Student Support is an umbrella term for many types of services Deer Lakes offers to support our students' unique and diverse needs.
Students with a variety of special needs, including learning difficulties, physical challenges, emotional difficulties, as well as gifted students are served through special education services located in each of the district's schools.
Student support services also include English as a Second Language (ESL) services, homebound student services, homeless student services and students who are home-schooled.
There are approximately 425 students in the Deer Lakes School District Special Education program. This figure represents both students with special needs and gifted students requiring an enriched curriculum.
To provide the best possible program for our students with special needs, Deer Lakes provides support in several different ways. Most important is the inclusion philosophy of the Deer Lakes School District.
Inclusion, or as it is referred to in the law, Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is the philosophy that the general education environment is the preferred placement, with services and supports. However, when the Individual Education Team (IEP) determines that students have needs that are best supported in a more restrictive environment, the Deer Lakes School District will provide that placement. We provide a continuum of services from full inclusion to the restrictive environment of an approved private school, dependent on the needs of the students.
The Deer Lakes Special Education staff, K through 12, constantly strives to improve the quality of the curriculum and instruction provided to the students in the district through the continuum of services and programs that ensure the most appropriate placement to the selection of research-based instructional programs that enhance the student’s ability to make academic growth. In addition to the focus on academics, the psychologist and social worker provide the mental health support that some students require to be successful. The Deer Lakes Special Education staff is here to assist students, parents, and the teachers to maximize opportunities for success.
Lindsay McGaughey directs the program. She is surrounded by a team of highly qualified professionals including school psychologist Dr. Rachel Mariano, social worker Mrs. Kristen Porter, mental health liaison Karen Radick, and secretary Mrs. Lesa Rock.
Direct services are contracted and provided by others with specialized training and expertise. In accordance with the law, the Deer Lakes School District provides, without cost to parents, screenings, evaluations, and appropriate programs and services to all students thought to be exceptional and in need of specially designed instruction. It is through our team and district staff that Deer Lakes' students receive the free appropriate public education designed to meet their unique needs in the least restrictive environment.