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White Plains High School Has New Special Ed Head

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Mira Schwartz, the new chair of the committee on special education at White Plains High School , has had a busy fall helping students from other districts get acclimated and sorting out what programs are appropriate for each kid.

"I've seen at least 10 students so far," said Schwartz. "The chairperson is responsible really for leading the meetings. So you wear a lot of hats. sometimes you're there to educate, and sometimes you're there to mediate, but you're always there to coordinate between teachers, parents and students.

Schwartz helps confirm whether struggling students have a disability, develop individual educational programs that plot out goals for students based on their strengths and needs and assess how student individual educational programs should be adjusted as time goes on.

"There are a number of ways to use the committee. It is used for those who need to be evaluated to see if they need additional support, for those who need reconsideration because they're doing well and maybe don't need as much support, or for those who are not doing well and need more help," said Schwartz.

By spring, Schwartz will have met with every high school student and Community School student with an individual educational program. She will also lead the committee on special education in focusing on a "response to intervention" technique that aims to work with struggling students in the general education setting and only pulling the student out if there is no progress.

Schwartz, who previously was a school psychologist in Las Vegas, said she was attracted to the job because it allows her to use her clinical skills as a psychologist and appeases her interest in educational law.

"At the high school level, students are often invited to meetings. So I can invite their feedback and work with their families and teachers. That's the most rewarding part even when it's difficult," said Schwartz.

Schwartz, was raised in Harrison, taught in the Clark County and Bedford school districts and spent a year at the Winward School, said she's happy to be back in the area.

"It'll be the first time I live and work in the same community," she said.

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