Welcome to Don Lugo's Special Education Department
Special Education Overview
The role of the Special Education Department is to ensure that the unique needs of students with disabilities are met through designated services, supports, programs, and/or specialized placements. Special education services are provided to students eligible under State/Federal guidelines at no cost to families. The core purpose of special education is to provide specially designed instruction and intervention in order for students with a disability to access their education in the least restrictive environment.
The Special Education Department provides a wide array of services for students from Mild to Moderate to Moderate to Severe. This means we have some students that are in all general education classes and just receive support through the IEP; while other students are in specific programs where they learn life skills, such as purchasing items and using the bus. People have a misconception about special education students thinking that they look or behave a certain way, but in reality most students are just like everyone else with the exception that they learn in unique ways and need special kinds of support. Don Lugo is at the forefront of co-teaching, with a lot more co-taught classrooms than ever before. A lot of the co-taught teachers received intensive training in co-teaching in order to help the program be successful. Co-teaching helps special education students be mainstreamed and it also benefits general education students in that they receive the benefits of having two teachers instead of one.
The Special Education Department also has a club on campus called Hearts and Heroes Friendship Club. Our Hearts & Heroes Friendship Club started during the 2014-2015 school year. The goal of the Hearts & Heroes Friendship Club is to create and foster friendships, and develop and support leadership opportunities for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have a large number of general education students that sign up each year. We assign the students to a classroom (Mrs. Daly’s class, Mrs. Cuadras’ class or Ms. Encarnacion’s class), so that they can visit our students once a week during lunch or before school during late start. The goal is for them to interact with our students, build friendships and break social barriers. We plan one monthly gathering during lunch for our club so that the students can participate in various social activities, and we host an annual dance at the beginning of the school year. We also participate in the Homecoming Game Parade, the American Sign Language Club, and the Spring Dance Recital. Anytime we can participate in campus activities, we try our best to involve our club. Our club has been successful in bringing awareness to our campus regarding students with disabilities, and we have many general education students who develop an interest in pursuing careers in the area of special education.