After being away from classrooms for many months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of Huntington UFSD students are back in the swing of things in the extended year special education program.
Four outstanding educators who have dedicated their professional careers to Huntington UFSD children are this year’s Special Education PTA Distinguished Service Award recipients.
The Suffolk County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission has recognized Huntington UFSD school psychologist Dr. Cynthia Fletcher with the organization’s 2020 Public Service Award.
Dr. Mary DiBenedetto is at the top of her game. The longtime Huntington UFSD faculty member was recently honored by the New York State Association of School Psychologists with its hapter P School Psychologist of the Year Award.
The Huntington School District’s program of special education and student support services strives to meet the needs of every student. Placement in any special education program is determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) based on a student’s academic, social, management, physical needs, and determination of a disability. The CSE recommendations must be reviewed by the Board of Education prior to any action being taken. A plan for each student is outlined in an individual education program, commonly referred to as an IEP.
Several different programs are supported by the district, including:
Consultant teacher program: Consultant teacher services allow students with disabilities to stay in full time regular education programs and receive consultation from a special education teacher. This service allows school districts to provide indirect consultation services to pupils with disabilities who are enrolled in a full-time regular education program. Indirect consultant teacher services provide consultant services to regular education teachers to help them modify the learning environment or instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities in their classes.
Resource room program: A resource program provides specialized supplementary instruction in a small 5:1 group setting one period daily. The resource program teacher, in cooperation with classroom teachers, provides specialized instruction to support academic performance in the areas identified on the IEP. Since a resource program is supplemental to the student’s regular or special education program, such instruction is non-credit bearing.
Integrated co-teaching services: Integrated co-teaching services means the provision of specially designed instruction and academic instruction provided to a group of students with disabilities and non-disabled students. It is a means through which students with IEPs receive some or all of their specialized instruction in the context of the general education classroom. In this model, two professionals with teaching certification are co-teachers, one general education teacher and one special education teacher. Both professionals participate fully in the instructional process by providing content and facilitating student engagement and learning. This model also incorporates one period every other day of a study skills and organization class in which direct instruction on an IEP takes place.
Special class program: Instruction in the special class parallels instruction that is delivered in the general educating setting. Special class instruction provides core instruction in a setting with students with disabilities. Special classes are available for English, Social Studies, Science, and Math. The curriculum and standards are the same as are provided in the regular education classes but is adapted to meet the individual needs of the students. Special class instruction can be delivered in a 15:1:1 or 12:1+ (3:1 for Life Skills) special class size ratio as determined by the CSE based on the student’s individual needs.
Diana Rich assumed the position of district director of special education and student support services in May 2017. She had earlier served as Huntington’s K-6 chairperson of special education.
Ms. Rich earned a BA degree in education at Niagara University in 1998 and a master’s degree in special education at CUNY-Queens College in 2001. She obtained state administrator’s certificate in 2005 after studying at CUNY-Hunter College.
Prior to coming to Huntington, Ms. Rich worked for AHRC (Assn. for the Help of Retarded Children) July 2000 to March 2012 as a special education program curriculum coordinator, director of early intervention and universal pre-kindergarten, director of special education pre-school and center based early intervention program and principal of a special education pre-school. Earlier in her career, she worked as a special education administrator in the New York City public schools.
Linda Costello-Roth is Huntington’s chairperson of special education, 7-12. Born in Brooklyn, she moved to Huntington in 1970 and attended Village Green School, Huntington Elementary School, Woodhull Elementary School, J. Taylor Finley Junior High School and Huntington High School, graduating with the Class of 1982.
An outstanding athlete at a young age, Mrs. Roth played on the Finley volleyball, basketball and softball teams and starred on the boys’ soccer team, since there was no girls’ squad at the time. She continued her sports career at Huntington High School, playing on the field hockey, volleyball and basketball teams. She captained the first Blue Devil girls’ soccer team as a senior.
The Huntington alum earned an undergraduate degree in business management at Hartwick College in Oneonta and a graduate degree in special education at Long Island University-C.W. Post College.
The veteran educator began her teaching career at Finley Middle School in 1992. Mrs. Roth obtained a state administrator’s certificate in 2003. She’s coached boys’ and girls’ soccer, tennis, lacrosse and volleyball at Finley and field hockey and lacrosse at the high school.
Consistent with her passion to serve the young people of the community, Mrs. Roth has immersed herself in the Special Olympics program, coaching Huntington High School floor hockey, track and field and snowshoe teams.
The Huntington Booster Club honored Ms. Costello-Roth in October 2014 at its gala at the Huntington Crescent Club for her Blue Devil athletic and coaching careers and for her work with the high school’s Special Olympics athletes.
Valerie Monforte assumed the position of special education chair for grades K-6 on June 16, 2017. She obtained Bachelor of Science (childhood education) and Master of Science (literacy, B-6) degrees at St. John’s University in Queens in 2005 and 2007, respectively. She earned a Certificate in Educational Leadership at the College of Saint Rose in 2014.
Prior to coming to Huntington, Ms. Monforte worked as a K-5 special education teacher at PS 60 in Woodhaven, Queens from September 2006 through June 2015. She served on the New York City Board of Education’s Committee on Special Education from September-December 2015 and on the Committee on Pre-School Special Education from January 2016 until her appointment in Huntington.
Renee E. Jones is chairperson of the district’s Committee on Pre-School Special Education-fourth grade. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics at Long Island University-C.W. Post College in 1980 and a Master of Arts degree in clinical/school psychology at Adelphi University in 1995. She obtained an advanced graduate certificate in educational leadership/state administrative certification at Stony Brook University in 2010.
Ms. Jones came to the district in 1998 as a school psychologist. At the time of the appointment, she was working at Washington Primary School, conducting educational and psychological evaluations, interpreting evaluation data and serving as a consultant to teachers, administrators and parents, providing counseling to children, staff and parents and chairing the school's committee on special education.
The veteran educator has worked as an adjunct professor at SUNY College at Old Westbury. She was a psychotherapy intern at Nassau County Medical Center in 1997/98.
|Anson||Patricia||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||panson|
|Arlin||Becky||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||barlin|
|Bookman||Lauren||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||lbookman|
|Costa||Kathryn||HHS, Social Worker||1-631-673-2019||kcosta|
|Fisher||Tara||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||tfisher|
|Fusco||Peter||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||pfusco|
|German||Alyssa||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||agerman|
|Hlavaty||John||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||hlavatyj|
|Jessen||Erica||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||ejessen|
|Klee||Patricia||HHS, Speech Therepist||1-631-673-2093||pklee|
|Kohan||Linda||HHS, Social Worker||1-631-673-2019||lkohan|
|McCourt||Kathleen||HHS, Special Ed. Coord.||631-673-2041||kmccourt|
|Mulholland||Nicole||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||mulhollandn|
|Neugebauer||Andrea||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||aneugebauer|
|Noble||Barbara||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||bnoble|
|Nugent||Donna||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||dnugent|
|Rommel||Jennifer||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||jrommel|
|Roth||Linda||HHS, Special Ed. Chair||1-631-673-2045||lcostello-roth|
|Sambour||Kathleen||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||ksambour|
|Trites||Kelly||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||ktrites|
|Troffa||Anthony||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||atroffa|
|Witt||Timothy||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||twitt|
|Woll||Irene||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||iwoll|
|Yostpille||Maureen||HHS, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2093||yostpillem|
|Armon||Navila||Finley, WH Social Worker||1-631-673-2063||narmon|
|Carey||Kate||Finley, Speech Therapist||1-631-673-2020||kcarey|
|Costa||Kathryn||Finley, Social Worker||1-631-673-2190||kcosta|
|Emmerman||Carol||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||cemmerman|
|Fee||Krista||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||kfee|
|Garger||Christina||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||cgarger|
|Hughes||Amy||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||hughesa|
|Stracuzza||Annette||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||astracuzza|
|Theodorellis||Christopher||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||ctheodorellis|
|Vettorato||Jen||Finley, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2046||jvettorato|
|Fletcher||Cynthia||JA, WH Psychologist||1-631-425-4707||cfletcher|
|Jerome||Jaime||WH, Special Ed.||1-631-425-4711||jjerome|
|Stanford||Hildi||WH, Special Ed.||1-631-425-4711||hstanford|
|Williams||Ashley||WH, Special Ed.||1-631-425-4711||awilliams|
|Barfuss||Heather||FH, Special Ed.||1-631-673-2052||barfussh|
|Brachman||Risa||FH, Speech Therapist||1-631-673-2050||rbrachman|
|Lucas||Yafit||FH, Speech Therapist||1-631-673-2050||ylucas|
|Soto||Gisselle||FH, Social Worker||1-631-425-4782||gsoto|
|D'Andraia||Evelyn||Jeff, Special Ed.||1-631-673-5716||edandraia|
|Garcia||Renee||Jeff, Special Ed.||1-631-673-5716||rtgarcia|
|Milewski||Jenna||Jeff, Speech Therapist||1-631-673-2070||jmilewski|
|Soto||Giselle||Jeff, Social Worker||1-631-425-4758||gsoto|
|Sweeney||Patricia||Jeff, Special Education||1-631-673-5716||psweeney|
|Macaluso||Sarah||SD, Speech Therapist||1-631-673-2080||smacaluso|
|Kohan||Linda||SD, Social Worker||1-631-673-2085||lkohan|