Special education offers a range of services and supports designed to meet the needs of individual students who are exceptional, including both disabled and gifted students. Specialists throughout the district serve these students through Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) that include specific goals and objectives. Important components in special education process include: the initial evaluation, IEPs, service and supports, and parent involvement in IEP planning.
THE EVALUATION PROCESS
Each school in the district has a process by which it intervenes to meet the needs of students.
Building Intervention – A team of educators in the building meets to study and plan for the needs of individual students and develops plans for academic and/or social-behavioral interventions. These team members usually include: a building administrator, the child’s teacher, other teachers, and the child’s parent(s).
Tiered Interventions – The team follows the state tiered- intervention framework and problem-solving process providing a systematic approach to meeting the needs of students with research-based interventions. Assessment and interventions are integrated into an objective, data-based system with built- in decision making stages.
THE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP)
The IEP is a written plan of the special education and related services needed by a student based upon his/her current level of functioning. It assigns responsibility for the delivery of these services, provides timelines, sets forth the anticipated changes in the student’s behavior or academic progress, and describes how these changes will be measured. Parents, and when possible students, are encouraged to participate.
TYPES OF SERVICES AVAILABLE
Students who qualify for a special education program through the intervention process will receive services and supports as needed.
Direct services may vary depending on the needs of students. The majority of services are provided in the regular classroom. In some instances, students leave their regular classrooms for a portion of their day to receive specialized instruction in a resource room. There are some instances where the IEP cannot be carried out in the child’s neighborhood school, and the student is served in a self-contained program in one of the district’s schools.
LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT (LRE)
The LRE principle requires that public schools provide a continuum of alternative placements to meet the needs of exceptional children for special education and related services. Shawnee Mission schools provide the following kinds of services: consultation, itinerant teachers, resource class- rooms, and special classrooms.
Unless an exceptional child’s individualized education program requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school which he or she would attend if not exceptional.
The LRE principle establishes the right of each exceptional student to be provided an education with non-exceptional students to the maximum extent appropriate for each individual. LRE regulations do not preclude the placement of exceptional children in restrictive settings such as resource rooms, special classes or specialized facilities centralized programs. They do require that decisions regarding LRE be made on an individual basis.
In making LRE decisions, the student should be placed in environments which are deemed the most appropriate for providing the kind of instruction necessary to meet the unique special educational needs of the student. The emphasis in LRE decisions should be on appropriate participation with consideration being given as to how the placement in either regular or special classes will further the development of the student and prepare him/her for independence and success as an adult.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAM EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR (ESY)
The Individual Education Plan (IEP) determines if a student requires some additional services during the summer. An ESY IEP is developed by the IEP team prior to services being delivered.