The Ashford Board of Education is responsible for providing a free, appropriate public education for all students including those students with disabilities ages three to twenty-one. The Department of Pupil Personnel Services, in coordination with the building principal and assistant principal, is responsible for the overall referral, identification and programming for children and youth with disabilities who require special education instruction and related special services.
The Ashford School system is committed to educating students with disabilities in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This means, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with students who are not disabled and in their neighborhood schools, whenever possible. It also means that special classes, separate schooling or other removal of students with disabilities occurs only when the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplemental aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
The Ashford Schools is also committed to the concept of inclusion. While we believe that students with disabilities should be educated in regular education classrooms in inclusive settings, we also believe that a continuum of placement options must be available to meet the unique and individual needs of students.
Currently as the Director of Pupil Services the direction is to continue to support the staff to ensure all kids are included into their grade level classrooms. We are constantly looking for ways to support the social emotional learning for all. We have two school psychologist on staff and a school counselor to support students who are identified and those needing a little extra support around social skills and mental health. We have one special educator that supports two grade levels with a total of 5. One special educator is focused more on some of the life skills needed for more of our more involved students. The expectation is that the grade level teachers are working closely and collaborating with the support staff such as special educators, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapist, physical therapist, math interventionist, and a reading specialist. We also have a number of special education para-educators that are working to assist students in the general education classroom. Resource rooms are available to ensure we are meeting the kids where they are and providing a free and appropriate education. To further assist our student population with behavioral mental health we have partnered with a school based mental health clinic.
At Ashford School district we believe in a strong partnership not only with the school based team but the families. Families are a critical part of the team. They know their children best and have excellent insight into how to best support the educational process. Regular communication is an important aspect of ensuring families are a part of the entire process. When challenges arise we work closely as a team to problem solve.