The Star-Herald

Special ed director briefs SAD 1 board on referrals


PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — About 15 percent of SAD 1’s student body receives special education services, the SAD 1 school board learned last week.

The board met on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at Pine Street Elementary School.

There are 16 special education teachers district-wide with two full-time speech and language pathologists who act as case managers, said Special Education Director Megan Stanley.

“We are serving 275 students through special education services in MSAD 1, which represents about 15 percent of the entire student body K through 12,” Stanley said.

Stanley discussed the special education referral process. Not all children with a disability require special education, but if they do require an individualized education plan then consent must be reached between parents or guardians and the school. 

Special education teams meet at least once a year to adjust a student’s individual plan if needed.

Pre-K children receive special education services through Child Development Services and transition to public school services when entering kindergarten, Stanley said. 

Teachers, family members or family friends are among those who can request a student’s referral to the special education department. 

Stanley reviews referrals and interviews people who wrote them to make sure special education has all the appropriate information before granting approval. 

State and federal timelines give the department 15 school days to take action on a referral.

Special education staff work to determine what factors affect a child’s learning through classroom observation and working with the parents. If parents agree, then special education has 45 days to conduct an evaluation and determine special education eligibility.

In other business, retirements were announced for Brian Cronin, the physical education teacher for Presque Isle Middle School, and Food Service Director Kathy Allen.

An induction ceremony into the Presque Isle High School Athletic Hall of Fame will be held on Friday, Jan. 20, for Nelson “Nellie” Guerrette, Sue Lougee, Kathy Roope, Greg Whittaker and Jennifer Hersey Eavenson.

Pine Street Elementary School Principal William Guerrette introduced second-grade teacher Jennifer Hallett, who discussed what second graders Claire Martin and Colton Johnston learned at a reading of “Balloons Over Broadway” by Melissa Sweet. 

Pine Street students collaborated with education students from the University of Maine at Presque Isle on a schoolwide mural project which also featured balloon animals made by the Anah Shrine Klowns. Hallett shared the balloons with the school board.

SAD 1 conducted remote learning on Jan. 13 in response to the snowstorm that closed down schools, with learning materials sent home at the end of the day. 

In case of a significant storm that will close school the next day, parents can request to receive free lunches from the school that will be sent home with the students the day before.

The board announced that Presque Isle High School’s graduation will be held outdoors on June 10.

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