Founding Director of Support Services



School Overview

Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn (Unity), a grade six through twelve, tuition-free, public charter school in Brooklyn, New York, will open its doors to 128 sixth graders from Community School District 13 in the fall of 2013. Our mission is to empower students as scholars and citizens so they may lead fulfilling academic, personal, and professional lives. We accomplish this through a rigorous academic program, including a college preparatory curriculum in the liberal arts and sciences, exceptional teaching promoted through systems that develop and recognize expert teachers, extended learning time, and differentiated academic support.  In addition, we offer to students an engaging co-curricular program that encompasses enrichment courses and elective clubs, a supportive school culture that fosters students’ socio-emotional development, and ample opportunities for active community involvement.

Job Description

Unity’s founding Director of Support Services (DSS) is responsible for the successful and efficient management of the school’s special student and family services. This consists of coordinating services and supervising instruction for all special student populations, including student with disabilities, students at risk of academic failure, English language learners, and students who thrive academically. The DSS reports directly to the Head of School and works closely with fellow members of the school’s Leadership Team (including the Director of Operations, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and Director of Culture and Enrichment) as well as with outside consultants, vendors, and service providers.


I. Start-Up

    • Creates and manages a detailed pre-opening checklist to ensure that the school’s programs and services for special student populations are fully operational a month before the school opens
    • Works with the Director of Operations and Family & Community Partnership Coordinator to ensure that the school’s recruitment and orientation plans effectively address and serve the needs of students and families with special service requirements
    • Develops and maintains the school’s support services plan, including the development and maintenance of the school’s Support Services Handbook in collaboration with fellow members of the Leadership Team and appropriate staff 

II. Support of Students at Risk of Academic Failure

    • Oversees the school’s Response to Invention program, including developing and maintaining a school-wide protocol and accompanying materials for identifying, referring, and creating effective intervention plans for at-risk students
    • Works with the Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment in administering entrance diagnostic assessments to screen and/or identify English language learners, students with undiagnosed disabilities, and those at-risk of academic failure
    • Works with the Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment in leading and facilitating the review of student academic records during the school’s Summer Staff Development Institute
    • Develops and facilitates RTI training for staff during the school’s Summer Staff Development Institute and throughout the year; serves as the primary resource for staff in implementing the school’s RTI program
    • Meets with the Learning Support Coordinator weekly to identify at-risk students through the review of grade-wide data sources and the referrals of individual teachers, evaluate student progress toward intervention plan goals, and refer students who do not respond to numerous interventions to school’s Student Support Team
    • Leads and facilitates the weekly meetings of the school’s Student Support Team, which oversees student case studies, monitors academic performance and behavior for students suspected of having disabilities, and refers students for evaluation 

III. Support of Students with Disabilities

    • Oversees the school’s integrated co-teaching services, including the co-planning of lessons, differentiation of instruction so that appropriate accommodations and modifications are made in compliance with individualized educational programs (IEP) mandates, and evaluation of student learning in the school’s integrated co-teaching classrooms
    • Identifies students with pre-existing IEPs by reviewing Automate the Schools and the Child Assistance Program/Special Education Student Information System after student registration and requesting student records immediately to identify incoming students with disabilities
    • Evaluates students’ IEPs to determine whether the school is able to provide the services mandated in the IEPs and works with parents and the Committee on Special Education (CSE) to modify IEPs if necessary and possible
    • Works with the Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment to review and maintain Common Core-aligned learning goals and targets submitted by teachers for each student with disabilities
    • Manages all documentation and safeguards the confidentiality of IEPs and all related records in accordance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
    • Provides teachers and service providers with copies of students’ IEPs as well as at-a-glance summaries that outline the disability, required services, relevant instructional strategies, and other topics related to serving students with IEPs
    • Provides ongoing professional support and development opportunities to the school’s staff working in integrated co-teaching classrooms
    • Acts as a liaison to the CSE, attending initial IEP meetings and annual reviews, and evaluating student progress to determination whether the IEP needs to be modified and if students require a continuation of services
    • Works with the NYCDOE to ensure students are receiving the mandated related services through the local CSE
    • Works with the school’s social worker to provide counseling in compliance with student IEPs
    • Establishes contracts with outside vendors or independent service providers for speech/language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other mandated services that cannot be provided in-house or arranged through the CSE and works with parents when necessary to secure related service authorizations
    • Reviews disaggregated data from interim and other assessments that indicate whether students with disabilities are meeting established targets 

IV. Support of English Language Learners/Limited English Proficiency Students (ELLs/LEPs)

    • Oversees the school’s ELL Coordinator in identifying students who are ELLs/LEPs in accordance to the NYSED’s protocol, including administering Home Language Questionnaires to incoming students’ parents or guardians and other entry diagnostics during enrollment, conducting informal interviews when necessary, and administering the Language Assessment Battery-Revised when appropriate
    • Works with the school’s ELL Coordinator to develop, oversee, and manage the school’s Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol 

V. Support of Students who Thrive Academically and/or Co-Curricularly

    • Oversees the Learning Support Coordinator’s management of the school’s process for identifying students who are thrive academically and/or co-curricularly and providing them with accelerated enrichment opportunities
    • Works with the school’s advisors and Learning Support Coordinator to identify students who thrive academically and/or co-curricularly
    • Works with the Learning Support Coordinator to provide supplemental enrichment opportunities within and beyond the school building for students who are thriving 

VI. Oversight, Regulations, Reporting, and Compliance

    • Maintains a secure and confidential system for student records in compliance with all applicable laws
    • Ensures that IEPs and 504s are current and that all service providers have current copies
    • Ensures compliance with and implementation of all IEP and 504 all reviews and modifications of academic and behavior goals
    • Creates and implements systems for program administration, including referral methods, and data collection of students that are not achieving at grade level
    • Ensures compliance, timelines, and required communication of IEP’s to required stakeholders
    • Works with the CSE and related service providers to ensure compliance and proper support for students with special needs
    • Assists the Head of School with the evaluation of the school’s services for special student populations, including preparing internal documentation and data for programmatic audits, administering surveys to students, parents, and families, and interviewing students and families who exit the ELL program and/or the school 

VII. Scheduling

    • Works with the Director of Operations to coordinate and schedule all related services for students, including speech and language therapy, physical and occupational therapy, vision and hearing services, and counseling in connection with the members of the support services team and advisors 

VIII. Instructional Support

    • Provides support, coaching, mentoring, and guidance for general education and special education teachers and learning specialists
    • Provides general education teachers, special education teachers, and learning specialists with information and professional development that reflects up-to-date special education policies, laws, and regulations
    • Models lessons or arranges peer observations for teachers of students with special needs
    • Helps teachers develop and implement classroom-based, developmentally appropriate interventions for individual children and groups of children
    • Conducts regular observations of support-service teachers and provides feedback in a timely manner 

IX. Assessment/Student Achievement/Accommodations

    • Works with Director of Operations to ensure that students receive appropriate assessment modifications
    • Works with the Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment to analyze data from informal and formal assessments to assign individual and groups of students for differentiated and targeted academic support
    • Uses data to help teachers plan whole group and small group instruction, and to identify students who require specific classroom support in the classroom 

X. Support Services Personnel

    • Recruits, hires, trains and oversees support services personnel
    • Works with the school’s Head of School in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring key support services personnel, including the school’s social worker, ELL Coordinator, and Learning Support Coordinator, College Counselor, and special education teachers
    • Conducts annual performance evaluations of support services personnel in conjunction with the Head of school 

XI. External Relations and Development

    • Works with the Head of School in managing relationships with all outside organizations and leading the school’s efforts to partner with community leaders and organizations
    • Represents school at various state and local school events and meetings 

XII. Other

    • Attends and participates in board meetings and works with board members and committees, as required or requested
    • Performs other operations-related tasks consistent with the goals and objectives of this position 

Key Qualifications

      • A proven track record of promoting student learning in the classroom; at least two years of formal teaching experience preferred
      • Demonstrably strong organizational and classroom/course management skills
      • Expertise in working with diverse populations of students and families, and in differentiating instruction to fully support the needs of diverse learners
      • An acumen for actively engaging students in their own learning, academically and non-academically
      • A demonstrated openness and responsiveness to constructive feedback and a strong commitment to continuous improvement and professional growth
      • Strong content knowledge as demonstrated by an undergraduate or advanced degree in their respective discipline; professional experiences in their discipline is a plus
      • Strong written and oral communication skills and experience working collaboratively in team settings
      • Approaches the profession with maturity, humility, versatility (i.e., embraces the ambiguity and excitement associated with start-ups), a solutions-mindedness with a strong work ethic, and, of course, a sense of humor 

As an equal opportunity employer, Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn hires without consideration to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability.