Child Study Team
Our Mission:

The Greenwich Township School District, in partnership with our families, will provide high quality educational support services that facilitates educational opportunities for students with disabilities.  We are committed to providing a caring and creative learning environment that meets the individual needs of each child.  Our students will reach their individual level of excellence and develop into successful, confident and productive students and citizens. 

To support this mission,

  • We will identify the strengths of each student and teach them to self-advocate and utilize their abilities.
  • We will enhance student success by establishing high expectations, and high quality educational practices using research based and data driven programming.
  • We will provide students the access, skills, knowledge, independence and opportunity, to reach their fullest potential so that they can participate successfully in the least restrictive environment possible.
  • We will have high expectations for consistent early intervention, individualized services, parent empowerment and accountability for results.
  • We will work cooperatively with families, students, community, colleagues, and other professionals in order to promote each student's success and well-being as we help to prepare them for future endeavors.

Relationships will always be at the core of all that we do.

About The Child Study Team (CST):

WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE CHILD STUDY TEAM?
New Jersey Department of Education regulations require that the basic team includes a school psychologist, a learning consultant, and a school social worker, all of whom must be appropriately certified. For a preschool student, the regulations require the basic team to also include a speech/language specialist. 

WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST?
The school psychologist has expertise in determining a child's level of intellectual development. In addition, the psychologist is concerned with the social and emotional status of school children and how these factors may affect behavior and performance in school. The school psychologist consults with regular classroom and special education teachers and parents to maximize each child's potential and to create a supportive and enriching instructional environment.

WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LEARNING CONSULTANT?
The learning consultant is trained to determine the learning styles of children and to recommend specific teaching methods/materials which will best accommodate a child's needs. The learning consultant also determines whether a child who has been referred to the Child Study Team has the academic knowledge and skills necessary for school success.  In addition, the learning consultant provides consultative services to the regular and special education teachers and parents to develop strategies and techniques to enhance the students' academic performance.

WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER?
The expertise of the school social worker lies in assessing the student in relation to the family, school and community. In this role, the school social worker gathers information concerning the student's developmental milestones and health status. Family and school histories, as they pertain to the child's current school progress, are also obtained. The school social worker also is the primary specialist who coordinates community resources on behalf of students.

CST Staff:

KAITIE ECKERT

School Psychologist
keckert@gtsdk8.us

DIANNA DRESH

Social Worker
ddresh@gtsdk8.us | Phone: 856-224-4900 ext:2160

JOHN TIRICO

Director of Special Services
jtirico@gtsdk8.us | Phone: 856-224-4900 ext:2160

SUZANNE LAVIN

Child Study Team
slavin@gtsdk8.us | Phone: 856-224-4900 ext:2160

School-Based Therapy:
Speech / Language Services
Students who experience a speech and/or language disorder, which meets the criteria of N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c)4, are eligible to receive speech/language services by the school's speech/language specialist.
What are Speech and Language Services?

The development of age-appropriate speech and language skills is essential to the learning process and to a student's social, emotional, and academic growth. Students must be able to comprehend language, express their thoughts and opinions, interact effectively and efficiently with peers and adults, and produce speech that others can easily understand.

Speech and language services are provided to students who demonstrate a need to improve their speech and language skills in articulation, language, fluency, or voice disorder in order to make educational benefit.

How are students referred for Speech and Language services?
Students can be referred for speech and language services by their parents or their classroom teachers if they are concerned about a student's speech and language proficiency as part of a Child Study Team Evaluation or in isolation. The goal of these services is to help students develop the speech and language skills necessary to make educational benefit in their classes.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a related service designed to help students within a school setting who are showing an educational related disability that impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. Occupational therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a student’s active participation in the areas of self-care, academic and/or vocational pursuits, as well as play and leisure activities. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modification, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers, and other educational staff to help implement a child’s program. The goal of services is to assist a student to function well within the school setting.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a related service designed to help students access their school environment and participate safely and to the best of their ability in their academic curriculum.  School physical therapists address functional limitations such as difficulties with mobility, transitions, or gross motor skills, as well as interventions that address impairments that contribute to those functional limitations such as posture, balance, strength, and coordination.  Difficulties in these areas must impact upon student participation in their educational program and environment.
The Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG):

Raising a child is a big and often worrisome responsibility, but for parents, guardians, and other caregivers of children with physical or emotional problems, learning disabilities, or social difficulties, these challenges can feel even larger.

The Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG), a parent-led group, can help to support families and others who face these challenges every day. Our goal is to support parents whose children have unique challenges, whether or not they receive special education services.  We will do this by hosting meetings for parents and other caregivers, sharing information about resources in the community, and discuss programs and/or policy changes and other relevant initiatives being considered by the district.

We will meet quarterly, when school is in session, to discuss current issues. Meetings can also include presentations from knowledgeable speakers on a wide range of topics, or simply informal gatherings to allow caregivers to share ideas, network, and bond and support one another.

In September, look for our first meeting invitation.  We hope to see you at our first meeting!

LEGAL BACKGROUND The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, last amended in 2004 (IDEA 2004), encourages parents and educators to work collaboratively, emphasizing that as a team they are uniquely suited to make decisions that help improve the educational experiences and outcomes of children with disabilities.

In New Jersey school districts are required to have a special education parent advisory group (SEPAG): Each board of education shall ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities. [New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:14-1.2(h)]

Project Child Find:

Project Child Find is a free referral service and public awareness campaign to assist in the identification of un-served and underserved youth with a delay or disability from birth through 21 years of age. Project Child Find also develops and distributes information to the public about early intervention services and special education programs throughout New Jersey. The toll free number for Project Child Find is (800) 322-8174.

In compliance with Project Child Find, the Greenwich Township School District Child Study Team conducts evaluations for those students who may have learning difficulties relative to cognition, communication, social, emotional, and motor functioning.

Parents/guardians who suspect their preschool-age student may be delayed or disabled are encouraged to seek assistance from the Child Study Team.

For more information, click on Project Child find below:

The Preschool Disabled Program:

The Preschool Disabled program is designed for children from ages 3-5 years of age who have a significant delay or special need in one or more of the following areas: speech and language, motor, cognition, social/emotional, vision, hearing or physical. There is a wide range of developmental levels and abilities among the children. The staff is made up of a Special Education teacher, a speech/language pathologist, and classroom aide support. Occupational therapy and physical therapy are provided to those children who are in need of these related services; speech and language therapy is integrated throughout the day. 

The children participate in a consistent daily routine designed to promote active learning and exploration and to encourage them to make choices and decisions throughout the day. They work with materials that have been selected to provide experiences with a variety of readiness, motor, language and social activities. They work with the adults individually and in groups.  Our developmental approach enables the educators to identify the child’s level of readiness and need; the educators can then provide experiences which give the opportunity for the child to exercise and extend merging abilities, and to reinforce existing strengths. 

The program is housed at Broad Street School and runs from 9:00-12:30 daily. 

The Greenwich Township Preschool Disabled Program utilizes The Creative Curriculum for Preschool. This curriculum is scientifically researched based, approved by the New Jersey Department of Education, and aligned with the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards. The Creative Curriculum provides hands-on learning with best practices for developmentally appropriate activities.

The Curriculum is based on developing positive interactions with young children, social-emotional competence, constructive, purposeful play in all learning centers, and a print rich learning environment to foster language and literacy development through play. Instructional strategies are adapted to the range of ages, abilities, and learning styles of each student.

Our curriculum identifies goals in four areas of development:

  • Social/emotional:  to help children develop independence, self-confidence, and self-control; follow rules and routines; make friends; and learn what it means to be part of a group.
  • Physical:  to increase children’s large muscle skills – balancing, running, jumping, throwing and catching – and to use the small muscles in their hands to do tasks like buttoning, stringing beads, cutting, drawing, and writing.
  • Cognitive:  to acquire thinking skills such as the abilities to solve problems, to ask questions, and to think logically – sorting, classifying, comparing, counting, and making patterns – and to use materials and their imagination to show what they have learned.
  • Language:  to use works to communicate with others, listen to and participate in conversations with others, understand the purpose of print, recognize letters and words, and begin writing for a purpose.

If you have questions about your child’s development, some of the information below may be of assistance:

For more information about our Preschool Disabled program, please contact us at (856) 224-2160.

A child’s early years are a crucial period of learning and development. The Greenwich Township School District Preschool Disabled program cares for each child in ways that are appropriate to his or her age and level of development – helping them build a strong foundation for learning and growth.

Additional Information and Resources

New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education
The New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE) is a 501(c)(c) nonprofit dedicated to the inclusion of students with disabilities in their neighborhood schools.  NJCIE is the only statewide organization whose sole focus is inclusion.  They provide training in inclusive research-based practices to educators; facilitate networking among higher education faculty; provide information and support to parents of children with disabilities; educate policy makers and form coalitions with other groups to act as a catalyst for change.  NJCIE’s ultimate mission is the meaningful education of all children within their public schools in preparation for future lives as independent as possible in the community.

What Works Clearinghouse
What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established as an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to be a trusted source of scientific evidence for what works in education.  WWC reviews the research and provides educators with what works in the classroom.

Council for Exceptional  Children
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an International professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifted and talented. Special education topics include information about the different exceptionality areas; international special education; hot topics in special education; and professional practice topics such as assessment, evidence-based practices and inclusion.  Additionally, CEC offers articles and blog posts on co-teaching for education professionals. 

Universal Design for Learning Tech Toolkit
This website contains many useful resources for educators, parents, and students. You can choose between free text-to-speech, graphic organizers, multimedia and digital, storytelling, study skills, literacy, writing, collaborative, research, math, handwriting tools, as well as helpful apps. Each link provides numerous different resources for each category, including productivity tools and games.

Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators
This guide was developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to provide high school educators with answers to questions students with disabilities may have as they get ready to move to the postsecondary education environment.  This guide references the rights and responsibilities that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and highlights the significant differences between the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities in the high school setting and the rights and responsibilities these students will have once they are in the post-secondary education setting.