School Services - MCE Handbook
HELPING CHILDREN SUCCEED
The education of our children is a cooperative enterprise, involving the participation and support of the school, home, and community. MCE subscribes to and practices the Pittsford School District wide philosophy of cooperative decision-making (a joint planning and problem-solving process). Parents and guardians are encouraged to be active participants in their children’s education through involvement both at school and at home. Toward that end, it is helpful for parents to become familiar with and take advantage of the school-based services available to their children and to model behaviors at home that will help their children succeed. (See also Appendix C: Equal Educational Opportunities.)
A wide range of specialists is available to help teachers and parents work together to aid students in their MCE careers. They include the School Counselors, the School Psychologist, the School Nurse Teachers, the Reading Teacher, the Speech/Language Teacher, the Math Lab Paraprofessional, the Learning Resources Teachers, the Student Services Teacher, the ESL Teacher, and the Instructional Challenge Teacher. When appropriate, these specialists serve together with parents and teachers on the Pupil Services Team (PST), a multi-disciplinary group designed to help students who may need support beyond the regular classroom structure (See also Pupil Services Team [PST]). In addition to these specialists, the school’s Assistant Principal assists the Principal in all aspects of the students’ school experience and serves as a resource and support for school staff, students, and parents alike.
The Counseling Office
The Counseling Office is available to help children (and their parents and teachers), deal with such issues as school adjustment, changing family situations, peer problems, and identifying learning problems. The School Counselors serve as resources, providing short-term individual and group counseling, suggesting referrals as appropriate to outside services and agencies, and serving on the PST. School Counselors also visit each classroom, working with teachers and staff to address such issues as conflict resolution, friendship, perspective-taking, problem solving, managing strong emotions, and character education. Students may choose to visit a School Counselor themselves, or be referred by a teacher or parent. The Counseling Office has an open door policy, and you can call the School Counselors directly at 267-1460.
The School Psychologist
A School Psychologist is a professional with specialized training in psychology and learning functions. School Psychologists use their training and skill to work with parents, teachers, and other mental health professionals to foster safe, healthy, and supportive school environments. School Psychologists understand child development, school systems, and effective teaching strategies, and are prepared to help alleviate difficulties that may otherwise impede successful learning.
School Psychologists tailor their services to meet the particular needs of each student and each situation. Although School Psychologists utilize many different approaches and work in a variety of settings, most provide a number of core services. These services include consultation, assessment, intervention, prevention, education, and research.
The School Nurse Teachers
MCE's School Nurse Teachers oversee the health and safety of all of the students in the building. In addition to being available to children on a daily basis, performing vision/hearing and scoliosis screenings, and dispensing medicines as needed, they provide a wide range of health and safety related duties for the school (see also Health and Safety). School Nurse Teachers serve on the Health and Safety Committees at the building levels; plan and oversee Emergency Procedures drills; and train staff for their roles regarding Emergency Preparedness. In addition, the School Nurse Teachers are certified teachers as well as healthcare providers. They teach lessons and provide materials for all classrooms in accordance with the New York State Health Standards and Curriculum (see also Special Areas of Instruction: Health). A School Nurse Teacher also serves on the school's Pupil Services Team (see also The Pupil Services Team [PST]). You may reach the School Nurse Teachers directly at 267-1440.
The Reading Teacher
The Reading Teacher provides small group reading and/or writing instruction to identified students in grades 1-5. Students may meet with the Reading Teacher in their own classrooms or in the Reading Room 3-4 times a week for up to 30-minute sessions (depending on individual needs and scheduling logistics). Students are referred for help through new student and summer screenings, through classroom referrals, or by parents or the students themselves. The Reading Teacher focuses on promoting active reading, writing, and listening skills, encouraging all students to read at home daily and to work toward effective communication (See also Helping Children Communicate). The Reading Teacher also serves on the PST.
The Speech/Language Teacher
The Speech/Language Teacher provides services for identified students in grades K-5.
Students are referred to this specialist by teachers, parents, the IST or the PST. The Speech/Language Teacher assesses students with potential speech or language difficulties and works collaboratively with other staff to determine educational needs. Support may be provided through consultation with the classroom teachers and/or direct instruction with the student. Frequency of sessions is determined by individual need, and instruction may take place individually or in small groups. The Speech/Language Teacher focuses on skills in the areas of articulation, speech fluency, phonological awareness, language comprehension, auditory processing, expressive language and pragmatic language/social thinking. The Speech/Language Teacher also serves on the PST.
The Math Lab
The math Educational Assistants serve as a resource for students, teachers, and parents. In Math Lab, each math unit is taught in various ways using study skills to strengthen their math concepts, skills, vocabulary, confidence and math knowledge. Students are recommended for Math Lab by their math teacher, the results from the state math test and unit pre-tests. Identified students in second and third grade attend Math Lab in a small group setting for two 45 minute sessions a week. Educational Assistants support the identified fourth and fifth grade students in their math class. Select fourth and fifth grade students will also be invited, by their math teacher, to attend after school Math Lab (two 30 minute sessions) to reinforce what the students are working on in their math class.
The Learning Specialist Teachers
The learning specialist is a certified special educator who provides support to students in grades K-5 who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The plan is obtained through a process of recommendations, testing and data collection and results in a CSE meeting for classification of a student.
Each student’s plan outlines their needs for support and the amount of time per week/day the service is to be given. This includes support or specialized instruction in the area of reading, writing, mathematics, content area skills, and thinking skills. Students may receive instruction 30-45 minutes daily; with exceptions of students receiving specialized math and reading class. Materials may also be provided to the classroom teacher as needed upon request.
The learning specialist reviews and updates each student’s IEP annually to set goals for the following academic year. Every 3 years a full re-evaluation of the student’s IEP will be held.
The Student Services Teacher (SST)
The Student Services Teacher (SST) is a Special Education Specialist who provides support to staff, students, and parents in understanding and addressing the nature and needs of students with disabilities. The SST serves as a liaison between the Central Special Education Office and building staff; helps facilitates the delivery of programs and training regarding special education and its process to administrators and other teachers; and assists in the development and monitoring of classroom management plans, effective instructional programming, and Individual Educational Plans and 504 plans for students with disabilities. The SST also chairs building-level Committee on Special Education subcommittee meetings, and serves as the Chair of MCE’s Pupil Services Team (see also The Pupil Services Team [PST]).
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
English for speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a NYSED mandated program for all students who are learning English and/or speak another language in their homes. To qualify for support a screening using NYSED’s Language Assessment Battery – Revised (LAB-R) is administered. In May every ESOL student is assessed for Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing proficiency using the NYSESLAT (NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test).
Instructional Challenge is a K-8 district based program. The mission of Instructional Challenge is to collaborate with PCSD staff and administration, to develop student intellectual potential and increase student achievement.
This process includes the following:
- Advocacy, nurture and support of high ability and profoundly gifted students;
- Development and refinement of assessment procedures and programming models and processes that will help meet the academic needs of high ability students;
- Delivery of on-site embedded training, guidance, and support to help classroom teachers be responsive to high ability students’ needs, and;
- Collaboration with PCSD Standards Leaders as they work to create curriculum documents that include rigor and clearly define outcomes for students who are motivated or capable of achieving high-end learning as well as the instructional strategies, resources and materials to achieve those outcomes.
Instructional Support Team (IST)
Designed primarily to provide teacher-teacher support, the (IST) is made up of a primary teacher, an intermediate teacher, a learning specialist, and a reading specialist. The IST at Mendon Center is chaired by the Assistant Principal. Teachers may make a referral to the IST when they are seeking additional instructional or management strategies in order to assist an individual child in being more successful in the classroom. Parents will be notified of the referral and asked to provide input to the team which would be helpful in their discussion. The IST identifies a specific goal for the teacher to focus on and suggests specific strategies that may be helpful in meeting that goal. Procedures for monitoring student progress in this goal area are discussed and agreed upon. The IST carefully monitors student progress over time and may make suggestions for different interventions, or different levels of support, as warranted by evidence of student progress.
The Pupil Services Team (PST)
The PST is a multi-disciplinary team that meets once a week to discuss concerns regarding the progress of specific students. The team for each student is chaired by the Student Services Teacher, who may be reached through the Main Office at 267-1410. The PST consists of the Student Services Teacher, the School Psychologist, the School Nurse Teacher, a School Counselor, and the Learning Resource, Reading, and Speech and Language teachers. The principal, child’s classroom teacher, and additional school personnel may also attend if appropriate. Together, team members share perspectives and ideas, discuss ways to address concerns, and meet with parents to form recommendations and determine the need for formal assessments, accommodations and/or special education services. Once plans are implemented, the PST monitors students’ progress.
Students may be referred to the PST by teachers, staff, or parents. Parental input and permission are necessary before any formal assessments are undertaken.
MCE PTSA volunteers work in conjunction with the Pittsford District PTSA Learning Needs Committee as Learning Needs Liaisons for families with children who have learning differences. The liaisons act as parent resources by serving as a contact for and providing information on such learning needs programs as Pittsford Advocates for Special Students (PASS) and Quality Education Support It Today (QUEST); and by providing support for families who have children with special needs related to learning disabilities, physical handicaps, speech/language impairments, attention deficits (ADD/ADHD), academic talents, and English Speakers of Other Languages. Pertinent information is shared at MCE PTSA meetings and through the MCExpress, the Mendon Center Update, and PTSA newsletters. Phone numbers for liaisons can be obtained by contacting the Main Office at 267-1400 or through listings in the MCE Directory.