Special Services

We know that every child can learn but recognize they do not all learn the same way—the pathway in pursuit of excellence and educational fulfillment looks different for everyone. Ultimately, we strive to work with families as well as the entire school community to assure that each child with a disability is educated in a supportive environment where understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of learning differences prevails.

Special Services and Learner Support

We offer services and support for all children with special needs who are between the ages of three and five and in kindergarten through eighth grade whose parents are legal residents of Closter. A child’s special needs may include delayed and/or deficient speech and language development, significant delays/difficulties in academic achievement and cognitive development, emotional or social problems, physical (orthopedic, visual, or hearing) impairments, or chronic illness.  

If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact the Child Study Team office (201) 768-3860.

Special Needs Preschool Program

Hillside School is home to Closter’s preschool program, a district-based, early-learning environment designed to meet the needs of three- and four-year-old children with special needs. Our program integrates special needs children with their typically developing peers. We incorporate the goals and objectives of the students’ Individual Education Plans (IEP) and offer activities that foster growth in all areas of child development through a curriculum that is aligned with the NJ Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards of Quality.

Closter Public Schools offers assistance for families of preschoolers ages three through five. If you have concerns about the development of your preschooler, please contact Lori Cohen, director of special services.

Child Study Team

The members of our Child Study Team include a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher consultant, and a school social worker. At times, we may include other specialists including speech-language specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and physicians. 

Our Child Study Team is dedicated to locating, identifying, and considering the needs of students with disabilities, in accordance with state and federal regulations. This includes evaluation, collaboration in individual program development, and case management of students ages three through 14. Our purpose is to insure that each student with a disability is provided a free and appropriate education (FAPE).

Child Identification
Evaluation Process
Project Child Find
Early Intervention System
Section 504

Child Study Team Members

Elizabeth Apollo
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Leeann Cameron
Social Worker
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Maci DeCarlo
School Psychologist
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Leanne Falkenstern
Speech/Language Specialist
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Kathy Hedenberg
Speech/Language Specialist
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Eileen Kennedy
LDTC - Hillside
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Gila Rachlin
Speech/Language Specialist
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Laurie Rochlin
LDTC - Tenakill
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Nancy Saccoccio
Occupational Therapist
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Special Services Department

Lori Cohen
Director of Special Services
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Lynne Dubert
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Kate Sorman
CST Clerical Paraprofessional
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