Improving Education of Children with Special Learning Needs

Improving Education of Children with Special Learning Needs
Posted on 01/24/2016
This is the image for the news article titled Improving Education of Children with Special Learning Needs

At the Board of Education meeting on January 19, Dr. Steven Adamowski, Superintendent of Schools, presented the following steps that Norwalk Public Schools plans to accomplish from January to July 2016 to improve education of students with special learning needs.  These priorities are based on the recommendations of the CREC Special Education Review, which were presented to the Board of Education in December 2015.


For Dr. Adamowski’s full remarks, click here for the YouTube video from the Board of Education meeting.  The discussion of this topic begins at 17:00 and lasts about 40 minutes.    

  1. Conclude a search for a Chief of Pupil Services, reporting to the Superintendent.

  2. Plan and implement centralization of Inclusive Preschool Classrooms at the Norwalk Early Childhood Center (NECC) on Allen Road, effective for September 2016.

  3. In partnership with current providers, return students to Norwalk in three outplaced classes for 2016-17:  two secondary ED classes to Norwalk High School and one elementary autism classroom to Wolfpit School.

  4. Request a “desk audit” of Individual Educational Plans (IEPs), to be conducted by the Connecticut State Department of Education.

  5. Improve a system of financial controls.  Moving forward, all District-level expenditures and contracts will be approved by the Chief of Pupil Services.  The Budget Director will meet bi-weekly with the Chief of Pupil Services to assess and project budgets. Dr. Michael Cicchetti, interim Chief Operating Officer, will perform these roles until the new Chief joins the District.

  6. Plan and implement an elementary school demonstration and training site that will offer a full continuum of services for 2016-17.

  7. Combine and integrate each high school with feeder middle schools for development of a consistent continuum of services.

  8. Reconstitute the District Special Education Department – people, positions, roles and responsibilities -- to create the capacity to accomplish all priority recommendations of the CREC Special Education Review during the term of the Strategic Operating Plan, 2016-2019.

  9. Establish the extra-duty position of Compliance and Quality Case Manager in all elementary and middle schools beginning in 2016-17.  Compensation will be negotiated with the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.

  10. Improve capacity to plan, develop, implement and communicate 504 Plans and the use of adaptive technology beginning in 2016-17.

  11. Create the capacity to audit and manage outside placements, coordinate shared services and facilitate return to District when appropriate, to include DCF and court placements.

  12. Request of the City of Norwalk, from its fund balance, the establishment of a Transitional Special Education Development Fund of $1.2M per year for three years, for the period 2016-17 through 2018-19.  Such fund shall be used exclusively for the purpose of implementing the priority recommendations of the CREC audit, which include transitioning from over-reliance on one-on-one para-professional and contracted services to a professional service delivery model for each classification of student need, and a full continuum of Scientifically Research Based Interventions (SRBI).  The fund would also be used to develop new roles, programs and systems, and to provide training and development to special education staff at all levels to improve the scope and quality of specialized instruction.  Priority items 6-11 are largely dependent upon establishment of this fund in 2016-17.

To read the full CREC Report, click here.