Special Education and Student Services During COVID-19

  • On May 12, 2020, Elizabeth Fitzmaurice, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, provided additional information service plans, the role of aides and behavior therapists, virtual IEP meetings, planning for summer/fall, and a unique educational opportunity. Please download it as a PDF document using this link.


    Information for April 6th - End of Year

    On April 27, 2020, Elizabeth Fitzmaurice, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, provided detailed information on special education services for the remainder of the school year. Please download a PDF of her letter to families by clicking on this link

    In addition, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) has provided guidance and resources for families with students utilizing special education services. You can find PDFs of the documents below:

    MA DESE Letter to Families - April 9, 2020 - Download PDF Document

    MA DESE Family Resource Toolbox - Download PDF Document

    U.S. Department of Education - March 21, 2020 Fact Sheet - Download PDF Document

    For an overview of how special education services will be delivered beginning April 6th, please download this letter from the assistant superintendent for student services. 

    Please visit this document (link here) for specific recommendations on creating a structured learning environment at home.

    This document (link here) provides additional learning resources for students.

    Information for March 12th - April 6th Closure

    IEP Meetings/Evaluations in Process
    IEP meetings will be rescheduled. At some point in the future, we may resume by holding remote participation meetings. You will be notified by your student’s special education liaison or administrator about scheduling options.

    Newton Public Schools, along with other districts in the Commonwealth, will pause evaluation, referral, annual review, and plan distribution timelines for all students on IEPs and 504s.  This means that as soon as schools reopen, the timelines will commence, as required by state and federal regulations.  Additionally, at that time we will be working with families to understand the impact of the closure on individual students and will work to schedule/reschedule meetings as needed. 

    If upon reopening, access to school buildings is limited to essential employees and students, IEP meetings will be held virtually through video or phone conferences with parental consent or can be rescheduled if requested.  A follow-up in-person meeting may be scheduled after restrictions are lifted; parents are asked to speak with their special education liaison or administrator about their student’s meetings. 

    Special Education Referrals/Initial Eligibility
    Newton Public Schools, along with other schools in the Commonwealth, will freeze evaluation, referral, and plan distribution timelines for all students in a referral cycle.  This means that as soon as schools reopen, the timelines will commence as required by state and federal regulations.

    Special Education Services
    During school closures, the Newton Public Schools will follow the Department of Education Guidance issued March 2020. The district encourages students to remain engaged while school is not in session and to that end schools will provide suggestions and resources for enrichment activities.  These enrichment opportunities are not considered instruction and teachers, special education team members and counselors may remain in touch with students and families to check in on students, and to offer support and guidance as needed. Although there is no obligation for students to engage in the enrichment activities, we do encourage participation. 

    Once school reopens, the Newton Public Schools will resume providing special education and related services to children in accordance with the child’s IEP.  If special education services cannot be provided once school reopens, teams will make individual determinations for the requirement of compensatory services.  

    Home Services
    Home services and assessments will not occur during school closures.   Additionally, once school reopens, our ability to send staff or contracted service providers into homes is contingent upon staff and student health and wellness in accordance with state and CDC guidelines, protocols to limit activities within the community, or availability of home service providers.  If home services cannot be provided once school reopens, teams will make individual determinations for the requirement of compensatory services. 

    Out-of-District Day and Residential Placements
    For students in out-of-district day or residential placements, Newton Public Schools will follow the attendance recommendations of the individual out-of-district school or facility. If your student’s out-of-district school closes, the Newton Public Schools will not provide interim educational and/or special education services.

    Newton Special Education Transportation
    The Newton Transportation Office will continue to provide transportation to out-of-district schools that remain open and for students who are able to attend. 

    Home Hospital Tutoring
    Once school resumes, for students who may have medical or health issues and are physically unable to come to school as a result of COVID-19, the district will follow our process with regard to Home and Hospital Tutoring. This applies to students who will miss 14 or more school days as a result of being physically unable to come to school due to a health or medical issue. A physician’s statement is required to initiate this process.  If this situation applies to your child, please contact your school’s Special Education Coordinator or Director.

    The Special Education Department is committed to maintaining a safe and supportive environment for students and continues to closely monitor COVID-19 and its impact on student learning and social emotional needs. We acknowledge that this situation is difficult and appreciate your commitment to the health of your family. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Department Overview

  • Greetings to the Newton Community,

    It is with great honor that I begin service as your new Assistant Superintendent for Student Services.

    I come to you as a humble life-long special educator with a burning passion for educational equity for all students. My road to Newton provided me the opportunity to serve as an educator and leader in public, private and collaborative settings and I am grateful for the opportunity to join such an amazing corps of educators and leaders. As a child of a serviceman and a teacher, I learned the value of service and of committing to something greater than self. As a teacher and an educational leader, I am committed to working together to help capture each students’ area of giftedness. Only in this endeavor can we truly achieve our goals and support students to be their best selves.

    As educators, we know the real New Year celebration is on the first day of school and I look forward to enjoying the experience of welcoming our faculty next week and our students the week after that.

    I will spend the first few months meeting with people within the school and community and learning about the wonderful programs and opportunities available to students in Newton. I will learn about our wonderful student services department and learn how I might contribute to our continued growth and development.

    I welcome opportunities to meet with people and learn about your work, your child and your experiences with the Newton Public Schools.

    Yours in service to education,

    Elizabeth (Beth) Fitzmaurice

    Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

Newton Parent Advisory Council for Special Education

  • The Newton Parent Advisory Council for Special Education (PAC) serves as a parent resource and a liaison between parents and the administration. It provides a forum for parents to meet each other and with school department staff to discuss special education concerns, strategies and programs.

Helpful Documents - Student Services

Contact Information