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Student Support Services

Student Support Services

Hurlbutt Elementary School offers support services to both general education and special education students.  We have a school psychologist as well as a social worker, special education personnel including a nurse, certified special educators, speech and language pathologists, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, and trained paraprofessionals.  


Quick Links

Guidance Counseling     Health Services     Gifted & Talented Program     Academic Support      Special Education Programs




We’re very fortunate to have a school psychologist and a social worker at Hurlbutt.  Each of these friendly counselors will visit classrooms, help plan school assemblies, and work with children and their parents.  Their offices are near the main office.  Here is short list of what the school counselors do at Hurlbutt:

  • help new students adjust to Hurlbutt and to their new classes
  • meet with individuals and groups of children
  • visit classrooms
  • plan parent education discussion groups
  • work with the nursery schools in the area

While parents are encouraged to contact the appropriate school counselor if their child requires special attention, the priority for the counselors is to work directly with our students and teachers.  Much of their time is spent teaching lessons in classrooms, counseling children in small groups and observing children in classrooms. This is the most effective use of their time.  If you need to speak with one of them, leave them a brief voice mail message that they will return.

Guidance Staff

Lauren Offutt
School Psychologist


Jillian Desiderio
Social Worker



Girl and woman working on laptop


How it Works

The services provided by the school counselors to children include classroom lessons, counseling groups, crisis counseling and individual counseling.  Classroom lessons cover a range of topics, including conflict resolution, self-awareness, communication skills and bullying awareness.  Skill focused groups provide opportunities for development of age appropriate social skills and self-control.  Additional groups address issues related to friendship, changing families or loss and grief.  Individual counseling services are available for any issue which is impacting the child’s functioning in the school setting.

Counselors also work with teachers and parents to help determine the best way to support children who are experiencing academic, social, emotional or behavioral difficulties.  A team approach is often the best way to support a child having difficulties, and the counselor is part this team.




The Hurlbutt Elementary School Health Education curriculum has been designed around the State and National standards from the Healthy and Balanced Living frameworks.  During the year the students will learn to take responsibility for their own health.  They will do this through units on safety, germs, feelings and communication

Visit Weston Schools Health & Medical Services page for more information and frequently requested forms.



Cups of colored pencils

How it Works:

We currently do not offer a talented and gifted program at Hurlbutt Elementary School.  Project Challenge is offered to students beginning in grade 3.  However, grade 2 students are tested for the program during the spring.





Project Challenge

The goal of Project Challenge is to nourish the exceptional abilities, challenge the critical and creative thinking processes and foster the communication skills, and support the social/emotional needs of students identified as profoundly and/or multi-gifted.

Gifted children are “children and youth with outstanding talent who demonstrate the potential for, or are performing at remarkably high levels when compared with others of their age, experience or environment” (U.S. Dept. of Education, 1993).  These students require educational programs beyond those normally provided by regular school programs in order to realize their contributions to self and society.



Child looking at globeRTI – Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention refers to the student’s growth in response to strategies (or interventions) implemented to help students who are not progressing at an adequate rate.

The RTI model is a system for precise, frequent monitoring of student growth towards academic proficiency. The model entails 1) frequent collection of data on the effectiveness of instruction for meeting clearly-defined standards, 2) the use of research-based instructional practices, 3) altering interventions when they are ineffective, and 4) the maintenance of complete written records of the process. RTI is a focused research-based model of support and intervention.

A model to assess, intervene and monitor student growth, such as RTI, is mandated by federal and state laws. This is the result of too many children qualifying for Special Education when what they needed were strategies to use in the classroom or alternative instruction methods- in regular education- in order to learn successfully.


How it Works

There are three levels, or tiers, of intervention in the RTI model. The students must begin with Tier I interventions and only move on to the next level if they are not making adequate progress after a designated amount of time.

  • Tier I encompasses all strategies that may be applied in the classroom by the classroom teacher, enabling 80%-90% of the students to learn well. If a child is not learning adequately with Tier I interventions, he will move to Tier II.
  • Tier II intervention is small group instruction (up to 8 students) by the classroom teacher or a specialist to address a targeted weakness. This intervention may take place in or out of the classroom, and is typically offered 2 times per week for 30 minutes each session. This intervention addresses the needs of 5%-10% of the students. For students not learning adequately on Tier II, they will receive Tier III interventions.
  • Tier III intervention is intensive, individual instruction by a specialist for two 30-minute sessions daily for 9-12 weeks. This instruction takes place at a time other than when the class is doing reading or math, so that the student receives additional instructional time. This intervention addresses the needs of 1%-5% of the students.


Colored pencils

Early Learning Center – Special Education

There are two unique routes for participation in the ELC.  As a student with special needs, a child either transitions from the Birth to Three state program or is identified through the school district child find program.  Children without identified special needs (Hand-in-Hand students) are selected through a lottery

All Other Services

We have a staff of dedicated, certified personnel who support students who receive various special education services.

* Rachael Aaron, speech and language pathologist

* Lorin Hopkins, speech and language pathologist

* Diane Jones, speech and language pathologist

* Erin Barlow, occupational therapist

* Kimberly Hettenbach, Special Education Teacher

* Allison Pregman, Reading Support

* Irene Boyle, physical therapist

* Liz Tynan, physical therapist





Students with speech, language and hearing needs are identified through the school referral process.  When a student qualifies, the school language/speech pathologists work with the identified child individually and in small groups in developmental language, auditory and speech articulation programs, and remediation of voice and fluency problems.

The Special Education Team offers primary instruction, and remediation of skill deficits through an integrated program in reading, writing, spelling, oral language and mathematics.  The particular structure of the program varies to accommodate the ages and specific needs of individual students. Generally, special education instruction features very small instructional groups, individualized instruction and the implementation of highly specialized methodologies.  Diagnostic services, consultation with classroom teachers, in-class support and direct instruction, are all components of the special education program. 

Special education preschool children are serviced by the Early Learning Center program.