Special Education Programs

Pre-K Programs

APPLIED VERBAL BEHAVIOR (AVB)
   The AVB program utilizes Applied Verbal Behavior (VB) methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). These techniques are intended to increase the communication abilities of students identified with autism and/or significant communication deficits.  The AVB program utilizes a combination of errorless teaching, prompt fade procedures, discrete trial training, and natural environment teaching to support the development of functional language and diminish the barriers that impact a student’s ability to learn within the general education setting. Students are integrated into the Integrated Program as determined by the IEP Team.

INTEGRATED PRE-K PROGRAM
   The Integrated Pre-K program is an inclusive early childhood program that educates students with identified special education needs alongside non-disabled peers.  It is a language-based program that incorporates modifications and accommodations to support the educational needs of all students.  Related services are provided in class and/or outside of class, in a smaller group or individual setting, depending on the needs of the student.   Curriculum is based on the Common Core Curriculum and the Preschool Learning Experiences.  Teaching strategies include whole group lessons and small, focused instructional groups. Learning objectives are embedded in both teacher-directed and student-directed activities and play schemes.

Elementary Programs (Grades K-4)

APPLIED VERBAL BEHAVIOR (AVB)
    The elementary AVB program utilizes Applied Verbal Behavior (VB) methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). These techniques are intended to increase the communication abilities of students identified with autism and/or significant communication deficits.  The AVB program utilizes a combination of errorless teaching, prompt fade procedures, discrete trial training, and natural environment teaching in one-on-one and/or small group sessions to support the development of functional language and diminish the barriers that impact a child’s ability to learn within the general education setting. Students' progress and skill acquisition is measured using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). Each student’s curriculum is individualized to meet his/her specific academic needs while focusing on functional communication, activities of daily living, and social skills. Students are included in the general education classroom as appropriate, based upon their skill levels and determined by the IEP Team.
 
 TRANSITIONAL LEARNING CENTER (TLC)
    The Transitional Learning Center (TLC) serves as a “bridge” between the special education and general education. The TLC is a highly individualized program utilizing the verbal behavior approach, SRA Reading Mastery (when appropriate), Distar Math (when appropriate), LindaMood Bell (when appropriate), and direct social skills instruction in conjunction with the Common Core Curriculum to provide an environment of optimal learning for students with autism and other social skills deficits. The ultimate goal is for each student to become a more independent learner by decreasing adult assistance and maximizing the amount of time spent in the general education classroom. For some students this means that teaching begins in a substantially separate classroom in a small group. Other students receive additional adult assistance in the general education classroom.   Student progress is measured by daily data collection and weekly graphs depicting progress. Criterion-references assessments such as the Verbal Behavior Milestone Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) are utilized. These assessments and the individual student’s access to the general education curriculum are considered when developing a student’s Individual Education Program (IEP).
 
LANGUAGE-BASED PROGRAMS
   The elementary language-based programs are primarily inclusive in nature. Students with disabilities that vary in level and need are included in classrooms with their typical peers. Many students with disabilities receive instruction primarily in the general education setting. Some students receive instruction in reading, ELA, and/or mathematics in a small group setting, outside of the general education classroom. This is determined on an individual basis, by each child's IEP Team. At the elementary level, our language-based classes are taught by general education teachers. Special education teachers consult with and/or co-teach with general education staff. Paraprofessionals are assigned to these programs, as are speech and language pathologists. SLPs consult with general and special education staff and provide services to students in small or large group settings, depending on student needs. The staff embed language-based strategies (including meta-cognitive, task-based, and multi-sensory strategies) into their instruction throughout the entire school day.   Because many students are included in small group instruction utilizing LindaMood Bell, the strategies and terminology are carried over into the language-based classroom.

 SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION
   Small group instruction in the areas of reading, ELA, and/or mathematics is provided outside of the general education classroom to students' who’s IEP Teams have determined that it is necessary. A variety of research-based interventions (such as LindaMood Bell) are used both within the small group and classroom setting, depending on student need.
 
 INTENSIVE LEARNING CENTER
    Students in the Intensive Resource Room have typically been previously exposed to a variety of academic interventions. The curriculum for students in the program is modified to meet the needs of the students, who are often functioning below grade level. Reading, ELA, and mathematics interventions are provided in a small group setting by special education teachers and supported by paraprofessionals. Students are generally included in general education classes for specials and other academic classes. For these classes, special education teachers provide consultation to general education staff in order to assist in modification of curriculum. Paraprofessionals provide support in theses classes, as needed. Typically, students receive two hours of specially designed instruction in English Language Arts and one hour in mathematics. A speech and language pathologist provides direct services to students in the program and consults with the special education staff daily.
 
 ASPIRE PROGRAM
   Aspire is a program for students from grades Kindergarten through four who have moderate to significant needs. Students in Kindergarten are primarily integrated into the general education classroom, but have the support of staff from the program, including consultation from the special education teacher. For students in first through fourth grade, curriculum and instruction are modified and individualized to each child's developmental level. Students in the Aspire program are included in the general education classroom as determined by IEP Teams. Social skills and daily living skills are also an area of focus for students in Aspire. Students in third and fourth grade participate in the MCAS alt. portfolio assessment.
 
CONNECTIONS PROGRAM
    The Connections Program provides a predictable and structured routine that focuses on growth and learning and is designed to increase a child’s coping skills, self-regulation skills, problem-solving skills, and capacity to establish positive connections with peers and adults. The intentional structuring of this learning environment is designed to equip students for academic and behavioral/social success based on principles grounded in research.   Strategies utilized within the program include room arrangement, structured, predictable daily schedules, appropriate and motivating curriculum and lessons, appropriate instructional pacing based on student need and grade level curriculum expectations, high rates of positive responses from staff, positive behavioral supports, home/school collaboration and communication, de-escalation techniques, planned ignoring techniques, assistive technology as appropriate, data collection and documentation, social skills instruction, problem-solving skills instruction, self-regulation instruction, individualized behavior intervention plans, and counseling as needed.   The ultimate goal is that the students can learn to manage their behavior and return to the mainstream setting in their neighborhood school.

 

5th & 6th Grade Programs

ACADEMIC SUPPORT CLASSROOM
   The Academic Supported Classroom at the Roberta G. Doering School supports students with special needs to become more independent. The program allows for students to be included in the general education setting as much as possible. A special education teacher provides specially designed instruction in the areas of reading, English language arts, and mathematics in a small group setting, based on student need, as decided by the IEP Team. Students are supported in the general education setting for other classes through a para-supported model, as needed. Special education staff consult with general education staff regularly in order to ensure supports are implemented in the general education classroom.

CONNECTIONS PROGRAM
   The Connections Program provides a predictable and structured routine that focuses on growth and learning and is designed to increase a child’s coping skills, self-regulation skills, problem-solving skills, and capacity to establish positive connections with peers and adults. The structured, small group setting focuses on interacting positively with peers and adults, improving organizational skills, and self-regulation. The school adjustment counselor works closely with program staff and students. Strategies utilized within the program include room arrangement, structured, predictable daily schedules, appropriate and motivating curriculum and lessons, appropriate instructional pacing based on student need, high rates of positive responses from staff, positive behavioral supports, home/school collaboration and communication, de-escalation techniques, planned ignoring techniques, assistive technology as appropriate, data collection and documentation, social skills instruction, problem-solving skills instruction, self-regulation instruction, program-wide incentive program, individualized behavior intervention plans, and counseling. Students are increasingly integrated in the general education classroom, as determined by the IEP Team.

INTENSIVE LEARNING CENTER
   Students in the Intensive Learning Center have typically been previously exposed to a variety of academic interventions.  The curriculum for students in the program is modified to meet the needs of the students, who are often functioning below grade level.  Reading, ELA, and mathematics interventions are provided in a small group setting by special education teachers and supported by paraprofessionals.  Students are generally included in general education classes for specials and other academic classes.  For these classes, special education teachers provide consultation to general education staff in order to assist in modification of curriculum.  Paraprofessionals provide support in these classes, as needed. Typically, students receive two hours of specially designed instruction in English Language Arts and one hour in mathematics.  A speech and language pathologist provides direct services to students in the program and consults with the special education staff daily.
 
LANGUAGE-BASED PROGRAM
   The language-based program at the Roberta Doering School is a fully inclusive program. Accommodations and modifications are provided within the general education classroom. A speech and language pathologist provides consultation and direct instruction (both small group and whole class, as needed).   The program implements a combination of co-taught and para-supported instruction for all major subjects. In addition, the special education teacher consults regularly with the general education teacher and classroom staff. The staff embed language-based strategies (including meta-cognitive, task-based, and multisensory strategies) into their instruction throughout the entire school day. Staff have been trained in LindaMood Bell. A variety of research-based interventions are used within the classroom setting. Small groups and whole class instruction occurs within the classroom.

 

7th & 8th Grade Programs

INCLUSION PROGRAM
     As is implied by its name, the Inclusion Program at AJHS is fully inclusive. Curriculum is modified as appropriate to meet individual student needs. All major subjects (ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies) are co-taught by a special education teacher and a general education teacher. During the Academic Support and Enrichment period (ASE), direct instruction in organizational skills, executive functioning, study skills, and academic support are provided by special education teachers and general education teachers. Special education teachers are responsible for providing the accommodations and modifications listed within each child's IEP. Collaboration with service providers (including a speech and language pathologist), regular education teachers and specialists is critical to the success of the student. Inclusion teachers attend IEP meetings, conduct progress monitoring and reporting, meet with families to discuss the needs of the student, and act as the liaison between home and school. These teachers also provide transitional assistance between grade levels and schools.
 
LANGUAGE-BASED PROGRAM
    As with the Inclusion Program, the Language Based Program at AJHS is fully inclusive.   This program integrates language-based strategies (including meta-cognitive, task-based, and multisensory strategies) into the entire curriculum to teach students with learning and/or communication disabilities compensatory strategies that enable them to access the general education curriculum. At the 7th and 8th grade level, students receive instruction from general education content area teachers with a combination of co-taught classes, consultation, para-supported classes and small group, direct instruction from the special education teacher. Re-teaching, reinforcement, and direct instruction in organizational skills, expressive and receptive language, and executive functioning skills is provided during the Academic Support and Enrichment period by general education teachers, special education teachers, and the speech and language pathologist.
 
CONNECTIONS PROGRAM
     The Connections Program at AJHS provides a predictable and structured routine that focuses on growth and learning and is designed to increase a student’s coping, self-regulation, and problem-solving skills, as well as their capacity to establish positive connections with peers and adults. The intentional structuring of this learning environment is designed to equip students for academic and behavioral/social success based on principles grounded in research.   Strategies utilized within the program include room arrangement, structured, predictable daily schedules, appropriate and motivating curriculum and lessons, appropriate instructional pacing based on student need and grade level curriculum expectations, high rates of positive responses from staff, positive behavioral supports, home/school collaboration and communication, de-escalation techniques, planned ignoring techniques, assistive technology as appropriate, data collection and documentation, social skills instruction, problem-solving skills instruction, self-regulation instruction, individualized behavior intervention plans, and counseling as needed.   Students are taught the four primary subjects by general education teachers within the small group setting of the program. The ultimate goal is that the students can learn to manage their behavior and return to the mainstream setting.
 
VOCATIONAL ACADEMIC PROGRAM
     Instruction in the Vocational Academic Program focuses on preparing students for eventual placement in a high school program with an emphasis on vocational training and preparation. Many students enrolled in this program go on to high school programs that focus on vocational skill development. Instruction in the areas of organization and social skills are embedded in the academic curriculum and taught directly, based on student needs, as identified by the IEP Team. Development of social skills for the school, work, and community settings are also a focus of instruction.

 

Additional 5th Through 8th Grade Programs

ASPIRE PROGRAM
     Aspire is a program for students from grades five through eight who have moderate to significant needs. Primary instruction takes place in the small group setting of the Aspire program, but students are included in the general education classroom whenever determined appropriate by the IEP Team.   For these periods, paraprofessional support is provided. Within the program, the modified curriculum focuses on functional reading, math, spelling, and writing along with activities of daily living, health and safety. Students in the program participate in the MCAS alt. portfolio assessment.
 
 APPLIED VERBAL BEHAVIOR
    The AVB program utilizes Applied Verbal Behavior (VB) methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). These techniques are intended to increase the communication abilities of students identified with autism and/or significant communication deficits.  The AVB program utilizes a combination of errorless teaching, prompt fade procedures, discrete trial training, and natural environment teaching in one-on-one and/or small group sessions to support the development of functional language and diminish the barriers that impact a child’s ability to learn within the general education setting. Students' progress and skill acquisition is measured using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). Each student’s curriculum is individualized to meet his/her specific academic needs while focusing on functional communication, activities of daily living, and social skills. Students are included in the general education classroom as appropriate based upon their skill levels and determined by the IEP Team. Program staff provide consultation to other staff within the building for students who have autism spectrum disorders, particularly in the area of social skills.

High School Programs

AGAWAM OCCUPATIONAL PROGRAM
      Students in the Agawam Occupational Program (AOP) are taught in a small classroom setting for academic periods. A special education teacher provides modifications to curriculum, consults with a speech and language pathologist (who also works directly with the students in the program). Students in this program are generally enrolled half time at the Career and Technical Education Center in a vocational shop. The special education teacher also provides support to her students at C-Tech through regular collaboration and consultation with the vocational instructors.   In order to meet entrance criteria for the program, student needs to have good attendance, grades, and behavior.  Students in this program are working toward meeting the local and state requirements for a high school diploma.
 
LANGUAGE-BASED PROGRAM
    The Language-Based program offers a combination of co-taught and para-supported classes for all major subject areas. Another main component of the program is the Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) class.   Students participate in these classes, based on individual need, as decided by the IEP Team. The Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) class is taught by a special education teacher with paraprofessional support. A speech and language pathologist provides both direct instruction and consultation in this class and to the general education and special education staff in the program. The focus of instruction in ILS is organizational skills, time management, executive functioning, language-based strategies, identifying learning styles and strategies, developing self-advocacy, and becoming independent learners. Students are actively involved in the development of their educational plans and play a key and vital role in their future educational plans.
 
 CONNECTIONS PROGRAM
    The Connections Program provides a predictable and structured routine that focuses on growth and learning and is designed to increase a child’s coping skills, self-regulation skills, problem-solving skills, and capacity to establish positive relationships. The structured, small group setting focuses on interacting positively with peers and adults, improving organizational skills, and self-regulation. Connections provides a predictable and structured routine that focuses on growth and learning. Students have access to a school counselor, who meets with students regularly and on an as-needed basis. There is a program-wide positive behavior support plan in place. Direct instruction is designed to increase students' coping skills, self-management skills, problem-solving skills, and capacity to establish positive relationships.
 
INCLUSION
   The Inclusion program at the Agawam High School will be undergoing some changes beginning this school year (2016-2017).  As in the past, your child will continue to receive exceptional support from our experienced staff.
 
  Each student will be overseen by a special education teacher and that teacher will be assigned as the primary contact person for IEP-related issues.  The special education teacher will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of IEP services.  
 
   For students with ILS, the curriculum has been re-designed and will be implemented, with a focus on grade-specific skill-development necessary for the successful completion of high school and transitioning into post high school life.
 
ASPIRE PROGRAM
    The Aspire Program at Agawam High School is a program for students who have moderate to significant needs. Primary instruction takes place in the small group setting of the Aspire program, but students are included in the general education classroom whenever determined appropriate by the IEP Team.   For these periods, paraprofessional support is provided, as needed. Within the program, the modified curriculum focuses on functional reading, math, spelling, and writing along with activities of daily living, health and safety. Students in this program participate in the MCAS alt. portfolio assessment. As students approach the end of their high school career, they begin to prepare for life after high school. Students participate in various instructional activities, based on the recommendations of the IEP Team. These may include vocational preparation, participation in the ICE program at Holyoke Community college, and/or exposure to a variety of opportunities within the community.

INCLUSIVE CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (ICE)
http://www.hcc.edu/student-services/disability-and-deaf-services/ice-program
 
AVB (GRADES 9 THROUGH 12)
   The AVB program utilizes Applied Verbal Behavior (VB) methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). These techniques are intended to increase the communication abilities of students identified with autism and/or significant communication deficits. The AVB program utilizes a combination of errorless teaching, prompt fade procedures, discrete trial training, and natural environment teaching in one-on-one and/or small group sessions to support the development of functional language and diminish the barriers that impact a child’s ability to learn within the general education setting. Each student’s curriculum is individualized to meet his/her specific academic needs while focusing on functional communication, activities of daily living, and social skills. Students are included in the general education classroom as appropriate based upon their skill levels and determined by the IEP Team. Program staff provide consultation to other staff within the building for students who have autism spectrum disorders, particularly in the area of social skills. As students near graduation from special education services, transition to adult life is a major focus of the students’ program.