive and/or expressive language difficulties to middle school students. 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 REACH Programs complete some or most of their academic content in a smaller learning environment and enjoy social experiences within the larger school community. Some students participate in general education inclusion as created within the Team process. Staffing includes: lead special education teacher, speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, behavior analysts, adjustment counselors and paraprofessionals.
Individual Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the general education settings.
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for consideration in these classrooms usually present with an more complex cognitive or neurological learning profile, and are often considered intellectually or developmentally delayed with more significant learning challenges.. They require small group or individualized instruction, but continue to benefit from peer role models and supports across their school day. Students must have an active IEP and require a higher level of support than a single strange program (push in or pull out services) to make effective progress to be considered for the CCCs or Reach.
STEP and SMLC and Compass:
In addition to Academic Support programs, Milton Public Schools currently support the needs of students with emotional, social and or behavioral needs within our elementary STEP (Glover School) program and our SMLC (Pierce Middle School) programs and Compass at Milton High School.
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 that impact access to the curriculum.
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 and guidance and adjustment counselors).
Individual IEP Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the STEP , SMLC and Compass Programs as well as general education settings.
Entrance Criteria: students appropriate to consider for STEP, SMLC or COMPASS often present with social emotional challenges and require therapeutic interventions across their school day. Whether they are in a full inclusion model, or require all small group supports, students in these programs present with needing wrap around therapeutic supports across the day with the support of special education teachers, adjustment counselors and paraprofessionals. Students in these programs have a medical or school based profile consistent with an emotional disability, are on an active IEP, and require a higher level of support than a single strange program (push in or pull out) to make effective progress.
Achieve at Milton High School supports to students grade 9-12 who benefit from small group and replacement content for academic and social support. This classroom supports students with significant intellectual, neurological, communication, health and motor delays all of which impact social and academic development. Post-secondary goals are a focus of this programs’ overall design.
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for consideration in these classrooms usually present with an more complex cognitive or neurological learning profile, and are often considered intellectually or developmentally delayed with more significant learning challenges.. They require small group or individualized instruction, throughout the day, but continue strong social connections to the high school community. Pre-vocational and academic skills are addressed and individualized for each student.
Launch: 18-22 Program:
Milton Public School’s young adult program serves students with a range of special needs and focuses primarily on functional academics and pre-vocational and vocational education. Students balance their time in the school and working greater community. Focus is placed on functional skills, community involvement, self-advocacy, positive social interactions and post-secondary planning for young adult life. Staffing includes: teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, behavior analysts, guidance counselors and psychologists.
Entrance Criteria: Students appropriate for consideration in these classrooms usually present with an more complex cognitive or neurological learning profile, and are often considered intellectually or developmentally delayed with more significant learning challenges.. They require small group or individualized instruction, throughout the day, but continue strong social connections to the high school community. Vocational and functional live-based academic skills are addressed and individualized for each student.
ASD Autism Spectrum Programs:
Milton Public Schools currently support the needs of students with Autism Spectrum related disabilities in one of our four full-year district wide ASD Programs (NECC Partners and Cooperatives at Collicot and Pierce). 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 some 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: special education teacher/BCBA, speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, and guidance and adjustment counselors. NECC BCBAs support clinical management of these programs.
Individual Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the ASD and general education settings.
Entrance Criteria: Students in the district wide k-8 ASD program strands typically present with a medical or school based diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. Students in these programs benefit from the principles of behavior based teaching, including ABA. Students considered for this program require a higher level of teacher support to learn and use skills and navigate the school building, and have been less successful in a full inclusion setting, requiring small group work for most or all of their school day.
While most of our students in special education can be supported with in-district programs and services, Milton 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 such as South Shore, TEC or North River.
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)