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Special Education


The Special Education Program at Western Middle School offers a continuum of programming. Each student receives special education and related services tailored to his/her individual educational needs. Special Education teachers monitor the implementation and coordination of the students Individualized Education Plan and act as the case manager for the student. Below is a description of the special education classes or activities your child may participate in depending on their individual needs.

Special Education Staff:


Suzanne Coyne

Special Education Administrator

(203) 413-8432


Melina Pedraza

Administrative Assistant

(203) 413-8436

Our Staff

6th Grade Team

6th grade:


Maria Navarro


Corinne Younghans

7th Grade Team

Elisabeth Catanzaro


Amanda Gaffney

8th Grade Team

Lauren Showstead

Behavior Supports

Elizabeth Lupo

Comprehensive Support

Nicole McEneaney


Academic Classes


Academic Lab:

This class is taught by your child’s special education teacher and may take place 7 out of the 8 days in a cycle or 3 or 4 days in an 8-day cycle. The class usually consists of 6 or less students. The focus of the class is to:

  • Address goals and objectives within the IEP

  • Provide instruction on executive functioning skills

  • Teach students important self-advocacy skills to build more independence


The special education teacher will collaborate with a child’s team of teachers to monitor their progress in their classes and ensure that IEP accommodations are being implemented.


Reading & Math Modules:

Modules are offered in the areas of decoding, comprehension and math. The classes are taught by a special education teacher and focus on specific IEP objectives. The math module also includes pre-teaching and re-teaching of grade-level skills from the general education class, in order to allow the students to be independent and successful in the mainstream math classroom. The class takes place 3 or 4 days across an 8-day cycle.


English and Math Skills classes:

These classes are taught by a special education teacher and consist of 12 or less students. Students who are performing 2 or more years below grade level may be recommended for one or both classes. The class incorporates grade-level skills and concepts, while also focusing on foundational reading and writing skills specific to the students’ IEP goals and objectives.

Functional and Life Skills Classes

Functional and Life Skills classes:


Activities of Daily Living (Community class)

This class is taught by a special education teacher and is designed to develop daily living skills necessary to enhance/increase students’ independence in the real world setting.  Some of the skills addressed include: Food preparation, Clothing, Money, Vocational/Job skills, Health, Travel and Transportation, Community Resources, Community Signs, and Safety. The students will participate in community trips to allow them to practice generalizing skills they learn within the community. This class takes place 7 day out of the 8-day cycle.

Functional English and Math

These courses are taught by a special education teachers and are designed to develop fundamental reading, writing and math skills necessary in developing students’ independence in the real world. Students performing 4 or more years below grade-level may be recommended for these classes.

Non Academic Activities

Non-Academic activities:


Unified Intramural Sports

This after-school program provides opportunities for students, with and without disabilities, to participate in a variety of sports and to compete against other middle schools in or out of town at least once a year. The purpose of this program is to offer a positive, inclusive foundation for athletic and social interaction between special education and general education students. The following sports are played each season: Soccer (fall), basketball (winter), track (spring). Practices are held twice a week for 8 week seasons.


Western Buddies

This program provides opportunities during the school day for students, with and without disabilities, to build relationships with one another. Students may participate in a lunch group, after-school special events, and/or field trips.

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