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Arlington Public Schools
Special Education Department

Director of Special Education
Alison Elmer
Phone: 781-316-3533

Main Office: 781-316-3530
Fax: 781-316-3647

Mailing Address
Arlington High School
Special Education Dept, 6th Floor
869 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476

Special Education Coordinators

High School - Lynne Bennett

Middle School - Stephanie Greiner

Elementary - Kristin Burke

Elementary - Sophie Prevost

Early Childhood - Joyce Schlenger

Out of District - Chris Carlson

Special Education

DESE Back to School Letter September 2020

DESE Special Education FAQs (revised) - August 27, 2020

APS Special Education FAQs - August 24, 2020

SEPAC Forum Video - August 26, 2020

SEPAC Forum Presentation - August 26, 2020

COVID-19 Family Letter & Family Resource Toolbox (DESE)

COVID-19 Information and Resources for Special Educators

Educational Resources for Students and Families (DESE)

Guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires that school districts “must provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those individuals providing education, specialized instruction, and related services to these students.” The Department specifically noted, students with disabilities, particularly preschool-age students and those with significant and complex needs, should be prioritized for receiving in-person instruction during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Department advised, “these students should receive as much in-person instruction as is feasible within the health and safety parameters in effect at each particular time. Even if schools or districts are operating in a hybrid or remote model, educators and administrators must make every effort to continue to provide up to full-time in-person instruction to such students.” (italics added for emphasis) While noting, "if in-person instruction cannot be provided and students with disabilities must receive instruction remotely in full, or in part, through a hybrid model," then schools must deliver services through an “Instruction and Services model of delivery” which includes (but is not limited to):

  • structured lessons
  • teletherapy
  • video-based lessons

The guidance clearly states, "students must receive all services documented in their IEPs through in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination of both, with a strong emphasis on providing in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible, while abiding by the current necessary health and safety requirements." If the District is unable to bring in all students for in-person students than the following groups of students will be prioritized under our hybrid and remote plans:

  • Students already identified as "high needs" through the IEP process on the IEP form entitled "Primary Disability/Level of Need-PL3."
    • Such students must meet at least two of these criteria:
    • Services provided outside of the general education classroom;
    • Service providers are special education teachers and related service providers;
    • Special education services constitute more than 75% of the student’s school day;
  • Students who cannot engage in remote learning due to their disability-related needs;
  • Students who primarily use aided and augmentative communication;
  • Students who are homeless
  • Students in foster care or congregate care; and/or
  • Students dually identified as English Learners.

Thank you for your continued patience, understanding and collaboration during this unprecedented time for our school community.

Do you need assistance quickly? Get the answers you need. It's Free! It's confidential. Multilingual.

Dial 2-1-1. Or search online MASS 211.

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Callers can use Mass Relay (7-1-1). 7-1-1 is the single, toll-free, nationwide number that gives everyone access to relay services. People can simply dial 7-1-1 from any phone to reach someone who uses a standard phone or a TTY. An operator will relay verbatim the conversation between the parties.

You can also chat with us online at

Call 2-1-1 or 1-877-211-6277

Runaway Assistance (Police Officers) ext 11

Childcare ext 23

Call2Talk (Mental Health Line) ext 25

Child Requiring Assistance ext 24

Disaster ext 20

Thank you very much, and we appreciate everyone's efforts to keep our community healthy.

The Arlington Public Schools provides a comprehensive array of programs and services from pre-school through grades 12 designed to address the needs of eligible students who have a disability and require specialized instruction.



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Last Update: 10/22/20   Site Design by C. Bertoli