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St. Lawrence Central selected for preschool evaluations

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BRASHER FALLS — It was a long wait for approval, but St. Lawrence Central School has been selected to become a regional evaluation site for preschool children.

And that means some extra money for the district.

There was work that was done even before the site was approved.

“We had a lot of preparation before we started the process,” said school psychologist and administrative intern Katherine A. Skiff, including tweaking the contract with St. Lawrence County, learning regulations and reviewing and purchasing assessment materials.

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

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

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

Ms. Skiff said the program allows district personnel to develop a rapport among different parties, which is a strong component of the program.

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

There’s a financial incentive for St. Lawrence Central to be a preschool evaluation site, Ms. Skiff said. The district has completed seven evaluations so far and has received approximately $4,000 in reimbursement from the state.

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