The Education Promoting Inclusive Classrooms (EPIC) Program is designed to provide an individualized educational program to students with moderate to intensive special needs, including learners with multiple disabilities. Nine classrooms provide services for over 50 children in their least restrictive environment, public schools throughout the Greater Lawrence Area (Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Byfield, Georgetown, Gr. Lawrence Technical School, Groveland, Hamilton-Wenham, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lowell, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, Topsfield and West Newbury).
All classrooms in the EPIC Program focus on building skills and experiences in the areas of communication, social and life skills. Students work towards their individual goals in academics, developing positive behaviors, as well as, leisure, technology and vocational skills, if applicable.
The EPIC program has focused on such goals for learners with low incidence disabilities since its inception in 1978. These goals are accomplished through a variety of means including:
- Integration opportunities within the learner’s school and community
- Positive behavior management techniques including application of behavior analysis
- Use of appropriate alternative and augmentative communication methods
- Adaptive design and assistive technology individualized for learners
- Ongoing assessment including the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System’s Alternate Assessment Portfolio’s for qualified students
- Parent involvement through daily communication
- Integration of specialist and therapeutic services across the educational environment
- A collaborative teaming method of providing educational and auxiliary services
The students that benefit from the EPIC program are ages 5-22. Classrooms groups are specifically created to place our students in public schools with same-age peers. Some EPIC classrooms focus specifically on medically fragile students, while others provide students whose IEP focus on academic and functional life skills. All classrooms provide a strong emphasis on communication and appropriate interaction within the classroom/school environment.
Highly skilled special education teachers who receive ongoing professional development training instruct students along with the support of instructional assistants who are required to complete an intensive training program. The EPIC curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of students through activities and lessons that are motivating, meaningful and correspond to grade level Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks standards.
Clinical services available in the EPIC program include occupational, physical and speech/language therapy, instruction by a Teacher of the Visually Impaired as well as consultation by a behavior therapist and an Orientation and Mobility specialist. A team of licensed nurses, who implement the health care plans created for students with medical involvement, provide nursing services in each of the classrooms.
The EPIC Parent Staff Organization (EPSO) work to create fundraising opportunities for the EPIC Program to fund music therapy as well as for “wish list” items for teachers and specialists to enhance the educational programming our students receives. Parents are encouraged to plan and participate in this forum.
The EPSO Program is comprised of a board with the following current officers:
President – Kristin Campbell, EPIC Program Teacher
Secretary – Tammy Dobrosielski EPIC Program Physical Therapist
Treasurer – Anne Edmondson EPIC Program Instructional Assistant
Parent Liaison – To Be Announced
EPSO Events Include:
- Monthly Meetings – First Monday of the Month
- Music Therapy – Bi-Monthly in five out of 9 classrooms
- Flea Market – Fall/Yearly
- Recognition Day – Friday in June for all classes
For more information on the EPIC Program contact Bernice Pierce.
Page Last modified: February 09 2012 13:45:19.