Wrentham Public Schools offers a continuum of programs and services for students with special needs ages 3 through grade 6 who are found eligible according to the criteria set forth in the Massachusetts Special Education Regulations and the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). Specialized instruction and/or related services are provided to students as deemed appropriate by each student's IEP Team. All in-district special education students are assigned to a general education homeroom, and they are included to the extent possible with their typical peers.
Project Blossom Integrated Preschool at the Delaney School offers a variety of morning and afternoon options for students ages 3-5. Sub-separate extended day sessions are also available for students with more intensive special needs as determined by their IEP Teams. The primary focus of Project Blossom is to develop students' cognitive, academic readiness, language, motor, and social-emotional skills within an inclusive learning environment. Students with disabilities are supported both individually and in small groups, and may receive related or specialized services such as Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Applied Behavior Analysis.
Developmental Learning Program:
This program in the Delaney Elementary School support young students with developmental and/or cognitive learning delays. Students are included with their same age peers to the extent possible throughout the school day, and generally receive either full or partial academic instruction in a small group setting within a special education classroom. Specialized instruction is highly individualized, and may include Applied Behavior Analysis, and/or related services, such as Speech/Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, or Physical Therapy. A low student to staff ratio allows opportunities for student success academically, socially, and emotionally.
Inclusion / Resource Support:
Students with disabilities who are fully included in grades K-6 receive less than 21% of their specialized instruction/related services outside of the general education classroom setting. These students typically have low to moderate levels of need and require specific accommodations, modifications, or organizational support in order to make effective progress accessing grade level curriculum.
Special education teachers and paraprofessionals provide support for reading, writing, and math, content area curriculum, and study/organizational skills. Special educators collaborate closely with the general education teachers to develop comprehensive, integrated services that may include flexible grouping, or co-teaching, to support differentiated instruction for all students. Inclusion support may also be provided by related service therapists, or school adjustment counselors. Based on students' IEPs, direct instruction by the special education teachers outside of the general education classroom may include specialized instruction either individually or within small groups. Academic support may also be provided as needed for students who require preview/review of skills and concepts, organizational strategies, or use of assistive technology tools.
Academic Language-Based Learning Program:
This structured, academic language-based program is available at both the Delaney and Roderick Elementary Schools. It provides intensive, specially designed instruction that is individualized based on student needs, whose placement is typically partial inclusion. Pacing and presentation of the instruction, curriculum materials, and approaches are highly specialized to meet the needs of students with more significant academic delays and language-based learning disabilities. In addition to providing academic instruction, the development of a positive attitude, self-esteem, and self-confidence are important goals for each student. Providing students with opportunities for success academically, socially, and emotionally are all essential components of this program. Students are recommended for an academic language-based program by their IEP Teams, and may also receive related services if identified in their IEPs. The special educators and therapists collaborate regularly and provide integrated services whenever possible.
Social-Behavioral / Autism Program:
This program is available for students who have autism or other social-behavioral needs and may require the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to make progress. Each student's program is individualized to his/her social, behavioral, and academic needs, with varying amounts of: inclusion, social skills practice, behavioral supports, and/or intensive instruction within the school day. The general education curriculum is modified when needed to ensure student success. For those students who are working on foundational skills, programs are based on a curriculum that focuses on specific tasks, and follows a developmental sequence.
Inclusion opportunities are based on each student's strengths and behavioral challenges; the goal of providing adult support in inclusion is to increase the student's independence with behavior regulation and social/academic abilities, while fading out the additional support. Social skills instruction is necessary for many students with this profile; teaching socially appropriate skills is key to replacing challenging behaviors and ensuring a more successful inclusion experience. Students' challenging behaviors are managed using positive behavior support plans, which require staff training in correct implementation. The program also offers intensive academic instruction in a sub-separate classroom for those students who are unable to make effective progress in the general education setting due to their unique learning style. This classroom space is also available for any of the students in the program who are fully included, as a quiet place to calm down and regain behavioral control before returning to the general education setting.
Massachusetts DESE approved educational collaborative schools and private special education schools are available to students with special needs as determined necessary by students' IEP Teams.
Speech-language pathologists conduct evaluations as part of the team process to identify students' strengths and areas of need and to assist in determining eligibility for special education and related services. They develop Individualized Education Programs to address students' needs and provide accommodations to help students access the curriculum. Speech-language pathologists also provide short term interventions to general education students who require specific skill instruction. Indirect services include consultation with teachers, special educators, audiologists, counselors, and parents. Home programs may be developed for parents to promote carryover of skills. Direct speech and language services may be provided to students in their classrooms or in a separate setting. Students are typically seen in small groups but may be seen individually as well.
Occupational Therapy services include evaluation of students to determine if they are in need of direct services to assist them in meeting the curriculum of the school setting. Occupational therapy addresses the areas of fine motor coordination, motor planning, visual perceptual/visual motor skills, sensory processing skills, attention, gross motor coordination and the management of body in space, and functional life skills. Services may be delivered in a variety of ways including the following: direct service within the classroom, direct service in a separate setting, and consultation services with the staff that works with the student. Occupational Therapists also provide short term interventions to general education students who require specific skill instruction.
Physical therapy interventions are designed to enable the student to travel throughout the school environment; participate in classroom activities; maintain and change positions in the classroom; as well as manage stairs, restrooms, and the cafeteria. Interventions may be provided through consultation to school staff and families, direct service in the classroom or motor room, or accommodations for access to the school environment: classroom, playground, gym.
Counseling and Behavioral Support:
A variety of counseling and behavioral support services are provided across general and special education, and are invaluable to students, teachers, and administrators. The school psychologists, adjustment counselors, and district behaviorist are proactive in their approach to supporting students who experience social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties, which reduces the amount of disciplinary referrals to the school principals. These services include consultation with teachers, parents, and outside therapists, student observations, classroom lessons, behavioral assessments, and individual intervention plans. Weekly groups are also available for students that focus on topics such as developing social skills, coping with anxiety, dealing with grief and loss, and family change.
Audiology and Vision Consultation:
Wrentham contracts with an educational audiologist from The Outreach Partnership Program (TOPP) at The Learning Center for the Deaf, who addresses the specific needs of students with hearing aids and cochlear implants at the Delaney and Roderick Elementary Schools. She provides a support system for monitoring deaf and hard of hearing students' academic and developmental progress, consults and trains teachers and specialists, and administers assessments / student observations, and attends Team meetings as needed.
A Vision Specialist is contracted as needed through The Carroll Center for the Blind for students who have visual impairments. She provides a support system for monitoring these students' academic and developmental progress, consults with teachers and specialists, and observes students, and attends Team meetings as needed.
Assistive Technology is "any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." (IDEA 2004) The members of the Assistive Technology Team assist the IEP/504 Teams in determining if a student needs assistive technology devices and/or services to receive FAPE. They observe the student, and consult with the student's liaison and general education teacher to select appropriate low-tech, mid-tech, or high-tech tools that may reduce / remove a barrier caused by the student's disability.
Specialized transportation is provided between the home and the school for students when the student requires this type of transportation as a result of his or her disability in order to benefit from special education. All students enrolled in out-of-district placements are provided with transportation, unless their parents have opted to drive them and receive mileage reimbursement.