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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Curriculum & Instruction Roundtable: Support Service Programs

The Community Roundtable on curriculum and instruction that was held on Tuesday, Oct. 13, included lively discussion on a variety of topics. In order to keep the conversation going, we invite readers to post their thoughts on each question that was presented to participants at the Community Roundtable. Click here for notes on what was discussed at the Community Roundtable.

Over the past few years, Broadalbin-Perth has been taking steps to offer more support services – such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy – to students who could benefit from these services, but who do not have individual education plans (IEPs) that require that they receive these services.

An IEP is developed for any student who has a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) who requires specialized instruction and/or services. Some students who have disabilities do not require specialized instruction; however, they are entitled to receive accommodations that will ensure their academic success. Students in this situation fall under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Instead of IEPs, the district’s Committee on Special Education (CSE) will develop 504 plans for these students.

Broadalbin-Perth currently has a shortage of speech therapists resulting in a waiting list for non-IEP students who could benefit from speech therapy. The district’s occupational therapists and physical therapists also work with as many students as their schedule allows, but the district is not at this time providing such services to the extent that it could.

Similarly, in the past, many parents have requested that counseling services be available to students who are going through a hard time at home – i.e., parents are divorcing or remarrying, death in the family. However, the district is only legally required to provide counselling services when a student is experiencing difficulties that directly impact his or her education.

How important is it to you that the district provide support services to all students, beyond the minimum required by state and federal regulations?

Additional Information
  • A note on special education: Although special education is part of curriculum and instruction, it is not being discussed explicitly this evening. Special education will be discussed at the March Community Roundtable because the majority of the district’s special education funds are spent on BOCES services.

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