• Special Education Programs in South Hadley

    Each building in the South Hadley Public Schools hosts special education programs.  We provide a full continuum of services to our students, from:

    • no pull out services, where special education staff provide support to students collaboratively with the general education teacher in the general education classroom, 
    • to some pull out services during which time research-based interventions are systematically presented to students to provide instruction for skill gaps,
    • to a full day of pull out services at which time the general education curriculum is presented to students in the alternate setting, 
    • to out-of-district placements,
    • to support of our students who are in hospitalized placements. 

    The determination of these services is determined at the team meeting.

    Special education begins in our integrated pre-school program for students who are age 3 – 5.  See the tab for Integrated Preschool Program for further information. 

    Special education services are available to eligible students in grades K and continues to graduation. We strive to provide all students with an individualized program in the least restrictive environment with the necessary supports to meet with success. The individualized program is developed at the team meeting.

    Collaborative work among staff (e.g., general and special educators, tutors, classroom paraprofessionals, and other specialists) provides for a multi-disciplinary approach to education.   The specialists that are available to teams include a Physical Therapist,  Occupational Therapists, Behavior Specials, Autism Specialist, Speech and Language Specialists, and School Psychologists.

    The team process is one that allows all staff, parents and students to participate in the analysis of testing results, and to determine if the student has an impairment and then whether or not that impairment is a disability which hinders a student’s ability to master the curriculum. The team may review results and learn that more information is needed before they can answer these questions.  The team may determine to implement interventions and return to the team with progress monitoring data.

    An IEP is developed at the team meeting i it is determined that a student has a disability which impairs his/her ability to learn and learning gaps have been documented.  The IEP delineates the specialized instruction that will be provided to the student in an attempt to close the learning gap and/or provide functional life skills.  The IEP also documents what the progress monitoring techniques will be, when they will be implemented, and who is responsible for them. 

    Once an IEP is developed, it is sent to the building principal for signature, then to the Director of Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) for signature.  Parents can expect to have the IEP within 5 days of the team meeting.  Parents then have 30 days to accept, reject, or partially accept/reject the IEP and return the two signature pages (keeping the IEP for a personal copy) to the PPS Office in the self addressed stamped envelop that is provided to you. 

    If a parent partially or fully rejects an IEP, the school attended by the student will host a Resolution Meeting in an attempt to solve the differences.  The team may choose to write a new IEP, write an Amendment to the IEP, or the parent may choose to contact PQA (Program Quality Assurance at the Department of Education) to ask for a mediation meeting with the support of the DOE.

    Because we strive to create programs that meet the educational needs of our students, new programs are implemented when the need is identified.  For example, we have recently developed a multi-faceted Transition Program for students at the High School between the ages of 18 and 22 who have not passed MCAS and who will not receive a High School diploma.  These students are eligible to apply for the dual enrollment program with Holyoke Community College.  High School staff work in collaboration with HCC staff to provide students with transportation, materials, and staff supports.  For more information about out Transition Program, please see the tab on this subject.