Special Education

  • Dedham Public Schools are dedicated to ensuring that every child, 3 through 22 years old, has the opportunity to make solid and meaningful educational and career choices post graduation.   Our staff work together to share resources, create an atmosphere where children remain our central focus; feeling safe and challenged intellectually, with the ultimate goal that a self-assured, respectful, honest, responsible, and compassionate young adult will develop and generalize the skills they need for future independence.

  • DPS Programs & Services
  • Director's Corner
  • Child Find
  • Special Education Parent Advisory Council
  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards


  • The Dedham Public Schools offer a range of programs and services from preschool to age 22.  Each of Dedham's seven schools provides special education services and supports in general education classrooms, as well as in small group "pull-out" settings.   In addition, a number of district-wide specialized programs are located at specific schools to provide services for students with moderate to severe special needs. This range of programming creates a continuum of services within each school and grade level, so that we can help avoid the need for students to transfer to another school during their elementary experience.

    All in-district programs provide students  with opportunities for interaction with typically developing peers. All programs emphasize skill  development and skill remediation along with the development of self-advocacy skills for greater  independence and responsibility for learning. 

Your Child's Right to Special Education

  • The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) determines who is eligible for special education services – a student between the ages of 3 and 21 - who has an identified disability which makes the student unable to access the general curriculum without specially designed instruction or related services. It guarantees a “Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)” to those students and prescribes the process for determination of eligibility and services. 

    Special education eligibility is bound by the IDEA, but under the law, the Individualized Education Programming (IEP) TEAM has the flexibility to determine if a child qualifies for services.  To qualify, a child must have a disability that has an adverse effect on a child's educational performance, AND require specialized services in order to progress in school. 

special education
Students in classroom


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  • External Links
  • Terms & Definitions

District News & Features

  • Welcome! Dr. Sara Stetson - Appointed Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

    Dedham Public Schools announced the appointment of Dr. Sara Stetson as the Dedham Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, effective July 1, 2022.  Sara was the consensus top choice from a talented field of candidates during her finalist interviews and site visit. We are thrilled that Sara will be able to work with DPS Special Education Director Liza O’Connell in the next few months to coordinate a smooth transition and entry into our district. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sara Stetson to the Dedham Public Schools community! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do I do if I think that my child requires special education services?

  • What role does the general education teacher have in the special education process?

  • How will my child be evaluated to determine eligibility for special education?

  • What happens if I refuse consent for an Initial Evaluation?

  • What do I do if my child is found ineligible for special education?

  • Can I observe my child in school?

  • Is my child eligible for extended school year (ESY) programming?

Contact Us

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services
Sara Stetson
OFfice of Special Education, Central Office

Administrative Assistant
Valerie Sandborg
Office of Special Education, Central Office

Interim Out-of-District Services Coordinators
Betsy McKeon

Interim Out-of-District Services Coordinators
Joanne Jordan

Early Childhood Coordinator
Rebecca McCabe
Early Childhood Education Center

Special Education Team Leader - Avery and Oakdale Schools
Elizabeth (Liz) Amato
Avery: 781-310-5000 Oakdale: 781-310-6000

Special Education Team Leader Riverdale and Greenlodge Schools
Jessica Ranahan
Riverdale: 781-310-2241 Greenlodge: 781-310-4344

Special Education Team Leader Dedham High School
Louise D’Amato

Special Education Secretary Dedham Middle & High Schools
Trish Sullivan

Special Education Secretary ECEC & Elementary Schools
Cathie Schaub