Disabilities Addressed/Student Profile
The population served in the REACH Program exhibit significant intellectual deficits whose cognition falls within the low average to significantly below average range. Students demonstrate weak receptive and/or expressive language and language processing.
Entry Criteria & Process
Students may be referred to the program from a variety of sources, including but not limited to:
- Guidance counselors
- Guidance/adjustment counselors
- Medical professionals
- Outside agencies
- School psychologists
- Service providers
Team evaluations administered by school personnel and outside agency evaluations are considered to determine student need and eligibility. Placement decisions are made through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team Process.
While each REACH student’s disability impacts his or her ability to access grade-level material at the typical level and pace, the goal of the program is to provide supports and academic instruction so that students can access the modified curriculum at their individual pace and levels. Additionally, the program seeks to:
- Maximize the cognitive, academic, social and emotional growth of each student
- Develop receptive, expressive and pragmatic language skills
- Provide mainstream opportunities with non-disabled peers in the least restrictive environment
REACH is primarily a sub separate pull out program that provides a wide range of academic, life skills, and organizational supports for students with significant cognitive deficits. Students who may be integrated into general education classrooms are accompanied by a special educator or paraprofessional for all academic inclusion opportunities.
Students receive many of their primary academic class instruction from a special educator in a sub separate small group setting. Students are fully included in their mainstream classes when it is academically productive and appropriate. All students are included in homerooms each day and attend integrated or small group specials, including art, physical education, chorus and band with a paraprofessional as needed.
The principal theory behind the REACH Program is to ensure that each student has the resources that will allow him or her to access a modified curriculum at their instructional level with the supports necessary for academic and social success.
Workload, Curriculum & Testing
Students generally receive a modified workload, including tests, homework and class work. Students are generally removed from any general education inclusion classrooms for all tests and quizzes so that instruction can be clarified and text can be read with the assistance of an adult.
In addition to daily academic instruction, students may attend a resource block to support content area instruction and assist with organization and develop individual skill areas. Social skills support is integrated and embedded within the daily routines as needed.
State Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing accommodations are determined by the IEP Team process, the majority of students in the REACH program are primarily assessed through an Alternative Assessment Portfolio.
Currently the program is staffed by three special educators, a speech and language therapist and multiple paraprofessionals.