Hamden’s Intensive Support Classrooms
Hamden’s Intensive Support Classrooms utilize SESI’s highly structured academic and behavioral models to provide students with the support and structures necessary to help them successfully access their education. Through our partnership with Hamden Public Schools, SESI operates classrooms within Dunbar Hill Elementary School and Wintergreen School. Focused on individualized education, our students have the opportunity to build confidence and competence in a caring environment with the ultimate goal to transition back into one of the many center-based and resource-based programs within the district.
315 Lane Street
Hamden, CT 06514
670 Wintergreen Ave
Hamden, CT 06514
Meet the Team
Jennie Serra joined the High Road School of Wallingford Campus team in 2017. Ms. Serra worked as a teacher assistant in the Primary/Middle school before taking over her own classroom as a certified Special Education teacher in the High School. In the summer of 2019, she was provided with the opportunity to open an in-district classroom in Hamden as the Program Coordinator/Special Education teacher. In 2020, Ms. Serra was excited to begin her new position as Operations Manager for the Hamden In-District program as it expanded to 3 classrooms. Ms. Serra earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Fordham University, before realizing her passion for teaching while tutoring students during her senior year of college. Ms. Serra completed the Comprehensive Special Education program at Southern Connecticut State University and went on to obtain her master’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities. Ms. Serra also received her Sixth-Year Certificate in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University in May 2022, subsequently earning her 092 Connecticut Intermediate Administrator Certification. She is excited to enter her sixth school year with SESI Schools as the Director of the Hamden In-District Program.
Mike Wolf has been a Special Education teacher with High Road School since 2018. Mr. Wolf was a member of the High Road School of Wallingford – Primary/Middle School team during his first two years. Before the 2020 school year, Mr. Wolf was thrilled to join the Hamden In-district program as the 7-8 classroom teacher. Mr. Wolf earned his K-12 Special Education Teaching Certification from Southern Connecticut State University and a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Syracuse University. In 2021, Mr. Wolf completed his master’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities. He also dedicates his time as a football and basketball coach. He recently joined the Wilbur Cross High School football staff as an assistant coach. When he is not in teaching or coaching, Mr. Wolf enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, watching movies, spending time outdoors.
Shannon Searles joined Hamden’s In-District program in 2020 as a certified special education teacher. Ms. Searles earned her K-12 Special Education degree from Southern Connecticut State University in 2020. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in Emotional and Behavior Disorders and expects to graduate in May of 2023! Ms. Searles loves her animals, specifically her dog Mandie and hedgehog Oscar! When she is not at work, she enjoys trying new restaurants, going to the beach, kayaking and spending time with her family and friends! Ms. Searles hopes that the 2022-2023 school year is filled with fun, laughter and growth in academic and behavioral areas!
Ariella Laskin, MSW, LCSW, has been a School Social Worker with High Road Schools since the 2019-2020 school year. Before joining the Hamden team, Ariella worked at the High Road Wallingford Primary/Middle School Campus. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Social Work Degree at Southern Connecticut State University. Prior to her career in School Social Work, Ariella worked in the area of Educational Publishing for the K-12 market, writing, editing, managing content creation for English/Language Arts and Social Studies, developing curriculum, and creating online learning programs. Outside of school, Ariella enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, playing tennis, and drinking as much good coffee as she can find.
Rachel Ferruggia is entering her second year as a Special Education teacher in Hamden’s 4-6 In-district classroom. Ms. Ferruggia earned her bachelor’s degree from Providence College; she majored in Health Policy and Management. She also earned her master’s degree from Salve Regina University with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. Ms. Ferruggia has one semester left at The University of Saint Joseph to earn her K-12 Special Education teaching certification. She has five years of experience as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and she looks forward to continuing teaching in Hamden. When Ms. Ferruggia is not working or studying, she enjoys playing with her Yorkie, Simba, rooting for the NY Yankees and Giants, listening to Taylor Swift, watching Friends, and spending time with her family, friends, and boyfriend.
John Lasko joined the High Road School of Wallingford campus in 2019 as a Teacher Assistant. Throughout his time there he took on many roles across both the primary and high school campuses including 1:1 Paraprofessional, Teaching Assistant and substitute teacher before joining the in-district program at Dunbar Elementary School in Hamden, CT. Mr. Lasko began his journey in Hamden as a Teacher Assistant and served as a long term substitute in the 4th-6th grade classroom during the 2020-2021 school year following the school closure due to COVID-19. Mr. Lasko received his BA from Southern Connecticut State University in Physical Education. He is planning on furthering his studies in order to obtain a certification in Comprehensive Special Education. He plans to maintain a passion for facilitating well-rounded educational experiences for all students by utilizing his experience with core subjects and physical education.
Sierra Gonzalez is beginning her first year as the Hamden In-district Program 2022-2023 7th-8th grade School Social Worker. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2016 and a Master of Social Work Degree from Quinnipiac University in 2022. In addition to advocating for her students and helping create the most inclusive educational environment possible, Sierra enjoys spending time with friends and family, yoga, and reading.
Dunbar Hill Elementary Intensive Support Classrooms
Students are referred by their school district and are generally in grades K–3 and 4-6. We serve students with emotional disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, multiple disabilities, other health impairments, and more.
Each classroom at Dunbar Hill has a certified special education teacher and two teaching assistants, as well as a full-time social worker. All staff are trained in crisis intervention programs, including Life Space Crisis Intervention. Students that require additional services, such as Speech & Language, receive it with qualified Hamden personnel.
Wintergreen Intensive Support Classroom
Students are referred by their school district and are in grades 7-8. We serve students with emotional disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, multiple disabilities, other health impairments, and more.
Wintergreen has a certified special education teacher, two teaching assistants and a full-time social worker.
Utilizing four specific instructional rotations, students are assessed academically, gain self-regulation skills, learn with district-aligned academic curriculums, and utilize integrated technology.
2022-2023 Regional Winner
High Road School at Hamden IDC
2022-2023 Campus Winner