Special Services

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Debra Nappi
Supervisor of Special Services
732.542.9037 (Fax)

Dottie Verdee

Joelle Rybakowski.
Learning Disability Teacher/Consultant

Vicki Jordan
Learning Disability Teacher/Consultant

Kristen Carter
School Psychologist

Dawn McCulloch
School Psychologist

Heather Montalvo
Social Worker

Nicole Faas
Social Worker

Our Mission

The mission of Eatontown Public Schools’ Special Services Department is to provide high quality education programs whereby all students are empowered to reach their individual potential, respect and value themselves and others, and become life-long learners.

Our Vision

Eatontown Public Schools’ Special Services Department sees students as individual learners with special needs and learning styles. Through that understanding and sensitivity for special needs students, the faculty and staff work to guide students toward academic success and self-advocacy. Special Education faculty and staff focus on teaching appropriate strategies based on the individual needs of special education students. The Special Services Department is committed to ensuring:

  • Everyone is united in a common commitment to ensuring success for each student;

  • Students have access to the general education curriculum with rigorous expectations and standards to create a better future for themselves and others;

  • There is a shared understanding among all staff, students, and families of expectations, roles, and responsibilities;

  • Everyone works together to set and achieve the highest possible standards, both academic and behavioral, and to be accountable for data-driven results;

  • Special education processes are participant-friendly, culturally responsive and collaborative with a focus on the strengths and needs of the student;

  • Parents and students are heard and understood, and their input is valued;

  • All staff are valued as professionals for their knowledge, experience, and competence;

  • A comprehensive range of instructional and related services, supports and resources are provided to schools, staff, students, and families to meet the assessed needs of students;

  • Staff and families are supported and best practices are promoted through comprehensive professional learning and family training opportunities;

  • Services are coordinated with community resources to support students and their families.

Special Services Team or Child Study Team Composition:

The Child Study Team is a multi-disciplinary educational team that is responsible for locating, identifying, evaluating, determining eligibility, and developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students suspected of having educational disabilities. This group of specialists is employed by the district to provide consultative, evaluative, and prescriptive services to teachers and parents. The team provides diagnostic services to children from Preschool through 8th Grade that have been identified as having a potentially disabling condition. Counseling and consultative services are available for any school-aged student experiencing difficulty in learning or behavior.

The Child Study Team (CST), together with Eatontown Public Schools’ teachers, administrators, and Intervention and Referral Service (I&RS) Committees, make recommendations for programs and placements which will best address the needs of students who are experiencing school-related problems. The team consists of a School Psychologist, Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant, and School Social Worker, and in some cases, a Speech-Language Therapist.

School Psychologist
The School Psychologist consults with the student’s teacher(s) and assesses the student’s current cognitive (thinking and learning), social, adaptive, and emotional status. The activities involved in the School Psychologist’s evaluation may vary depending on a student’s specific circumstances, but in general most students are given an intelligence test to determine their likelihood for success within the academic arena. For certain students, the School Psychologist provides counseling, crisis intervention, or consultation services.

Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant (LDT/C)
The Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant is a master teacher who functions in the school environment as an educational diagnostician, instructional programmer, Child Study Team member, educational consultant and instructional leader. The LDT/C must have the professional preparation to make assessments, analyses, and classifications of students’ learning differences; understand and implement special education law; plan and facilitate delivery of programs for children with learning differences; transfer specific and successful instructional techniques to classroom teachers through consultation, collaboration, and in-service education; and effectively communicate and consult with parents, counselors, teachers, and administrators. An educational assessment shall be the responsibility of a Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant employed by the district board of education. It shall include review of the student’s educational history, conferences with the student’s teacher(s), and an evaluation and analysis of the student’s academic performance and learning characteristics.

School Social Worker
The School Social Worker contributes to the CST evaluation process by conducting a “Social History Evaluation,” an assessment of bio-psychosocial factors (social, emotional, physical, behavioral and cultural) that may impact a student’s adjustment to and performance in school. The School Social Worker also provides counseling, crisis intervention and consultation services, as well as helps families access community services.

Speech/Language Therapist
Speech/Language Therapists provide appropriate speech and language services to students in Preschool through 8th Grade. They work with students exhibiting the full range of communication disorders, including language, articulation, and fluency. The Speech/Language Therapist’s primary focus is on prevention, assessment, intervention, program design, and collaboration with other school staff members to ensure a partnership that meets the needs of the students.

Case Managers
In addition to their respective roles, the School Psychologist, Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant, School Social Worker, and Speech/Language Therapist may also serve as case managers for students receiving special education services. Students are assigned a case manager at the time of the referral. However, there may be periodic changes in assignments. The case manager coordinates the evaluation process and IEP development, as well as monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the IEP. The case manager facilitates communication between home and school, as well as coordinates the annual review and reevaluation process. The case manager is knowledgeable about the student’s educational needs and program, special education procedures and procedural safeguards, and is responsible for transition planning.

Project Child Find

Eatontown Public Schools’ Special Services Department is responsible for locating and identifying all children, ages 3 to 21 years, who may have an educational disability due to physical, sensory, emotional, learning, communication, cognitive, or social difficulties and may need special education and related services or speech/language services and are residents in the district. Students attending nonpublic schools within the district regardless of their residence or students attending early childhood programs also are included in this process.

This requirement also applies to highly mobile students, such as migrant and homeless students, as well as students who may have a disability even though they are advancing from grade to grade. All children who may have an educational disability and need special education and related services or speech/language services regardless will be located, identified and evaluated according to NJAC 6A:14. The district offers a full continuum of special education programs and services in Preschool through 8th Grade. If you have concerns about your child and would like to have them evaluated to determine eligibility for special education and related services or speech/language services, please contact the Special Services Department at 732.935.3309.

Early Intervention Services

The New Jersey Early Intervention System (NJEIS), under the Division of Family Health Services, implements New Jersey's statewide system of services for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families.  The Department of Health and Senior Services is appointed by the Governor as the state lead agency for the Early Intervention System. More information can be found at https://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/eis/index.shtml

Special Education Program Options Within Eatontown Public Schools

Preschool Programs
Eatontown Public Schools offers a full continuum of services for students ages three to five years old who are found eligible for special education and related services through the evaluation process.

The Preschool program offers two options to the special needs population.

  1. Inclusionary

    An integrated program follows a state education preschool curriculum. Special needs students learn in a regular education setting and receive an in-class support program with a Special Education Teacher. These programs are available in Meadowbrook School, Woodmere School, and Margaret L. Vetter School.

  2. Self-Contained
    A Self-Contained Preschool Disabilities Program is available to those students who require more structure and assistance. This program is located in Meadowbrook School. Related services are provided in accordance with students’ IEPs.

Elementary School Programs
The Eatontown School District provides Special Education programs at all of its elementary schools in the form of “In-Class Resource” and “Pull Out Resource Replacement” programs to those students determined eligible. Related services in the form of speech/language, occupational, and physical therapies are also provided at each elementary school. In addition, Special Education Classes for students who are Learning, Language Disabled, and/or Multiply Disabled are currently held in all four of the district’s schools.