About Special Education
The District provides educational alternatives that afford students with disabilities full educational opportunities. Students with disabilities shall be provided a free appropriate public education and be placed in the least restrictive environment which meets their needs to the extend provided by law.
The District actively seeks out and evaluates district residents from birth to age 21 who have disabilities in order to provide them with appropriate educational opportunities in accordance with state and federal law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a "child find" system that includes identification of these students.
School personnel, parents, outside agencies working with the student, guardians and/or surrogate parents who show legal documentation of educational rights may all serve as sources of referral for a student for possible identification as an individual with exceptional needs.
All initial referrals of children younger than kindergarten age shall be processed through the district Special Education Office. The Initial Referral for Assessment form is completed by the staff member interacting with the parent and forwarded to the appropriate member of the district Preschool Assessment Team (PAT). For a preschool-aged child, a member of the Preschool Assessment Team will follow up with the parent.
For school-aged children, the action may include a referral to the Student Study Team (SST) and/or the scheduling of a parent conference to discuss the concerns and the possible interventions. If the parent specifically requests, in writing, that their child be assessed to determine eligibility for special education program services, an SST meeting shall be held to identify the areas of suspected disability and if appropriate, develop an assessment plan to initiate an assessment for Special Education.
Individualized Education Program
An Individualized Education Program, commonly referred to as an IEP, is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). An IEP is designed to meet the unique educational needs of one child, who has an identified disability and requires the support in school, as defined by federal regulations. The IEP is intended to help children reach educational goals more easily than they otherwise would. In all cases the IEP must be tailored to the individual student's needs as identified by the IEP evaluation process, and must help teachers understand the student's disability and how the disability affects the learning process.
The IEP describes how the student learns, how the student best demonstrates that knowledge and what teachers and service providers will do to help the student learn more effectively. Key considerations in developing an IEP include assessing students in all areas of suspected disabilities, the consideration of the student's ability to access the general curriculum and how the disability affects the student's learning, development of goals and objectives that correspond to the needs of the student, and the determination of placement in the least restrictive environment of the student.
The complete text of the Individualized Education Program can be found at the District's home page under Board Policy and Administrative Regulations 6159.