Warren County Special Services School District (41-5450)

Warren County Special Services School District

Warren County Special Services School District (#5450)
School Report Card Narrative 2016

The Warren County Special Services School District began operating in September of 1990. Our district is one of eight Special Services School Districts in New Jersey. We are in our 26th year of operation. The comparative data included in this report card is based upon data that only compares Special Services Districts. Other Special Services districts are located in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem Counties.

There are many similarities and differences between the Special Services School Districts. However, the most notable distinction is in the area of facilities. Warren County is home to the only Special Services District that provides special education classes exclusively in public school settings. We presently offer programs in the areas of autism, multiple disabilities, behavioral disabilities and intellectually disabled. We are currently operating eight classes, which are being hosted by six school districts including: Allamuchy, Franklin, Great Meadows Regional, Pohatcong, Hackettstown and Washington Boro. Special education classes in these settings provide the opportunity for educational mainstreaming and social integration, which are difficult, if not impossible, to provide in isolated settings. All of our host school districts have embraced the concept of providing a truly individualized educational experience by making appropriate and relevant mainstream opportunities available.

In addition, to providing a variety of special education classes, our district also provides related educational services to other districts on a contracted basis. Numerous districts contract with us for the delivery of coordinated transportation; related services such as occupational, physical and speech therapy as well as counseling; child study team services; instructional personnel, teacher aides, personal aides and crisis prevention intervention training.

The Warren County Special Services School District also takes great pride in the ability of its staff to provide its students, who primarily have lower incidence disabilities, with specialized instruction and services, particularly in the areas of augmentative communication, assistive technology, pre-vocational training, sensory integration and applied behavioral analysis. In addition, we are proud of our ability to serve children who are medically frail. Through a cooperative effort with the host school nurses, we are able to include students who need to be tube fed, suctioned, or provided with oxygen as well as those who have seizure disorders, diabetes, or other serious medical conditions.

Further, to add to our school year program, we also provide a 20-day extended school year program. This educational program is comprised of academic and therapeutic components and is supplemented with recreational field trips and special events that serve to integrate and provide students with the opportunities to synthesize skills and knowledge learned throughout the school year.

The Warren County Special Services School District continues to assist with the organizing of the Annual County Wide In-service Program for school staff. Through this venture, we strive to support the continuing education that our teachers, therapists, and aides need to develop and maintain a wide base of knowledge relative to the Common Core and the associated teaching techniques and strategies that ensure student mastery of these concepts.

Our school district recognizes the potential benefits of utilizing modern technology within our classrooms. Computers and the Internet are widely used by the students and staff throughout the district. We promote the use of various forms of assistive technology such as electronic communication and adaptive computer software and devices. We have implemented the use of I-Pads within our classrooms to assist our students with social, emotional, life skills and academics. Further, we have implemented an Authentic Life-Skills Facility in partnership with Centenary University, known as the H.I.L.L.S. House at Centenary University (Helping Individuals Learn Life Skills)

Our district has an active Parent-Staff Organization. The PSO is designed to afford our parents and staff the opportunity to collaborate on issues of mutual interest relating to the students in our district. The PSO organizes activities that serve to improve the quality and scope of the services provided by the district. Special event days, social activities, and classroom donations have all been supported by PSO fund raising initiatives.

An important focus of our class programs is on community involvement. To this end, we have several vans and two wheelchair accessible mini school busses for use by our staff in transporting students to job training sites, field trips and special activities such as swimming, lifeskill activities, math fairs, etc.

Our school district’s curriculum and IEP Planner program are aligned with the Common Core. This ensures that all standards are addressed in conjunction with the goals and objectives of each student’s individual goals and objectives. The curriculum committee selected a set of informal assessments that are used to determine developmental and academic levels allowing the delivery of student instruction, focused on the individual student. This will assist teachers in the selection of appropriate goals and objectives for the student's IEPs.

We continue to strive to provide high quality, regionalized special education programs and services for children with disabilities. Given the continued availability of classroom spaces in local public schools, we will continue to embrace our mission of educating students with lower incidence disabilities in the public schools. Anyone desiring further information regarding any facet of the school district should contact our office at j.flynn@wcsssd.org. Our web site can be accessed at www.wcsssd.org. We welcome your comments and suggestions.