NEW BRITAIN - As a way to provide for students with behavioral and emotional needs and mainstream them into a regular school setting, the Board of Education next year will create small integrated classrooms at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
“This is in response to what we see across Connecticut and our nation with students who are coming to school and need work with their social and emotional regulations,” said Superintendent of Schools Nancy Sarra. “We are addressing the need as a district. We have a responsibility to all our families and students.”
Sarra said the goal of the program is to have these students feel supported while in the regular education system. Students who are a good fit for the program will receive school transportation to the program location, which will have lower student-to-teacher ratios as well as behavior specialist support.
“It’s an opportunity for students to work on self-management in a regulated setting by providing them additional support,” said Sarra.
Lincoln Elementary School was chosen to host the elementary program because space is available there, said Sarra. The school will accept 36 to 40 students for the program. Classroom sizes will vary between 12 and 15 per class. Students will receive bus transportation.
Slade and Pulaski middle schools, as well as New Britain High School, will also offer the program next year. Classes will be adjusted to ensure they are age- and grade-appropriate.
At Monday’s meeting, the school board voted to hire more personnel for the program: three elementary teachers and three behavior support specialists.
Slade and Pulaski Middle Schools will use existing teachers for the program; however, a family support liaison will be hired for each school.
New Britain High School will get two family support liaisons and use existing teachers.
The school board also approved hiring a supervisor for the program.
“We need to provide additional support for students who are struggling in the mainstream classroom,” said Sarra. “It’s a win-win for our families and for the students.”
Sarra said the board has been discussing plans since last September, but has just recently begun to take action.
“We are going around to all the schools to get feedback to work out the kinks,” said Sarra. “We want to make sure that we are not missing anyone’s perspective.”
Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.