Pupil Personnel Services
Dear Students and Families of the Sprague Public Schools,
It is with great excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the new Director of Pupil Personnel Services for Sprague Public Schools. I am honored to have been named the new Director in this great school community and to lead a talented department devoted to serving students and their families. In just a few short weeks, I’ve learned about the systems and structures in place to support students and their families. In upcoming weeks and months, I look forward to continuing these conversations, listening and learning more, and through close collaboration with colleagues, students, and families, I’ll prioritize areas of focus as I create a plan for our work together.
Please enjoy these last few days of summer. You will be contacted by your child’s case manager once teachers return from summer break and have a chance to settle in. If this information leaves you with any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to reach me by phone at 860.822.8264 ext. 228 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to meeting you and collaborating to ensure an engaging, happy and successful school year for you and your children.
Director of Pupil Personnel Services
The Sprague Public Schools partners with a number of programs which provide services for children ages birth to their third birthday. We work exceptionally hard to ensure all children have the foundations for life-long learning, and to work with our local providers to successfully transition students from birth to three services to our preschool program at Sayles School.
Birth to Three Providers
Documents for Families:
Please feel free to read these documents online, or click to download or print.
Connecticut families with children 0-5 years old can use Download Sparkler’s mobile app for free to check in on their children’s development, learn through play, and tap into a network of support from 211 Child Development and Help Me Grow. Sparkler is available in English and Spanish. It offers families tools to monitor children’s social-emotional, cognitive, communication, and physical development, including the Ages & Stages Questionnaires®, as well as suggestions for play-based learning activities to support children’s development.
Download: You can download Sparkler from the Google Play Store if you have an Android phone or tablet or from the Apple App Store if you use an iPhone or iPad.
Register: Open the app and tap “Create a New Account.” Enter the Sparkler Access Code CT on the first step of registration to access developmental screening and to access Connecticut-specific resources and support. Answer the questions to create an account for yourself and a profile for your child. You must enter your child’s birthday correctly because Sparkler assigns screenings and other content based on your child’s age.
Questions? Please email your district (email@example.com) or contact Sparkler.
Sprague is home to two parochial schools. St. Joseph's School (https://www.stjosephschoolbaltic.com/) and the Academy of the Holy Family (https://ahfbaltic.com/)
Any student with a disability who is attending a private school or facility located in the District and is eligible for special education and related services (parentally-placed private school students) may be considered for a service plan. Parentally placed private school students do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and/or related services they would receive if they were enrolled in the District.
Under the IDEA, the District has the responsibility to provide parentally-placed private school students an opportunity for equitable participation in the services funded with Federal Part B funds. How, where, and by whom any special education and related services will be provided for parentally-placed private school students is determined during the consultation process (described in the next section). After timely and meaningful consultation with private school staff and parents of children with disabilities, the District will make the final decisions about all aspects of services to be made available to the population of students with disabilities attending private schools or facilities located in the District. The amount of funds available for these services is based on the District’s proportionate share calculation. If the parents or private school officials disagree with the decision of the District as to the services, they may pursue resolution via the State’s Complaint Resolution Process.
The Proportionate share calculation is based off of a 2-year IDEA grant cycle. To calculate proportionate share, the total number of students qualifying for a service plan at parochial schools is taken in comparison with the total number of students qualifying for an individual education plan with the Sprague Public Schools.
For Example: If 5 students who attend a parochial school qualify for service plans, and 35 students qualify for individual education plans in the local public district, we calculate the proportion of students out of the total. 5 / 40 = .125, or 12.5%. Therefore, the parochial school would receive a minimum of 12.5% of the total IDEA grant award.
Below are totals for the IDEA grant awards for local parochial schools for the 2020-2022 and 2021-2023 grant cycles. These are based off of the proportionate share as of October 1 of each school year.
- 2020-2022 St. Joseph's School: $10,045.00
- 2020-2022 Academy of the Holy Family: $0.00
- 2021-2023 St. Joseph's School: $8,631.00
- 2021-2023 Academy of the Holy Family: $0.00
IF YOUR FAMILY LIVES IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:
In a shelter.
In a motel or campground due to the lack of an alternative adequate accommodation.
In a car, park, abandoned building, or bus or train station.
Doubled up with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship.
Your eligible children have the right to:
Receive a free, appropriate public education.
Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference. * If the school district believes that the school you select is not in the best interest of your children, then the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal its decision.
Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if you request this.
Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to your children’s needs.
Your school-age children may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please call or email Brynn Lipstreu, McKinney-Vento Liaison for the Sprague Public Schools. 860-822-8264 X228 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need further assistance with your children’s educational needs, contact the National Center for Homeless Education: 1-800-308-2145 email@example.com http://nche.ed.gov
Special Education is full of terms and acronyms. Below is a small list of some of the more common terms, and their definitions.
Special Education Terms and Definitions
Accommodations – Supports and services that a student may need to successfully demonstrate learning. Accommodations should not change grade level curriculum expectations. Examples include preferential seating, access to a calculator, extra time for tests, etc..
Alternative Assessment – Use of assessment strategies, such as performance assessment and portfolios, to replace or supplement assessment by machine-scored multiple choice tests.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – The practice of applying the psychological principles of learning theory in a systemic way to change behavior.
Assistive Technology (AT) – Any item or piece of equipment, either purchased or created, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) – A plan that takes the observations made in a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and turns them into a concrete plan of action for managing a student’s behavior. It may include ways to change the environment, provide positive reinforcement, employ planned ignoring, and provide support needed for the student.
Discrete Trial Training (DTT) – An intensive, structured method of providing intervention that has four distinct parts: (1) the trainer’s presentation, (2) the child’s response, (3) the consequence, and (4) a short pause between consequences and the next instruction. The method breaks down learning tasks into small specific pieces that build skills.
Evaluation – Tests and other assessment procedures, including a review of records, used to determine eligibility for special education services, as well as determining what services your child may need.
Extended School Year (ESY) - Services provided to a student with a disability during the summer break to help them to maintain the academic, social/behavioral, communication, or other skills learned as a part of their individualized education program (IEP) during the school year.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - Federal law that affords parents the right to access their child’s educational records, the right to seek to have records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information. When a student turns 18 years old, the rights under FERPA transfer to him/her.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) - Students with disabilities must be provided with a free educational program that is individualized, meets the child’s unique needs, provides access to the general curriculum, and meets grade level standards. To provide FAPE, schools must provide an education, including specialized instruction and related services, which prepare the child for further education, employment, and independent living.
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) – An assessment that identifies specific target behaviors, determines the purpose of the behavior, as well as what factors maintain the behavior that is interfering with learning. This information is then used to create an individualized Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).
Individualized Education Program (IEP) – A written document that is developed for students who qualify for special education by the Planning and Placement Team (PPT). It describes the student’s current performance, and delineates what services the student will receive based upon their specific needs, as well as specifies when and who will provide these services. This plan is updated annually.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) – Requires school districts to the maximum extent appropriate education children with disabilities with children who are not disabled. Removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the regular class with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
Manifestation Determination - Before an expulsion can be initiated within a school system for a student with a disability who has violated the school’s code of conduct, the PPT must conduct a "manifest determination." In this meeting they must determine whether the behavior exhibited by the student that resulted in expulsion was a result of the disability.
Modifications – Changes made to curriculum expectations when a student’s level of ability warrants. Modifications vary dependent upon student need, but must be clearly written in the students’ IEP.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) – a way for schools to encourage good behavior. With PBIS, kids learn about behavior, just as they learn other subjects like math or science. The key to PBIS is prevention, not punishment. Strategies include clearly prompting, modeling, practicing, and encouraging positive social skills across all settings and with all students.
Prior Written Notice – parents have the right to receive prior written notice in writing from the school each time that the school proposes to take (or refuses to take) certain actions with respect to their child. In Connecticut prior written notice is attached to the IEP. The proposed action(s) cannot take place until five school days from the date that the parent has received the notice.
Related Services – services required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, including speech-language, psychological services, occupational and physical therapy.
Planning and Placement Team (PPT) – A team of education professionals along with the parents, who are equal participants in the decision making process to determine the specific educational needs of the child. This team works together to develop, review and revise a child’s IEP. This team also reviews referrals, determines if a child needs to be evaluated, decides what evaluations will be completed, and determines if the child qualifies for special education services.
Supplementary Aids and Services – Aids, services, program modifications, and/or supports for school personnel that are provided in general education classroom or other educational settings to enable students with disabilities to be educated with their peers.
Read below for information regarding what special education and section 504 is, how they are similar and different, and other pertinent questions for parents.
What is Special Education?
Special education is provided to a child with an identified disability who needs specially designed instruction to meet his/her unique needs and to enable the child to access the general curriculum of the school district. A child who is eligible for special education services is entitled by federal law to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). FAPE ensures that all students with disabilities receive an appropriate public education at no cost to the family. FAPE differs from student to student because each has unique needs. As a parent of a child who has or who may have a disability that requires specially designed instruction, you will work with a team of educators and, as appropriate, specialists to determine the needs of your child and to design an appropriate program to address your child’s educational needs.
What is a 504?
Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is designed to help parents of students with physical or mental impairments in public schools, or publicly funded private schools, work with educators to design customized educational plans. These 504 plans legally ensure that students will be treated fairly at school.
Students can qualify for 504 plans if they have physical or mental impairments that affect or limit any of their abilities to:
- walk, breathe, eat, or sleep
- communicate, see, hear, or speak
- read, concentrate, think, or learn
- stand, bend, lift, or work
What is the difference between and IEP and a 504?
A 504 plan is different from an individualized education program (IEP). The main difference is that a 504 plan modifies a student’s regular education program in a regular classroom setting. A 504 plan is monitored by classroom teachers. A student with an IEP, as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), may receive different educational services in a special or regular educational setting, depending on the student’s need. IEP programs are delivered and monitored by additional school support staff.
While the procedures are different, the goal of and 504 and an IEP is the same: to ensure that students with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education that is comparable to the education available to their non-disabled peers.
IEP plans under IDEA cover students who qualify for Special Education. Section 504 covers students who don’t meet the criteria for special education but who still require some accommodations. A student is eligible for a 504 plan as long he/she currently has or has had a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity. A student is eligible for an IEP is they have a disability which requires specialized services in addition to accommodations and/or modifications to their educational program.
What are related services?
Related services are those services that are required in order for a child to benefit from special education. Related services may include, but not be limited to, psychological and counseling services, speech and language services, audiological services, guidance, social work, transportation, physical and occupational therapy and medical services that are required for diagnostic or evaluation purposes.
How am I notified of my child’s rights?
You must be given a copy of Steps to Protect a Child’s Right to Special Education: Procedural Safeguards in Special Education one time each year that your child receives special education. Additionally, a copy must be given to you when: your child is referred for an initial evaluation or you request an evaluation; you file a complaint or request a due process hearing; or you request a copy.
Who is eligible for special education and related services?
To be eligible for special education and related services: Your child must be between 3 and 21 years old; Your child must have one or more of the following disabilities, determined by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004):
- Developmental delay (for 3- to 5-year-olds, inclusive)
- Emotional disturbance
- Hearing impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Multiple disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Other health impairment (limited strength, vitality or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as lead poisoning, asthma, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, a heart condition, hemophilia, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome) • Physical impairment;
- Specific learning disability
- Specific learning disability / Dyslexia
- Speech or language impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual impairment including blindness
The disability must adversely affect your child’s educational performance; and as a result; your child requires a specially designed instructional program to address his or her unique educational needs. A district is not required, but has the option of, providing services to a child who has been identified as being gifted and/or talented.
What about children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools?
Children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that he or she would receive if enrolled in a public school. The school district in which the private school is located is responsible for providing what special education services it designates to children with disabilities placed by their parents in the private elementary or secondary schools in its town.