Special education services throughout the district address the needs of identified learners with disabilities between the ages of three and twenty-two, who require specialized instruction to support access to the curriculum. A wide range of services are provided to meet the individual needs of students, from academic intervention to related services in areas such as: counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Availability of therapeutic services for students requiring special education intervention in the realm of social, emotional and adjustment areas is present at all schools and levels.
Strong collaboration with regular education staff is a concerted effort to provide services to students in the most inclusive manner which benefits all students within the class setting. By providing consultation, collaboration and professional development opportunities to regular and special education staff across the district, it allows for joint efforts in the provision of special education services in the most appropriate inclusive setting.
Staff works closely with families in assuring the services needed are identified and provided to students in accordance with applicable mandates. A strong and positive relationship exists between District staff and the Special Education Parent Advisory Council to the benefit of the school system, students, and families.
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
Special education programs and services in Brookline are designed to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities in the least restrictive setting, meaning that regular education classrooms have the appropriate aids and support, alongside non-disabled peers as determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Brookline offers several programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities; related services are also provided. The professional staff that delivers special education services are certified and trained to work with a wide range of students with specific disabilities. When the nature and/or severity of the student’s disability is such that the neighborhood school programs/services would not meet the student’s needs, consideration is given to district-wide programs, and then to collaborative and out-of-district placements.
Through IEP team meetings, families and school staff participate in determining and making all decisions regarding special education services. Recommended programs and services are made with parent involvement, allowing students to receive services in any composite program designed individually and drawing from our comprehensive resources.
- To provide services for identified students with disabilities in compliance with state and federal mandates.
- To support the identification of students with disabilities and to determine eligibility and the need for specially designed instruction and/or related services.
- To provide a continuum of inclusive programs and services designed to meet the needs of students.
- To adjust and refine the implemented system of special education service management.
- To provide professional development opportunities and training to regular and special education staff regarding practices, compliances and regulatory matters.
Inclusion is a district philosophy of Brookline Public Schools focused on educating each student to the maximum extent appropriate within the least restrictive environment while acknowledging the need for a continuum of specially designed instruction, supports, services and placements. All students within Brookline have a right to a challenging education enabling them to make effective educational progress alongside their peers. Specially designed instruction and related services are provided within the general education setting with the use of supplementary aids and services whenever appropriate with the constant goal being that each student will demonstrate effective educational progress. The philosophy of inclusion is supported within the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 that requires students with disabilities be educated in the “least restrictive environment” appropriate to meet their “unique needs” while identifying the need for a continuum of placement options.
Within the Public Schools of Brookline successful inclusion depends on each educator’s responsiveness to individual student needs within flexible learning environments. The need for flexibility within instructional presentations, curriculum materials and demonstrations of student achievement is recognized. Practices and procedures support high expectations for individual achievement and acknowledge that best practice for students with disabilities benefit all students. A continuum of services is available in each school and throughout the district where general education teachers and special educators share responsibility for all students.
Interim Deputy Superintendent for Student Services
Co-Director of Special Education (K-8)
Driscoll, Lincoln, Lawrence, Pierce, and Heath
Interim Co-Director of Special Education (K-8)
Baker, Coolidge Corner, and BEEP
Director of Special Education
Brookline High School
Director of Autism and Inclusion Programming
Runkle, RISE Program, and Extended School Year Services
Interim Out of District Coordinator