In The Schools

Innovation in Special Education Program

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The past decade has brought about numerous concerns and questions over special education student programming and the rising cost of support efforts.   Not only were questions coming from parents of special ed children,  but also from lawmakers all over the country,  residence and Board of Educations.   Mounting questions and concerns continue to grow from parents with special needs children and others regarding the programs that were in place throughout the Country .  South Plainfield is the home to many special needs students servicing those from pre-kindergarten through graduation.  Dr. Noreen Lishak arrived as a new superintendent in South Plainfield school district on July 1, 2016.   Dr. Lishak listen to the cry of the concerns of the parents for our special-education students.   She immediately began to organize and prioritize the district programs that were imperative,  to be set in place for all her special needs students.  Dr. Lishak worked with the Director of Special Services as well as the supervisor of special services to ensure that the parents concerns were addressed.   In November 2016 Dr. Lishak  called a districtwide meeting for parents of Special Needs students,  which was announced by email blast to our special-education parent community and posted on The webpage.  The meeting had an attendance of approximately 80 parents. Dr Lishak listened to  all their concerns and questions and allowed each parent time to speak on the various questions they each had with regards to the programs,  IEP meetings,  the child study team,  the OT/PT offerings and the needs of their children.  Upon hearing these concerns Dr. Lishak posted the steps and protocol for parents to follow if they felt their child should be tested for special-needs on the district webpage.   immediately following the district wide meeting Dr. Lishak formulated an action plan committee which consisted of parents of special ed students ranging from prekindergarten program to the high school, which included the director of Special Services,  Supervisor of Special Services,  Assistant superintendent to Board of Education, a principal. Board of Education  members and a child  study team member.  The first meeting of the action plan committee took place in January 2017.   Concerns were discussed and a formal action plan was set forth that would comply with the growing concerns of the parents.  A second meeting was announced for districtwide parents of special needs students in March 2017 .  After a decade of Mounting concerns these parents now expressed that so many of their concerns have been addressed and they feel that the district is moving forward with program implementation that actually meet the needs of their students.   Dr. Lishak,  who once held the position of special service director in another district,  brought  her compassion and understanding to the South Plainfield community.   She recognized and address the needs of our special-education students and listen to the concerns of the parents.   the New Jersey school boards Association hosted an innovation in special education awards program.  Board of Education member Debbie Boyle, who is part of the action plan committee submitted all the email blast two page letter outlining all the steps that were taken by Dr. Lishak which included Dr Lishsk's  Innovation  in Special Education  program. Debbie Boyle presented Dr. Lishak with a certification in in the innovation of Dr. Lishak's special education program which was awarded by New Jersey School Boards.  Debbie Boyle presented the award certificate at the April Board of Education meeting to Dr Lishak.

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