The Special Services Department implements policies and procedures for Special Education and Gifted Education Programs in the district. This department is also responsible for the submission and compliance of both federal and state grants, and ensuring that the district remains compliant with regulations set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, all students are to be provided a free, appropriate public education (FAPE)
"Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way
diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to
society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an
essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of
opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic
self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities"
Subchapter 1 (Part A) Section 1400 (c)(1)
Educational Services for All Children
The district’s goal is to serve every school-aged child who resides in our district. Within this goal, the district is charged with providing services for students with an identified disability. The areas of disabilities for persons ages 3-21 are as follows:
- Developmental Disabilities (ages 3-10)
- Emotional Disabilities
- Hearing Impairment
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Multiple Disabilities with Severe Sensory Impairment
- Specific Learning Disabilities
- Speech and Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
- Special education is a service, not a place. Special Education means Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) and is provided through a range of services which include instruction in the general education classroom with supplementary aids and services, services integrated into the general education classroom, specialized instruction in a resource or pull out setting, or instruction in a specialized classroom. Students are provided these services at no cost to the parents. The delivery of services is determined by a Team which consists of the student’s general education teacher, special education teacher, a district representative, someone to interpret the data and the parent(s). The Team determines the Least Restrictive Environment for the student, which means, to the maximum extent possible, students with disabilities are educated alongside their non-disabled peers.
The District provides a continuum of services and specially designed instruction (SDI) for students from all categories. Students with disabilities are educated in the Least Restrictive Environment in which they can be successful. The most appropriate program and services for each student is determined by the student's IEP team.
Itinerant teachers typically provide students intermittent instruction, consultation, and special techniques and materials. They also visit classrooms to see that appropriate instruction, materials and adaptations are being used in accordance with each child’s IEP.
Students can receive resource instruction in a separate classroom for part of their school day. Resource teachers typically work with students on skill deficits or subjects, and provide daily individual and small group instruction based on individual goals written in the IEP. Some classrooms also have a paraprofessional who provides instructional services within the student's regular classroom.
Students whose IEP requires it can receive instruction in a separate classroom for the majority of the school day. Self-contained classrooms offer the environmental changes needed to meet the specific needs of a particular student. Typically, one teacher is in charge for most of the school day and provides the majority of instruction often assisted by paraprofessionals.
Private day schools
Our district uses private special education day schools only for students whose needs are such that an alternative setting is most appropriate. This is a limited option due to the fact that students in an alternative setting have almost no opportunity to participate with non-disabled peers and may require lengthy transportation.
Homebound instruction is provided for special education students who, because of medical issues, are either: 1) unable to attend regular classes for a period of not less than three school months; or 2) capable of learning at school but are unable to attend classes for intermittent periods of time totaling three school months during a school year.
Services include specialized transportation, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Services are determined by an evaluation and goals written into the student’s individual education plan (IEP).
Extended school year services
Extended school year (ESY) services are offered to eligible students during the summer when school is not in session. ESY is for students who potentially lose important skills due to regular breaks in instruction and who require an excessive amount of time to regain those skills. Skills appropriate for ESY consideration include those related to self-sufficiency, behavior, socialization, communication, and academics. A student's need and eligibility for ESY instruction is determined by the IEP team.
Parents of children who are at least three years of age but who have not reached the required age for kindergarten may request screening for special education preschool services. The screening will assess the child’s vision and hearing, language fluency, communication skills, medical history, cognitive development, gross/fine motor skills, and social-emotional development.
Arizona Early Intervention Program - (Serving children birth to 3 years of age.)
What is Early Intervention?
Early Intervention is professionals working in partnership with parents and families of children with special needs, to support their children’s growth, development, and learning. Early Intervention happens in places where children and families live, learn, and play; the families natural environments.
What is the Arizona Early Intervention Program?
The Arizona Early Intervention Program, also known as AzEIP (pronounced Ay-zip), is a statewide system of support and services for families of children, birth to three, with disabilities or developmental delays. The AzEIP system is a collaboration of activities by the following State Agencies:
- Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)
- Department of Economic Security (DES)
- Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS)
- Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB)
- Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)
Website: Arizona Early Intervention Program
Child Find is a process that determines if children, ages 3-21 years, need special services. Answer the following questions to determine if your child has special needs. Does my child:
- Have trouble seeing people and objects?
- Have trouble hearing voices and other sounds, or remain unusually quiet for long periods of time?
- Have difficulty talking and pronouncing words properly?
- Move about with difficulty when crawling, walking, or running?
- Learn slowly and have difficulty understanding?
- Have trouble playing with other children or getting along with adults?
- Have other special health problems?
- If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, you should contact the Special Education Office for additional information about Child Find.