To provide leadership, services and support that promote improved outcomes for all students
SPECIAL EDUCATION LINKS FOR PARENTS:
Ms. Aimee Turner, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
Title VI Coordinator, 504/ADA Coordinator, Aimee Turner
Director of Special Education
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
Ms. Lisa Baker, Secondary Special Education Coordinator
Special Education Department
Wallingford Public Schools
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Special Education
- Mental Health Resources
- Non-Discrimination and Accessibility
- Special Education Programs: ARTS
- Special Education Programs: Ben Haven ABC and ABC Plus @ James H. Moran and Parker Farms
- Special Education Programs: INSPIRE at Dag Middle School and Lyman Hall High School
- Special Education Programs: STARS @ Cook Hill, E.C. Stevens and Pond Hill
- Special Education Programs: Wallingford Transition Academy @ Quinnipiac University
- Special Education Programs: WISE Program at Mary G. Fritz and Highland
- Special Education PTAC
- Special Education Strategic Plan
- Support Services
- STEP- Gifted and Talented
- Improvement Plan
QUESTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED BY PARENTS
1. What are the special education programs available to students at various grade levels?
STARS (Specialized K-2 program for students with significant cognitive delays)
WISE Program (Specialized K-2 program for students who require significant behavioral support)
WISE Program (Specialized 3-5 program for students who require significant behavioral support)
INSPIRE Middle School and High School (Individual Support in Realistic Environments)
ARTS Academy Middle School and High School (Alternate Route to Success)
WTA (Wallingford Transition Academy)
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 Special Education PTAC meetings?
A letter to all parents is sent out on an annual basis to inform parents of Special Education PTAC meetings for the coming year. In addition, updated information can be found on the Special Education website. Parents who so request are added to the Special Education 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 Special Education Improvement Plan goals?
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.
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: WISE, STARS and ARTS Academy Middle/High School
- Ben Haven ABC and Ben Haven Intermediate Programs
- Wallingford Transition Academy
- Out-of-district public and private educational programs
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
The following are links that may be of interest to parents:
General Mental Health Resources:
Substance Abuse Resources:
Other Topical Resources:
Alternative Route to Success (A.R.T.S) Academy"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." (W. B. Yeats)
The ARTS (Alternative Route to Success) Academy 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
The program is located at Lyman Hall, Mark T. Sheehan, James H. Moran and Dag Hammarskjold schools.
For more information about the program please contact:
Elizabeth Perry-Bergstrom: Program Coordinator Lyman Hall High School; firstname.lastname@example.org, 203.294.6293
Tamara Kelly: Program Coordinator Mark T. Sheehan High School; email@example.com, 203.294.3932
Lori Blue: Social Worker James H. Moran /Dag Hammarskjold; firstname.lastname@example.org, 203.294.5900
Sean Caviston: Psychologist James H. Moran/Dag Hammarskjold; email@example.com, 203.294.3707
BEN HAVEN ABC and ABC PLUS
The Activity-Based Classroom (ABC, ABC Plus) program goal is to meet Wallingford’s need as a district in providing highly intensive, individualized instruction for students with Autism and other complex learning needs.
The program offers highly intensive, individualized programming for students within a public school setting at the elementary and middle school level.
Programs are designed to meet students’ individual needs while offering opportunities to be included with their same-age peers.
The program offers a unique opportunity to build academic, communication, and social skills in 1:1 or small group settings with a high student-staff ratio.
Staff are highly trained and experienced working with students with autism and other complex learning needs.
For more information contact:
Christa Jachym, Clinical Coordinator
Kristen Gionfriddo, ABC Plus Teacher at Moran Middle School
Jill Ciarciello, ABC Teacher at Parker Farms Elementary School
INSPIRE at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School and Lyman Hall High School is a specialized program for students requiring a combination of academic and life skill instruction. At Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, the program provides a small student to teacher ratio with a focus on providing opportunities for individualized programming. Related service staff work closely with the teacher to provide students with embedded skill instruction. In addition, students attend general education courses and electives as outlined by their Individualized Education Plan.
Building on the experiences at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, students at Lyman Hall High School are provided an increased opportunity to pursue individualized interests in general education classes while pursuing their high school diploma. Students within the INSPIRE program participate in special education classes focused on their individual academic needs as well as vocational and life skill development. A key component of the program is the collaboration of related service staff, special education teachers and families to develop and implement a long-term life course plan focused on student strengths, interests, skills and family vision of post-secondary plans.
For more information contact Aimee Turner firstname.lastname@example.org 203.294.5948
Angela Milewski Dag Hammarskjold Middle School/Lyman Hall School Special Education Department Head email@example.com 203.294.5312
The STARS program provides a small, structured classroom setting offering explicit, targeted instruction. Individualized instruction is provided in a 1:1 or small group service delivery model to promote a higher rate of skill acquisition. Students have the opportunity to generalize learned skills in the regular classroom setting when appropriate. All students have the opportunity to attend lunch, recess and specials with their grade level typical peers.
Each classroom is taught by a special education teacher and staffed with BTs (Behavior Technicians) and paraprofessionals. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) oversees the programs. Related services include a school psychologist, social worker, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist based on individual needs. A fully equipped sensory room and designated space for individual instruction is available. Data is collected and reviewed on a regular basis by special education providers and the BCBA to monitor and adjust individual academic and social behavioral goals and objectives.
Currently, the Wallingford Public Schools offers a PK-5 STARS program at Cook Hill Elementary, E.C. Stevens Elementary School and Pond Hill Elementary School.
WALLINGFORD TRANSITION ACADEMY
The Wallingford Transition Academy provides educational as well as supported vocational experiences which will help increase employment opportunities and further independence. In addition to academics, life skills and vocational skills, students in the academy participate in activities on the Quinnipiac University campus.
The goals of the WTA 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
- Master's Manna Food Pantry
For information about the WTA program, contact:
The WISE Program is an alternative special education program that keeps Wallingford Students in Wallingford Schools.
- instruction by certified staff
- counseling by the school social worker
- speech/language, occupational, and physical therapy services (as needed)
- daily, weekly, and monthly rewards.
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.
When we meet
We meet several times a year, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. virtually. All meetings are open to the public and we encourage your attendance.
Meeting Dates 2021 - 2022
- September 20, 2021 Meeting Agenda Presentation: Effective Communication
- November 4, 2021 Meeting Agenda, Presentation: Quality IEP's: Preparing for the PPT
- December 2, 2021 Presentation: Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8; Teaching Kids to Succeed
- January 6, 2022 Meeting Agenda, Presentation: Department Improvement Plan
- February 3, 2022 Gifted and Talented
- March 3, 2022
- April 7, 2022
- May 5, 2022
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:
- Tracey Butka, Secretary to the Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
- Cindy Sigovitch, Chairperson
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 Assistant Superintendent for Special Education. The address is:
Special Education Department
Wallingford Public Schools
100 South Turnpike Road
Wallingford, CT 06492
Goal 1: Ownership
Wallingford Public Schools will continue to provide leadership, supervision, and appropriate programming for all students with disabilities.
Goal 2: Curriculum and Instruction
The district will enhance the instructional program for all students receiving special education services.
Goal 3: Assessment
All district assessments will meet federal and state guidelines in appropriately identifying students with disabilities and in implementing IEPs.
Goal 4: Continuum of Instructional Services
All students will have access to a continuum of instructional services incorporating the tenets of Least Restrictive Environment.
Goal 5: Social/Emotional/Behavior
Expand support for the development of students' social, emotional and behavioral competencies.
Goal 6: Assistive Technology
Continue to assess the need and provide assistive technology to special education students to meet individual needs.
Goal 7: PARENT ENGAGEMENT
Expand parent engagement across the district to increase family involvement and participation in special education.
Goal 8: Fiscal Management
Maintain fiscally responsible practices to ensure grant and operating funds are budgeted and expended within state and federal guidelines.
The Special Education Department oversees support services for
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Advanced Placement (AP) courses
- Independent Study
for the Arts program Educational Center ConnecticutScholars 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 / High School Partnership Program Middlesex Community- Technical College Southern ConnecticutLanguage 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.