Student Support Services

Student Support Services

PS 321 is deeply committed to providing a high-quality learning experience for each child. If you think your child may need additional support, please talk first with his/her teacher.

We offer a broad continuum of special education services at P.S. 321. We have many students with IEPs in general education classes who receive services either from a SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services) teacher in a push-in or pull our model or from related service providers. We have on staff speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and guidance counselors. We have at least one Integrated Co-Taught (ICT) Inclusion class per grade that has a mix of students with special needs and general education students randomly selected. Assistant Principal Liz McCormack is in charge of student support services, including special education and AIS.

To learn more about the process of student evaluation and services provided, please see the NYC DOE’s parent guide to special education services. If you are the parent of a student entering Kindergarten, please see the NYC DOE’s parent orientation guide to Kindergarten. Additional Special Education resources can be found here.

Academic Intervention Services (AIS) and Response To Intervention (RTI)

One of our top priorities as a school is to meet the needs of all learners as we strive to meet high standards of performance. As part of the mandated New York State RTI (Response to Intervention) program, students who are not meeting standard must be identified and carefully assessed so that they get additional support such as small group work both in the classroom and with an intervention teacher when possible. Assessment tools such as running records help us to identify students who need extra support, as well as ongoing informal assessments, and, for older children, test scores. We are fortunate to have an outstanding group of related service providers and special educators who generously share their expertise and help us to decide how best to meet the needs of children who need additional support.

There are three tiers to RTI.

  • Tier One includes students in the general education setting whose needs are being met by the standard curriculum. Interventions provided are preventative and proactive. A guided reading group with the classroom teacher would be a Tier one intervention, as would be our OT RTI cycle in each Kindergarten class. The OTs provide strengthening exercises to the whole class over a number of weeks.
  • Tier Two is still for students in the general education setting, but includes more intensive small group interventions and strategies. Examples of Tier Two interventions include receiving AIS services from an intervention teacher.
  • Tier Three includes more highly individualized instruction. If a child needs ongoing intervention, service providers and/or SETSS teachers might recommend more supports.

English Language Learners (ELL)

Melissa DiPinto is our ELL teacher. Melissa will assess new students early in the school year.   Qualifying students receive small-group instruction as necessary. We emphasize coordination of ELL services with classroom curriculum.


We have two full time guidance counselors at P.S. 321, Ben Halioua and Jon Alvarez. The guidance counselors lead a number of groups for students at lunch time and other times and help to coordinate the peer mediation program. They also work with kids and parents in crisis on an emergency basis, and will do lessons in classes or help teachers plan as needed.   In addition to working with students, Ben and Jon can help parents find low-cost or free outside counseling and a variety of other services as well. The guidance counselors also coordinate middle school articulation, a huge job. Ben and Jon’s offices are in Room 130.