A Message from the Director
Dr. Tanya McDonald
Welcome to the Department of Special Services. I am thrilled to be serving as your Director. I began my career here in Somerville over a decade ago and have worked as a School Psychologist at both Van Derveer Elementary School and at Somerville High School. I also had the pleasure of serving as the Interim Director of Guidance for the 2013/2014 school year.
I hold a strong belief that all children can be successful when provided the right supports. We have an amazing Child Study Team and related service providers who work diligently to meet the academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs of the students. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with parents, teachers and other key stakeholders to ensure that each of our children with special needs is provided with the opportunity to achieve and maintain success within the school setting.
The Special Services department offers a full continuum of programs for eligible students to support their academic and personal success. Students are encouraged to participate in general education classes whenever possible with appropriate modifications, accommodations and supplementary aids and services.
Many programs provide in-class support sections taught by both a general education teacher and a special education teacher. This collaborative teaching approach combines the expertise of the content area specialist and the special educator to meet the varied learning needs of students. Students who demonstrate more significant weakness in academic areas may receive instruction in special education classes specifically designed to address these deficits.
The Special Services staff believes in providing a nurturing and supportive environment that will enable our students to reach their full potential.