Special Services Resources

Special Services Staff

Dr. Elizabeth Whitehouse
Supervisor of Collingswood/Oaklyn Special Services
(856) 962-5702 ext 9014

Debra Vesper
Supervisor of Collingswood Special Education
(856) 962-5702 ext 9016

Jesse Carroll, Administrative Assistant
(856) 962-5702 ext 9014

Irene Graves, Administrative Assistant
(856) 962-5702 ext 9013

Angela Funk, Administrative Assistant (Oaklyn)
(856) 858-0335 ext 7136

Special Education Services

Welcome to the Special Education Services of the Collingswood/Oaklyn Public Schools. It is our hope that this section provides you with the information you are seeking in regard to special education and student services within the Collingswood/Oaklyn Public Schools.

If at any time you are unable to find the information you are seeking please contact the Office of Special Education at (856) 962-5702 ext 6511(Collingswood) or (856)858-0335 ext 128 (Oaklyn).

The department of Special Services supports Collingswood/Oaklyn Public School's Philosophy of Education. We believe in providing a variety of special education program options, which include in-class support (ICS), pull out replacement classes, resource support classes and self-contained programs. We also provide pre-vocational, vocational and transition to work programs. Our commitment to the field of education and psychology is fortified by our comprehensive practicum and internship programs for teachers, speech therapists, social workers and psychologists. The special services department makes every effort to allow students to participate in the general education program when deemed appropriate based on their abilities and specific educational needs.

Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE)

New Jersey Administrative Code for special education (N.J.A.C. 6A:14) and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) are laws that ensure children with disabilities a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. An important part of these laws provides parents with the right to participate in their children’s education.

You and representatives of your school district are team members who are responsible for developing an appropriate educational program for your child.The PRISE document will describe the state and federal laws affecting the provision of special education to help you understand your rights in the special education process. With this knowledge, you will be prepared to take an active role in your child’s education.

This document has been developed for you by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Policy and Dispute Resolution, in an effort to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information. The document is periodically revised to reflect changes in the law, provide additional information that would be of use to you, and to provide the information in a more clear and concise manner.

Click here for the latest copy of the PRISE booklet (ENGLISH)

Click here for the latest copy of the PRISE booklet (SPANISH)

Act 504 Plans

The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or post secondary schooling. "Disability" in this context refers to a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities." This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers.

A 504 plan, which falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act, is an exercise in civil rights, an attempt to remove barriers and allow students with disabilities to participate freely. An IEP, which falls under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is much more concerned with actually providing educational services. Students eligible for an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, represent a small subset of all students with disabilities. They generally require more than a level playing field -- they require significant remediation and assistance, and are more likely to work on their own level at their own pace even in an inclusive classroom. Only certain classifications of disability are eligible for an IEP, and students who do not meet those classifications but still require some assistance to be able to participate fully in school would be candidates for a 504 plan.

504 plans should be developed by a committee, consisting of the student with a disability (if appropriate), the student's parent(s)/guardian(s), the student's teacher(s), the student's counselor, and the 504 coordinator. Additionally, special educators often serve as advisors to 504 committees. The student's disability and corresponding need for reasonable, accommodation are identified and documented in the plan. Likewise, the plan delineates the specific accommodations, which will be implemented by the school. The plan should be updated at least annually. If you believe your child may be eligible for a 504 plan please contact your child's principal or counselor.