Special Education Services
Here at Skyview we value highly that every child is afforded the maximum opportunity to grow and progress in their daily educational experience. As is the case at all schools, some of our students require special education services in order to grow and progress optimally in their education and to successfully access the curriculum.
Special Education Is...
- the identification of and provision of needed specially-designed instruction and/or therapy provided regularly by specially-trained providers (special ed. teachers and/or therapists) in addition to the instruction the student receives in their general education classroom
- the identification of and provision of accommodations that are made in the general ed. classroom setting that allow the student the maximum chances for success and that respond to their unique needs
- the identification and provision of modifications that can be made to how much or what level of work the student is given if the student requires this
- the identification and provision of any needed assistive technology that would benefit the student in their everyday functioning in the classroom
One could think of special education in a nutshell as “Who because of ______, needs_______.” This means that the child being considered (evaluated) for special education - as all children must be when the team of teachers and/or parents suspect the child might have a disability - has to be found to have one of the 15 qualifying categories of disability as laid out in the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). These 15 categories are explained here, on the Arizona Dept. of Ed.’s website: Disability Categories
If a child is experiencing a pattern of difficulty in school for either academic, speech or social-emotional reasons, then the teacher(s) will first implement interventions and extra supports in the regular classroom for a reasonable period of time to see if these efforts can help the child overcome these challenges. If these classroom interventions are not solving these noted issues then a special ed. evaluation is probably warranted. Parents and/or the child’s teacher(s) may initiate a referral to Skyview director, Dena Ford and special education coordinator, Kerry Johnson, for an evaluation to be completed. Parents will always be informed if their child has been referred for a special ed. evaluation, and will already have been informed by the classroom teacher of any concerns, prior to the evaluation referral. Parents have the right to refuse an evaluation of their child for a potential disability.
If it is established by the special education evaluation that the child does in fact present with a particular disability category or categories, and that special ed. services are needed for progress at school, then the team of teachers/parents must determine what those services are that the child needs. Is a particular therapy needed in order for maximum progress to be made in the school curricula? Does that child need specialized and separate reading, math or writing area skills lessons taught by a special ed. teacher? What skills are most critical that the special ed. personnel would work on with the student each week? This is when the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is created by the team of teachers, therapists and parents that answers all of these questions in detail. The IEP usually lasts for one year, and is reviewed and revised approximately one year from the time it is written and implemented. If the child continues to need special education services, the IEP is renewed and revised annually. Progress reports on how the child is progressing on their IEP goals are sent home quarterly, just like regular progress reports.
Parents are encouraged to play an active role in their child’s education at Skyview, and the special ed. process is no exception. Parent feedback and information about their child and his/her needs is very important, and always taken into thoughtful consideration when the IEP is being crafted and implemented. Parents can always ask for the IEP team to meet in order to discuss and problem-solve and perhaps revise the IEP if need be.
At Skyview, we have a team of teachers and therapists who are committed and enthusiastic about teaching our kids with unique needs. Our team includes the following people and roles:
Kerry Johnson, Special Ed. Teacher and Coordinator
Joe Hanzen, Special Ed. Teacher
Hilary Herman, Speech Language Pathologist
Karie Hammond, Occupational Therapist
Roni Rummel, Physical Therapist
Jennie Jones, School Counselor
If you have any questions about special education at Skyview or in general, please contact Kerry Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org