Bergen County is comprised of more than 70 small municipalities. Most of the districts are unable to provide all of their various students who have special needs with a comprehensive educational program.
Responding to this the Bergen County Superintendents Council almost 25 years ago, divided and reorganized the county into seven regions for special education. Bergen County Region III is comprised of nine participating districts: Alpine, Closter, Demarest, Harrington Park, Haworth, Northern Valley Regional High School District, Northvale, Norwood, and Old Tappan.
Working jointly, the nine districts are pledged to develop and maintain high quality special education programs and classes, provide articulation among professionals, and deliver skilled consultation services through their Acting Region III Director. The Northern Valley Regional High School District serves as the legal educational agency for the Council.
Over 1000 students with various learning disabilities are provided with special education programs located within the nine participating school districts, other public school districts outside the Region, county-administered programs, and state approved private schools, both day and residential.
Each student receives a specific program as outlined in his/her Individual Education Plan (IEP). Students are placed in the least restrictive environment, which means the special education class or service that is most closely associated with the student’s local, peer group.
In carrying out the functions of the Office of Special Education, Region III, the Director meets regularly with several organized groups: the Region III Superintendents Council, the Child Study Team Chairpersons, the Principals, the Region III Parent Advisory Group, and the Bergen County Regional Directors.
At these meetings common concerns, needs, regional projects, and other special education related matters are discussed and recommendations are made for approval. The Region also provides an articulated curriculum to maintain continuity in programs.
In response to state and federal laws, the Region maintains a committee whose function is to provide comprehensive personnel development for staff members who instruct and come in contact with handicapped students. The planning committee is comprised of teachers, both regular and special education, administrators, guidance counselors, parents of handicapped students, and community representatives.
In addition to facilitating special education placements, Ms. Vuoncino's office provides the Region’s districts with comprehensive services.
• Assists in the supervision of special education teachers and programs.
• Assists districts in the recruitment and hiring of special education personnel.
• Conducts inservice training of special education personnel, including regular meetings, training programs and workshops.
• The participating districts special education teachers, learning disability teacher-consultants, psychologists, social workers, speech-language therapists, and nurses meet on a regular basis throughout the school year to discuss common concerns and review current issues in their respective fields. Guest speakers and workshop leaders are often brought in to provide special programs. Workshops are also provided to parents of students with learning disabilities.
• Encourages and cooperates in parent education and public information programs regarding special education.
• Maintains contacts with state, county, federal and private agencies that assist in the education of handicapped children.
• Provides Chief School Administrators and Child Study Team Chairpersons with information about changes in New Jersey Statutes Annotated, Title 6A, Chapter 14,– Special Education, and other related federal laws.
• Plans and coordinates the Region’s student transportation program.
• Develops and supervises Regional options for preschool handicapped students (SLICE); children with autism. (Valley Program - ages 3-18) and children diagnosed with emotional and behavioral needs (TIP - Therapeutic Intervention Program - grades 1-8). Summer Programs for students ages 3-21.
• Collaborates with other Special Education Regions
• Provides Regional Occupational and Physical Therapy Services.
• Provides Social Skills Programs.
• Psychiatric Consultation Services
• Supplemental Testing Services in Speech, Psychology, Learning and Behavioral Consultations.
The Office of Special Education, Region III is housed in the Northern Valley Regional High School District Administrative Office building at 162 Knickerbocker Road, Demarest, NJ 07627.
Mrs. Susanne Kaechele is Ms. Vuoncino’s Administrative Bookkeeper and Transportation Coordinator, 201-768-2200 x12180
Ms. Diane Guarino, Secretary, Region III, 201-768-2200, x12250
Ms. Barbara Masterson, Regional Programs Secretary, 201-767-7224 x55000