Pupil Support

Current News:

Using grant funds to support parental involvement, the Office of Pupil Support has begun to purchase books that can be borrowed by parents and/or community members. The Pupil Support Resource Library currently has 18 titles on a wide variety of topics related to supporting students with special needs (e.g. autism, ADHD, anxiety, etc.) and general topics of parental interest.  To review the list of current selections please visit:


To borrow a book you can contact our office directly at 603-610-4473 or ask your building level coordinator or student's case manager for assistance. 


The Office of Pupil Support includes services and support for such topics as:

  • Special Education
  • 504 Plans
  • McKinney Vento (Homeless) Supports

In order to accomplish the mission of the Portsmouth Schools "to educate all students by challenging them to become thinking, responsible, contributing citizens who continue to learn throughout their lives" special education supports and teaches students by:

  • Offering a continuum of other instructional settings, programs, and services;
  • Working with regular teachers to implement strategies and modifications in regular education classrooms;
  • Assisting teams in defining priorities for students and their learning;
  • Using technology to make the curriculum accessible to all students.
  • Instruction, modifications, education-related therapies, and other supports for identified students are provided according to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and related New Hampshire and Federal laws and standards.
  • These regulations provide a number of Procedural Safeguards which protect the rights of parents and students in the special education process.


For information on English Language Learners (ELL) please contact Assistant Superintendent Patricia Haynes phaynes@sau52.org

For Title IX (Harassment) Concerns please contact:

Kelly Harper

Title IX Coordinator

City of Portsmouth

(603) 610-4478



Pre-School / Elementary School

Portsmouth Early Education Program  (Preschool)

Contact: Beth Setear, Pre-K Coordinator
50 Clough Drive
Portsmouth, NH 03801 
(603) 422-8228  

Elementary Schools

Dondero Elementary

Contact: Alexandra Clithero, Coordinator 
32 Van Buren Ave 
Portsmouth, NH 03801 
(603) 436-2231   aclithero@sau52.org

New Franklin Elementary

Contact: Jill Vinciguerra, Coordinator
1 Franklin Drive
Portsmouth, NH 03801 
(603) 436-0910   jvinciguerra@sau52.org

Little Harbour Elementary

Contact: Kristen Heath, Coordinator
50 Clough Drive
Portsmouth, NH 03801 
(603) 436-1708   kheath@sau52.org


Middle and High Schools

Middle School

Contact: Jeff Martell, Coordinator
Portsmouth Middle School 
155 Parrott Avenue 
Portsmouth, NH 03801 
(603) 436-5781 ext 269  jmartell@sau52.org

High School

Contact: Laurie Melanson, Coordinator
Portsmouth High School 
Alumni Circle
Portsmouth, NH 03801 
(603) 436-7100  lmelanson@sau52.org

Robert J. Lister Academy 

Contact: Steve Krzyanowski, Program Director
Portsmouth Alternative Secondary Program
35 Sherburne Road
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 427-2901   skrzyanowski@sau52.org



The PEEP Program was established in 1980 to provide educational programs for children ages 3 through 5 years of age who have identified educational disabilities. These services are regulated by state and federal law and are provided at no cost to families.
Children are referred to PEEP by parents, physicians, early childhood educators, Early Supports and Services agencies, and others if they have any developmental concerns.   The information provided is reviewed, and any additional information needed is gathered to determine the need for a developmental assessment.  Once completed, a determination of eligibility is made.
PEEP is located a the Little Harbour School at 50 Clough Drive.  The staff has a collaborative relationship with Seacoast Community School (SCS) to allow for a variety of options for providing early childhood special education services in inclusive classrooms. Students in need of special education services may attend SCS or a Portsmouth Schools classroom depending on the student/family needs. 

Seacoast Community School Website (Click here)



There are three elementary schools in Portsmouth: Dondero, Little Harbour, and New Franklin, each with special education services. Each student with a disability has a team that meets on a regular basis to evaluate, place, and monitor the special education needs of the child. This team includes parents, special education teachers, and appropriate related service personnel such as a Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, School Counselor, Nurse, Physical Therapist, and/or Reading Specialist. Students are included in regular classrooms as much as appropriate and are supported by special education staff using both in-class and pull-out models. Students are included in the regular classroom with the assistance of a case manager, who oversees the team and maintains contact with the teachers and parents.  For some students, a paraprofessional may be assigned to the classroom to help facilitate the inclusion process.  Students with social-emotional and//or behavior needs may have behavior plans and/or receive support from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).



Resource Program

We believe that students at this stage in their development, particularly those with some special learning needs, require "close attention at a distance." By this paradoxical phrase, we mean that although these students require our supervision and augmented instruction, they also strongly reject any attention, which makes them appear different or in need of extra help. For this reason, our special education teachers work as much as possible within the daily life of the team of regular teachers, with all students at times, so that their services to special students will not be unique or their presence unusual.
To accomplish this, we have one special education resource teacher and paraprofessional on each Middle School team. This allows the team to offer "special education type" services to many students who are not formally identified as having an educational disability. Among the services widely available to all students are small group tutorials centered on the teams' curriculum, direct support and assistance inside classrooms, and reasonable modifications and accommodations based on a student's particular need. The resource program also offers help in the form of functional behavior plans to students experiencing behavior problems.
In addition to services within the team structure, the middle school special education program also offers a number of instructional and related service opportunities to students with a variety of more exceptional needs.




Student Academic Services (SAS) offers assistance to students who require an individualized approach to their academic and/or vocational program.   Most students have been referred for formal evaluation and found to have a need for an Individualized Educational Program in academic, social/emotional, or vocational areas.  Services are provided based on the student's level of performance and individual needs as determined by the Evaluation Plan.  More specific information regarding the area of Student Academic Services may be obtained by contacting the Department at Portsmouth High School (436-7100,
extension 2939).

Academic Study Centers

Students may work in small groups or one-to-one with a SAS staff member.  Emphasis is placed on students developing the necessary organizational and academic skills for success in all disciplines.  SAS staff uses Study Center time to apply the accommodations according to the student’s Individual Educational Plan in all academic areas.  Students in Study Center classes have the opportunity to develop appropriate skills while completing course assignments.

Services that can take place in Study Center classes include: previewing content area material; reviewing for quizzes/tests; monitoring assignments which may involve vocabulary, grammar, worksheets, chapter guides, and questions; editing written assignments; reading assigned novels/literature with discussion for clarification; outlining chapters; reviewing and expanding upon notes; drilling for reinforcement and mastery; completing (w/assistance) assigned classroom work; using the library for resources and research purposes; and supporting other activities as requested by content area teachers.

A weekly contact system with content area teachers has been established so that Study Center teachers are aware of current course requirements and students' academic performance.  Parent/teacher contact is also encouraged when appropriate.  All contact, written and/or informal, is important for assisting students to achieve success in their classes and supporting the mainstream teachers.

Supports For Learning/Developmental Program

Supports for learning are designed for adolescents, ages 14-21 that require an individual approach to their academic and/or vocational program.  Each student’s program is individually designed to meet his/her needs by providing education on a continuum ranging from full inclusion to self-contained.  The team consists of parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, specialists, area agencies, peer tutors, and the Portsmouth community.

The goals of Supports for Learning are: to provide the student with the least restrictive learning environment; to create opportunities and build skills to reach each student’s maximum potential in the following curriculum areas: academics, experiential learning, communication, social skills, and community; to assist in a gradual transition from the school to the community with the involvement of family and outside agencies; to create a positive culture that offers a safe environment, which enhances the desire to learn; to develop inclusive relationships among peers, staff, and community.  The following related services are available to the students as designated in their IEP:  occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy; adaptive physical education; community involvement; peer tutoring, and counseling.

Speech And Language

The Speech/Language Pathologist is available to provide services to students with communication disorders and/or language/learning disabilities.  A variety of options are offered, including the following:  assistance with understanding and using the language of the curriculum; consultation to staff regarding strategies and modifications to benefit the student with language needs; managing alternative means of communication for students with limited speaking abilities; implementing assistive technology to enable students with physical and cognitive challenges to maximize their oral and written communication abilities; teaching strategies to control disfluent speech (stuttering); treating voice disorders (upon referral by a physician).  Services are provided on a 1:1 basis, in a small group, by classroom interventions and/or through consultation as deemed appropriate for each student.

Robert J. Lister Academy


The Robert J. Lister Academy is a public alternative high school program, designed in 1983, to meet academic, therapeutic, and vocational needs of at-risk adolescents aged 14-21 in grades 9-12.  A self-contained satellite program of the Portsmouth School Department in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, The Robert J. Lister Academy aims to educate students from throughout the Seacoast area, whose emotional disabilities, behavioral issues, and family situations have precluded their success in more conventional academic settings.  Drawing on the expertise of a collaborative team of counselors and veteran teachers, The Robert J. Lister Academy provides a holistic learning environment that fosters individual growth in core academic subjects as well as the development of vocational skills, conflict resolution, communication skills, and building positive esteem.  Students who successfully demonstrate proficiency in these areas earn regular high school credit toward a Portsmouth High School diploma.   The Robert J. Lister Academy is committed to graduating students who will be life long learners as well as productive and contributing members of their community.