Special Education at Ruth Chaffee is comprised of staff members who along with the classroom teachers help identified students succeed in their learning and daily skills.
Explore Program - Mrs. Kimberly Ann Luiz - Ext. 318 (Voicemail 666-3394 - Ext. 215)
The gifted education specialist guides the interests and directs the activities of academically advanced students to facilitate their individual development. The teacher works with students in the explore enrichment program for one hour per week of instruction outside the regular classroom. The gifted education specialist consults with classroom teachers to collaborate on orbital studies, classroom units and differentiated instruction and assignments.
ELL - English Language Learners - Mrs. Laurie Bruno and Mrs. Beth Allen - Ext. 318
The ELL teachers focus on providing instruction in the four English language skill areas, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Within this instruction, vocabulary building, grammar usage, and knowledge of American culture are stressed. Students receive small group instruction that gives them individualized attention and helps them to gain confidence. ELL students are tested for proficiency level when they enter the program, throughout the year, and at the end of each year to determine progress, areas of strength and weakness, and exit eligibility. Additionally, the ELL teachers are available to participate in team meetings.
Occupational Therapist-Mrs. Nancy Hebert, MS, OTR/L
The role as the occupational therapist in Newington is to provide direct and consultative services throughout the school district to students with special needs qualifying for occupational therapy. The occupational therapist evaluates students who are referred for special education through the PPT process. This individual screens any child with concerns in the areas of fine motor, visual motor, visual perception, or sensory integration. In addition, the occupational therapist assists in identifying assistive technology needs for students throughout the district. The occupational therapist provides in-service training on sensory integration, Handwriting Without Tears, visual motor skills, visual perception, fine motor skills, and self-help activities, and consults with both special education and regular education teachers. Finally, the occupational therapist supervises the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants and tutors/assistors.
Physical Therapist - Mrs. Joyce Schwalenberg, PT, PCS
The physical therapist provides direct and consultative services throughout the school district to students with special needs qualifying for physical therapy. The physical therapist evaluates students who are referred for special education through the PPT process. The role of the physical therapist in the public school setting is to improve accessibility, mobility, and gross motor skills of students with developmental and physical disabilities. The physical therapist works as part of a team to improve the child's participation in school activities and reduce physical barriers that may limit a child's participation in school, home and the community. The physical therapist provides in-service training in proper body mechanics, lifting, gross motor development and the proper use of adapted equipment. The physical therapist consults with both special education and regular education teachers.
Special Education Teachers - Mrs. Jodi Carlson and Mrs. Lauren Mason- Ext. 205
Special education teachers provide special education programming at Ruth L. Chaffee School through an inclusion model. Co-teaching occurs frequently in the core academic areas to support student needs within the general education classroom. They provide direct service within the Learning Center as appropriate. Special education teachers collaborate with colleagues to modify programs and monitor student progress. These teachers serve as case managers for identified students, supervising tutors and coordinating services among related services personnel. As part of the referral process, special education teachers evaluate students and participate in determining eligibility for servicing. Special education teachers participate on the Early Intervention Planning Team and the Planning and Placement Team as needed. The preschool special education teacher provides programming in an inclusive classroom setting that includes children with special needs and typically developing peer role models. These individuals evaluate young children to identify preschoolers in need of special education services.
Special Education Tutors and Assistors
Assistance is given to students identified with special needs under the supervision of special education and regular education teachers. Special education tutors and assistors support the academic, behavioral and/or physical needs of the students at school. In addition, these individuals assist the teacher, monitor students and facilitate learning. They work closely with teachers and therapists to support students' therapeutic programs.
For further information refer to the School Handbook.