The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

The Student News Site of Boston Latin School

The Argo

Special Education Expands at BLS

Boston Latin School’s special education department is currently expanding with many goals in mind, ultimately hoping to better serve the many middle and high school students who use its programs.

The department consists of 13 categories, including the learning center, physical therapy, inclusion system and reading and writing support. The three biggest departments are health, specific learning disabilities and autism.

There are different ways special education works at BLS. BLS special education teacher Mr. Phi Tran explains, “Teachers may pull students out of the classrooms of specials such as a study, gym, theater or music to give extra guidance around executive functioning, which is like organizing planning.” After spending some time in the program, students and their parents attend a meeting with the teachers to talk about their progress.

The greatest differences between the middle and high school departments relate to the learning center, where students in the program work on and receive help with their schoolwork. Since all students in the special education department are in different grade levels and take different classes, what each student learns will differ. Another difference between the middle school and high school departments is the cluster system, which is exclusive to seventh and eighth grade. High school, meanwhile, entails many electives and varied class schedules that may make it more difficult for the department to coordinate with students.

After the pandemic, the special education department expanded because of the increased need for mental and behavioral health services. BLS special education coordinator Ms. Daila Gonzalez shares, “We also had a number of students who also started getting counseling [and] short-term counseling which would be anywhere between two to three months.”

The number of special education faculty members has increased accordingly. There was previously only one, but, currently, 12 faculty members make up this department.

Special education teachers recognize and appreciate the benefits that the department’s expansion brought to students. Mr. Tran remarks, “[Special education helps students] not be so stressed out at school and get their academics up, but also have an emotionally healthy and happy time at BLS. So that’s how it would help the school and it’s really important to realize it’s not just about students with disabilities but it’s about the students who require extra support.”

Following the pandemic, however, and due to budget cuts, special education teacher Ms. Gina Sedita notes that the further expansion of the department will face challenges.

Regarding the new BLS budget for the upcoming fiscal year of 2025, Ms. Gonzalez concludes, “The formula change will not impact the budget for next school year and as of right now, the impact is not at the loss of special education staff. The budget cuts, however, will impact the department in that we may have an increase in students going through the evaluation process if the cuts impact the interventions and supports students are able to access outside of special education.”

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