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Controversial Brick Township Special Ed Plan Spurs Focus Meeting

A proposal in the Brick Township school system that would move about 60 special-needs students from Emma Havens Young School to Osbornville Elementary draws fire from some parents and prompts a small-group meeting tonight.

Emma Havens Young School (Brick Patch)
Emma Havens Young School (Brick Patch)

A post on the Board of Ed web page indicates that parents who have been asked to attend will help develop the agenda for the general-information meeting next Monday at the district’s Technology Training Center.

According to Brick Patch, the plan would combine second-and-third graders in one grouping, and fourth-and-fifth graders in another. School officials indicate that the proposal dates back to April, but parents became aware in July. A clerical discrepancy was cited for the lag time.

Critics, as a result, contend that the process leaves little time for special-needs students to adjust before the advent of classes. They also believe that the youngsters are losing the advantage of integration with their peers. They assert that the plan deeply impacts the students’ social and academic equilibrium and detracts from the learning experience.

In a subsequent discussion, schools Superintendent Walter Uszenski said that the plan is aimed at resolving several issues: Firstly, to move them from the crowded Emma Havens facility - approximately 900 students – to the more spacious Osborneville facility of about 299 students.

Secondly, he says, it would help meet objectives of reducing class sizes, from about 30, to 25 or less.

Thirdly, it would place the special needs students in newly-redesigned and technologically advanced surroundings. The rooms are currently under renovation.

Their teachers would move along with them, a distance that Uszenski estimates as about a minute down the same street by school bus.

Osbornville School would also be the center for bilingual programs.

The Superintendent says that parents who have met with him individually welcome the proposal.

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