DEXTER, NY — The General Brown Central School District is continuing to make strides on aligning its programs and services with its 2019-22 strategic plan.
The district was recently notified that the University at Albany’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities accepted the district’s application to be part of the center’s School Consultation Project for the 2020-2021 school year.
The goal of the School Consultation Project is to help school district’s increase their capacity to service students with autism spectrum disorders by developing an in-house Autism Resource Team. The project provides training, resources and consultation to school faculty, staff, administration and parents to build capacity within the school regarding best practices in educating students with autism spectrum disorders, according to the project’s website.
“We are so excited to share this news with our community,” Superintendent Barbara J. Case said. “One of our student’s parents brought this project to our attention, and we agreed it would be a fantastic opportunity for our staff members to receive additional professional development and training—and at no additional cost to our taxpayers.”
The program is offered at no cost to participating school districts through a grant from the New York State Education Department. General Brown will need to provide release time and coverage for staff members serving on its Autism Resource Team, which includes administrators, special and general education teachers, a school psychologist, social worker, speech therapist and a parent.
Their training is anticipated to start in spring 2021.
The project will allow the district to continue to enhance the practices it has in place that are focused on providing integrated instructional opportunities so all General Brown students can achieve their best academic outcomes, which is a focus in the strategic plan, Case said.
The School Consultation Project uses a research-based model called Positive Behavior Support. Research suggests that students supported by this model are better able to manage their behavior in multiple environments, which leads to greater opportunities for inclusion with typical peers, positive academic outcomes and an increase in quality of life, according to the project website.
“This program will help our staff members increase their knowledge and skiIls of working with our students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and those staff members in turn will share what they have learned and become a resource for their peers,” said Missie Nabinger, GB’s director of student services and chair of the district’s committee on special education. “We see this as a win for our students, staff and our community at large.”