Introduction

  • Middle school is an exciting time for youngsters. Not since infancy will there be as many
    changes as will occur during these next few years. It can be scary, frustrating and
    wonderful all at the same time. By the time these students are ready to leave eighth
    grade they will have matured and grown in so many ways. The purpose of this
    handbook is to give parents an overview of the special education programs at the
    middle school and answer those most asked questions.

    The special education department in the middle school is dedicated to providing the
    best possible programs for all our special education youngsters. We are here to bridge
    the gap between elementary school and high school.

Transition from the Elementary School

  • During the spring of your child’s fifth grade year, the middle school Child Study Team
    visits with the elementary school teachers and Child Study Team to obtain information
    about each classified student. Academic levels of functioning, strengths, and
    weaknesses, work habits; instructional needs, successful learning techniques, social
    development, medical/physical needs, and program recommendations are shared.
    Each child’s special needs are given consideration when a placement decision is made
    for fifth grade.

    Near the end of fifth grade, a visit to the middle school is scheduled for students to ease
    their transition. The visit provides an opportunity to discuss the middle school
    experience with students and sixth grade teachers. As the fifth graders familiarize
    themselves with the middle school environment, teachers and sixth grade students tell
    what middle school is like and answer questions. The visit is enjoyable for all and
    relieves many apprehensions.

    An annual review meeting is scheduled for all parents of fifth grade classified students.
    Your child’s current educational status and program recommendations are discussed.
    The goal of this meeting is to update your child’s Individual Educational Program (IEP).

    The annual review meeting is the parent’s opportunity to provide input and discuss any
    concerns. A new case manager is assigned to your child and will remain with your child
    for all three middle school years.

    Communication between parents and teachers at middle school is very important.
    Teachers will contact parents as the need arises. Each teacher establishes a method of
    contact that best serves each child’s needs. They appreciate knowing anything a
    parent feels may affect a child’s functioning at school, so don’t hesitate to jot a note or
    make a personal contact. Each student uses a daily agenda book to keep track of
    responsibilities, which can also be used for teacher/parent communication. Teachers
    keep parents informed about the best times to reach them by telephone during the day
    and ask parents to do the same. Middle school teachers are experienced and treat
    each student as a unique individual.

Program Structure

  • We realize that transitioning to another school can create anxiety for you as well as for
    your children. However, once adjusted, most of the students are happy and never want
    to return to their former school. They seem to enjoy the independence, changing
    classes, having different teachers for different subjects, the activities, lockers, and
    making so many new friends.

    The students at the middle school are divided into communities or “houses”. Each
    grade level has three houses with approximately one hundred students per house.
    Each house is comprised of a Teaching Team. The teachers in each house have the
    same team planning period each morning, thereby, enabling them to conduct meetings
    to articulate about students and focus on needs, accomplishments, strengths, and
    whatever else may be necessary for a student. Each class is approximately fifty
    minutes in length. There is an a.m. and p.m. homeroom period. There is a twenty
    minute support period each day allowing teachers to work individually with students or
    in small groups, and for children to Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.).

    One of the most positive aspects of the “House Plan” is that the special education
    teachers are very high profile. They are an integral part of the team of teachers and are
    departmentally assigned to their area of expertise. They are included in team planning
    meetings enabling them to provide valuable information about their students, and to
    advocate for them on a daily basis. Frequently, the special education teacher is the
    second teacher in a collaboratively taught class.
    Child Study Team is also very active at the middle school. They are often invited to

    team planning meetings to consult with teachers. They are frequently seen in classes
    observing the students. They are often times invited to house events that establish a
    sense of community for the children as well as the teachers such as: special films, field
    trips, special projects that have evolved from academic lessons etc.

    All students are mainstreamed for special subjects. At the sixth grade level, they
    include: Physical Education /Health/Family Living, Art, Computer Education, Consumer
    Sciences, and Music. Students have PE/Health/Family Living every marking period.
    The other unified arts subjects are presented in 5 cycles throughout the year.
    We encourage all of our students to participate in extra-curricular activities. They offer a
    wide variety of experiences to children; encourage peer interaction; increase selfesteem;
    help to develop responsibility; and, establish a sense of belonging to a team or
    club. Most often, these activities provide a place for children to feel successful
    particularly if academics are difficult. There is a list provided at the beginning of the
    school year.

    We encourage you and your child to visit the middle school prior to the first day of
    school. A few tours of the building during the summer will help to alleviate some anxiety
    and nervousness. Encourage your children to ask questions of the guidance
    counselors and students at the middle school when they visit as a group in the spring.

Learning Disabilities Class

  • Students in this program generally require special education instruction for the majority
    of their day as a result of needs in reading, language arts, mathematics and study skills.
    The learning disabilities class environment is highly structured. Because most students
    receive replacement instruction for several subject areas, the program provides
    consistency, yet flexibility to meet the individual needs of the students. Dependent on
    the IEP, the student may be instructed in a group or individually. Presently there is
    opportunity for replacement instruction in reading, math, science language arts and
    social studies. Study skills are taught throughout the curriculum. All students are
    mainstreamed for family living, health, lunch, unified arts as well as for homeroom,
    house time and all house activities including field trips. There is opportunity for
    mainstream in any academic area if it is appropriate for an individual student. There is
    also opportunity for support which focuses on organization, strategies and study skills
    addressing each student’s individual learning style. The special education teacher
    consults with regular education teachers on a regular basis to discuss techniques and
    strategies that will help support the student in the regular classroom. Special area
    teachers are met with on an as needed basis. The special education teacher
    continually monitors, evaluates and, with input from the Learning Disability
    Teacher/Consultant, adjusts student’s programs so that each student can reach his/her
    fullest potential.

Resource Center

  • Students in this program participate in regular education with the support of the
    resource center program. Instructional responsibility is shared between the special
    education teacher and the regular education teacher according to the IEP. Resource
    center instruction may be replacement and/or support. Presently there is opportunity for
    replacement instruction in the resource center in reading, language arts and math.
    Dependent on the IEP, the student may receive regular education instruction in any of
    the academic areas as well as in-class support from the special education teacher.
    Support may also be provided in the resource center. The focus of support is
    organization, study skills and review and reinforcement of concepts. The special
    education teacher meets with the regular education teacher on a daily basis to discuss
    student progress and share strategies that will foster student success. Special area
    teaches are met with on an as needed basis. The special education teacher continually
    monitors, evaluates and, with input from the Learning Disability Teacher/Consultant,
    adjusts students’ programs so that each student can reach his/her fullest potential.

Related Services

  • At LVMS the related services which are available include speech and language therapy,
    individual counseling, physical therapy and occupational therapy. This is the same as
    what is available at the elementary level. The biggest difference at the middle school
    level is in the area of scheduling.

    Individual counseling is available during house time - the 22 minutes before or after a
    student’s lunch. Students who receive counseling as a part of their I.E.P. are scheduled
    during a specific house time on a weekly or biweekly (every other week) basis.
    Counseling services are provided by the school social worker or the school
    psychologist. Counseling for fifth graders can sometimes present a unique challenge -
    especially on a nice day. The students can often go outside to play during House time.
    We try to be very understanding and flexible with this dilemma. Counseling is also
    available on an as needed basis if necessary. The middle school years can often be
    confusing for parent and child. Having someone in school to listen to their concerns can
    be helpful.

    Students receiving speech and/or language therapy have been identified through
    teacher and/or parental requests. Students may be seen for articulation (i.e. sound
    production); fluency; voice and/or language therapy. Students identified as having
    language weaknesses are often seen as having concerns for vocabulary; processing of
    information; formulating their ideas verbally; abstract language concepts; and
    appropriate pragmatic (i.e. social communication) skills. Lags in these language skills
    are often seen as impacting on a student’s academic performance. In order to promote
    academic success, the development of stronger language skills enhances a child’s
    ability to communicate effectively within the classroom and among their peers.

    Speech and language therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy are offered
    during a gym, unified arts and/or House time period. The specific amount of time is
    determined through the I.E.P. In general, students do not receive related services
    during an academic period. Again, we try to be flexible and understanding (when they
    bake cookies in Consumer Sciences it is a big deal!).

    If you or your child has any concerns regarding a related service please do not hesitate
    to contact the person providing the service. Open lines of communication continue to
    be vital at LVMS.

LVMS Child Study Team