The New Jersey Department of Education is working on step two of a monitoring process aimed at bettering the Special Education services in West New York. As part of this assessment process, which began with a self-evaluation done by the Board of Education last year, the state held a meeting with parents and administrators on Feb.8 at Public School No. 2.
“Parents are a very important part in the process,” said Director of Special Services August Busso last week. The process is routine, and all districts undergo it at some point.
The state will also be meeting with various administrators within the district to determine if the department is meeting federal and state guidelines.
The Board of Education began this monitoring process last year with a self-evaluation of the department. At that time, the department also called a meeting with parents to get suggestions on what parents are looking for in the department and how they can improve their services.
“It is very important to keep good communication open between the parents and administrators,” said Busso, who added that he tries to include the parents in all phases of the department’s curriculum and services.
As a result of last year’s self-evaluation, the district implemented many corrective actions, which included increased communication with parents, adding more classrooms and hiring additional staff and classroom aides. According to Busso, additional classrooms were used to provide more occupational and physical therapy to the students. The classroom aides helped in this additional therapy and with speech classes.
“[With these additions], we were able to keep their students in traditional classrooms,” said Busso.
Still getting better
While last year’s evaluation allowed the department to make many improvements, this year’s meeting offered other good suggestions as well.
“There are certain things that we should be taking a look at to make them better,” said Busso one day after the meeting.
More than 100 parents were able to attend the state-run meeting held on Feb. 8.
“Our parents here in West New York are very interested in their children,” said Busso.
One suggestion given by a parent was to let the parents and students know when a member of the staff is either leaving or being hired.
Busso used the child’s counselor as an example of where this communication may be important.
“This way the parents would know if they were going to sit with a complete stranger,” said Busso.
After the state concludes its evaluation, if areas are identified where the department may need to make improvements, the state may call for a corrective action plan.