Support Services

Student Success Planning Team (SSPT) Rationale:

To provide additional support when needed, so that all students have the opportunity to successfully meet their academic, social/emotional, and physical potential at Conard High School.  

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The SST collaboratively assesses the individual needs of struggling learners,  identifies appropriate supports, oversees the implementation of intervention plans, and monitors progress towards student success.

The Student Success Team (SST)

This team comprised of Academic Service Providers (teachers and academic interventionists), Student Support Providers (school counselors, nurse, pupil services personnel, and community agency representatives), and Administrators - meets weekly to review new referrals, implement appropriate interventions, measure the effectiveness of those interventions, and address trends in the school community.  Students are generally referred to the SST by school counselors, but can be referred by teachers, parents/guardians, or other staff with concerns about school performance, attendance, substance abuse and social issues.

Planning and Placement Team (PPT)

This team, comprised of the parent, special education teacher, classroom teacher, school counselor, appropriate related service staff members, and administrator, works with students referred by their parents/guardians, a teacher, or the principal. Once referred, this team of specialists assesses children’s needs and if a student if found eligible under IDEA, provides specialized instruction to meet individual student these needs in the classroom, in special classes, or in a resource room setting.

Pupil Services

Special Education Instruction

High school programs and services are provided at a student’s home school with the exception of the STRIVE (Success through Responsibility, Initiative, Vision and Education) alternative program. The focus is on general education placement. Co-taught classes for many core courses, (English, Math, Social Studies, Science) are available. Instructional Support is also offered through learning strategy, resource and special education reading classes. Related services are also integrated into the program. Vocational services include transition planning, community work experience, job/office training and the pre-vocational activity center.

Intensive Behavioral Support is provided through the STRIVE program for high school students with significant behavioral and emotional disabilities. Behavioral plans are developed and implemented for each student. Group and/or individual counseling is provided. Access to general education is planned as appropriate. The program is located in the Cogswell Building on the American School for the Deaf (ASD) campus.

Intensive Academic Support services at Conard and Hall offer more targeted strategies and interventions along with increased time within the special education environment. The focus of the program is on functional academics and transition skills. Teachers and staff in the intensive program are selected for their specialized experience and training. In addition, students in this program work with a district-wide transition coordinator to build skills necessary for maximizing post-secondary options.

Special Education Instruction Staff

Carol Brusa

Special Education Teacher

Mary Carlson

Special Education Teacher

Gail Costello

Special Education Teacher

Ellen Eickenhorst

Special Education Teacher

Corinne Humiston

Special Education Teacher

Corinne Kravetz

Special Education Teacher, Theatre Teacher

Shawn Laudenslager

Special Education Teacher

Colleen Maher

Special Education Teacher

Justin O'Connell

Special Education Teacher - Intensive Behavior

Amy Poulton

Special Education Teacher

James Redman

Special Education Teacher

Joanne Ruggiero

Special Education Teacher

Ellen Sutherland

Special Education Teacher

Steven Tolles

Special Education Teacher

John Tracy

Special Education Teacher

Speech & Language

Speech and language pathologists (SLPs) provide a variety of therapeutic services to eligible students in preschool through 12th grade. Students diagnosed with speech, language and communication disorders are provided with direct therapy in individual, small group and/or classroom settings.

Speech and language pathologists also work closely with parents and teachers in the diagnosis of speech and language disorders, academic and therapeutic planning and implementation of services. They also play a consultative role for parents and educators at all stages of the process: early intervention, pre-referral, diagnosis, and therapy. The provision of services varies based upon the individual needs of the mandated students but each school within the district is covered by one or more speech language pathologists to meet the needs of the mandated students in that school.

Students identified with language impairments (LI) receive speech and language therapy from their speech and language therapists in their neighborhood school. They often receive additional instructional support from their special education resource teacher given the integrated nature of their language and learning needs. 

Melinda Calhoun

Speech and Language Teacher

Donna Cote

Speech and Language Teacher

Kerri Carlson

Speech and Language Teacher

Clinical Support: Social Workers/Psychologists

The WHPS Social Workers are clinicians with expertise in child and family development and an understanding of diverse cultural and social systems. Their mission is to ensure the social and emotional well-being of all students in order for them to achieve success in the educational environment and in the community. They accomplish this by providing counseling, consultation and advocacy in collaboration with school staff, families and community resources.

School psychologists provide a broad range of services to schools, students and families to support positive educational outcomes. Drawing on training in psychology and education they engage in collaborative problem solving with educators and parents to accomplish educational goals. Services include prevention and intervention planning, as well as counseling, consultation, and assessment.

Dr. Joseph Ambrose

School Psychologist

Corinne Harrington

School Psychologist

Lisa Schuck

Social Worker

Kim Hoffman

Social Worker

Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy

The programs of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy are provided to mandated students. The therapist provides supportive and therapeutic services, as well as assistance through mechanized means, to students with varied physical and large and fine motor disabilities. They also include supportive services to regular classroom teachers.

Teachers of the Deaf

Teachers of the Deaf provide direct instruction and consultative services to students (Pre K-12) diagnosed with varying degrees of hearing loss. Depending on student need, the Teachers of the Deaf provide services utilizing aural/oral methods, sign language, and/or cochlear implant therapies. Services are individualized to each student's specific needs based on degree of hearing loss, mode of communication, and mainstream academic needs. These services include diagnostic testing, intense language based instruction, auditory therapy, speech production, speech reading, specialized pre-teaching and post-teaching, as well as ongoing consultation with parents and general education classroom teachers. Additional services include classroom amplification equipment, oral and sign language interpreting, accommodations/modifications in the mainstream, and consultation with audiologists and other specialists.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Services are provided to special education students to facilitate the student's achievement and access to the general education classroom within the least restrictive environment. The PPT determines what services are appropriate for individual students. West Hartford has an Assistive Technology Consultant and an Assistive Technology Resource Team that provides consultation and support services to all levels (pre-K-12) and all disability categories.

Assistive technology is defined as any device, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Assistive technology devices range from simple (low technology) through mid- technology tools like tape recorders, calculators, and switch -operated toys to the most sophisticated and cutting edge tools (high technology) which are purchased and/or customized. Examples of low- tech devices include straws or Velcro; high tech devices include computers or motorized wheelchairs.

Department Supervisor

Ted Dillon

Department Supervisor of Pupil Services for Braeburn, COIA, and Conard

Additional Student Support Services


ESOL and TLP services support English Language Learners in our schools. ELLs speak another language besides English in their homes. Our program's goal is to develop the language skills that are necessary for students to achieve academic success in the mainstream classroom.

The ESOL curriculum is designed to develop language skills such as vocabulary, listening, speaking, reading and writing through thematic units that are aligned with grade-level Common Core Standards. Groups are formed and scheduled based on grade level and students’ individual language proficiency and needs.