Welcome to Karen Peterson, our new Assistant Supervisor of Student Personnel Services!
Ms. Karen Peterson graduated from Felician College and earned her Masters of Education in School Administration from Seton Hall University. She has been an exemplary special educator for 32 years and has been a teacher within the Paramus School District for 29 years. Experienced in teaching all academic areas within a variety of settings including Resource Room, In Class Support, and Life Sills, Karen has instructed students in grades PreK-12. She has sought to inspire and promote academic and functional excellence in our special needs students and has worked collaboratively to establish the Life Skills Education Achievement Program (LEAP).
The Department of Student Personnel Services is designed as a resource of human services whereby all children with special needs are served optimally, and all parents of special needs children are significantly involved in the delicate delivery system of their individual special education programs.
Child Study Teams
The Child Study Team is an interdisciplinary unit of professionals, composed of a school psychologist, school social worker, and learning disabilities teacher consultant. Each building within the district is serviced by a full team. The purpose of the team is to respond to appropriate referrals from teachers, parents, and related school personnel who believe that a child may require an evaluation to determine if special services are warranted. Once an evaluation has been conducted, members of the Child Study Team meet with parents and teachers to determine whether or not the child is eligible for special services. If a student is in need of special services, team members work with parents, teachers, administrators and other professionals to develop an appropriate Individual Education Program (I.E.P.) for the student.
Overview of Services
The Student Personnel Department is comprised of the Child Study Teams (Learning Consultant, Psychologists, and Social Workers), Special Education Teachers, Student Assistance Counselors, Speech and Language Specialists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Aides, Supplemental Instructors, Behaviorist and a Transitional Coordinator. The goal of the Department is to provide a framework of integrated services to children with special needs.
This program is offered to all children who demonstrate a need for extra instruction in this area. A certified speech specialist delivers these services. Parent involvement and cooperation are important components of the program. We currently employ eight full time speech/language therapists in the district as well as some part time professionals.
The Occupational Therapy Program utilizes goal directed, developmentally sequenced activities to enhance the students’ ability to benefit from educational programming. Students who receive this service must be classified by the Child Study Team and have this program outlined in their Individualized Educational Plan (I.E.P.).
Physical Therapy service within the educational environment is provided to those disabled students who require the service to benefit from education or to be maintained in the least restrictive, most supportive environment. These services are directed toward the development and/or maintenance of the disabled pupil’s physical potential for optimal functioning in all educational activities.
The district’s psychologist and two Substance Awareness Coordinators provide services to grades K-12. They are available on a crisis or on-going short-term basis for students and/or parents. Additionally, Child Study Team members provide short-term individual and group counseling, teacher in-service and parent workshops.
Resource Center Programs
Classified students in need of extra assistance may spend part of each day in a resource center program, working individually or in small groups with a certified special education teacher. The rest of the day is spent in the regularly assigned classroom. Every elementary school has a full time resource center program.
Self-Contained Classes (K-8)
For those classified students needing more direct instruction that cannot be offered in a Resource Room Program. Self-contained programs are two fold:
· To provide a natural environment varying developmental levels to work on skills needed to achieve, develop and extend student’s skills preparing them for the mainstream.
· To support families as they learn to manage the daily stressors of a child with a handicapping disability.
The emphasis of the curriculum is to accommodate children’s learning styles, cognitive, social, sensory motor and academic abilities. The program is centered in the belief that learning occurs within the academic context. The end objective is for the child to integrate concepts and become independent and verbally express their knowledge.
Preschool Inclusion Program
The preschool inclusion program has been developed to identify and provide comprehensive and educational experiences for both special and general education preschoolers. Goals of the program are to:
· Provide a natural environment for young children of varying developmental levels to work to the fullest extend in the least restrictive environment.
· Support families as they develop resources for managing the daily stressors involved in raising a preschooler.
· Emphases the academic curriculum to accommodate the children’s learning styles, cognitive academic abilities. The “Creative Curriculum” is centered in the belief that learning occurs within the natural environment with the objective to help the child integrate concepts to become a problem solver and an independent learner.
The middle schools and high school offers a variety of special education programs for both special education and general ed students.
Resource Room Programs
Classified students in need of extra assistance may spend part of half of each day in a resource centers groups with a certified special education teacher. The remainder of their day is spent in the mainstreamed classes. Some students have a full day resource center program. Revised regulations allow resource services to be offered to eligible students within the mainstream classes.
The LEAP Program (Life Skills, Education, and Achievement Program) targets those middle school and high school students who would benefit from a greater focus on developing functional and daily life skills prior to their graduation.
The program offers a comprehensive curriculum aligned with the NJ Core Standards, integration with non-disabled peers, innovative assistive technology, community based experiences, transition planning and comprehensive related services.
The PACE Program is an off-site alternative high school program designed to provide an educational experience for disaffected and at-risk students. The goal of the program is to provide high school students with the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma and gainful employment beyond graduation.