Special ed discussion touches on communication and transitions

Parents/guardians joined Kate McCarthy, head of the Special Education department at NNHS, for an informal discussion on January 19. Here are some of the topics that were talked about.

Activities: making Club Day more inclusive; holding a second Club Day later in the year; students who don't make a sports team are sometimes invited to be manager or scorekeeper; Freshman Cabaret is led by a special ed staffer and is welcoming; Jane Kenslea has expertise in helping students get involved

Communication: fine for parents/guardians to contact classroom teachers directly or to ask special ed case manager to synthesize information from teachers and send summary; check Schoology if teachers use it; case managers work with 25 students and connect with classroom teachers once/week; in co-taught classes, the special ed teacher provides updates to case manager; case managers normally work with students for four years

Growth/Transitions: Academic Support is not study hall--supposed to build skills; students expected to gradually learn how to reach out to teachers themselves; case managers encourage student independence, especially in junior and senior years; school counselors offer career and interest surveys; case managers know about programs for the summer and beyond high school; sex ed is provided to 9th graders under PE Health & Wellness; pecial ed department working to provide information about colleges with special ed services; Possible Selves program includes a college visit for juniors--case managers have specifics

Summer: Mayor's internship program has more openings this year

Parent education: Federation for Children with Special Needs (http://fcsn.org) offers trainings and an annual conference (coming up on March 4);