What is special education?
Special education is specially designed instruction, supports, and services to meet the unique educational needs of individuals with disabilities, which cannot be met in the general education program. It is an integral part of the total public education system, and special education services are provided:
- In a way that promotes maximum interaction between students with and without exceptional needs;
- At no cost to families; and
- Include a full range of program options to meet the educational and service needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). --California Education Code Section 56031
How is it determined that a student is eligible to receive special education?
Assessments are the basis for special education eligibility, placement, and service decisions. The assessments will be done by professionals who have had specialized training and required certification/licensure, e.g. SLP, RST, OT, School Psych, School Nurse, etc.
General education teachers and parents, who know the students well, play a critical role in understanding a student’s academic strengths and struggles and are essential in the process of documenting/identifying areas of needs.
When the school accepts a referral for special education, the child will receive a “full and individual initial evaluation” to determine if the child has a disability and what the child’s educational needs are. A full evaluation means that the child shall be assessed in all areas of suspected disability within 60 calendar days of parental consent received by the school via signature on an assessment plan (timelines adjusted for student breaks over 5 consecutive days).
What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?
An IEP is a contractual, legal obligation, on the part of the school stating how the school plans to assist a student once they have been determined eligible for special education supports and services. The IEP document is written following the determination of a student’s need and eligibility for special education. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that an IEP include a “statement of measurable annual goals” which allow the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability.” The IEP team develops a written plan (IEP document) annually which identifies the child’s needs, annual goals, objectives, adaptations, services, and placement.
How do Learning Coaches/Parents contribute to the IEP process?
Every IEP document shall include a “statement of measurable annual goals” which allow the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability.
IEP document development and student progress monitoring are vital components of successful IEP implementation. Data on student progress helps parents and teachers better understand students’ learning successes and needs, helps target instruction to those needs and supports teachers in identifying appropriate teaching methodologies.
To support this process parents, HST and special education teachers are required to collect work samples, attendance, participation rates, and other informal academic measurements to monitor the student’s academic, behavioral, and social progress outlined in the IEP.
How are special education services provided at our independent study school?
Students with IEPs are to participate in special education services as indicated in their IEP documents.
- Pacific Coast Academy is a general education, independent study program, with special education supports. Pacific Coast Academy is a charter school and the parent has chosen this program. Special education services are determined on an individual basis. The appropriateness of independent study is considered and continually monitored.