Educational Programs and Supports
The Medford Township School District's Office of Educational Support Services provides a range of education programs, from preschool to grade 8, to address the needs of students. We offer a full continuum of placement options for students with disabilities and continue to stress student achievement.
The district provides various classes for children three through five years old who are identified with a disability in communication, fine/gross motor skills, intellectual development, and/or social and emotional growth. To qualify for a special education preschool program, the child must be 3-5 years or be turning three during the academic year (the child must not qualify for kindergarten), and experiencing a developmental delay, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures. A developmental delay means a 33% delay in one developmental area, or a 25% delay in two or more of the following areas:
- Social and Emotional
- Physical, including gross motor, fine motor and sensory (vision and hearing)
Instruction is provided using a language-based approach, with emphasis on learning through experience and play.
The district accepts 3-year-old and 4-year-old children from the general public into our integrated preschool program at a minimal tuition cost. The program offers a high quality, half day preschool program where students, with and without disabilities, learn together in a supportive environment. This preschool experience provides children an opportunity to learn and socialize with peers in a nurturing and meaningful learning environment. Please click on the attached application and preschool calendar below for further information.
The district will be accepting 3-year-old and 4-year-old children into our integrated preschool program. We are excited to be able to offer this high quality, half day preschool program where students, with and without disabilities, learn together in a supportive environment. This preschool experience will offer children an opportunity to learn and socialize with peers in a nurturing and meaningful learning environment. Each classroom is staffed by a teacher who holds both preschool and special education certification and instructional assistants.
Occupational, physical and speech therapies may also be integrated into the classrooms. This developmentally appropriate, play-based program addresses early reading and math skills, language development, fine and gross motor skills, related arts and social skills. The curriculum (Creative Curriculum Gold) is state approved and aligned with state standards in order to prepare students for the district's kindergarten program.
Morning (8:20 – 11:00 a.m.) and afternoon (11:45 – 2:25 p.m.) sections will be held at the Kirby's Mill Elementary School. The cost for the program is $3,400.00 per year. Parents are responsible for transportation to and from school.
In order to qualify for the program your child must meet the following criteria:
- age 3 or 4 by October 1, 2020*
- toilet trained
- up to date immunizations
- Students eligible for entrance into kindergarten in September 2020 will not be considered for enrollment in the preschool program
To enroll your child, you will need to complete the application form located on the right hand side of this page and remit it with a $150.00 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit by cash or check. Children will be enrolled on a first come, first served basis beginning January 22, 2020. Residents of Medford Township will have first consideration.
Parents/Guardians of children who are currently enrolled in the 3-year-old program will have first right of refusal for the 4-year-old program. The application period opens on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. Parents/Guardians may request that their child be placed on a waiting list when all slots have been filled.
PARENTS/GUARDIANS MAY ENROLL THEIR CHILD IN PERSON
OR BY MAIL STARTING JANUARY 22, 2021 AT:
Medford Township Public Schools – Board of Education
137 Hartford Road
Medford, NJ 08055
(HOURS: 8:15 AM – 4:00 PM)
For further information, please call Karen Gault at 609-654-6416 extension 8027.
In addition to the General Education program, the district offers various programs to meet the individual needs of students identified in need of special education services. These include in-class support, pull-out replacement, and self-contained special education programs, supported by speech, occupational and physical therapies. The district also works with parents to place students in out-of-district, regional programs when we are unable to provide appropriate services in one of our schools.
Speech and Language services are an integral part of the total educational program. The role of the Speech-Language Specialist in the schools is to provide speech and language therapy services to students, advice to teachers in developing classroom activities, and goals to improve students’ oral and written communication skills, and to work cooperatively with other specialists and staff in the school, as well as parents. The goal is to remediate, ameliorate, or alleviate student deficits of communication skills within the educational setting. Speech and language specialists use formal and informal assessments to identify and provide intervention for students with disorders of language, speech articulation, fluency, and voice. Interventions focus on a student’s abilities, rather than disabilities. Speech and language services are often delivered to students in a variety of school settings according to an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Language is essential to communicate our needs, feelings and ideas with those around us. When a child has difficulty understanding and using language it can impact his/her social and academic development in school.
Some children often demonstrate difficulty producing speech sounds. Speech articulation requires the correct production of sounds to form words. Children need sound development to communicate effectively. It is not uncommon for young children to have difficulty producing specific speech sounds. Speech sound development is often related to the child’s chronological age and may or may not be a problem.
Other children may exhibit non fluent speech (stuttering) or may use an inappropriate pitch, volume, or quality of voice. These speech disorders may make it difficult for a child to communicate successfully in the classroom.
Does my child need Speech and Language therapy?
It is very common to have a wide range of acceptable abilities and skills among children of similar age. But if you, as the parent, begin to feel that there is a big gap between your child and others, then it may be time to seek the advice of a trained speech-language specialist.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, please contact the Child Study Team at his or her school.
Occupational & Physical Therapy Services
Occupational and Physical Therapies are supportive services required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. Services are provided based on a student’s individual needs, not the disability or special education classification.
School based occupational therapy (OT) is provided when a student needs therapy services to function in an educational environment. School based OT helps students develop skills necessary for a student to function at school, which may be different from medically based services.
There are many signs that would indicate the necessity of OT services for a student. Listed here are several, but not all, examples of what a student may have difficulties with that could cause decreased school performance:
- Hand function - cannot pick up or play with small objects easily, scissor skills, decreased muscle strength in hands, arms, or shoulders, etc.
- Sensory processing - dislikes touching different objects, craves movement, fearful of movement, poor body awareness, etc.
- Handwriting - can not read writing, writes slowly, poor pencil grip, etc.
- Posture - does not sit properly, slumps on desk frequently, etc.
- Self-care skills - tying shoes, zipping coat, buttoning pants, etc.
- Visual skills - copying from board or book, puzzles, etc.
- Attention span/Organizational skills
- Pre-vocational skills - difficulty with performing tasks required for job training.
Students who may require occupational therapy services are identified through the use of formal and informal assessments. OT services can be delivered in a variety of ways, depending on the child’s strengths and areas of difficulty. Direct OT services consist of group or individual sessions provided in class or out of class where the child’s specific goals are addressed through hands on purposeful activity. Indirect services, such as consultation and/or monitoring are provided to those children who have achieved specific goals or who require more adaptation rather than remediation. Consultation is an ongoing communication between the therapist, parent, teacher, and student where problem solving and trial of different adaptations and environmental changes are used to allow a student to function optimally in his or her educational environment without the need for direct services.
When a student makes progress, the amount of OT that the student receives may be decreased. When a student reaches all of his or her OT goals or the student has reached the highest expected functional level, OT is usually discontinued.
Physical Therapists help students accomplish gross motor activities. These are activities using large muscle groups, including walking, jumping, carrying heavy or multiple items, etc. The school therapist works on school related goals to help students benefit from their educational programs. These may include increasing access to school resources, classroom mobility, or increasing a student’s ability to safely maneuver in the school’s hallways. Educational performance for young children also includes self-help skills and gross motor skills on the playground and in physical education class.
Physical Therapy services can take place in a variety of school settings, such as in classrooms, hallways, gyms, playgrounds, lunchrooms, or in a separate therapy room. Therapy may be provided individually or in small groups. Collaborating with educational staff to modify the child's environment and daily school activities is also a part of school therapy.
Students who have physical limitations preventing them from accessing school resources may be entitled to receive school therapy. The need for therapy is determined through an evaluation that consists of formal and informal assessments. Many times, physicians and other service providers who have worked with the child make specific recommendations for therapy. While these recommendations are considered, school-based decisions are made in the context of the child's educational needs. The amount, frequency, and duration of therapy is determined by the Physical Therapist and reviewed at least annually. Changes in these services may be made in accordance to the student’s needs at that time. A student may be discharged from school-based therapy services when he or she reaches all of their PT goals or the student has reached the highest expected functional level.
If you are concerned about your child’s fine or gross motor development, please contact the Child Study Team at his or her school.
Assistive Technology devices are any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. It may enable individuals to become more independent, self-confident, productive, and better integrated into the home, classroom, and community.
The term assistive technology encompasses a broad range of devices from “low tech”, such as pencil grips, splints, and paper stabilizers, to “high tech”, such as computers, voice synthesizers, and Braille readers. These devices include the entire range of supportive tools and equipment from adapted spoons to wheelchairs and computer systems.
The Assistive Technology Specialist in a school setting evaluates the technology needs of the individual, including a functional evaluation in the student’s customary environment. If it is determined that the student requires an assistive device, the specialist assists the student in the selection, acquisition, and/or use of this device. This process takes expertise and persistence. Additionally, the specialist provides training for the student, school staff, and parents, if needed, in the effective use of the technology.
The Office of Educational Support Services works with consultants to support students who have difficulty demonstrating age-appropriate behaviors that may impact his or her education or that of other students. The principals of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) are employed. ABA is the science of human behavior, using empirically validated principles to change socially significant behaviors.
Observations and measurable behaviors are analyzed within an environment to determine why those behaviors are, or are not, occurring. Treatment strategies can then be applied within the school environment to bring about positive and meaningful change.
School Counselor Services
The Counselor at each of the Medford Township Schools is dedicated to fostering, in every student, a sense of commitment to self and community and a firm desire to reach their goals. As children move through the stages of development, they need the support of adults at home and at school to assist them in their efforts to become self-directed students and sound decision makers. The choices they make impact many areas, such as: friendships, peer groups, activities and sports, and career paths. Our counselors are professionally trained to assist students and parents with the many personal issues that they may face in today's fast-paced world.
We have a comprehensive guidance and counseling program in the Medford Township Public Schools. The focus of our elementary school program is both developmental and preventative. Classroom instruction includes such topics as workplace readiness, understanding self and others, promoting positive self-esteem, understanding peers and peer relationships, understanding choices and consequences, and understanding substance abuse issues. The goal of the middle school counseling department is to help bridge the gap between high school and elementary school.
Throughout the year, counselors meet with interested students, classes, or small groups to facilitate developmental, academic, and social issues of concern. Individual and group counseling with students who have special needs are offered. Crisis intervention strategies are presented when necessary.
The School Counselor also works with parents to discuss concerns and to help them understand their child’s growth and development, as well as their feelings and behaviors.
If you would like counseling services for your child, or additional information, please review the information below and contact the counselor at your child’s school.
School Nursing Services
The Medford Township School Nurses work as part of an education team to promote the overall health and well-being of all students and staff that make up the Medford Township School District. A wide range of health services are provided at each school. These services include:
- Developing emergency care plans for students with life-threatening health conditions such as severe allergies to peanuts or bee stings, severe asthma or diabetic students with insulin reactions.
- Administering medications to students and care for ill or injured students in the school setting.
- Completing health assessments for students being evaluated to receive special education services. Providing state-mandated screenings and referrals for health conditions such as vision or hearing.
- Monitoring any possible communicable disease outbreaks in the school setting.
- Serving as a liaison between the school, the home, and medical or other community resources.
- Providing health education to students.
- Promoting a healthy school environment.