Wallingford Public Schools

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Pupil Personnel Services

Our Vision:

To provide leadership, services and support that promote improved outcomes for all students



A Parent's Guide to Special Education in Connecticut  

Procedural Safeguards



Ms. Aimee Turner, Director of Special Education
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT  06492
phone 203-294-5946
fax 203-294-5982

Title VI Coordinator, 504/ADA Coordinator, Aimee Turner
Director of Special Education
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492

Mailing Address:

Special Education Department
Wallingford Public Schools
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492



Frequently Asked Questions


1. What are the special education programs available to students at various grade levels?

Integrated Pre-School
STARS (Specialized K-2 program for students with significant cognitive delays)
Harvest Park Primary Program (Specialized K-2 program for students who require significant behavioral support) 
Harvest Park Elementary Program (Specialized 3-5 program for students who require significant behavioral support)
INSPIRE (Individual Support in Realistic Environments)
ARTS Academy (Alternate Route to Success)
ICE-T (Independent Community and Employment Transition Program)
Flexible Resource Rooms
Pull out/Push in Support
Other programming needs based on students’ IEPs

2. Are there specific written procedures established for transitioning from school to school?

Yes. There are very specific guidelines staff utilize when transitioning students from level to level such as pre-school to kindergarten, second grade to third, fifth grade to middle school, eighth grade to high school and then high school to post-secondary education. Transition PPT meetings which include staff from both sending and receiving schools are conducted. Teachers from sending and receiving schools also meet prior to these PPTs to discuss incoming students’ needs. PPS department heads play a key role in making sure students transition smoothly from school to school and individual student needs are addressed. Transitions from second to third grade do not usually require PPTs as programs from second to third grade generally remain the same. Individual student needs, however, are considered and addressed and an established procedure between sending and receiving schools at this level is followed as well.

3. What is “Futures” planning and when is it available to assist my child’s team with planning?

A Futures planning session is a meeting involving those closest to and with the greatest knowledge of the student. Planning meetings involve family members and school personnel as well as other significant people in the child’s life. The purpose of a Futures planning session is to identify hopes and dreams that each meeting participant has for the child as well as exploration of strengths and areas of challenge for the child. During this meeting participants identify support systems that need to be put in place for the student over time and specify responsible parties. Futures facilitators have been trained by the school district in this process and compile a Futures report following the planning session. Teams then use this report to guide their work with the child moving forward. Referral to a Futures Planning meeting is recommended by the PPT and generally a Futures meeting is three to four hours in length.

4. Where can I access a district directory inclusive of staff names, locations, and responsibilities?

You can find detailed staff information on the Wallingford Public Schools website.

5. How often can I meet with my child’s team and what other forms of communication are available for me to communicate with my child’s teachers?

Appropriate staff will be available to communicate with parents as necessary. Parent conferences, meetings, e-mails, phone calls, communication logs are all avenues for parent/teacher communication and can be arranged between teachers and parents. Communication during school hours may be more restrictive because of teachers’ teaching schedules.

6. What are helpful websites parents might access?

Please refer to PPS department web pages and individual staff pages found on the Wallingford Public Schools website for various links that can assist you with many of your questions. The Connecticut State Department of Education is a very detailed and informative website. One important resource available is the Parents Guide to Special Education

7. What community (local/regional/state) resources are available in areas like recreation, health and welfare, disability-friendly businesses, services?

There are links to many of these resources that can be found on the Wallingford Public Schools website. The Parks and Recreation department, YMCA, Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, DCT Voluntary Services and the Autism Resource Center are a few of the resources that are available to parents.

8. What are the procedures for dispute resolution (state, federal)? What resources are available for dispute resolution (low-cost legal assistance, advocates)?

Please refer to the Parent Procedural Safeguards document that is provided to or offered to parents at every annual review PPT meeting

9. What are essential timelines and due dates that must be met in the IEP process?

Many questions regarding the IEP process can be answered by reading through the Parent Procedural Safeguards and also the State Department of Special Education website. Generally, an annual review PPT must be held by the year anniversary of when the IEP was created. Goals and objectives must be reviewed and revised by this anniversary and a new IEP put in place. A triennial PPT must be held within three years of your child’s original evaluation which placed him/her in a special education program. An assessment must take place to ensure that your child continues to qualify for special education. Initial evaluations, prior to your child receiving special education or related services, must be completed and eligibility determined within 60 calendar days. There may be some exceptions to this rule in specific situations.

10. On the district website, could we have drop down menus with hyperlinks?

There currently are several drop down menus with hyperlinks on the PPS website.

11. Are reading/math intervention services available to special education students?

The specific services students receive are based on individual needs and should be discussed at your child’s PPT meeting.

12. What is assistive technology and how/when can assistive technology needs be determined and met?

Some students may require assistive technology in order to meet their IEP goals and objectives ranging from low technology tools such as utilizing visual schedules to higher technology such as communication devices. Assistive technology needs should be discussed at your child’s PPT.

13. How are parents contacted about PPS PTAC meetings?

A letter to all parents is sent out on an annual basis to inform parents of PPS PTAC meetings for the coming year. In addition, updated information can be found on the PPS website. Parents who so request are added to the PPS PTAC email list and receive meeting agendas and prior meeting minutes before each scheduled meeting.

14. How do I go about setting up a meeting with staff prior to a PPT?

Contact your child’s special education teacher to inquire about setting up meetings. When the purpose of the PPT is to review evaluation results it is encouraged that parents meet with evaluators to review testing results before the PPT meeting.

15. There are so many acronyms in education! What do they all mean?

A list of acronyms and their meanings is posted on the PPS website.  Click Here to view

16. What should I expect at a PPT?

That really depends on the purpose of the PPT. For an annual review you should expect that teachers working with your child review progress and create a revised IEP based on the present needs of your child. At a triennial PPT you can expect staff to review all assessment results to determine whether your child continues to qualify for special education. If your child continues to qualify for services, a revised IEP will be developed to meet your child’s current needs. The purpose of each PPT is indicated on the PPT Meeting Notice which you receive at least 5 days prior to the PPT.

17. What is SRBI/EIP process? Can you describe this?

This is a regular education process to provide struggling students with appropriate interventions targeting students’ individual educational needs. For more information on this process contact your child’s regular education teacher or go to the Connecticut Department of Education website or by accessing the Family Guide to Connecticut's Framework for RTI.

18. What is a Universal Screening? What’s Progress monitoring?

Universal screening refers to those assessments conducted by the school system and administered to all students in a grade level or course. Screening results are used to identify areas for intervention for large or small groups of students, or targeted intervention areas for individual students. Progress monitoring means regular, specific assessment or re-assessment of skill(s), and subsequent analysis of progress. Progress can be evaluated relative to self (individual improvement) or group (comparison of individual growth to cohort growth).

19. What is a 504 versus an IEP? What is the difference?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a broad civil rights law intended to prevent discrimination/denial of access based upon disability. A 504 plan outlines accommodations to the school environment necessary to assure equal access/prevent discrimination. IDEA has a more narrow definition of disability, and guarantees access to and participation in a Free and Appropriate Public Education, provided, to the maximum extent appropriate, in typical education environments and with typical peers. The IEP’s focus is more upon specialized instruction rather than environmental accommodations.  View  Frequently Asked Questions about 504 and IDEA for more information.

20. How can I build in better communication with my child’s IEP team for updates on student progress? 

There are many times for progress updates throughout the year, not just at report card time. Mid-term progress is reviewed by teachers approximately half-way through the marking period, and grade level teams often meet to review data monthly. An email at the beginning of the year to inquire about already established progress review points would be a great place to start the discussion of improved/more frequent communication. Arrangements can be made informally to include parents in those updates/reviews, or planned contact can be established through the PPT process.

21. How do I read the IEP? What does each page mean?

Included in the ‘Welcome Packet” is a general description of each page of the IEP. If you don’t have a copy of the Welcome Packet, contact the PPS office. In addition, you can go to the Connecticut State Department of Special Education website or make an appointment with your child’s special education teacher to help you with specific questions.

22. How does the transition from elementary to middle school work?

There is a set process for transitioning children from elementary to middle school which includes frequent communication between regular and special education staff at both sending and receiving schools and elementary and middle school PPS department heads. Visits to the middle school are arranged for all students by the regular education teachers but additional visits for special education students are often arranged. Prior to the transition, a PPT is always held at the middle school with both elementary and middle school staff. Parents should contact special education teachers and/or PPS department heads with specific questions.

23. How can I view the PPS Improvement Plan goals?

PPS Improvement Plan Goals (posted on the district website)

24. What services are provided to students to help them prepare for the transition to life after high school and what can parents do to assist students in this process?

Under the individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), transition planning is required as part of your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) at the annual PPT meeting following your child's 15th birthday, or earlier if determined appropriate by the Planning and Placement Team (PPT). Parents and guardians can work closely with school personnel to insure that appropriate goals in such areas as self-advocacy, preparation for college or other post-secondary education, employment readiness, and independent living are included in the IEP. Transition resources provided by the Connecticut Department of Education, including the publication Building a Bridge: A Transition Manual for Students and Transition Bill of Rights for Parents of Students Receiving Special Education Services

25. What can parents of special education students expect to happen in any given year? What meetings will there be throughout the year?

Parents can expect that their children will receive specially designed instruction to meet their individual needs. Parents, administrators, related service staff, special and regular education teachers work as a team throughout the year providing appropriate services to your child. Each year an annual review PPT will take place. You and the other team members will talk about your child’s progress towards the goals and objectives in the current IEP and develop an IEP for the next year. The team should consider your child’s strengths, any concerns you might have, the results of any evaluations, and any behaviors that interfere with your child’s learning.

26. When can you call a PPT?

A PPT can be convened at any time the parent or school staff has concerns or issues that may result in the revision of a student’s IEP. The parents and school staff may also agree to amend an IEP without convening a PPT if there are only minor changes being proposed to the IEP.

27. What is the specific role of each specialist who works with my child?

The role of each specialist (special education teacher, speech pathologist, school psychologist, social worker, occupational therapist, physical therapist, etc.) is to target identified student needs in their area of specialty requiring the development of IEP goals and objectives.

28. What is the process I follow when I feel that my child’s plan is not going well?

Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s special education teacher/case manager as the first step to discuss any concern involving student programming. The parent may contact the special education department head or the school principal if the concerns do not seem to be resolved within a reasonable amount of time. Ongoing communication with your child’s service providers will be very helpful in preventing lingering concerns regarding your child’s progress on his/her IEP goals and objectives. Consultation with the Special Education Coordinators or Director of PPS may also be helpful in resolving on-going programming concerns.

29. When is it more appropriate to ask for a parent/teacher or team meeting versus a PPT meeting?

It is appropriate to convene a PPT at any time to discuss programming concerns that may result in revisions to your child’s IEP. It would also be necessary to convene a PPT if evaluations are going to be reviewed or recommended. It would be appropriate to convene a parent conference at any time to discuss student progress and/or concerns that would not require any changes to the student’s IEP.

30. What is the role of the case manager?

The case manager is responsible for overseeing the implementation of your child’s IEP and for sharing all necessary IEP related information with staff members who will be involved in the implementation of your child’s IEP. Your child’s case manager also serves as your primary contact for any concerns you may have regarding your child’s IEP.

31. How do I know when my child no longer needs special education?

A student is exited from special education when he/she masters IEP goals and objectives and no longer requires specialized instruction and accommodations in order to access the general education curriculum. A student may also be exited from special education if he/she no longer meets the eligibility criteria through the re-evaluation process.


Mental Health Resources

Non-Discrimination and Accessibility

Special Education Programs- ARTS Academy

Alternative Route to Success (A.R.T.S) Academy at Lyman Hall

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." (W. B. Yeats)

The ARTS (Alternative Route to Success) Academy at Lyman Hall provides:

  • A highly structured daily schedule
  • A small teacher-to-student ratio to ensure that students receive more individual attention and develop closer personal connections with adults
  • A safe, caring, and nurturing environment where students are taught the importance of tolerance and where everyone works to improve their skills at resolving conflicts peacefully and equitably
  • An integrated curriculum that parallels that of the other Wallingford middle and high schools, which includes an emphasis on the use of technology as a vital learning tool
  • Participation in frequent community service activities which help students to make connections with various groups of people in the community, to experience the satisfaction of seeing their own efforts benefit others, and to develop practical skills
  • An occupational education course team-taught by the teachers, school psychologist, and guidance counselor in order to assist students in their growth as learners, workers, and contributing members of their families and community
  • For older students, assistance in establishing and maintaining a successful work experience
  • A team approach to the education of the whole individual, in which all staff members contribute in consistent ways to support specific developmental goals for students
  • Assistance for students in identifying and working toward goals that will move them toward a successful transition to their next educational or vocational situation
  • Open and frequent communication with students' families in order to work cooperatively in support of the students' learning and personal goals
To see the ARTS Academy Climate Plan, click here

Special Education Programs- WISE Program at Mary Fritz Elementary and Highland

The WISE Program is an alternative special education program that keeps Wallingford Students in Wallingford Schools.

We provide special education services to elementary students that have been determined appropriate by the Planning and Placement Team in a small, highly structured environment with a behavior modification program and token economy to help stabilize and change behaviors.
Students in the program receive:
  • instruction by certified staff
  • counseling by the school social worker
  • speech/language, occupational, and physical therapy services (as needed)
  • daily, weekly, and monthly rewards.
For more information about the WISE Program, contact:
Aimee Turner Director of Special Education  
(203) 294-5948
To contact program staff:
Christine Hall, School Social Worker, chhall@wallingfordschools.org, (203) 284-6920
Emilee Ziolkowski, Special Education and Classroom Teacher, eziolkowski@wallingfordschools.org, (203) 284-6921

Special Education Programs- ICE-T at Masonicare

The Independent Community & Employment Training Program (ICE-T) Transition Program provides supported vocational experiences which will help increase employment opportunities and further independence.

The goals of the ICE-T Program are

  • To provide work experiences within the Wallingford community where job skills necessary for employment can be developed.
  • To help students generalize appropriate attitudes and behaviors necessary for successful transitions into working environments.
  • To guide students with self-assessment activities & perform situational assessments in order to explore their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses & aptitudes.
  • To provide real life experiences that promote problem solving, high order thinking skills and strategies necessary for successful transition to adult life.

Students participate in experiences at job sites in the local community, which have included these locations:

  • All Pets Club
  • Mobile Theatre & Security
  • Gaylord Rehabilitation Hospital
  • IGA East Center Market
  • Olympia Sports
  • Elizabeth’s Bakery
  • Black Horse Stables
  • The Breakfast Nook
  • Walgreens
  • Master's Manna Food Pantry

For information about the ICE-T Program, contact:

Kristen Wynus

Special Education Programs- INSPIRE at Dag Middle School

Special Education PTAC

What is PTAC (Parent Teacher Advisory Council)?

We are parents and teachers who advise the Special Education Director on all school matters except personnel performance.

PTAC Officers

When we meet

We meet several times a year, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room at 100 South Turnpike Road.  All meetings are open to the public and we encourage your attendance.

Meeting Dates 2019 - 2020

  • September 16, 2019 - IEP 101 (Nuts and Bolts of IEP's), presented by Aimee Turner, Director of PPS
  • October 21, 2019 - Section 504 or an IEP?, presented by CT Parent Advocacy Center, CPAC
    This session is 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Registration is required.  You can register by phone 860-739-3089, email:  cpac@cpacinc.org,
    online:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/section-504-or-an-iep-tickets-71984400279
  • November 18, 2019 - Role of the Family in the PPT Process, presented by CT Parent Advocacy Center, CPAC
    This session is 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Registration is required.  You can register by phone 860-739-3089, email:  cpac@cpacinc.org,
    online:  https://eventbrite.com/e/role-of-the-family-in-the-ppt-process-tickets-72867529743
  • January 16, 2020 - Understanding Challenging Behavior, presented by CT Parent Advocacy Center, CPAC
  • February 18, 2020 - Transitions 101, presented by CT Parent Advocacy Center, CPAC
  • March 16, 2020 - Crisis Intervention Supports for Parents
  • April 7, 2020 - Special Education Resource Fair, Location TBA
  • May 28, 2020 - DDS:  How Do I Access the System?, presented by CT Department of Developmental Services, DDS


PTAC Bylaws

Click here to see a copy of the PTAC bylaws

How to add an item to the agenda

If you would like to add an item to the PTAC agenda, please forward it to the Special Education Director. It will be added to the next meeting’s agenda.

Meeting Agendas and Minutes

If interested in accessing either agendas or meeting minutes please contact either:

How to become a member

All parents and teachers are invited to participate. Any parent who attends is a member. PTAC officers help run and organize the meetings.

How to reach us

You may send mail to us in care of the Special Education Director. The address is:

Special Education Department
Wallingford Public Schools
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 0649

Special Education Strategic Plan


Goal 1: Ownership

The WPS will provide leadership, supervision and appropriate programming for the needs of all students.

Goal 2: Curriculum and Instruction

The district will enhance the instructional program for all students receiving special education services.

Goal 3: Assessment

All assessments will meet Federal and State guidelines in appropriately identifying students and servicing IEPs.

Goal 4: Continuum of Instructional Services

All students will have access to a continuum of instructional services incorporating the tenets of Least Restricted Environment.

Goal 5: Communication

The Pupil Personnel Services Department will expand communication with all educational stakeholders around policy, process, and procedure.

Goal 6: Ongoing Professional Development

The district will support long and short term professional development of both regular and special education in order to deliver instructional services required in student IEPs.

Support Services

The Special Education Department oversees support services for Wallingford students that are provided by the following service providers:

Special Education

Federal and state regulations require school districts to evaluate, identify, and program educationally for students with identified disabilities, ages 3-21.

The Wallingford Public Schools provide a continuum of services, which includes:

  • Inclusion in all schools
  • Pull-out or integrated speech and language, social work and occupational and physical therapy services
  • Homebound and in-school tutoring and flexible programming
  • K-12 Alternative Special Education Programs: Harvest Park Elementary and ARTS Academy Middle/High School
  • Integrated Pre-school at Cook Hill School
  • Independent Community & Employment Training (ICE-T) Transition Program
  • Out-of-district public and private educational programs

STEP- Gifted and Talented

Here you will find information about the gifted and talented program in Wallingford, STEP. There is a description of the programs available at each level, a list of the teachers at the middle and high schools, information about participation, and a list of web resources.

Participation criteria are based upon academic achievement, standardized testing, and task commitment. For more information, contact your child's school.
*Criteria is currently under review for possible revision. Changes will be posted in the spring.

STEP Program

The Wallingford Public Schools strive to meet the needs of all students including those students who possess outstanding academic gifts. Thus, the district will maintain gifted and talented programs which are based on the premise that high potential students deserve special opportunities to enhance and develop their gifts and/or talents.

Underlying the town of Wallingford’s school program is the philosophy that education should provide for the maximum development of each individual. Programs for the gifted and talented are thus a part of a continuum of services offered to all children from the profoundly handicapped to the exceptionally gifted.

Elementary School

The Student Enrichment Program seeks to unlock the potential of gifted students. Through project-based activities, addressing a broad variety of learning styles and skills, students are challenged to accelerate and to expand their school-based experiences out into the real world. Students are encouraged to think critically and creatively, identify and solve problems through invention, and take intellectual risks in a safe environment. Additionally, an independent research project prepares them for the challenges of Middle School.

Students identified by the district as being gifted receive small-group instruction twice every six days.

Middle School

As a continuation of the elementary program, The Student Enrichment Program seeks to unlock the potential of gifted students through project-based activities, addressing a broad variety of learning styles and skills. Students are challenged to accelerate and expand their school-based experiences out into the real world. Students are encouraged to think critically and creatively, argue effectively, work cooperatively, solve problems, and take intellectual risks in a safe environment.

Students meet two to three times per week during the “specials” period; academic core classes are not affected by participation in STEP.

High School

While there is no formal Gifted and Talented program at the high school, there are numerous advanced educational opportunities. Some of these include:
  • Advanced Placement (AP) courses
  • Independent Study
  • Educational Center for the Arts program
  • Connecticut Scholars Program
  • Bristol- Myers Squibb Laboratory Science Internships
  • Bristol- Myers Squibb Summer Science Program Scholarships
  • New Haven- Yale Saturday Seminar
  • Yale- New Haven Summer High School
  • Middlesex Community- Technical College/ High School Partnership Program
  • Southern Connecticut Language and Culture Exposure Program
  • UCONN Co-op Program

These programs are available at both schools. Information about all of these opportunities is available in your Program of Studies handbook or by contacting the appropriate school.