Welcome to the Special Education Department


Welcome to the Special Education Department of Hancock County Schools.  We provide an individualized approach to educational programming for approximately 900 students with special needs from ages 3 to 21.  The primary goal of the Department of Special Education is to provide a quality school environment that promotes positive learning experiences.

To ensure success, special emphasis is placed on academic and social integration among all students, and effective partnerships between parents and students.  This collaboration results in growth, friendships, and the 'acceptance of others' that transitions into interdependent community relationships in adult life.

Exceptionalities Served:

  • Autism;
  • Emotional/behavioral disorders;
  • Blindness/low vision;
  • Deaf-blindness;
  • Hard of hearing;
  • Gifted/exceptional gifted;
  • Intellectual disability;
  • Orthopedic impairment;
  • Other health impairment;
  • Developmental delay (preschool)
  • Specific learning disabilities;
  • Speech/language impairments;
  • Traumatic brain injury.

Currently on staff we have the following:

  • 68 special education teachers
  • 32 autism mentors;
  • 2 supervisory aides;
  • 6 LPN/aides;
  • 8 transportation aides;
  • 1 interpreter aide;
  • 10 speech therapists;
  • 2 school psychologists;
  • 3 occupational therapists
  • 1 physical therapist;
  • Special education interventionist;
  • Child abuse/neglect and behavior interventionist;
  • 8 specially equipped buses with aides.

97% are fully certified in their field, and 85% hold Master's degrees.

Our goal is to have all students served in their home schools.  However, exceptional children with low incidence rates are sometimes serviced at other county schools.

Schools and exceptionalities served:

Allison Elementary
Contact:  Jennifer Marchese, Assistant Principal
All learning/behavior disabilities, cognitive impairments (mild/moderate), severe/profound impaired, autism, speech, preschool, gifted, vision, hearing, occupational/physical therapy, and preschool.

New Manchester Elementary
Contact:  Cindy Virtue, Principal
All learning/behavior disabilities, cognitive impairments (mild), autism, gifted, speech, preschool, vision, hearing, occupational/physical therapy.

Weirton Elementary
Contact: Denise Miller (grades Preschool-1) or Derek VanDyke (grades 2-4), Assistant Principals
All learning/behavior disabilities, mental impairments, autism, gifted, vision, speech, hearing, preschool occupational/physical therapy.

Weir Middle
Contact: Timothy Daugherty, Assistant Principal
All learning/behavior disabilities, cognitive impairments (mild, moderate, severe), autism, gifted, vision, speech, hearing, occupational/physical therapy.

Oak Glen Middle
Contact:  Chris Enochs (grades 5-6) or Alyssa Mick (grades 7-8), Assistant Principals
All learning/behavior disabilities, cognitive impairments (mild, moderate), autism, gifted, vision, hearing, speech, occupational/physical therapy.

Weir High School
Contact: Timothy Murray, Assistant Principal
All learning/behavior disabilities, cognitive impairments (mild, moderate, severe), autism, vision, hearing, speech, occupational/physical therapy.

Oak Glen High School
Contact:  Kevin Logue, Assistant Principal
All learning/behavior disabilities, cognitively impaired (mild, moderate), autism, vision, hearing, speech, occupational/physical therapy.

Rockefeller Career Center
Contact:  Emily Glodowski
Learning support. Option Pathway Program


Assistive Technology

The Special Education Department has an Assistive Technology Specialist.

The specialist is trained and works with the team to accomplish the following:

  • Evaluate a student's Assistive Technology/augmentative communication needs;
  • Research and recommend devices for the student;
  • Provide training on equipment;
  • Collaborate with teachers, parents, and agencies;
  • Disseminate information.

Assistive Technology is defined as "any device used to perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to accomplish".  These devices can be as complex as computers with screen reading software, or as simple as Velcro® used in place of buttons or shoelaces.

Augmentative communication is an approach designed to support, enhance, or augment the communication of individuals who are not independently verbal in all situations.

Our specialist works with other professionals in the county that have an expertise in a variety of areas.  These individuals include special education teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and deaf/hard of hearing specialists.  These professionals have established contacts and networks with other professionals in the field for additional resources.

Contact:  Bernie Wiley

Community Integration Program - offered county-wide to students in specific program areas as written in each individual student's IEP.

Preschool for Children with Developmental Disabilities

Ages 3-5.

A free educational service offered to increase the child's ability to develop skills needed before entering kindergarten.

Criteria for eligibility (must have at least a 25% delay in two or more of the following criteria):

  • Thinking 
  • Movement
  • Language
  • Play skills
  • Behavior

Services provided:

  • Family/Home based services
  • Classroom program
  • Speech
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Evaluations
  • Early childhood screening

Programs are currently based at the following schools:

  • Weirton Elementary
  • Allison Elementary

Additional collaborative programs with the following:

  • Northern Panhandle Head Start: 
    • Pipinos Center, Weirton
    • Newell Center, Newell
  • Weirton Heights Day Care, Weirton
  • Tree House, Chester
  • Children's Academy, Weirton

Contact: Erica Sauer

Applied Behavior Analysis

Everyone benefits from inclusion.  Children without disabilities also benefit from participation in inclusive environments.  They are provided with opportunities such as a preschool setting with a low student to teacher ratio.  This provides children with the opportunity to learn skills in discrete trial formats.  Four staff completed Applied Behavior Analysis training through Penn State University.

Co-teaching model

All schools provide a co-teaching model of instruction for reading/language arts and math in the regular education setting.  A special and regular educator co-plan, co-instruct, and co-assess a group of students with diverse needs in the same general education classroom.  The individual student's IEP determines the placement for instruction, academic support, and other needs.

WV Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)

Counselor available one day per week at JD Rockefeller Career Center, two day at Weir High and two days at Oak Glen High school.  Call Kimberly Lawless at (304) 723-5311 for more information.

Parent Training

Offered to provide families with an understanding of the special education process with an emphasis on partnerships between educators and parents.


The process of preparing students for the world of work after high school is part of the IEP process.    This begins in the eighth grade year.  Transition planning includes measurable post-secondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and independent living skills, where appropriate.

Contact:  Emily Glodowski