Massena Central Faculty Board approves hiring of second occupational therapist | Schooling

MASSENA – In anticipation that some students may need additional assistance getting back to school this fall, the Massena Central School District Education Committee has approved the recruitment of a second occupational therapist.

“The Office of Special Services asked us to have another district occupational therapist to meet the needs of our students. We currently have an occupational therapist and are also looked after by an external provider, ”said Superintendent Patrick Brady.

At a previous meeting, he had presented the board with a list of recruiting requests that use federal funds to address areas such as learning loss and social and emotional learning during the pandemic. Among them, and with $ 674,880 in pre-kindergarten funding, the district plans to move from a half-day to a full-day pre-kindergarten program. That would mean adding three teachers and three teaching assistants at a cost of $ 465,000.

The district will also receive $ 8.7 million from the US Rescue Plan Act. Mr Brady had presented the board with a proposed list of staffing additions, including a reading intervention teacher, two academic intervention teacher assistants, and a technology or high school teaching assistant, as well as a math intervention teacher, reading intervention teacher, academic intervention teacher assistant, and an upgrade to a full-time library media specialist Intermediate level.

The list also included three science intervention teacher assistants per elementary school, a head of academic support services, and two school social workers.

“At the last meeting, we presented the board with a list of requests that I have just given you with learning loss, social and emotional learning, etc. We also indicated that we might come back with some other special services requests and this was one of them” said Brady of the request.

He said there has been a need for additional assistance in recent years, “particularly with adding the new preschool programs in Madison and Nightengale (elementary schools). With the current services it has been difficult to keep up with the number of students who are in need of occupational therapy. “

He said that students who have weaknesses and problems with their fine motor skills, sensory processing, visual perception, and visual processing may need the services of an occupational therapist.

“We’re seeing a higher number of cases and the Office of Special Services has requested this for some time. I think we have now agreed with the federal grant to review the matter and ask the board to consider adding another occupational therapist, ”said Brady.

Board member Kevin Perretta said in a letter from Mr. Brady to board members that each year the district violates regulations in the coverage of occupational therapy services in individualized education plans for school and preschool children.

“What is our liability for it? What could happen to us? ”He asked.

“A parent’s concern. A concern of State Ed. We’re doing what we can and I think adding another occupational therapist will help us meet the standards, ”said Brady.

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