Welcome to the Salem Public Schools’ Special Education Department. The Special Education Department oversees the district’s large network of special education providers and services that work to ensure that each child is provided a free and appropriate education in accordance with special education law (IDEA 2004).

If you are in need of more information please call 978-740-1249, or contact a Special Education Department staff member, so that we may direct your question or concern to the most appropriate person. Our directory can be found here. The Special Education Department is located in Suite 115 of the Collins Middle School. The Special Education Department is open and staffed from 8:00am-4:00pm.


This community of professionals works together so that each child with special needs receives a high-quality education in an environment that fosters their ability to develop skills and build on their strengths. It is our mission to ensure that every child with a disability thrives within their learning environment. We provide inclusive educational opportunities to the fullest extent possible, as research supports improved educational outcomes for students who are educated alongside their non-disabled peers. To this end, Salem provides services, supports, and accommodations that aim to increase the educational, social, emotional, physical, and adaptive successes of our students.

The success of a child with special education needs relies on coordination of a variety of personnel from initial identification through intervention and ultimately, through graduation and college or career opportunities. Our multidisciplinary team of professionals, led by the assigned special education administrator in each school, is committed to providing ongoing communication to families and caregivers in order to facilitate a collaborative partnership between home and school.  This collaboration ensures that school is a positive experience for all students in our care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I share my child’s Individual Education Program (IEP) with his/her school and teacher?

When you register at the Parent Information Center (PIC), you should provide your child’s current IEP along with your registration information.  PIC staff will then notify the Special Education Department of the IEP.  PPS will make sure that the IEP is shared with all appropriate staff at your child’s assigned school.

What do I do if I suspect my child has a disability and does not have an IEP?

If you suspect that your child has a disability, you can contact the Special Education Department directly by calling 978-740-1249 or emailing Lisa Perry-Calderan:  LPerry-Calderan@salemk12.org.  Please provide your child’s name, date of birth, assigned school (if you know it), and any information you have pertaining to the suspected area of disability.  This information will begin the eligibility evaluation process and you will receive a packet of information that describes the components of the evaluation, requests your consent, and provides procedural safeguards outlining the legal timelines and requirements of the evaluation process.

What enrollment steps do I need to take if my child already attends the Early Childhood Center (ECC) and has an IEP?

Students who attend the Early Childhood Center must complete the kindergarten enrollment process through PIC.  Staff at the ECC can assist you with the process.

What enrollment steps do I need to take if my child already attends the Early Childhood Center and has an IEP that recommends placement in a specific program?

Students who attend the Early Childhood Center must complete the kindergarten enrollment process through PIC, even if their IEPs call for placement in a specific, specialized program that is only housed at one of our schools. Staff at the ECC can assist you with the process.

What type of special education services and supports are available in kindergarten in Salem?

We provide a full range of Individualized Education Program (IEP) services including specialized academic instruction, school-based speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, as well as vision and deaf education services, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) support, social skills instruction, and (for a small percentage of students who qualify), extended year services.  Our support team of professionals includes special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and licensed service providers.  The majority of students with disabilities receive their special education services in the general education classroom setting.  Some of our students require smaller placements in a small, self-contained setting to support their academic and/or social learning needs.

Whom should I contact if my child is receiving private services outside of school? (example: speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling)

If your child is receiving private services outside of school, and if you would like to have the private providers share information about your child with the staff from the school/classroom, please contact your school’s assigned special education administrator.  They can help you obtain a two-way consent for our school-based providers to consult with your private providers to help understand your child’s unique learning needs and coordinate treatment between home and school. Note: Students who receive private therapy will not necessarily be eligible for school-based therapy or services.

Child Find

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA 2004) and Massachusetts special education regulations, Salem Public Schools as a district has a duty to locate, identify, refer, evaluate and, if eligible, provide a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities. For parents or guardians of children ages 3-21, who are suspected of having a disability, and who reside in Salem that would like more information, please contact:

Jennifer Doucette-Ly, Executive Director of Special Education
29 Highland Avenue
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 740-1249

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