The Special Education Department of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center offers programs and services to all school districts throughout Jefferson County, Harrison Hills City School District in Harrison County, and Southern Local School District in Columbiana County. These programs and services support districts, whether directly or indirectly, to meet the changing needs of their students with disabilities. The special education staff includes supervisors, psychologists, teachers, clinicians and paraprofessionals who provide educational services tailored to match district requests.
The Special Education Program tailors the services requested to meet school district needs as to the extent of services required and amount of time a school district may need supervision. Special Education supervisors are part of a broad effort of the ESC to ensure continued professional development throughout the year. Services are flexible to ensure that supervisors are available to participate in ongoing development that brings new learning to the district.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs three full-time psychologists working on an as-needed basis to deliver services. JCESC psychologists can conduct assessments for the following:
- Special Education eligibility
- Gifted eligibility
- Preschool assessments
- Low incident disabilities
- Transition evaluations
After completing assessments, psychologists collaborate with parents, teachers and administrators to explore effective solutions to learning and behavioral problems.
Early Childhood Screening
Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapist and preschool teachers, with district staff, complete district-wide screenings for preschool and kindergarten students. Screenings provide information used to determine “at-risk” students who may require special education services, accommodations or modifications to their learning. Screenings are a proactive approach, which provides teachers with the names of students who may require monitoring so students do not fall behind when beginning school.
Occupational Therapy (OT)The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs two full-time occupational therapists. OT is a related service as part of a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and a service that supports the achievement of the IEP goals. Based on an evaluation, an occupational therapist will facilitate a program to:
- improve, develop, or restore functions impaired or lost through illness, injury, or deprivation;
- improve ability to perform tasks for independent functioning if functions are impaired or lost; and
- prevent, through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function.
The overall goal is to facilitate the students’ physical independence.
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). The COTA works under the direction of the Occupational Therapist. The COTA provides the therapy required to develop, recover and improve the skills for children required in educational settings. COTAs are directly involved in providing therapy to students and typically perform support activities. The COTA is instrumental in leading children who have developmental disabilities in play activities that promote coordination and socialization.
Speech Language Therapy (SLP)
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs five full-time SLPs who serve grades preschool through grade 12. Speech and Language Pathologists provide specially-designed instruction to students whose impairment of language, voice, fluency or articulation is present to such a degree that academic achievement is affected and the condition is significantly handicapping to the student. Services include speech/language/hearing screenings, diagnostics, parent and teacher conferences and involvement in the Intervention Assistance Team process. Individual, small-group and consultation programs are provided. Sessions are generally provided to students 1 to 3 times per week for 30 to 60 minutes per session.
Visually Impaired Program
The Jefferson County ESC Visually Impaired support program provides designed instruction to students whose visual impairment adversely affects their educational performance. Teaching activities, including orientation, mobility instruction, and Braille instruction, focus on the acquisition of specific competencies from the Expanded Core Curriculum. Specialized materials, technical assistance, technology support, assessment, acquisition and training in the use of assistive devices for the visually impaired are provided. These enhance the students’ opportunities for academic success in an inclusive educational program.
Jefferson Regional Spectrum Center (JRSC)
JRSC was established to support students clinically diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder, as well as their families. Instructional models will be evidence based and may include ABA, TEACH and PECS to meet the student’s individualized needs. This collaborative effort provides services and support to the following districts in the Jefferson County ESC Consortium: Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Steubenville City, and Toronto City.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs LPNs to assist the school districts’ registered nurse (RN). The LPN works under the supervision of the RN. The LPN position is to ensure the health needs of the students during the day are addressed.
· Provide nursing care for the health needs of students including emergencies
· Participate in the development and implementation of health care plans as directed by the RN
· Participate in the identification process of children with special needs as directed by the RN
· Maintain student health records
· Maintain the immunization program
· Conduct the vision and hearing screening program
· Manage communicable disease outbreaks
· Participate in the case management for at-risk children
· Serve as a liaison between and resource for teachers, administrators, parents, and community health care providers.
The LPN position is licensed and certificated by The State of Ohio Board of Nursing.
Classroom Paraprofessional Educator
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs licensed paraprofessional educators to assist both regular education classroom teachers and special education classroom teachers. They are sometimes referred to as para-pros, teacher’s aide or educational assistants. Para-pros provide many roles when assisting the classroom teacher. Some of their functions are to provide instructional support which includes (1) one-on-one tutoring, (2) assisting with classroom management, (3) providing instructional assistance in a computer laboratory, (4) conducting parental involvement activities, and (5) providing instructional support in a library or media center. Special education paraprofessionals assist teachers in managing their classrooms and helping students manage their disabilities, which can include emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays, social disorders and communication impediments. The role of paraprofessional educator is constantly evolving. Today more than ever paraprofessionals are working with small groups for remediation and are no longer simply the “teacher aide” of the past.
Visually Impaired (VI) Paraprofessional
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center (JCESC) employs licensed paraprofessionals to assist the VI teacher in the instruction of students with visual impairments. VI paraprofessionals are responsible for materials production, clerical tasks and working directly with students. This paraprofessional is not responsible for braille, but assists with braille material modification or other clerical and instructional tasks. This person works under the direction of the VI teacher and is supervised by the VI teacher. One of the main functions of the VI paraprofessional is the safety of students and providing guidance to ambulate safely through the school building and school environment.