Special Education Program and Services

Special education is intended to provide services to students who have disabilities, and who, because of those disabilities, need help to make progress in the general education program of the school.  It is specially designed instruction and related services that meet the unique needs of an eligible student with a disability or a specific service need that is necessary to allow the student with a disability to access the general curriculum.

The purpose of special education is to allow the student to successfully develop his or her individual educational potential. Along with providing services to the child, if necessary, services are provided to parents and to teachers for the student to benefit from special education. Special education is provided by the school district at no cost to parents.

In Massachusetts, the special education system is based on the federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), in combination with the state’s special education law (MGL c. 71B). These laws protect students with disabilities who are eligible for special education and guarantee them an Individualized Education Program (IEP) designed to meet their unique needs.

Download the Parent Right to Know brochure in English and/or multiple translated versions here.

Special Education Law is organized around the following six principles:

  1. Parent and Student Participation
  2. Appropriate Evaluation
  3. Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  4. Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  5. Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
  6. Procedural Safeguards

Read full Special Education Process here.

Student Services

Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathologists deliver services both in the classroom setting as well as on a one-to-one basis.  These specialists also provide related services within the classroom for handwriting and language development.

The Physical Therapist provides services to students on site.

Counseling services are delivered directly to students as indicated by their Individual Education Plans as well as part of the general education population.  School Adjustment Counselors support students directly for both short and long term therapy.  Students are seen in small groups for social skill development, while others are seen individually for specific skill development.  Children who are seen individually in some instances also participate in a Social Cognitive Group.

Special  Education teachers in K-12 deliver services through an inclusion model and along with paraprofessionals support all special education students in accessing the curriculum.