Commonly asked questions about Special Education
What is Special Education?
Special education provides specially designed services and programs to children with educational disabilities (mental and physical disabilities). It is intended to meet the individual needs of the student and enhance his/her strengths.
Parents and students are introduced to special education in various ways. Some disabilities can be identified when children are very young. Others are not identified until children show difficulty in regular school programs. Special education programs and services are designed to assure that children with disabilities receive appropriate and equal opportunities for educational growth up to age 21, if necessary.
How do Special Education and Regular Education interact?
All programs and services in the public schools must be available to students with disabilities. Students with disabilities can participate in many regular educational programs and services as appropriate, dependent on the nature and degree of the disability.
It is the goal of the special education department to include students with disabilities in regular educational programs and services as much as possible. Pioneer's Committee on Special Education and building principals work together with parents to ensure that this interaction occurs.
What is the Special Educational process?
The need for special education for students ages 5 to 21 is determined in the following manner:
- Parental consent is obtained at all stages of the process so that the parents/guardians are fully informed and involved in the referral process. Legal and procedural safeguards are mandated to protect parental rights and help ensure proper practice.
- Students thought to be educationally at risk are first reviewed by building child study teams to determine what regular education programs and services might be employed to improve a student's performance. If more intervention is believed to be necessary, students are then REFERRED to a multidisciplinary team called the Committee on Special Education (CSE).
- The CSE arranges for appropriate professional EVALUATION of a student using a variety of measures to determine strengths and weaknesses.
- The CSE REVIEWS the evaluation reports to determine whether the student qualifies for the provision of special education services.
- If the student qualifies, the CSE RECOMMENDS an appropriate Individualized Educational Program (IEP) based upon the evaluation results.
- The program is IMPLEMENTED upon Board of Education approval.
- The IEP is modified or adjusted by the CSE when necessary or at an ANNUAL REVIEW.
- Parents have the right to challenge school decisions through MEDIATION, IMPARTIAL HEARING and APPEAL PROCESSES.
Who is involved in the provision of Special Education?
- The parent or guardian
- The child, when appropriate
- The Board of Education
- The members of the Committee on Special Education
- An educational administrator(s)