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Talbot Co, MD: MORE students need 'more significant supports'

The Talbot County Board of Education approved additional staff for special education services in the public schools for the upcoming year.

Kristin Mentges, Talbot County Public Schools’ supervisor of special education, presented her recommendations to the the board at its Wednesday meeting. The recommendations are based on data, programming and anticipated staffing needs, which are discussed monthly with the special education team, she said....

Between spring 2021 and spring 2022, almost every public school in Talbot County showed a roughly 9% increase overall in the number of students needing special education services....

The number of students receiving such services varies from school to school, but is around 12% to 13% countywide, Mentges said….

“What we’ve seen over the past several years is that our (number of) students who need more significant supports, who have intellectual disabilities and autism, has risen over the last several years,” she said, adding that 27 students within that population received services at the end of last year, indicating the need for an additional teacher to better serve them.

Mentges also recommended having four instructional assistants serve that population — two for in the classroom outside of general education classrooms and two to support those students in the general education classrooms so students can benefit from their peers….

Another change is to add a full-time teacher to serve at both St. Michaels Elementary School and St. Michaels Middle High School.

Last year, the board added one teacher to serve half-time between both of the schools, Mentges said, but the numbers have risen at the elementary school to the point where the school needs four full-time positions, as opposed to three and a half positions.

The school district’s seven speech therapists are adequately addressing current needs, Mentges said. Two more were added last year to handle an increase from the need of services resulting from the pandemic.

While hours of speech services provided weekly have increased slightly from last year, the total number of students needing those services decreased, so the school district will maintain the current number.


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