1426 N Quincy St
Arlington, VA 22207
Sunday, June 26, 2016

Special Education

 APS Continuum of Services Option- Vertical Planning Chart


Special Education Cycle

Before your child can become eligible to receive special education services, the school is required by law to determine your child's specific needs. The school determines these needs through a process consisting of many steps, often termed the "Special Education Cycle." When viewed as an ongoing cycle with several steps along the way, the special education process is easier to understand. An explanation of each step in the cycle follows.

Referral to Student Study
What: Referral to a Student Study Committee is made to the principal of a child's school by anyone (including parent, teacher, friend, etc.) who has concerns about a child's learning or feels that a child may have special learning needs. In some cases, referral is made to a Special Education Coordinator (in the case of preschool age children or private school enrollees).
How: Complete a form called "Referral to a Student Study Committee." This form is available in every school office and at the Arlington Public Schools Education Center located at 1426 North Quincy Street, Arlington, Virginia 22207. Certain information is required in writing.

PLEASE, If you have concerns about your child's learning, remember to contact your child's teacher and/or the principal first. They can work with you to decide whether your child should be referred to the Student Study Committee (SSC)
When: Anytime
What Happens Next: Once school personnel receive a completed written referral, they have ten (10) administrative working days to convene the Student Study Committee, which you are invited to participate.
Documents I Should Keep: A copy of the "Referral to a Student Study Committee."
PLEASE NOTE: All students new to a public school are screened within 60 days of initial enrollment for possible problems in the areas of vision, hearing, speech, voice, and language. Fine and gross motor development are screened through grade three only to determine if formal assessment is indicated. All problems noted in the screening process are to be reported to the building principal/designee who will make referrals to a Student Study Committee as appropriate.
Student Study Committee (SCC)
What: The SSC committee reviews the "Referral to a Student Study Committee," and discusses the information in the referral.
Who: The SSC is made up of at least three people, including the principal or designee, teacher(s), other staff who have observed or worked with your child, and the person who made the referral. The school can hold the Student Study Committee meeting without your permission but must invite you to attend and will notify you of the date and time of the meeting. Though your attendance is not required, you should attend, if possible, because you have important information about your child to share with school staff.
When: Within 10 business days of receipt of the referral
What Happens Next: After reviewing all the information presented, the committee discusses the child's needs and makes one of the following three recommendations:
  1. The child should stay in a general education class. Sometimes specific ideas for classroom modifications and alternative teaching techniques are suggested to the child's regular education teacher. Sometimes arrangements are made for a child to work with other professionals, such as the reading specialist or school counselor.
  2. The child should be given certain tests to find out whether he or she may be eligible for special education and related services. Testing cannot begin until you give your permission. This is done by signing the form called "Request for Parental Permission to Conduct Evaluations for Consideration for Eligibility for Special Education." Please read it carefully. You will receive this statement of rights at each step as your child proceeds through the cycle.
  3. The committee feels they need to gather more information before a decision can be made. In
  4. this case, the committee obtains additional information and meets again within a specified time period.
Documents I Should Keep: You will be sent a copy of the "Minutes, Actions, and Recommendations of the Student Study Committee."
Evaluation for Special Education
What/Who: After the Student Study Committee's recommendation for evaluation is made and you have given written parental permission for testing to begin, a team of teachers and specialists evaluates your child through tests, observations, and screenings. These evaluations include:
Classroom Observation: Observation of academic performance in a classroom by a member of the evaluation team other than the student's teacher.
Educational: A written report by a qualified evaluator describing current educational performance and identifying strengths and weaknesses in academic skills.
Psychological: A written report from a qualified psychologist based on the use of a battery of appropriate instruments which include individual intelligence test(s) and psychoeducational tests. Also, when appropriate, a clinical /psychiatric evaluation is included. An Arlington Public Schools test battery includes projective testing for students suspected of having serious emotional problems. For students suspected of having mental retardation, adaptive behavior will be assessed.
Sociocultural: A written report from a qualified visiting teacher or school social worker based on information collected through social appraisal instruments which includes background and social/adaptive behavior in home, school, and community.
Other Evaluations As Necessary: May include evaluations for speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, adaptive physical education, medical and vision and hearing screening.
When: All parts of the evaluation must be completed so that the Eligibility Committee can meet within 65 administrative working days of  receiving the referral Student Study Committee recommended evaluating your child for consideration for eligibility for special education services.
What Happens Next: The Eligibility Committee meets.
Documents I Should Keep: The "eligibility packet" which contains all of the assessment reports.
Eligibility Committee Meeting
What: When the formal evaluations of your child are completed, an Eligibility Committee meets to determine if he/she has a disability, as defined by IDEA, and requires special education and related services. The committee may also determine that your child is not eligible for special education services and that his/her learning needs can be met within his/her current educational program.
Who: The Eligibility Committee usually includes the professional staff who tested your child as well as a Special Education Coordinator who represents the Director Special Education. You are invited in writing to attend this meeting and should plan to attend. To prepare for the Eligibility Committee meeting, you may request and review a copy of the evaluation reports, listing your questions and noting information about your child that may be helpful to the committee.
When: Within 65 administrative working days (of receipt of referal) Student Study Committee's decision to evaluate for special education
What Happens Next: The IEP Team develops an "Individualized Education Program."
Documents I Should Keep: You will receive a copy of the "Minutes of the Eligibility Committee Meeting" which summarize the findings of the committee.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
What: If the Eligibility Committee determines that your child is eligible for special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Committee is formed to develop an IEP. The IEP is a written document that describes an educational program specifically designed to meet your child's learning needs. The IEP includes the following information:
  • A description of what help your child needs in order to be successful in school and how this help will be given through special education services (including related services).
  • A description of your child's educational levels based on classroom performance and other assessment data.
  • A summary of your child's strengths and weaknesses.
  • A listing of annual goals and short term objectives directed toward developing weak areas.
  • How your child's progress in meeting goals and objectives will be measured.
  • Accommodations necessary for success in the learning environment.
  • State/county-wide/and Literacy test accommodations.
  • A description of how much special education will be delivered in the general education setting and in the special education setting (including Family Life Education).
  • Transition goals and objectives for students 14 years and older.
  • Diploma options.
  • When special education services will begin and how long they will last.
  • Who: The members of the IEP Committee usually include the school principal/designee (chairperson), Teacher (s), parent(s), and the student, when appropriate. Students are encouraged to participate whenever possible. Your presence and participation in developing the IEP is most important because you know your child better than anyone.
    When: Within 30 calendar days after a student is initially found eligible for special education services, the school will work with you to select a convenient time for the IEP meeting and confirm in writing the date and time agreed upon.
    What Happens Next: Special Education Services begin with parental permission.
    Documents I Should Keep: A copy of the IEP
    Delivery of Special Education and Related Services
    What: Special education and related services begin when the parent gives written approval of the IEP. The program of service is specified in the IEP.
    Who: The special education staff at your home school or IEP specified program.
    When: After the IEP is signed
    What Happens Next: Annual Review and Development of the IEP
    Annual Review and Development of the IEP
    What: The Individualized Education Program is reviewed at least annually by the IEP Committee. An annual review assures that special education goals and objectives specified in the IEP are appropriate and progress is reviewed.
    Who: The members of the IEP Committee usually include the school principal/designee (chairperson), Teacher(s), parent(s), and the student, when appropriate. Students are encouraged to participate whenever possible. Your presence and participation in developing the IEP is most important because you know your child better than anyone.
    When: At least annually, but as a parent, you may request an IEP review meeting at any time by contacting your child's teacher or principal.
    What Happens Next: Triennial Reevaluation
    Reevaluation (Eligibility)
    What: Every three years, each student receiving special education services must be reevaluated to determine continued eligibility in special education. The requirements for this triennial reevaluation differ from those of the original eligibility. Reevaluations focus on the area of the student's disability and do not necessarily repeat all the evaluations required for the original eligibility. At each school, the staff reviews the student's performance levels at the last eligibility and makes a decision regarding which evaluation components are to be gathered for the triennial reevaluation. You are informed of the suggested areas of assessment. Your comments and suggestions regarding these assessment areas are welcomed and encouraged. Once the evaluations are completed, you are invited to the Eligibility Committee Meeting.
    Who: Your local special education staff.
    When: The reevaluation must be completed on or before the third anniversary date of the previous eligibility meeting.
    What Happens Next: Your child remains eligible for special education and a new IEP is developed, or your child no longer requires special education services.
    Documents I Should Keep:
    The "reevaluation eligibility packet" which contains all of the assessment reports. You will also receive the Minutes of the Eligibility Committee Meeting, which summarize the findings of the committee.
    Last Modified on August 5, 2014