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Director's Message
Message from the Director of Special Services, Suzanne Wright

The Special Services Department embraces the mission of the North Branford Schools as a proud and caring community that strives to prepare all students to be capable and confident life-long learners. Students with disabilities are provided special education and related services to support them in achieving success in school and the community. We strongly believe that all children can learn and be successful. Special Services staff members work closely with classroom teachers to achieve the Strategic Objective that all students meet or exceed state or system performance standards or the goals identified in their Individual Education Plans.

The Special Services Department has expanded the continuum of services for students with disabilities through the development of the Life Skills, Bridges and School to Work programs, the addition of special education teachers and paraprofessionals, increased course offerings, including on-line course options in the Bridges program at North Branford High School, the use of assistive technology as well as extracurricular activities such as Unified Sports Teams and Best Buddies, and transition activities such as the Coffee Coop, School Store, and partnerships for vocational experiences in the community.

There continues to be a strong emphasis on the development of reading skills through the use of research based methods. Special Education teachers at all levels have received extensive professional development in the use of multisensory structured language instruction and other evidence based practices.

Services to support high school students as they transition to secondary education or employment have been expanded by incorporating activities into the instructional program provided in classrooms and resource rooms. In addition, the Transition Coordinator and job coach work closely with students and teachers at North Branford High School and the School to Work Program to provide vocational experiences on the high school campus, as well as within the community.

Support services provided by related service staff include speech and language,counseling, occupational and physical therapy. The Special Services Department conducts comprehensive evaluations to determine students’ eligibility for special education as well as to monitor student progress.

Communication with parents is very important in developing Individual Education Plans and monitoring student progress. Staff members communicate with parents at meetings, Open House and Parent Teacher conferences, or through telephone, email or the use of communication books. In addition, the Special Services Department publishes a newsletter, Special Education News and Discussion (SEND), once each year to provide information to parents of students with disabilities. The newsletter is sent to each family of a student that receives special education services and is posted on the district website. The Special Services Department will continue to work in collaboration with classroom teachers, families and the community to support students in reaching their goals!