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SSDS routinely observes each child’s development, including but not necessarily limited to speech, articulation, social-emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical development. The development of classroom management strategies and strategies for individual children is a central responsibility of teachers. It occurs on a regular basis and details are communicated to parents as appropriate. On occasion, teacher observations indicate potential benefit from intervention comprising additional classroom strategies and/or referral for observation by a specialist.
In the event that a teacher feels it appropriate based upon observations of a child, the teacher shares written observations about the child with the Executive Director and/or Assistant Director of Programs. The Executive Director and/or the Assistant Director of Programs and the teacher establish a plan for further support which may include such steps as further observation, follow up meetings, creating a list of classroom strategies to assist the child, conversation/s with the family, and/or recommendations for observation by a specialist.
SSDS maintains a contractual relationship with Child Development Consultants (CDC), including a Pediatric OT and a Pediatric Speech and Language Specialist. The school’s contract entitles us to a specified number of hours in which the consultants can work with our school observing individual children and/or entire classrooms, as well as providing ongoing professional development to our faculty.
If, based on the objective observations of teaching staff, the Executive Director feels an observation by CDC representatives is warranted and would benefit a specific child, she will meet with the child’s family, share the school’s observations, and request permission from the family to have the child observed. Individual children will only be formally observed with the family’s written permission (Consent and Authorization Release/Exchange of Information). All observations conducted by and communications with representatives of CDC remain confidential and are shared only with the child’s parents or legal guardians and relevant SSDS faculty and/or staff. CDC representatives can observe a classroom as a whole to provide classroom management strategies to the teachers without permission from or notification of the families.
In the event that a child is receiving support services, in order to best support the needs of the child, and so that the school can work together with the parents and the specialist as a collaborative team, the school will ask parents to provide written authorization for the teacher and relevant SSDS teachers and staff to work directly with specialists. It is the parent’s prerogative to decline to provide such authorization, and it is the school’s responsibility to accept this decision.
Documentation of all observations and meetings between teaching staff, specialists and parents will be kept confidential.