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Mars, PA: District changes: sensory rooms in all schools, psychological counselor

June 23, 2018, Cranberry (Township PA) Eagle: Special ed. changes unveiled http://www.thecranberryeagle.com/article/20180623/CRAN0101/706239791/-1/CRAN01 Mars School District officials on Monday unveiled the district's plan to address issues with the special education program, many of which will be visible when school reconvenes this fall…. “We do have some systems in place, we just need to broaden them,” McMahon said. A life skills support program will be added for younger students, in an effort to bring students back to the district who had been placed in other schools. McMahon said she and other administrators have visited other schools that have such programs to learn what worked and what didn't work. Additionally, sensory rooms will be added or maintained at every school in the district. McMahon said those rooms will be ready in the fall. Staffing enhancements The district will also hire a licensed, professional counselor to meet with students who need psychological services. McMahon said this position is in addition to replacing outgoing guidance counselors and special education teachers in the district…. The district will also focus on additional training measures for teachers, some of which will be led by the new special education director. This includes the district wide implementation of the Rachel's Challenge program, as well as disability awareness programming…. Additionally, officials said every graduating student with special needs was given the proper … Parents' concerns While parents in attendance said they were pleased to see progress being made, some raised concerns about the individual needs of their children, and shared their hesitation in trusting that the district will fully address the issues that have been presented. Many cited a 2012 audit in which the same items were identified, while others expressed worries over funding for programs in the future….