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February 13, 2013

Audit praises New Castle’s special education

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle school district’s special education program received a sparkling audit report from the state.

John Mazzoccio, the district’s director of special programs, reviewed the audit from the state’s bureau of special education for the school board at its public work session Monday.

The state auditors visited the district the first week of December to assess its compliance with state laws. Parents, teachers and students were interviewed by seven state auditors, Mazzoccio told the board. The auditors pulled the files of 20 students to make sure the district is in compliance, and they made classroom observations.

“We were in compliance in each of 22 indicator areas,” Mazzoccio explained. Those included participation in assessment testing, where the district had 99 percent participation for all individualized education program students.

Mazzoccio said there were no corrective action recommendations.

In its summary, the bureau of special education monitoring team recognized the district for:

•Its well developed network with local pre-school agencies providing for effective transition of pre-school children.

•Its foresight in establishing school-based mental health programs in two buildings.

•Its efforts in establishing collaboration with local and county agencies and local health care systems.

•Its converting of a house across from the high school into a life skills instruction house for independent living skills development.

•Its collaboration with Cray Challenges, a private alternative program for children with severe behavioral needs, by providing options for students to receive a highly structured program with the option of transitioning to the school.

Terence P. Meehan, assistant to the superintendent, Tuesday praised the special education department for a team effort.

“Any audit that comes back with such positive results is amazing,” he said. “I really credit our special ed teachers, staff and administrators for us to get such a great report.

“Special education is a very challenging role and the law has really put a lot of parameters around it,” Meehan continued. “For us to get a report that gleaming is really a credit to everyone in this district.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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