Special Education Study

I have attached the Special Education Study and Appendix A to this posting. 

We will begin working on the recommendations and implement many of the recommendations over the next three to five years.  On February 3, 2011, the School Board will see next year’s budget proposal.  This budget proposal already has some of the recommended reductions. 

final Rochester Report


There are two edits listed in the pdf files.  When I have an updated version, I will replace the files.

Special Education Study


News Release


Michael Hopkins, 


Rochester, NH




Jerry Brodsky,

American Educational Consultants

PO Box 221174

Beachwood, OH 44122




American Educational Consultants presents report to Rochester (NH) Schools showing how the district can control the high costs of special education and provide better instruction for special education and needy regular education students

Rochester, NH,   January 31, 2011 – American Educational Consultants has submitted its report to Rochester Schools in response to Rochester’s request for an analysis of its special education programming.  Among the over forty commendations in the report, several spoke to the high regard the consultants had for the leadership of the district, their knowledge, skills and attitudes about students with disabilities and how to supply those students with proper access to instruction.  In addition, the quality of staff members and programs for regular and students with disabilities were evident.

Among the over sixty recommendations the consultants made, staffing adjustments and bringing out-of-district instruction back within the jurisdiction of the district, would save the district over $2 million annually and at the same time improve instruction of students with disabilities resulting in higher student achievement.  Also recommended in the report was that Maple Street Elementary School should have an increased student population possibly by creating a magnet elementary school program at that site.  Other recommendations included instituting a more effective orientation program for students entering at all grade levels, in order that behavioral and academic expectations be provided students prior to their presence in classrooms; closer analysis of staffing and programming at the pre-school; and a higher level of compliance with special education requirements for IEP and service plans for students with disabilities. 

The report was the result of consultants being in Rochester for more than four days, in school buildings, talking to administrative personnel and other staff, and studying data provided by the district and the state as it relates to national averages.  Over the eight weeks of study and analysis, consultants for American Educational Consultants pored over hundreds of pages of data provided by the district, as well as state and national data available to them.  In addition the consultants were in regular contact with district administrators.  Jerry Brodsky, American Educational Consultants’s project manager, met with Rochester administrators and Board members today and presented the report as well as information about the methodology the consultants used and the commendations and recommendations in the report. 

Nationally recognized best practices in providing quality instruction to special students were recommended.  It was also recommended that the reliance on expensive outside service providers be reduced and that those services be provided by current, or new, qualified district staff.  

Mr. Michael Hopkins, Superintendent, stated, “We are extremely pleased with this report.  Clearly, as professional educators and accountable public agents, we have a responsibility to provide Rochester students with the best instruction at the most reasonable costs to taxpayers.  I believe this report gives us a clear path to do exactly that. We will create a strategic plan on all of the recommendations, and present it to the Board in the near future.  Some of the recommendations will be part of the budget reductions being recommended in the current budget process.”

Brodsky added, “Rochester should be very proud that its School Board and Superintendent had the foresight to step back and request a total new look at this program.  Rochester will set the direction for itself and many other schools in New Hampshire by following through on this independent analysis of its special education program.  We feel very confident that the recommendations contained in the report will result in significantly better instruction for students at significantly lower costs to the district.” 

The other consultants brought by American Educational Consultants to the project were a very highly regarded special education director from Ohio, a prominent special education student-advocate attorney, and a recently retired special education director from Maine.  

For more information contact Mr. Michael Hopkins, Superintendent, Rochester Schools at 603-332-3678 or Jerry Brodsky, American Educational Consultants,