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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 - Christina Ryan

Early Childhood - Joyce Schlenger

Out of District - Chris Carlson

Special Education

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

COVID-19 Information and Resources for Special Educators

Educational Resources for Students and Families (DESE)

Special Education and Related Service Remote Learning Opportunities During School Closures

UPDATED May 11, 2020: The Governor extended mandated public health closures for all in-person educational operations for public and private elementary and secondary schools through at least June 29, 2020. Unfortunately, this means that APS will not be able to provide any in-person educational services or in-person evaluations during school closures. We understand that the extended public health closures present complex challenges for all families, particularly those families of students with disabilities. During the school closures, federal and state guidance for schools has shifted as the anticipated dates of school re-openings have been extended. In line with state and federal guidance, APS has shifted from initially providing enrichment resources, to providing a mix of direct and student-led instruction in previously learned curriculum to now shifting to focusing on foundational curriculum and skills required for the next grade. The most recent iteration of remote learning continues to aim to include, where appropriate and feasible, remote educator-led direct instruction and feedback. As part of this model, and to extent appropriate, APS continues to provide remote educator-led specialized instruction in line with students’ individualized special education goals and needs.

We understand that this has been and continues to be a monumental undertaking for the entire school community and that nothing can replace the in-person schooling experience. However, APS seeks to ensure students receive meaningful and engaging continuous learning opportunities during school closure and ensure students with disabilities are provided with meaningful opportunities to work on IEP goal areas consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of the school community. During the remainder of the school closure, APS’s special education supports and services will continue to focus on providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities to engage in remote instruction and feedback as well as opportunities for specialized instruction in IEP goal areas. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding in this process.

Students' special education and related service providers have determined how to meet each child’s individualized needs, notified families of specialized remote learning opportunities and continue to collaborate to make adjustments in order to meet student’s needs. For the remainder of the school year, although these are not ideal circumstances, APS encourages continued collaboration regarding making individualized changes, as needed, if students require more or less to have the opportunity to access instruction and to work on IEP goals remotely. Special education staff is happy to connect with you on ideas about ensuring accessible instruction and materials are available to all students. Teachers and providers are also available for check-ins, trouble-shooting technological hurdles and answering questions about educational learning opportunity materials and assignments.

Additionally, please note the following update with regard to IEP meetings and evaluations:

IEP Meetings:
APS special education Teams are currently offering and holding remote IEP meetings with families. Currently, APS is prioritizing IEP meetings with mandated timelines (e.g. annual reviews). We understand that given the extended school closures many families are eager to meet with IEP Teams. However, there are no mandated timelines for reconvenes, rejected IEPs, parent requested IEP meetings. However, APS is committed to continuing the collaborative Team process and the district will certainly attempt to schedule these meetings as soon as practicable. However, in most cases, this may not be possible until schools re-open. If there are special education issues that you would like to discuss, APS encourages you to reach out to your child’s IEP Team Chairperson. APS will continue to reach out to families that the district plans to hold IEP Team meetings for with additional details.

Remote Special Education IEP Team Meetings

The vast majority of evaluations require standardized assessments which have only been normed for in-person administration, or, by their very nature, require an in-person component (e.g. classroom observation/in-home assessment) in order to obtain valid, comprehensive information. Since the public health closures, some test publishers who previously mandated in-person protocols for valid results, have released protocols for remote test administration. However, many professional associations, other stake-holders and the districts’ evaluators have concerns about the validity of these measures even under perfect remote conditions due to the following considerations: 1) tests have not been normed for remote administration and may not produce valid results; 2) the current circumstances (worldwide pandemic and impact locally) may skew results due to situational anxiety and/or traumatic reaction to high stakes testing in a time of uncertainty; and, 3) concern that holding evaluative meeting with only some information that can be obtained remotely may lead to incomplete information and invalid eligibility findings and improper service planning for students. In general, the district believes that in-person testing on standardized measures that have been properly normed and validated for in-person administration are highly recommended and vastly preferable to ensure valid, accurate testing. The district also believes that the other proposed components of the testing that may be completed remotely, generally, must be reviewed in conjunction with other testing in order to ensure accurate results IEP Team Chairpersons will be reaching out to see if families are willing to extend evaluation timelines in order to allow for in-person evaluations However, if a family does not wish to extend the evaluation timelines by agreement, the evaluators will take an individual look and see if valid, comprehensive and appropriate evaluations may be completed remotely for your child given his or her unique circumstances. If comprehensive and appropriate evaluations are not possible, then in line with federal guidance, in-person evaluations will necessarily be delayed until in-person evaluations may properly be completed. As practicable, regardless of whether parents agree to timeline extension, evaluators may reach out to complete some non-in person components of evaluations during school closures (e.g. developmental history).

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

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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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