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Warwick Public Schools

Philip Thornton, Ed.D, Superintendent

Warwick Public Schools
34 Warwick Lake Avenue
Warwick, Rhode Island, 02889

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The mission of the Warwick Public Schools, working cooperatively with families and the community, is to provide challenging learning environments that enable all students to develop skills and knowledge necessary to become self-directed, life-long learners, highly productive responsible citizens, and contributors to a technological and diverse society.

(Warwick Public Schools Mission Statement, 2001-)

Superintendent, Philip D. Thornton, Ed.D.


Superintendent's Update

From the desk of Philip Thornton

Special Education update:

There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding special education and the pupil services being provided to our students. The changes taking place are necessary because in 2013 RIDE found that many of our junior high and high school programs did not provide an appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment with enough access to the general education curriculum and highly qualified teachers for student with disabilities. The changes being made this year are common across other districts in the state as well as schools nationwide.  

To help clarify some issues and correct misinformation, here are the facts:

  1. NO PROGRAM IS BEING ELIMINATED
    All programs currently offered by the Warwick Public Schools will continue this fall. There has been some confusion because some of the programs have been renamed or combined in our effort to streamline the special education department and improve service to families. (see chart, Secondary Changes 2016-2017)
  2. ALL JUNIOR HIGH/HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WILL ATTEND THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS  
    Beginning this fall, Warwick will provide special education programs at both high schools and both junior high schools, enabling all students to attend their neighborhood schools with their siblings, neighbors, and friends.
  3. EXPANDED SERVICES TO STUDENTS
    Each high school will have a Transition Program (for post high school students preparing to transition into vocational programs), and each junior high school and high school will have Alternate Assessment Classrooms (for students with significant disabilities).

ALL of Warwick’s junior high schools and high schools will now provide:/span>

  • Intensive Social/Emotional Program (for students needing significant social/emotional supports)
  • Supportive Social/Emotional Program (for students needing supports due to anxiety or organizational issues)
  • Intensive Academic Program (for students with intensive academic needs)
  • Supportive Academic Program (for students who need some academic support)

At the elementary schools we are increasing co-taught classrooms and enhancing our special education curriculum.

  1. MORE SPECIAL ED TEACHERS & SOCIAL WORKERS IN THE SCHOOLS
    We have increased the number of special education teachers in the Alternate Assessment classrooms to reduce the class size for these students requiring significant special education support. We have added five (5) new social workers and will have two (2) full time social workers at all of the secondary school (with the exception of Winman, which has a smaller number of students).
  2. A UNIFIED APPROACH TO INSTRUCTION
    Intensive Academic students will now have the opportunity to be placed in co-taught classrooms (taught by a classroom teacher and a special education teacher) with their general education peers. Additionally, the Supportive Academics students will have special education teachers co-teaching in English and Math courses. Each program will have a supports available if students require additional help outside of the classroom.
  3. INCORPORATING NATIONAL & STATE STANDARDS/BEST PRACTICES 
    Many of the changes taking place are standard “best practice” across the state - co taught classrooms, including general education students, is the predominant teaching model in Rhode Island.
  4. DOING RIGHT BY OUR STUDENTS
    Many of the changes being made are the result of the 2013 RIDE report, which is available online. Parents are encouraged to meet with their IEP teams and/or contact the Special Education Department if they have questions or concerns specific to their son or daughter.

The Rhode Island Department of Education 2013 Report on Warwick's Special Education Department can be found here:

http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Information-and-Accountability-User-Friendly-Data/Accountability/reports/Warwick_Public_Schools.pdf

Should you have questions or seek more information about the information provided, please call 734-3059 or email Jen Connolly, the Director of Special Services at jennifer.connolly@warwickschools.org

Phil

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