DPS Tiered Focused Monitoring Review Notice
During the week of January 3, 2022, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) will conduct a Tiered Focused Monitoring Review of Dracut Public Schools. The Office of Public School Monitoring visits each district and charter school every three years to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations. Areas of review related to special education include student assessments, determination of eligibility, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team process, and IEP development and implementation. Areas of review related to civil rights include bullying, student discipline, physical restraint, and equal access to school programs for all students.
In addition to the onsite visit, parent outreach is an important part of the review process. The review chairperson from the Office of Public School Monitoring will send all parents of students with disabilities an online survey that focuses on key areas of their child’s special education program. Survey results will contribute to the development of a report. During the onsite review, the Office of Public School Monitoring will interview the chairperson(s) of the district’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC). Other onsite activities may include interviews of district staff and administrators, reviews of student records, and onsite observations.
On behalf of the Student Service staff, I am delighted to welcome you back to the new school year, for full “in person” learning. As a department, we continue to navigate the COVID-19 storm with strength, determination and perseverance. We are working tirelessly to ensure that we provide for each student in Dracut an educational experience in the midst of a global pandemic that not only meets their individual needs but continues to move students forward. I am proud to say we prevailed in 2020-2021 and are prepared to tackle the 2021-2022 school year. I am incredibly proud of our educators, service providers and paraprofessionals for their demonstration of dedication, flexibility and positivity throughout the past year and a half. In addition, I am also proud of the partnership developed with educators and families in order to ensure that all students were able to achieve their maximum potential, regardless of the situation that existed among us. Strong home school partnerships will continue to pave the way for success for all of Dracut’s students.
As we prepare for the 2021-2022 school year, I would like to take a moment to announce some changes to programming that resulted from reflection and data as a result of the past year. Beginning in September, the Special Education Preschool Program will have classrooms at the Brookside Elementary School and the Campbell Elementary School. The STRIVE Elementary Program at the Campbell Elementary School will welcome an additional classroom for students requiring a specialized ABA approach to learning. The Brookside Elementary School is welcoming in addition to the Special Education Preschool Program a RISE Elementary Program for students requiring modified curriculum and instruction outside of the general education classroom. Dracut High School will welcome an additional counselor to their staff to support the Choices program as well as the general student population at DHS. There are a number of new staff to the Department of Student Services and I hope you will welcome them and show them some Middie Pride.
Jennifer Cassidy- Strive Preschool
Richard Wilson- Strive Elementary CES
Sarah Kefer- Strive Elementary CES
Cameron Hewitt- Counselor Choices Program DHS
Krissandra Fields- Special Education Teacher DHS
Brittany Andler- Counselor Choices Program Elementary EES
Charles Blake- Special Education Teacher Choices Program EES
Allison Osgood- Elementary School Psychologist
Krissandra Fields- Special Education DHS
Amanda Honan- Special Education Teacher RMS
Emily Frost- Special Education Teacher RMS
Jeffrey Ashworth- Special Education RMS
- SLP-A DHS, RMS and EES
Abby Zelenka- SLP-A
Michelle Martingnetti- Special Education Teacher CES
Janice Kuhna- School Nurse GES
In addition to new staff to Dracut, we have a number of staff embarking on new roles and they are as follows:
Ellen Roane- RISE Elementary Teacher BES
Samantha Madden- RISE Middle School Teacher RMS
Alexandra Vermot- Gaud- Choices Middle School Teacher RMS
Martine Manus- Special Education Co-Teacher RMS
Maria Gallagher- SLP @ Campbell Elementary
Parents Notice of Procedural Safeguards can be found on the Dracut Public School Website, under Student Services. In accordance with federal special education law, school districts are required to provide these “Safeguard” brochures once per year to the parents and guardians of students enrolled in special education services. I would encourage you to read and maintain this brochure to be able to reference throughout the school year. If you have any questions regarding the contents of these “Safeguards”, please contact your Team Chairperson at your student’s school. Should you require a hard copy of the “Safeguards”, one will be provided to you. If you require the “Safeguards” in an additional language, a copy will be made available to you.
Please review the Massachusetts Parental Notice and One Time Consent to allow the School District to access MassHealth (Medicaid) benefits for reimbursement for services delivered in school, also found on the Dracut Public Schools Website, under Student Services. All information concerning your student is strictly confidential and will not affect your child’s benefits or services. This program is supported by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). If your student is eligible to participate in the reimbursement program, please sign the One Time form granting permission to seek this federal claim. If you have already done so- thank you. If not, please return the form to the Student Services Office at your earliest convenience. If you require a hard copy of the form, please contact Student Services and one will be made available
Also, please consider attending a meeting of the Dracut Special Education Parent Advisory Committee. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and regulations around social distancing, all SEPAC Meetings will be conducted virtually for the 2020-2021 school year. Meetings will be held via the Google Meet Platform and a link to the meeting will be posted on the web site prior to the meeting. The SEPAC is an important and free resource for the families of Dracut as well as to the Student Service Department in the role of school and family liaison. Your membership and participation is integral in assisting the district in providing an appropriate educational environment for all Dracut students. The first meeting of the school year will be held on Tuesday September 19, 2021 from 6:00-8:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you for the meeting. Attached you will find a flyer that outlines the Dracut SEPAC and meetings to follow.
I am enthusiastically looking forward to the start of the school year and working with parents, guardians, school professionals and community leaders to achieve a common goal of ensuring a robust school experience for all students. As always, we will gain a new perspective of what is possible when we all work together for Dracut’s future leaders. The 2020-2021 school year is a testament to what can be achieved when the community works together. If I have learned nothing from the past year and a half, I have most definitely learned to expect the unexpected. We are ready for 2021-2022 and I extend to you all best wishes for the new year!
Kimberly Lawrence, M.Ed.,CAGS
Director of Student Services
|Kimberly Lawrence||Director of Student Services||(978) 957-4633|
|Johanna Garneau||Out-of-District Coordinator for Special Education||(978) 957-4633|
|Deborah DelSolia||BCBA||(978) 957-4633|
|Robert Fiore||Physical Therapist||(978) 957-4633|
|Mercedes Tran||School Psychologist||(978) 957-4633|
|Lissa Lessard||Student Services Secretary||(978) 957-4633|
|Shirley Ralls||Student Services Office Secretary||(978) 957-4633|