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St. Lawrence Central selected for pre-school evaluations

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BRASHER FALLS - It was a seemingly long waiting process for approval, but St. Lawrence Central School has now been selected to become a regional evaluation site for pre-school children.

And that means some extra money for the district in the process.

“Late last year Lisa (Grenville, high school principal and special education director) sparked the idea for the Brasher Falls Central School District to become an evaluation site for pre-schoolers. We waited for what seemed like a very long time,” school psychologist and administrative intern Kate Skiff said.

Now they’ve been approved by the state Education Department and can provide evaluations for children ages 2 to 5, she said. But there was work that was done even before they were approved.

“We had a lot of preparation before we started the process,” Ms. Skiff said, including tweaking their contract with the county, learning regulations and reviewing and purchasing assessment materials.

The screening process has several components, including observation, social history, cognitive testing, speech and language testing and behavior assessments.

Observation of the behavior of a child in a natural setting, for instance, is a required part of the evaluation process. A natural setting might include the classroom, playground, restroom, bus or home.

School officials also look at the social history of the child, which includes interpersonal, familial and environmental factors which influence a child’s general adaptation to the learning environment. These might includedata on family composition, family history, developmental history of the child, health of the child, family interaction and adjustment of the child to pre-school or other learning environments.

Ms. Skiff said the program allows them to developing a rapport between different parties, which is a strong component of the program. She noted they’re able to develop a strong rapport between families and the district, as well as with providers and Head Start teachers - all for the betterment of the child and the family.

“We understand the child and family history from the first evaluation,” she said.

There’s a financial incentive for being a pre-school evaluation site, according to Ms. Skiff. She said they have completed seven evaluations and have receive approximately $4,000 in reimbursement from the state.

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