Special Education

  • Marblehead Public Schools offers a continuum of special education services and supports for students with disabilities, ages 3-22. Students who require specially designed instruction in order to make effective progress as a result of an identified disability have the right to a free, appropriate public education, with services and accommodations outlined in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Please see the Federation for Children with Special Needs Guide to Special Education or DESE’s Notice of Procedural Safeguards for additional information. 

    Historically, Marblehead Public Schools has provided special education services through specific, program-based structures and placements. These formal, program-specific placements often centered the services on the program structure and not enough on individualized needs of students. As such, the Department of Student Services is shifting away from these program-specific placements while continuing to offer the full continuum of specialized services beginning in 2021-2022. The purpose of this is to (1) develop and sustain a mindset of inclusion for all students and (2) ensure flexibility of staffing to maximize the effectiveness of staff within each building.  

    Student Services faculty and staff provide specialized services and supports across the following strands in grades K-12:

    Learning Disabilities: Students with language-based learning disabilities, communication impairments, or neurological disabilities receive specially designed instruction in their least restrictive environment. Small group or individualized instruction can be provided by special education teachers and support staff who are trained in specialized reading programs, math interventions, and written language supports. Instruction is provided along the continuum from sub-separate classes for core content that meets the MA Curriculum Frameworks standards to sub-separate classes with modified standards. These services provide students with an instructional program that supports the development of academic, executive functioning, communication, and self-advocacy skills.

    Therapeutic Support: Students with emotional disabilities or other impairments that significantly impact their self-regulation skills receive a continuum of services and supports that include teaching emotional regulation strategies, social skills, and executive functioning skills. Therapeutic instructional practices are provided in small group settings, within general education classrooms, and/or embedded in core content instruction.

    Applied Behavior Analysis-Based Support: Students with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, or intellectual/cognitive disabilities receive specialized instruction and services designed to meet their individualized needs. Instruction often takes place in small group or individual settings across the course of the day utilizing the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which is a highly-structured system of teaching skills and positive behavioral support. Classroom curriculum is based on state standards but may be significantly modified or adapted to students’ individual entry points. Instruction also focuses on activities of daily living (ADLs), functional skills, and pre-vocational skills.