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The Student Personnel Services Department

Student Services

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. Our mission is to provide a comprehensive framework of services for children with special needs.

The Student Personnel Department is comprised of the Child Study Teams, Special Education Teachers, Speech and Language Specialists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Aides, Supplemental Instructors, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, ABA Specialists, and a Transitional Coordinator.

The Child Study Team

The Child Study Team (CST) is a group of dedicated professionals employed by the Paramus Board of Education who provide consultative, evaluative, and prescriptive services to teachers and parents in regard to students who are experiencing school related difficulties.

Who are the members of the Child Study Team?
The members of the Child Study Team as determined by the New Jersey Department of Education are a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher consultant and a school social worker.

What are the responsibilities of the school psychologist?
The school psychologist has expertise in determining a child’s level of cognitive and conceptual development. In addition the psychologist is concerned with the emotional status of the student, and how both internal and external factors may affect behavior and performance in school. The school psychologist works with both general education and special education teachers to maximize a student’s potential.

What are the responsibilities of the learning disabilities teacher consultant?
The Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant (LDT-C) works in collaboration with other members of the CST to determine eligibility for special services.  LDT-Cs also consult with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to provide research based instructional strategies to assist pupils struggling academically.

What are the responsibilities of the school social worker?
The expertise of the social worker lies in assessing the student relative to the family, the school, and the community. This professional generally gathers information concerning the student’s health, family, and school history as it pertains to the student’s current school functioning. The social worker is also the professional responsible for coordinating community resources on behalf of students and their families.

What are the special education programs and services offered through the Paramus Public Schools?

Resource Room Programs

Resource Room Support and Replacement: 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.

In Class Support Resource:  A general education classroom is instructed by a general education teacher and a special education teacher and at times, a special education paraprofessional.  An In-Class Support program of instruction is one in which general and special educators are collaboratively involved in planning and implementing special strategies, techniques, methods, and materials in conjunction with content to address learning problems of pupils with educational disabilities engaged in the general education classroom.

The teachers “co-teach” using a variety of instruction models that include, one teacher instructing and the other moving around the classroom checking for understanding, both teachers instructing at the same time, or another model of support. This classroom contains both general education and special education students and follows the core curriculum content standards.

General Education: Students eligible for special education may be able to learn effectively in a general education class with individualized modifications and accommodations. Special equipment (e.g., a FM system, sign language interpreter, or tape recorder, etc.) may be available which allows children to perform to the best of their ability in a general education classroom. This may require the consultation of a special education professional.

Specialized Programs

Self-Contained Classes:  These are special education class for children whose disability makes it difficult for them to perform successfully in most or all general academic classes. Teachers of self-contained classes are often assisted by classroom aides. Children assigned to this class stay there for most academic subjects. The age span of children in the class cannot exceed four years. In some cases, children in special classes can be included in general education classes for particular subjects.

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.

Autism Program: Our program is based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and we deliver high quality, evidence-based educational services to children with autism and related developmental disorders.  The program focuses on teaching academic skills, language skills, play and social skills, leisure skills, life skills and vocational skills to students from preschool through high school. Our teachers and instructors are trained in Applied Behavior Analysis, and work closely with the district’s Board Certified Behavior Analysts to deliver quality instruction to our students.

Preschool Disabilities Programs:  School districts in New Jersey are obligated to provide educational programs to children from ages 3 to 5 who demonstrate developmental delays. These children are evaluated by a Child Study Team, and if special education is warranted, the child is recommended for a classification of Preschool Child with a Disability. Paramus has full day and half-day options for our preschoolers. We have both specialized programs and fully inclusive preschool programs.

The Early Childhood Center is a preschool inclusion program that 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.
  • Enhances 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.

Multiply Disabled Programs:

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 goal is to provide young adults with various abilities at the middle school and high school level with ample opportunities to further develop and explore their strengths, interests, preferences, social relationships and future career goals through Community Based Instruction, volunteer and mentorship work experience in the community.

The program offers a comprehensive curriculum aligned with the standards, integration with non-disabled peers, innovative assistive technology, and community based experiences, transition planning and comprehensive related services.

Career Builders:  This program is designed for young adults with various abilities ages 16 to 21 who participate in our Small Business Concept and Structured Learning Experiences that foster vocational and career skills, allowing students to meet their full potential as future employees and contributing members of our society.  The Small Business Concepts are curriculum-based units that cross academic content areas to help students develop, practice, master daily-living, functional and work place readiness skills.

PACE Program: The PACE Program is an on-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.

Home Instruction: Instruction at a student's home by a certified teacher is provided temporarily while the student is recuperating from an illness or while a special education placement is being arranged

Related Services: A student may be found to need related services to reinforce or make beneficial their educational program. A specialist outside the classroom typically provides related services, either individually or in small groups. The specialist may also consult with your child's teacher to coordinate the services with classroom lessons. The following are examples of related services: Counseling, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and/or Speech/Language Therapy.

  • Speech: 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.
  • Occupational Therapy: 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.
  • Physical Therapy: 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.
  • Counseling Services: The district’s psychologist and social workers 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.


Special Education Department

Ms. Margaret Damiano
Supervisor of Student Personnel Services
201-261-7800 ext. 3020

Ms. Karen Peterson
Assistant Supervisor of Student Personnel Services
201-261-7800 ext. 3020

Ms. Mary Blum
201-261-7800 ext. 3020

Ms. Betty Herlinsky
Office Assistant
201-261-7800 ext. 3021

Ms. Kathy Riebesell
Office Assistant
201-261-7800 ext. 3023


NJDOE Special Education Website


145 Spring Valley Road ♦ Paramus, NJ 07652 ♦ 201-261-7800

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