PATERSON, NJ – Parents of Paterson Public Schools students are praising the district’s efforts to provide compensatory speech therapy to their children.

“I have nothing but good things to say about the Paterson Public Schools Special Education Department,” said Justin Laurent, the father of two sons with autism, one in the second grade and another in the eighth grade. Laurent added that Chief Special Education Officer Cheryl Coy gave him her contact information and encouraged him to reach out to her is there was anything he needed. “Later, I did reach out to her,”  Laurent said. “She was true to her word. She has been very helpful, and that goes right down to my sons’ teachers and the special services team.”

According to the latest data that has been verified by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), the district owes 3325.5 hours of compensatory speech therapy services as of November 30, 2019, a decrease from the 26,696 hours the district owed at the end of May 2019. The district tallies the number of hours it owes in compensatory services at the end of each month, and that data is verified by the NJDOE.   

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“We know we aren’t finished with the work of driving the number of hours we owe down to zero. But I am very edified by the work of the Special Education Department under the leadership of Chief Cheryl Coy,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “The department has worked with district families to provide the best way forward for their children, and in so doing they have made great progress on the backlog. When the district works with families, we all can accomplish great things and meet any challenge.”

“Ms. Coy and her team were very responsive and efficient,” said Abraham Rivera, a patrolman with the Paterson Police Department whose son is an eighth-grader with special needs. “He needed an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) done in order to receive the accommodations he needs. They pulled together all of the information and the statistics and they basically got it done. Now my son is getting the help he needs.”

Kelliann Bailey, whose son is a second-grader with special needs, praised Coy for being “very hands-on.” 

“She saw my son first-hand while he was in school. She knew exactly how his needs could be accommodated, and worked with me to make sure that they were.”

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