Community Survey

Atlantic Research Partners (www.atlanticresearchpartners.org) has been retained to conduct a search for the new Director of Special Services. Your input on this survey will help us to identify the right person for this very important role in the District.
 
The Director will be a key contributor in the district’s strategic vision, and will be primarily responsible for:
  • In School Therapeutic Education Program (I-STEP)
  • Effective School Solutions (ESS)
  • Administration of Individualized Education Programs
  • Child Study Teams
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Instructional Aide Support
  • Transitional Services
  • Behavioral Intervention Services
  • Counseling Services
  • Inclusion Practices

Please give us your honest -- and confidential -- feedback to the survey questions. The survey should take 10 -15 minutes to complete.

Thank you in advance!

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* 1. Which title best describes your relationship to the School District?

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* 3. Referring to Question 2, please describe the type of experiences you have had with Special Services. Please be as concise and objective as possible, and refrain from any comments that would be perceived as personal.

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* 4. The SOMSD Director of Special Services will play a major role in planning, development, coordination and management of all special education programs, services, budgets and personnel. What are the top five (5) PROFESSIONAL qualities or skills you want the new Director to have?

  1 2 3 4 5
Ability to form a long-term vision for the department and the district’s approach to special education
Demonstrated experience on a Child Study Team or similar structure.
Knowledge of research, current practice, national and state initiatives, student outcomes, and program evaluation.
Extensive knowledge of Federal and State special education code, compliance, and applicable case law (including a solid understanding eligibility for Special Education).
Strong background in compliance and application of regulations.
Demonstrated leadership in best practices for instructional programs, positive behavioral support, and RTI.
Experience with the development of budgets, competitive and entitlement grants, government reporting and assessment.
Capacity to build strong and lasting relationships within and throughout the community, inclusively engaging staff, district workers and parents.
Ability to recruit, hire, and retain staff members who will execute the department’s mission with fidelity and integrity and who will be equally passionate, committed, and capable.

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* 5. The SOMSD Director of Special Services will play a major role in planning, development, coordination and management of all special education programs, services, budgets and personnel. What are the top five (5) PERSONAL qualities or skills you want the new Director to have?

  1 2 3 4 5
Excellent communication and outreach skills, including responsiveness to parent and staff questions and concerns in a timely and effective manner
Superb organizational and project planning and implementation skills
Willingness to advocate for the interests and needs of students and parents, leveraging the position to get the right services and programs in place
Passion for helping children and parents to find solutions for their respective issues.
Commitment to not only getting students to graduate, but also having a commitment to helping them be successful.
Desire to stay up-to-date on “best practices” in special services and in education, in general.
Courage and integrity to raise critical issues and provide sound, research-based evidence to address them
Empathy from being a case worker, teacher, or parent of a special needs child, understanding that everyone’s “disability” is different and requires flexibility and creativity
Takes a pragmatic approach to the work, actively listening to input and using the input to make decisions

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* 6. The Director will have certain authorities. Which three (3) are most important to you?

  1 2 3
Evaluator: In concert with principals, evaluates all SOMSD special education staff and programs.
Talent Finder: Recruit and employ credentialed personnel as required to provide services to students with disabilities consistent with their IEP's
Professional Developer: Arranges (or leads) staff development opportunities to enable staff to better serve the needs of special education students (e.g., ongoing professional training and coaching)
Contract Manager: Coordinates with outside agencies to provide services to students and staff for the purpose of offering appropriate services.
Supervisor: Utilizes supervision, staff development and performance evaluation to improve educational programs, (e.g., monitoring, assigning, and adjusting Child Study Team caseloads)
Talent Coordinator: Works with building principals on the improvement of individual staff competencies in special education.

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* 7. The Director will have certain accountabilities. Which three (3)  are most important to you?

  1 2 3
Coordinator: Coordinates health personnel and assures compliance with New Jersey Department of Education in the health services area
Record-Keeper: Responsible for district wide student records including compliance with appropriate laws and regulations (e.g. accurate, timely and meaningful student records and documentation)
Compliance Agent: Prepares reports for federal, state and local reporting agencies
Budget Manager: Develops and administers district wide special education budget
Communicator: Responds and reports to the SOMSD community on progress, concerns, and opportunities
Curriculum Developer: Communicates the approved curriculum to the professional staff and parents where it involves special services.

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* 8. The Director will have certain responsibilities. Which three (3) are most important to you?

  1 2 3
Access Point: Ensures that all students with disabilities are provided a free and appropriate public education through the provision of instructional programs and related services
Regulator: Interprets laws, rules and regulations to students, parents and staff
Communicator: Communicates information on programs, services and regulations to school personnel, parents, the Board of Education and other districts
Researcher: Researches New Jersey specific requirements for special education, ELL, 504, and other programs for students with special needs.
Originator: Creates and edits for publication all curriculum guides and materials to include possible modifications for students with disabilities.

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* 9. In your opinion, what Special Services programs or services are "working' for you, your child and the district?

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* 10. In your opinion, what Special Services programs or services are not "working' for you, your child and the district?

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* 11. Are there other comments or feedback you wish to provide in regards to the search for a new Director of Special Services?

Thank you for your input and participation! Check the District website for progress on the Director search process.

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