The Dover School District employs a diverse array of professionals to meet the needs of all students. For parents of students with special needs, it can be especially difficult to determine the roles of the people who work with your child. The list below describes some of the people who may work with your child and a brief overview their defined roles.
Parent/Guardian: Parents/guardians are the people legally responsible for a student’s care and well-being, including making all educational decisions. Parents/Guardians are advocates for conveying their child’s educational strengths and challenges, how s/he learns best in the home environment, and for coordinating in-school services with out-of-school support, if any.
Classroom Teacher: The classroom teacher is the primary person who works with your child to manage his/her overall learning experience. Teachers are often the people who can best articulate what works and what does not work as it relates to your child’s learning. Teachers are required to execute any special education plan established for the child, including passing along pertinent information to other teachers, substitutes, etc.
Director of Pupil Personnel Services Also known as the district special education director, the director supports principals and school staff in determining appropriate programs for all students. The director collaborates with school staff to assist principals and other personnel to work with students who experience educational, social and/or emotional issues which prevent the attainment of academic success in the classroom. Christine Boston is Dover’s current director.
Content –area Specialists: Content-area specialists work with students who have been identified as learning below grade level in a particular content area (Math, Reading, Behavioral). Specialists work with students to strengthen their skills in identified areas and work to increase the capabilities of all students through school-wide programs, materials and resources. Specialists work very closely with classroom teachers, case managers and parents to determine the best plan for each student.
School Counselor: The school counselor is responsible for assisting students in personal and social development, providing referral assistance, and working with other staff members in planning/conducting guidance programs for all students. School counselors in Dover serve as “case managers” for students on 504 Plans.
Occupational Therapist (OT): OTs support students with identified or suspected disabilities that interfere with their learning needs or daily living function through screening, evaluation, transition planning, sensory integration strategies, and therapeutic intervention. OTs will often provide consulting services to teachers in the classroom.
Physical Therapist (PT) This licensed medical practitioner specializes in movement dysfunctions and movement related conditions. PTs in the schools provide services for students eligible for a program of special education. Related services and supports may include evaluation, individual and/or group therapy, and consultation with teachers.
Para-professional or Para-educator (Para): A Para is a school employee that is assigned to assist students with educational instruction and other supports under the supervision of a teacher and/or case manager. Services they provide may include academic tutoring, general assistance in the classroom, facilitating student communication, and help with self-care and behavior issues.
Note that not all paraprofessionals within the school are assigned to Special Education support.