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The Special Education Department of the ConVal School District consists of highly trained and experienced professionals in the field of education, psychology, assessment, social work, orientation and mobility and occupational, physical, vision and speech/language therapy. This staff collaborates with other educators, administrators, families and area agencies to meet the educational needs of those children who are experiencing difficulties in our schools. We help to identify individual student strengths and needs using formal and informal assessment techniques, observations and interviews. We engage in creative problem solving with multidisciplinary teams to develop effective strategies for intervention. We assist with program development and implementation.


Numerous special education programs exist within the ConVal School District to provide a continuum of placement and support options for students. In the elementary school, the Education Support Team Program provides early intervention, pre-referral intervention and specialized instruction to children. This program puts highly trained and experienced special educators in each building. The Educational Support Teachers are the team leaders and "go-to" people for each student with special needs enrolled in the respective buildings. The Educational Support Teacher can be the child's advocate, assessor, instructor, resource coordinator and case manager. The purpose of the Educational Support Team is to provide needed and authentic evaluation and intervention as early and as quickly as possible to meet the needs of the children.


Modified regular and resource room special education programs are available to identified students in all eleven ConVal schools. Additionally Life Skills Programs are offered at Peterborough Elementary School, South Meadow School and ConVal High School and Emotional Support/Alternative Programs are available to students at Great Brook School, South Meadow School and the High School. Each of these highly specialized programs is aimed at providing intensive support services to students with very significant educational needs.


Additionally, the Special Education Department operates two integrated preschool programs called First Friends. The preschools, located at the elementary schools in Antrim and Greenfield, provide extremely high quality programming and low staff to student ratios for both children with special needs and those who are developing typically. Emphasis is placed on developmentally appropriate teaching practices and learning activities, pre-academic and social development, citizenship, tolerance and appreciation to differences. Additionally, preschoolers with special needs are placed throughout the district in community preschool programs, as appropriate, with special education supports and services provided as needed.


Parents, teachers and administrators continue to examine the scope and purpose of special education, with an eye toward improving its effectiveness, efficiency and consistency. A crucial goal for our department is to establish and continually strengthen effective communication, collaboration, trust, understanding and team process among educators and between home, school and area agencies to better meet the needs of our students.

Mission Statement

Special Education Mission Statement adopted April 2, 1991

A committee was formed in October, 1995, to establish a mission statement for special education in the ConVal School District which upholds the Educational Philosophy statement adopted by the School Board dated April 2, 1991.


"The Contoocook Valley School Board believes that education should be shaped by purposes rather than by forces.


Therefore, the education system of this district, while maintaining flexibility in adapting to an ever-changing society, will be dedicated to the total personal development of each student to the limits of his or her abilities and interests in a sequentially coordinated curriculum which allows for individual differences.


To this end, staff members will strive to aid in each student's intellectual, physical, moral, emotional, aesthetic, and social growth so that eh or she may become a useful and responsible member of home, community, and society while leading a personally rewarding life.


The School Board believes that the ultimate goal of an education in the district schools should be to prepare the student for a world of rapid change and unforeseeable demands."


The Committee recognizes that students with disabilities may require individualized evaluations, programs and placements. The Committee believes that the School District must strive toward actualizing the spirit in which mandates have been written and that the School District must work toward minimizing the duality of special/regular educational programs while providing quality education for all.


It is the Conval District's philosophy that all students be educated according to their individual needs. All students will be included to the maximum extent appropriate for each student and each classroom in an effort to provide them with the skills necessary to enjoy full membership in the school community and the community at large.

Definition of Inclusion

The Conval District defines inclusion as the integration of students with special educational needs into the regular education setting. The Conval School District believes children should be integrated to the maximum extent appropriate to meet their needs with consideration given to protecting the integrity of the regular curriculum for all students. This integration will be accomplished through an individualized program. In order to support students' success, we recognize the importance of creativity and flexibility in developing programs and services, and the importance of having the appropriate modifications and supports in place.


1. What is special education? Special education is specially designed instruction provided to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.


2. What is specially designed instruction? Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability.


3. Who is eligible for special education? In order to be eligible for special education a child must satisfy both elements of a two prong test: the child must have one (or more) of the specific disabilities listed in the IDEA; and, the child must, as a result of that disability need special education.


4. How do you determine if a child needs special education? Ask, is the child without special education making progress and receiving passing grades? If so, then the child does not need special education in order to make progress in school and in order to receive benefit from the educational program. A child needs special education if it is determined that he/she will not make adequate progress in school without it.


5. What are the specific disabilities listed in IDEA? There are 13 specific educational disabilities listed in IDEA. They are as follows: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury/Acquired Brain Injury, Visual Impairment.


6. What is IDEA? IDEA stands for the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. It is a federal law originally enacted in 1975, effective September 1, 1978, as Public Law 94-142. It was re-authorized in 1997, with final regulations published March 12, 1999 and effective May 11, 1999. This federal law requires that participating states, meaning states that apply for federal IDEA funds, offer every disabled child a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The law included elaborate procedures for identifying, on an individualized basis, the educational services that are appropriate for each child with a disability.

Special Ed Staff

Listing and contact information for Special Education staff

District Administration



First Friends Pre-school - Antrim



First Friends Pre-school Autism - Antrim



First Friends Pre-school - Greenfield



First Friends Pre-school - Peterborough

Contracted Consultants


Special Ed Process: Identification to Discharge

Steps of the Special Education Process

Step1: Referral
  • Referral can come from anyone (parent, teacher, relative, courts) 
  • Should be in writing, but verbal referrals are honored
  • District has 15 calendar days to respond  
  • Referral Meeting  often consists of parent(s) or guardian, regular education teacher, special education teacher, an administrator, guidance counselor, school psychologist, and, as needed, other school professionals.
    • This team examines school data and data supplied by the parent (class work, homework, report cards, standardized tests, attendance, behavioral data (SWIS) etc.)
    • Parent participation is welcomed and considered all along the way.
  • Referral Team Guidelines
    • FAPE determination: the team must decide whether the child is receiving Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) through regular education services.  If so, the referral ends and student is monitored in regular education.  Ed 1106 reads as follows: The IEP team shall within 15 days of the referral, determine whether the concerns raised by the referral can be addressed utilizing existing pupil support services available to all children, whether additional information is required, and what testing, if any, is needed to address any remaining concerns raised by the referral about how the referral is determined.
    • Testing for Special Education: if the team suspects whether the child has a disability, the district will propose, in writing, what testing is to take place and who the examiner(s) will be (school psychologist, speech pathologist, etc).
  • Referral Meeting Outcome
    • Testing -  If testing is proposed, the parent has the right to agree or refuse to allow his/her child to be tested.
    • If the parents agree, then the district has 45 calendar days to complete the evaluation, hold a meeting to discuss evaluation results, and determine eligibility for services.
    • An evaluation examines all areas that are impacted by a child’s suspected disability (academic, social/emotional and behavioral).
    • Parent participation is welcomed and considered all along the way.


Step 2: Eligibility Determination Meeting

  • The team will meet with the parent(s) or guardian and determine (based on all the data available) whether a child is eligible for special education services.
  •  The team must determine that the underachievement of a child suspected of having an educational disability is not due to lack of appropriate instruction.
  • Before identifying a student as educationally disabled the team must also provide documentation of under-performance as measured by formal assessments of student progress given at regular intervals during instruction. These outcomes are provided to the child’s parents.   
  • Eligibility Categories for Special Education:
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Hearing Impairment (including deafness)
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Visual Impairment (including blindness)
  • Serious Emotional Disturbance
  • Orthopedic Impairment


  • Autism
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Other Health Impairment (such as ADHD)
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities


In addition to the above disabilities, a student must also require related services and special education instruction. 

Step 3: Development of IEP

  • If a child is found eligible for special education the district has 30 days to write an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). 
  • The IEP is a written document that describes what services a student will receive.  This includes annual measurable goals, objectives, levels of performance, etc.  
  • Parent participation is welcomed and considered all along the way.

Step 4: Placement

  • When the IEP is agreed upon, the team discusses placement in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).  Generally speaking, LRE refers the idea that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are non-disabled.


  • The child’s placement is determined at least annually, is based on the child’s IEP; and is geographically as close as possible to the child’s home.


  • Unless the IEP of a child with a disability requires some other arrangement, the child is to be educated in the school that he or she would attend if he/she were non-disabled.


  • A child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.

Step 5: Progress Monitoring

  • IEP goals are monitored continuously and parents receive a written update at least quarterly, in some cases this occurs much more often.
  • The IEP itself must be reviewed at least once a year.
  • Children are reevaluated at least once every three years to make sure that the IEP team has current information on which to base decisions.
  • Parent participation is welcomed and considered all along the way.

Discharging from Special Education

There are four reasons why a child may be discharged from special education in New Hampshire:

  1. The student graduates from high school with a regular high school diploma.


  • When this occurs the district is required to a written summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child's post-secondary goals.


  1. The team determines, after a review of data, that the student no longer has an educational disability and does not need special education and the parent consents to this determination. Parent input is also considered in making decisions about eligibility. 


  • If a parent disagrees with discharge, the student remains identified until the matter is resolved.
  •  The team must conduct a reevaluation in accordance with ED 1107.01.  This reads as follows:  If the IEP Team and other qualified professionals, as appropriate, determine that no additional data are needed to determine whether the child continues to be a child with a disability, and to determine the child’s educational needs, the public agency must notify the child’s parents of—-(i) That determination and the reasons for the determination; and(ii) The right of the parents to request an assessment to determine whether the child continues to be a child with a disability, and to determine the child’s educational needs. The public agency is not required to conduct the assessment described in paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section unless requested to do so by the child’s parents.


  •  Class work and school performance a major factor.  Standardized testing (NWEA, NECAP) is also considered.
  1. The student turns 21.
  2. The student moves out of the ConVal district; ConVal would discharge the student to that new district.

**For a more detailed review of the special education process please refer to the New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities direct link posted or contact the SAU #1 Special Education Office at 924-7503. 


Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities in the ConVal School District

Career Opportunities
Mission & Vision

Mission Statement

The ConVal Regional School District, in partnership with its member communities, will inspire all learners to achieve academically, contribute to the global community, and thrive as independent and productive citizens.

Vision Statement

As a New Hampshire Follow the Child district, the ConVal Regional School District will create and cultivate these conditions in the lives of our students:

* Sense of belonging

* Access to heroes and caring role models

* Sense of accomplishment

* Fun and excitement

* Curiosity and creativity

* Spirit of adventure

* Leadership and responsibility

* Confidence to set goals and take action to reach those goals

Values Statement

As a Professional Learning Community, we will implement our mission and support our vision by demonstrating:
* A focus on student learning
* Collaborative teamwork
* Personal accountability
* Trust and respect
* Job embedded professional development

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106 Hancock Road

Peterborough, NH 03458


Rick Matte, Ed.D

Special Education Director

phone: 603-924-7503 x2027

fax: 603-924-0070

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