Special Education

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  • Transitions to Kindergarten

    Posted by Joan Rees on 4/10/2019


    ‘Going to kindergarten is an important life event. Preschoolers can feel excited—and a bit worried, too. Families have similar feelings, knowing their child is going to “real” school.’


    At Alton Central School, our third trimester is a very exciting time for our preschoolers as we prepare them for the end of Pre-K and the transition into kindergarten.  We visit kindergarten rooms, talk about becoming more independent, begin to use both boy and girl bathrooms, and practice using the BIG playground. Children often share their feelings of nervousness and as teachers we encourage discussion but we also try to reassure them that they will always be able to visit us.  


    Kindergarten registration is April 19.  Parents should already have scheduled appointments for that day.  If you have not please do so as soon as possible. At the registration, parents will be given an opportunity to meet kindergarten teachers, ask questions and meet other parents.  Registration paperwork will also be completed. Children will participate in a screening that will help teachers to get to know them as well as help them to build balanced classrooms.  All registration activities are designed to make the transition to school a bit less stressful in September.


    We offer these words of advice as you enter this transition to kindergarten:


    ‘Children who are ready for kindergarten can take care of personal needs such as hand washing and going to the bathroom. They have the motor skills needed for activities requiring coordination and balance, such as bike riding, skipping, or participating in team sports. They have developed the small muscle coordination needed to hold and write with a pencil or other tool. In addition, they can regulate their own behavior and express their feelings with words, and are ready to learn new skills.’  In order to help your child continue to develop these skills you can:


    • Read to your child every day
    • Provide crayons for drawing and scissors for cutting
    • Do playful number activities such as counting, telling the number before and after a quantity, and telling how much you have when there is one more or one less than a quantity
    • Offer markers, Legos, and other small manipulatives to support development of their child’s grasp and fine motor coordination
    • Give your child opportunities to make decisions and smart choices
    • Institute early bedtimes and provide healthy meals

    Children's books about going to school and starting kindergarten may help prepare your child for the school transition. Here are a few that you might like to read:

    • "Curious George Goes to School" by M. Rey & H.A. Rey
    • "First Day Jitters" by J. Danneberg
    • "I am absolutely too small for school" by L. Child
    • "I love school!" by P. Sturges & S. Halpern
    • "Leo the Late Bloomer" by R. Kraus
    • "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten" by J. Slate
    • "Mr. George Baker" by A. Hest & J.J. Muth
    • "The Kissing Hand" by A. Penn
    • "Will I Have a Friend?" by M. Cohen
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  • Come see us!

    Posted by Jennifer Katz-Borrin on 3/7/2019

    Do you have questions about special education or for the special education director?  Join us for a night of answers Thursday, March 21 at 5:30. Please call the school to register for this event, babysitting and refreshments will be provided.  See event flyer here: Special Education Night

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  • Co-teaching

    Posted by Kara Kennedy on 2/12/2019


    What is Co-Teaching?


    Co-Teaching is the practice of two teachers coming together, putting forth their individual areas of expertise to develop, implement and assess lessons that are engaging and for all learners within the classroom setting.

    Most often, the two teachers who partner together are a general education teacher and a special education teacher. The general education teacher has the expertise of the curriculum while the special education teacher provides expertise in accommodating work to meet all learners’ needs. Some of the benefits of a classroom with co-teachers are professional growth for both teachers, differentiation and access to the curriculum for all learners, more teacher access for the students, better behavior management and an increase in student engagement.

    Co-teaching has several approaches within the classroom. Some of these approaches are as follows:

    • One Teach One Observe, Assists/Supports-One teacher instructs and the other teacher provides supports
    • Parallel Teaching-Students are divided up and the teachers instruct two groups at the same time.
    • Station Teaching-Centers are created within the classroom and students rotate through. The co-teachers will target instruction during this time.
    • Alternative Teaching-One teacher will teach a large group while the other teacher will teach a small group targeting specific needs.
    • Team Teaching-When both teachers share the instruction/teaching process at the same time.


    Personally, I have been co-teaching for a few years now and see the benefits it has for all students. I have been able to go in the classroom and work with my co-teaching partner to develop lessons and assessments that work for students both individually and as a group. Last year, we focused on writing and my co-teacher and I were so proud of the students’ writing ability by the end of the year. At first, we received many moans and groans when the students were asked to write. Many students had difficulty creating ideas, writing complete sentences and,  overall, were not able to write a well written paragraph. Within small groups that rotated each week, we introduced many different styles of writing throughout the year. The students grew to love writing and embraced it by adding their own style/voice to their work. Eventually, the students would ask to write during “free time” or WIN so they could get to the point of publishing their work (written, edited and typed on the computer). During the state writing assessment, I witnessed students creating graphic organizers, adding details to their writing, and going back and editing before marking the answer complete. I credit the perseverance the students demonstrated from being in a classroom with co-teachers. The small group instruction  was individually specialized to the students allowing them to grow in areas needed. With such instruction, the students brought their writing to life and were proud of the writers they had become.

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