Special Education Programming

RIDE’s Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports (OSCAS) ensures that children with diverse learning needs and children requiring special education services are provided equal access to a public education and that schools develop effective strategies for meeting the needs of these unique learners.

The state of Rhode Island is committed to providing educational opportunities for all students to achieve high standards. For students with disabilities, this means that the student must be provided with a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) designed to meet his or her needs and to provide the student with access and opportunity to attain those high standards. Their education must also be provided in the least restrictive environment, which for most students is the regular classroom. The foundation of the program for the student with a disability is the Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed by the IEP team. In developing the IEP, the team should keep as its focal point the RI Common Core State Standards and other standards of the general education curriculum that all students, including students with disabilities, are required to meet .

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Individualized Education Program

The Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports has actively worked with students, parents, local school districts, and other state and local agencies to promote an effective statewide system of secondary transition services for students with disabilities. This page provides information on Secondary Transition, some of the system structures RIDE has employed to improve transition outcomes for students in Rhode Island and links to sources of information for students, parents and professionals.

Stay connected with your Regional Transition Center!

Rhode Island Regional Transition Centers
The Rhode Island Regional Transition Centers provide direct technical support, training and information on transition services to school personnel in each region and assist in the development of statewide training and information activities.

Northern Rhode Island
Pawtucket, Central Falls, Johnston, Cumberland, Woonsocket, Lincoln, Burrillville, Smithfield, North Smithfield, North Providence
Cynthia VanAvery, Transition Coordinator 
Northern RI Collaborative - Transition Employment Center (TEC)
640 George Washington Hwy. Suite 200
Lincoln, RI 02865
(401)721-0709
email: cvanavery@nric-ri.org
www.northernriregionaltransitioncenter.wikispaces.com

West Bay
Coventry, Cranston, Foster, Glocester, Foster/Glocester Regional, Scituate, Warwick, West Warwick
Therese Curran, Transition Coordinator
West Bay Collaborative
144 Bignall St.
Warwick, RI 02888
(401)941-8353 ext. 124 
email: Curranwbc@aol.com
www.westbayregionaltransition.wikispaces.com

East Bay
East Providence, Portsmouth, Warren/Bristol, Little Compton, Barrington, Middletown, Tiverton, Newport
Carolyn Aspinwall, Transition Coordinator
East Bay Educational Collaborative
317 Market Street  
Warren, RI 02885
Phone:  245-2045 x303  
email: aspinwac@ride.ri.net
www.eastbayriregionaltransition.wikispaces.com

Southern Rhode Island
North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett, Westerly, East Greenwich, Exeter/West Greenwich, Chariho, New Shoreham, Jamestown
Joe Walejko, Transition Coordinator
Southern RI Transition Center
15 Highland Avenue
Westerly, RI 02891
Phone: (401)269-1107
email: jwalejko@nric-ri.org
www.southernriregionaltransitioncenter.wikispaces.org

Providence
Nancy Stevenin, Transition Coordinator
Mt. Pleasant High School
434 Mt. Pleasant Avenue  
Providence, RI  02908
Phone:  278-0520  
email: Nancy.Stevenin@ppsd.org
www.providencetransition.wikispaces.com

Be Informed!
Check out this helpful resource
My Transition:  What Students Need to Know

Get in Touch!
Jane Slade
Transition Coordinator
255 Westminster Street,
Providence, RI 02903
401-222-8350
Jane.Slade@ride.ri.gov

The Importance of Communication
It is important that all students have a strategy and/or device that allows them to communicate beyond addressing their basic needs. With a communication system that allows a student to show what they know and can do academically, and addresses their desires personally and socially, then it is possible that an adequate education that encourages students to reach their full potential can be provided.  Communication is essential to all people, regardless of their ability level.

Communication devices and strategies should be evaluated each year to ensure that the student has the device that best suits the student’s needs and abilities. These systems should allow the student to engage meaningfully both socially and academically.

Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC)
Augmentative systems are used by people who already have some speech but are either unintelligible or have limited abilities to use their speech.  In such case, other modes of communication are used to support or supplement what the person is able to say verbally.

Alternative communication is the term used when a person has no speech and uses another method to communicate.

Communication devices are referred to as “AAC”.  The term “Augmentative/Alternative Communication” (AAC) refers to any mode of communication other than speech. AAC includes systems such as sign language, symbol or picture boards, and electronic devices with synthesized speech. 

Assistive Technology
Assistive technology is redefining what is possible for people with a wide range of cognitive and physical disabilities. In the home, classroom, and community, assistive technology is enabling individuals with disabilities to be more independent, self-confident and productive.

Be Informed!
Check out these helpful resources

Get in Touch!
Becky Wright
RI Department of Education
Office for Student, Community & Academic Supports
Telephone (401) 222-8404
Email Becky.Wright@ride.ri.gov

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a framework to increase student achievement and social and emotional competencies through prevention and intervention in general education.

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Medicaid is a Federal/State program overseen federally by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services.

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Teacher assistants play an integral role in the schools of Rhode Island. They provide instructional and other direct services to students under the supervision and direction of the classroom teacher or other certified professional staff. Teacher assistants are required to be trained before they are employed and to engage in ongoing professional development during employment so they can support school improvement and student achievement goals.

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