Elementary and Middle


Grades K-5 Inclusion Support and Pull Out Services

Inclusion support and pull out services provide IEP driven academic and social emotional support for students in special education who spend a majority of their time in the general education classroom. Students may be removed for specialized instruction with a special educator in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics or other academic areas. Consistent and highly effective collaboration and consultation between the special educator and general educator help to maintain connection to the general education curriculum. Service delivery may vary by student and level of need.  Additionally, students receiving related services such as Speech Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Adaptive Physical Education or Counseling may also be provided services outside of the general education classroom. These services are designed for students with mild to moderate learning, communication, health or other disabilities. Students with these services require specialized instruction to help them access the general curriculum.

Broadmeadow, Grades 2- 5

Connections is the District’s specialized therapeutic program to support students with social/emotional and behavioral challenges. Connections provides a therapeutic classroom model, with inclusion opportunities, for students who, because of learning, social-emotional and behavioral difficulties are unable to participate fully in their grade-level classroom. The program provides intensive supports from teachers and consultation to the general education teacher. The therapeutic approach often includes a positive behavioral support plan for a student, which is based on the student’s needs, individual motivators and educational goals for the student. Students are provided counseling and other related services (Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language), in order to support their involvement in the general education  program.

Early Learning Center (ELC)
Newman and Sunita Williams, Grades K-5

The ELC provides an opportunity for students with significant learning difficulties to learn and participate with their age-peers in general education classrooms and receive intensive instruction in identified areas: language and social skills, cognitive, motor development as well as behavioral intervention in a sub-separate classroom. The program is individualized to each student’s abilities and needs. Students benefit from a flexible inclusion model and are educated in the substantially separate and, when appropriate, the general education classroom. 

The ELC serves students who require intensive instruction (between 1:1 and 1:6 ratio) and significant modification of the general education curriculum in order to make effective progress. Students served may be diagnosed with autism, severe communication disorder or delay, physical disability, neurological impairment and/or global developmental delay.

Language-Based Classroom (LBC)
Eliot School, Grades 4-5

The Language Based Classroom (LBC) provides a structured, small group setting in which students with significant learning disabilities can focus on the skills of listening, reading, mathematical thinking and calculating, vocabulary development, comprehending and organizing oral and written language and comprehending written material. The classroom follows the Needham Public Schools’ curriculum guidelines and provides students with individualized and small group instruction throughout the school day. Just like all elementary classrooms in Needham, the LBC follows the structure of the Responsive Classroom, providing a community building opportunity within this small class setting.LBC serves students with moderate to severe learning disabilities, which may include, but are not limited to, specific learning disability, language-processing disorder, neurological impairment and/or various identified weaknesses in executive functioning skills. These students’ progress in the general education/special education program indicates that a more intensive model for instruction in all subject areas is warranted. Emphasis is on reaching grade level competence in reading and writing and math and using strategies to support the organization of oral and written language across the curriculum.


All curricula taught at the middle school level follows the standards specified in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks while at the same time provides individual students with the support, modifications and accommodations students require in order to make effective progress. Students’ programs are individualized for inclusion in subject specific general education classes as well as electives and lunch in accordance with their IEPs.

Learning Centers

The Learning Centers provide academic support for students on IEPs who are included in general education classes for the four core academic subjects. The goals of the Learning Centers are to address the learning goals of the students' IEPs by teaching evidenced based data driven strategies through academic support, teaching students how to learn and how to use their strengths to compensate individual areas) of difficulty, helping students develop self awareness/advocacy, and supporting students to gain independence in managing their academic responsibilities.

The Learning Center is designed for students with mild to moderate learning, communication, health or other disabilities. Students who attend the Learning Centers require specialized instruction to allow them to access the general curriculum.


The Bridges Program provides a structured environment with clear and consistent routines.   Academics are tailored to student needs.  Students often participate in a combination of General Education (SS/Sci) and Pull-Out classes (ELA/Math).    The student to staff ratios are low to ensure educational success. The program provides social, academic, functional academic (i.e: money & time skills), pre-vocational, and recreational activities (i.e  going into the community to make small purchases). These opportunities enhance students' skills and allow increased success in all life skills areas.  Specially designed behavioral programs are implemented when necessary.

The Bridges Intensive Learning Center serves students with disabilities that include, but are not limited to, expressive and receptive language processing issues, developmental delays, cognitive impairments, autism spectrum disorder and attention difficulties. These disabilities significantly impact the student’s overall functioning.

Intensive Learning Center (ILC)

The Intensive Learning Center (ILC) provides instruction for students with significant learning difficulties in a substantially separate setting, with a flexible inclusion model for students to learn alongside grade level peers when appropriate, students routinely attend advisory, lunch, and electives. Students receive 1:1 intensive instruction in the sub-separate setting in the areas of cognitive skills, social skills, speech and language, occupational therapy, motor skills, and behavioral intervention. The ILC provides students with opportunities to practice life skills to increase independence in daily life, including purchasing routines, vocational roles, community safety, and hygiene. 

The program is individualized to each student’s specific learning and behavioral needs, instruction includes prompt hierarchies and discrete trial training. Students also participate in reverse inclusion and opportunities to participate in leisure activities with grade level peers.

The ILC serves students who require intensive instruction (between 1:1 and 1:3 ratio) with significant modifications of the general education curriculum in order to make effective progress. Students served may be diagnosed with autism, severe communication disorder or delay, physical disability, neurological impairment and/or global developmental delay.


Insight is a program designed for students who require supports in the area of social/language pragmatic and executive functioning skills. A special education teacher and/or teacher assistants support the IEP needs of students in classes or through a consultative format.  A specially designed learning center provides support for developing organizational strategies, re-teaching, breaking assignments down into manageable parts, clarification of directions, breaking down and simplifying language. The Speech and Language Pathologist provides individual and group lessons and consults to the program.  A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) provides consultation and support to students, teachers, and families.  

Insight is designed for students who have diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders or Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD).  These students have a range of cognitive abilities alongside social pragmatic, social emotional, and executive function skills that are oftentimes far below grade level expectations.  

Language Based Program

The Language Based Program provides a highly structured environment with language-based instruction, consistent daily routines and positive reinforcement in a small, structured classroom for all or some of the academic subjects. The LB provides both substantially separate instruction in any of the four content areas or provides language based support for the curriculum material in inclusion general education subject classes, as designated in the students’ IEPs. There is a low student to staff ratio with staff working collaboratively in creating academic and social activities for whole classroom groups, as well as for individual students.

The Language Based program serves students with learning disabilities that significantly impact their ability to benefit from general education, due to difficulty in one or more of the following areas: receptive and/or expressive language, visual processing, reading, math, writing or attention skills.


The Connections Program is a therapeutic program for students who struggle to meet the day-to-day demands of general education classrooms without significant social, emotional and behavioral support. The program has the flexibility, due to a high staff to student ratio (special education teachers, social worker and multiple assistants) and multiple classroom locations, to offer students self contained, inclusion or a combination of both settings as needed. Staff work collaboratively to create academic, therapeutic, social and recreational activities for classroom groups as well as individual students.

Connections serves students who exhibit social and emotional difficulties that sometimes result in disruptive classroom behaviors. These skill deficits are due to diagnosed neurological, emotional or behavioral disabilities. These students have average cognitive abilities, but may have learning disabilities, organizational and attention issues that greatly impact their performance in academic areas.

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