Support Services

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Support services are designed and implemented to help students reach their full potential. A continuum of services are provided through the Student Success Team and/or the school’s Planning and Placement Team (PPT).

Student Success Team (SST) Process

The Student Success Team (SST) is a team of teachers, administrators and related service providers, including school counselors, who assist in the identification of  students in need and  the planning of intervention for at-risk students. The team recommends strategies for students who are struggling academically and or emotionally despite initial Tier 1 and 2 interventions. Data is reviewed and utilized to drive “next step” interventions or processes. Meetings are regular and ongoing throughout the year in order to proactively address student concerns. Questions about the SST and the referral process should be directed toward a school counselor or school administrator.

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 needs in the classroom, in special classes, or in a resource room setting.

Pupil Services

Special Education Instruction

Resource programs and services are provided at each middle school – Bristow, King Philip and Sedgwick Middle School. Students attend their home school unless they need the structure of a specific learning center program for intensive behavioral support.

Intensive Behavioral Support Learning Centers provide students with intensive emotional/behavioral support needs. With the specialized services of this program, students receive individualized and comprehensive support addressing specific barriers that prevent access to the regular education environment. Staff include specially-trained teachers and related staff.

Intensive Academic Support provides student access to focused, targeted strategies and interventions along with increased time within the special education environment. The teachers and staff in the intensive programs are selected for their specialized experience and training.

Andrea Carrubba

Special Education Teacher

Tyler Catlin

Special Education Teacher - Intensive Behavior

Sharon Eddy

Special Education Teacher

Dawn Legenza

Special Education Teacher

Paige Liseo

Special Education Teacher

Deborah Newhouse

Special Education Teacher

Justin O'Connell

Special Education Teacher - Intensive Behavior

Jennifer Prigodich

Special Education Teacher - Intensive Academic

Brian Putkonen

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. 

Andrea Hernandez

Speech & Language

Jillian Mooney

Speech & Language

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.

Cara Donahue

Social Worker

Christine Welch-Meier

Social Worker

Geoffrey Zeruk

School Psychologist

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

Emily Daigle

Department Supervisor of Pupil Services for Bristow, King Philip, and Sedgwick

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.

Joyce Bogdan

TESOL Teacher

Reading Support

Linda Gengel

Reading Specialist

Cindy Rodriguez

Reading Specialist


The mission of the QUEST Program is to ensure that students have an opportunity to develop their unique gifts and talents by creating a learning environment that encourages students to:

Q uestion the world around them

nderstand the need to learn and grow

xplore the past, present, and future

earch for solutions and meanings

hink creatively and critically

A student centered program, QUEST is founded on the principles of the Enrichment Triad Model (Renzulli, 1977) and the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Renzulli and Reis, 1985). The program supports National and State Standards in Education, and is guided by a well developed Scope and Sequence of skill training activities tailored to participating students as they progress toward the excitement of independent discovery through research, diligence, and creative productivity.