School committee hopes to improve special education programs at MVRHS

School officials are cutting some teachers hours to mitigate a budget increase. —Stacey Rupolo

Both the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and All-Island school committees are looking at ways to ensure a more consistent transition from eighth grade to high school for students in special education programs.

The All-Island school committee will meet on Monday at the high school to discuss the shared services programs, address ways the school can help better integrate them into the high school, and set up a special education subcommittee.

At the high school committee’s last meeting on June 5, board members discussed some of the major components of the shared services programs, like the Bridge Program, which is a program that serves students in kindergarten to eighth grade who are on the autism spectrum. Parents and school leaders have expressed concern that there is no integrated program at the high school that specifically addresses the needs of the students who are in such shared services programs.

Matt D’Andrea, superintendent of schools, and Hope MacLeod, co-director of student support services, told the committee they are currently negotiating a contract with Mark Palmieri, assistant director of the Connecticut-based Center for Children with Special Needs, to help oversee the creation of a high school autism program, as well as develop more adequate programs for students on the autism spectrum, and with Down’s syndrome and other intellectual disorders.