The district’s goal for creating a “continuum of services” from the general education program to special education will mean balancing the number of professionals with teachers, said Dr. Judith Pandolfo, assistant superintendent for elementary education.
At the Board of Ed meeting on Sept. 11, she said that they want special education teachers to spend more time participating in professional development and in general classrooms, which is possible through reduced caseloads. Five additional special ed teachers were hired over the summer — one for each school.
At the same time, ten paraprofessional positions were reduced — seven through attrition, when staff resign or retire. One instructional aide was hired back full-time as a replacement aide and one was hired back as a part-time teacher. Pandolfo stated that this was all on track for their special education goals. The district will provide a report to the board of a full roster of special ed students, teachers and aides on Oct. 23.
“It’s really the teacher directing the paraprofessional as to how the student can best be served,” Superintendent Stephen Falcone said about the staffing change. Pandolfo’s report stated that they tried to make the changes “without a negative impact on the budget.”
The board also heard about Hindley’s Blue Ribbon recognition, which led to applause for Principal Rita Ferri. The superintendent’s report was a positive start to Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. Falcone also informed the Board that the school buildings were in great shape for the start of the year. He added that the administration judged that all of the extra sections added to accommodate growing enrollment were appropriate.
The special education committee meeting on Sept. 5, which included a presentation from Dr. Deirdre Osypuk, director of special education, reviewed the department’s goals. Falcone said that the discussion followed the goals and objectives outlined by the administration at previous meetings.
Vice-chairman Clara Sartori reported that the Council of Educational Services met to develop “school readiness” and define priorities for early childhood education.
The board approved the resignation of Julie Bookbinder, Speech and Language Department Coordinator.
The curriculum committee will meet on Sept. 25 from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. to discuss the de-spiraling of the elementary math program. It will also meet on Oct. 11 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss curriculum for Spanish 4 and comparative world religions.
The next Board of Education meeting will be on Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.