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Eastern Fairfield County Diagnostic Center
 
Cooperative Educational Services has engaged representatives from its region to develop a consortium-based educational program for students experiencing significant learning and/or behavioral challenges in their own school or during the transition from one educational setting to another. 
 
Mandated by legislation and its own guiding mission, C.E.S. created the Eastern Fairfield County Diagnostic Center with a goal of providing a short-term placement that allows students a positive break, an opportunity to have their learning needs better understood, and a team capable of planning for the student’s return to their home school.
 

Assessment

Assessments involve family members and LEA officials, including during the important transition back to a home school. Students are evaluated by EFCDC staff according to PPT recommendations and their academic progress and behavior is monitored weekly. The LEA receives weekly progress reports for each student. 

The assessment period ranges between 2 to 16 weeks with extensions allowed based on specific case information and contingent on consortium council approval. Students attend the center five days per week, with one half-day dedicated to staff for clinical rounds and case conferencing.
 
Students attend from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. everyday except Wednesday, when their day concludes at 12:30 p.m. The staff schedule is 8:15 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. everyday.
 

Student Population

The target population for the Diagnostic Center is children in kindergarten through third grade who have or are suspected of having a disability. This grade range was targeted for two reasons: 
 
1) National data reflects an increased prevalence of developmental disorders and nature and severity of mental health problems for this age group. Implementing targeted interventions through a multi-tiered system of support early in a child’s life provides for greater, more positive long-term outcomes.  
 
2) State longitudinal data reflects an increased number of children identified as having a disability that requires special education and of those, an increased number who are placed in separate school settings.  State data also shows a greater achievement gap between students educated in their home school versus those placed in separate settings and identifies a need to consider the role of placement when designing interventions at the individual level.

Management and Membership

C.E.S. manages the center under the direction of the consortium representative council, which is responsible for programmatic decisions and budget development. Consortium membership entitles a district to “buy” a designated number of seats that will remain open as their placements throughout the school year.  

Consortium members have developed a uniform referral process that is employed by all members. The center also provides access to a consulting psychiatrist as part of the program.

Personnel

The Center is staffed by:
8 special education/regular education teachers
16 paraprofessionals
1 social worker
2 school psychologists
1 speech pathologist
0.2 occupational therapist
0.4 cafeteria worker
 
Staff is interviewed by representatives of C.E.S. with input from interested consortium members, and are C.E.S. employees. Supervision of center staff is the responsibility of the C.E.S. Director of Special Education.
 
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