Special Education Teacher and Student

As part of an ongoing effort to improve communication with families about special education in the Portsmouth School Department, the district website now features redesigned and expanded sections related to Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education Services.

The enhancements to the site are designed to give parents and guardians access to important information about educational programs for students with disabilities. The site features new photos of students and staff from all four schools and includes new pages such as:

·      Glossary of terms and acronyms

·      Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

·      Understanding the Special Education process

·      How to raise a question or concern

·      Special Education records

The website refresh also includes a new overview of the district-wide approach to Teaching and Learning, including the support services available to students in general education and special education through the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Families can also read about accommodations available for students under Section 504, a federal civil rights statute.

“We know there is a lot of information for parents and families to navigate regarding their children’s education. When it comes to Response to Intervention (RtI) or special education services, those processes can be particularly challenging to navigate,”  said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kenworthy. “These improvements to our website are designed to help demystify those processes and equip families with the information and resources they need to ensure their child’s personal and academic success.”

Dr. Lisa Colwell, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, added that her team is developing a new Family Guide to Special Education in the Portsmouth School Department, which will provide parents and guardians with a wealth of information in addition to the website content.

 “Our office is committed to working closely with schools and families to connect students with the services they need to thrive,” said Dr. Colwell. “We hope these new and improved communication tools give families greater clarity and information about the delivery of special education services from preschool through high school. We know that students make the most progress when families and schools work together as partners.” 

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the website update, please email Dr. Colwell.