A Message for Special Education Families

A Message for Special Education Families from Yvette Goorvitch
Posted on 03/13/2020
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A Note For Parents Of Special Education Students from Yvette Goorevitch, Chief of Specialized Learning and Student Services

Una Nota Para Familias de Hijos de Educación Especial de parte de Yvette Goorevitch, Directora de los Servicios Especializado

We know that parents of special needs students may have additional questions in this time of uncertainty. Recognizing the increased concern our community is facing, the Department of Learning and Student Services of Norwalk Public Schools have put together information regarding distance learning services. This information will be updated on a regular basis as additional guidance is received.

NPS staff is working to provide parents and students remote access for learning, interventions, consultation and other supports as available. Please see details below.

Based upon guidance received from US Office of Special Education Programs (OSEPs), when our schools are closed and serving students via distance learning, we must ensure equal access and provide FAPE. To that end, specialized services staff is developing schedules consistent with IEP hours.  Documentation of attendance/service provision will be maintained by staff consistent with our District's established protocols. Special Education teachers and related services staff have prepared virtual and blended learning opportunities for all students with disabilities in anticipation of school closings. Materials and devices will be distributed today. Parents can expect to be advised by their child's special education case manager, via email or telephone, regarding the service delivery plan including schedules of service for their children by Monday.

As we receive additional guidance which may require amendments to IEPs to consider formal, longer term distance learning plans, the Special Education staff will reach out to parents individually to discuss this process and continue to plan for your children’s individual needs. 

Recognizing that students with disabilities are general education students first, Special education staff has collaborated with general education teachers in developing accommodations to the work prepared for home (either by Google Classroom, hard copy or both). Special education staff will provide interventions by phone or videoconference as available. Staff will advise parents of the schedule of interventions via email and keep attendance of these interventions.

For our students with highly individualized and modified programs, who are not typically accessing the general education curriculum, special education staff have prepared materials that can be implemented at home. Special education staff will provide interventions by phone or videoconference as available. Special education staff will advise parents of the scheduled time of interventions so that they can make their children available. BCBAs will assist staff in this matter and be available for parent consultation. 

Our on-line curriculum consultants are providing remote access for children who are currently engaged with technology learning tools. These web-based programs are available on devices that were provided to students to take home. Staff will monitor via web-based programs as is consistent with current practices. We are developing webinars to support the implementation.

Staff will provide teletherapy supports via phone or via Google Classroom. For those related service staff with access to video chat or zoom, video support will be available. Staff will keep attendance of these sessions and schedule with parents accordingly.

School counselors will be available to assist in monitoring all their student’s participation with remote learning and provide support and outreach to students whose participation may require additional supports.

Special Education supervisors will work with parents and staff to schedule and conduct PPTs remotely (either telephonically or via video conferencing as is currently available).

School counselors, social workers, and psychologists have been provided with a resource guide of best practices regarding how to talk to your children about COVID-19 coronavirus. Any child who is appearing particularly vulnerable will receive individualized support and counseling. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s response to this health concern, please contact your child’s counselor or school social worker.

During the period of school closing, Special Education Supervisors will be available via email or telephone. Families may contact:

Stacey Heiligenthaler, Assistant Director heiligenthalers@norwalkps.org

Maureen Sullivan, Special Education Supervisor SullivanMa@norwalkps.org.

Yvette Goorevitch, Chief of Specialized Learning goorevitchy@norwalkps.org

Violet Reyes, Bilingual Special Education Parent Ombudsperson reyesv@norwalkps.org

Additionally, click here for resources to help you speak to your children about the current health situation.

We would like to thank our extraordinary staff, parents, guardians and NPS community for your ongoing support and collaboration at this time.



Yvette Goorevitch

Chief of Specialized Learning and Student Services