Special Services

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn"

Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the U.S., author, printer, politician, scientist, inventor, statesman and diplomat

Why is this an important program for the E.O. Smith High School experience?

The Special Services Department provides a continuum of services and supports to students identified with exceptional educational needs as determined by a planning placement team (PPT), 504 team, or through the English Learner (EL) program. Individualized student-centered services and supports help every student to participate fully in the E.O. Smith learning community. Most of the department’s resources are devoted to the direct support of students with identified educational disabilities. Special education services are provided in full compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (section 504), and Connecticut General Status 10-76 a-j.

Students receiving special services participate in core academic classes and relevant electives aligned with E.O. Smith graduation requirements and the student’s long-term goals. The Special Services department offers a full spectrum of supports that include:

  • Case management
  • Vocational training
  • Related services (e.g., speech, occupational and physical therapy)
  • Literacy
  • Direct instruction
  • Behavior support

Program Goals

Students in the Special Services program work towards earning an E.O. Smith High School diploma. While earning the diploma is one tangible goal, the special services department also supports students as they:
  • Identify their own unique learning style
  • Identify the accommodations and supports that support their learning
  • Align course selection and special programs with post-secondary goals


English Learners (EL)
The English Learner (EL) Program has been designed to meet the individual needs of each EL student.  Upon entry, each student is evaluated and a program is designed according to the results of their evaluation.  The EL program is based on sound educational researched-based language theory.  The program is implemented with sufficient resources and staffed by a professional certified in language acquisition.  The students are evaluated periodically and the child’s program is readjusted as determined by the evaluation. While the rate of English language development varies widely from student to student, many students exit the ESL program in 3-7 years. All ELs must have access to content academic instruction with modification and supports as necessary to ensure that the students will be successful academically and be prepared for grade promotion and graduation. This district’s goal is for 100% of all English Learners to become fully proficient in English to graduate from high school with a range of academic and professional options.

Terry Mamunes, TOESL

Students Transitioning Age Appropriate Routes (STAAR)
After meeting all graduation requirements, eligible students enroll in our transition program, https://staarprogram.weebly.com. STAAR provides opportunities for 18-22-year-old students to continue their learning, refine vocational pursuits, and enhance social relationships in the settings utilized by their college-aged peers. This collaboration with the University of Connecticut creates opportunities for students to be involved with college-aged peers who have a stake in working with individuals with a range of disabilities. Desired outcomes include gaining knowledge, skills, and friendships beneficial to their transition to the adult world.

E.O. Smith Parent Advisory Group
The Parent Advisory Group facilitates communication and collaboration between the school district and the parents of children with special needs. Through collaborative practice, we engage families in supporting improved outcomes for special needs students. The group sponsors workshops and events that help inform parents and students about important topics in the areas of special education. Past presentations include the following:

  • Advocacy and the IEP
  • Planning for Transition
  • Post-Secondary Transition Fair
  • College Preparation for Students with Disabilities
The Parent Advisory Group meets at 5 p.m. in the E.O. Smith library the first Monday of every month. New members are always welcome.

Clubs and Activities

Best Buddies
Best Buddies is an international organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships. Once paired, peer buddies and buddies spend time together both in school and out of school learning about each other. In addition, there are opportunities for students to participate as Associate Members. These members are not paired in one-to-one friendships but still attend all chapter events. The club holds at least one activity per month throughout the year. Members should plan on attending these activities. The E.O. Smith chapter of Best Buddies also participates in several statewide events and offers leadership opportunities for interested individuals. All students are welcome to join.

Unified Sports
Unified Sports is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. E.O. Smith offers a Winter Unified Basketball team, as well as individual units in field hockey, baseball, volleyball, and other sports.

Unified Star-Makers Theater
Star-Makers Theater productions are organized, written, directed, and produced by students from all backgrounds. Students work collaboratively to create original performances which invite a range of acting styles and artistic expression including pantomime, dance, song, puppetry, performance poetry, a range of world languages (including American Sign Language), and film. Throughout the creative process, students lead and learn from each other. Guest writers, playwrights, actors, puppeteers, and directors are featured to inspire artistic voice and vision. Star-Makers Theater is open to all students and emphasizes the unique talents and abilities of all individuals involved.

"E.O. Smith’s Special Services Department treats parents like a true member of the IEP team. They respect the knowledge we have of our children while always keeping the need for services in the forefront of their education"

Peter & Robin W., Parents

"The STAAR program offers students of all abilities a unique experience through work readiness training that prepares these young minds for competitive work or for the expectations of an adult agency such as Center of Hope."

Chad Krause,
Vice President of Programs
Center of Hope Foundation

"As our daughter was heading towards the end of high school and we began discussing the STAAR option, I had cautious, high hopes for the opportunities it would afford her. STAAR has not met my very high hopes, it has by far exceeded them."

Jay Brown, Parent



Steven Bayne, Ed.D., Director
Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-2:30 pm
860.429.7739 - Phone
860.487.2290 - Fax
[email protected]

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