“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. -Helen Keller
The Pupil Personnel Services department works collaboratively with general education teachers, resource staff and parents to determine appropriate services and supports for students. A major concern for parents as well as teachers is how to help children who experience difficulty in school. Some new federal laws have directed schools to focus more on helping all children learn by addressing problems earlier, before the child is so far behind that a referral to special education services is warranted.
The district provides various scientific, researched-based interventions for students struggling and requiring additional support. Each intervention is designed to address the specific needs of the student through multiple tiers of increasingly specific interventions. Individual student performance related to response to these interventions is assessed on an ongoing basis. If it is determined after a period of assessment that the student is unable to respond effectively to the interventions provided, the student may be referred for evaluation to determine if they are eligible to receive special education or other direct services. The information gained through progress monitoring of the student’s response to the scientific research-based interventions as well as the results of the comprehensive evaluations completed, are then reviewed by the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) to determine eligibility.
Eligibility determination is guided by whether the student qualifies using federal and state guidelines for eligibility. Additionally, the Planning and Placement Team must consider whether the student requires specialized instruction and/or whether accommodations and modifications are needed. Students who have been identified as qualifying for eligibility under the law and require specialized instruction are provided supports and services within the school environment so that they may access the general education curriculum and succeed to the best of their ability. An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is drafted to address the student’s individual needs and plan the type, amount and location of the supports and services to be provided.
The District provides a full range of supports and services within the school environment in accordance with federal and state guidelines. Whenever possible, these supports and services are provided within the least restrictive setting of the general education classroom. However, determination of location of services is decided by what is most beneficial to the individual student. Planning typically begins with focus upon the general education classroom with support for some students provided either partially or totally in a resource room type setting. Placement and services are the decision of the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) in accordance with state and federal regulations.
Meet the Director:
Cynthia Ford has been working with children since 1996. She holds advanced degrees in Special Education and School Administration. Her career has focused on working with students with multiple disabilities, building collaborative partnerships, early intervention process, universal curriculum design and developing appropriate programs for students that are struggling with the grade level content. She is a parent of two children and believes in a close partnership with parents.
High School: Ellington High School
Undergraduate: Merrimack College (Sociology, Psychology)
Masters Degree: Simmons College (Special Education)
6th Year: Sacred Heart University (Educational Leadership)
Continued Education Certification Program: Sacred Heart University (Superintendent Certification)
Employment: 25 years in education.
- 2004-2013 Special Education Teacher
- 2014 Assistant Principal
- 2015-Present Director of Pupil Services
- 2022-Present Superintendent
Ashford Resident for 19 years
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