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Stratford reimposes special education cap

For the third straight year, Stratford School District will not accept special education students who open enroll to attend its schools next year because its special education staff is maxed out with student caseload.

The Stratford Board of Education voted 5-0 at its meeting last Wednesday to close open enrollment of students into the Stratford schools’ special education program for the 2020-21 school year. Stratford schools will only accept special education students who currently live in the school district.

Scott Winch, Stratford schools superintendent, said the school district will take open enrollment students from other school districts that don’t require special education services.

In other school news:

_ The school board tabled a decision to add a Never Alone App from Marshfi eld Medical Center on the Chromebooks Stratford middle and high school students use during the school day.

Janeen LaBorde, Stratford middle and high school principal, told the school board the Never Alone App would provide students with mental health resources should they need them.

Chris Dickinson, school board vice president, wants LaBorde to gather additional information from Marshfield Medical Center plans on whether it’ll be looking to gather feedback from Stratford middle and high school students using the pilot app. He also wants to know how Stratford School District staff could measure whether the Never Alone App is useful to its students.

The school board plans to further discuss whether or not to approve the pilot app at its regular monthly meeting in February.

_ The school board voted 5-0 to allow Stratford School Board to host the LENA Start program this spring. Amy Schmitt, Stratford Elementary School principal, told the school board Edgar School District hosts the LENA Start Program in the fall.

Schmitt said the Stratford School District will seek 10 to 15 parents residing in the district,who have children younger than three years old, to participate in the 10 weekly LENA Start sessions in Stratford this spring.

The LENA Start website states the program is designed to have parents use regular feedback from LENA technology to help increase interactive talk in their children three years and younger in order to close the early-talk gap, support Kindergarten readiness and build stronger families.