Preschool services approved

Jefferson Elementary School students arrive for the first day of school in Massena. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Central School District is starting to provide special education services to preschool students with disabilities.

The district is required to provide Special Education Itinerant Services and has been approved to be a provider for preschool students with disabilities in addition to Special Class and Special Class Integrating Setting programs, also for preschoolers with disabilities.

“Due to the huge undertaking of initiating and establishing the coordination of the two preschool needs classroom programs last year, especially during COVID restrictions and protocols, we held off starting the itinerant program until this year, 2021-2022,” Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said.

He said children are recommended for Special Education Itinerant Services through the Committee on Preschool Education and according to the Committee on Preschool Education Individualized Education Program.

“A typical SEIS recommendation is for the weekly minimum according to NYSED (New York State Education Department) regulations of two 1-hour sessions weekly,” Mr. Brady said. “SEIS must be provided by a certified special education teacher on an itinerant basis for the purpose of providing specialized individual or group instruction and/or indirect services to preschooler students with disabilities.”

He said the service is not available for students who are in the district’s pre-kindergarten special education programs because they already receive the services.

“It would be students that are in Head Start or their pre-k students who are still at home,” Mr. Brady said. “They might be in a pre-k program that’s not special ed and they may need specialized services that would help to prepare them for school.”

The teachers providing the service will be paid a stipend to provide them outside of school hours, whether it’s at school or in a home. St. Lawrence County provides reimbursement to the district for the work based on a preset funding formula.

“It is funded through the county based on their rates that they provide to us,” Mr. Brady said. “So, we do look for county reimbursement for these and our other pre-k services for our pre-k special ed students.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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