Superintendent meets with parents of special ed students

School Supt. Freeman Burr expects the meeting with Shelton parents of special education children to focus mainly on parents’ specific questions about services provided to their youngsters.

“I think a lot will be about concerns about their specific students, and whether we are going to change our practices,” Burr said Saturday.

The meeting, to be held tonight, Thursday, Jan. 23 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Perry Hill School library/media center, has been organized in the aftermath of the hiring of a new special education administrator in the Shelton school system.

Liz Wesolowski will begin her job as assistant director of special education for the Shelton schools on the same day, Jan. 21.

The meeting was rescheduled from Tuesday, Jan. 21, when it had to be canceled due to snow.

Had worked in system with problems

Wesolowski had been director of elementary special education in the Darien public schools, a system that was found to be violating various regulations by a two-part state Department of Education investigation.

Burr said Wesolowski will not be in attendance at the meeting because she’ll still be transitioning into the position, with Tuesday being her first day on the job. A part-time interim assistant director has been serving in the position.

He said in a month or two, after Wesolowski has more time in her Shelton position, he likely will set up an event for parents to meet and interact with her.

Hiring process

Burr doesn’t expect to get into details about the hiring process for Wesolowski at the meeting, although he realizes the subject is likely to come up and therefore will be addressed in some way.

“I’m already on record on that,” he said. “What I’ve said I’ve already said publicly.”

Burr again defended the decision to hire Wesolowski. “She had the skill set that would fit with what we’re doing here,” she said.

The superintendent will be joined by some other school system administrators and staff at the Tuesday meeting to talk with the parents and answer their questions.

“We want to listen to what the parents concerns will be,” he said. “We want to get a feeling for their concerns and provide assurances.”

Some parents have raised concerns

Burr said school officials have been contacted by some parents with concerns after Wesolowski’s hiring, and that is why he decided to have a meeting with the parents.

He said school officials have heard from a “handful” of parents with concerns, but he understands there has been a lot of activity on the topic on a social media site for parents of Shelton students with children who receive special education services.

Burr reiterated that the Shelton public schools have a good track record when it comes to providing services to students with disabilities. He said that will not change. “I’m proud of that record,” he said.

Slightly more than 10% of the 5,200 students in the Shelton public schools receive special education services, or about 525 youngsters.