Assistant Superintendent Mr. Rene Hernandez,
Special Education Director Dr. Alison Walker
Special Education Office Specialist Ms. Marilyn Arellanes
What is Special Education?
Special education is a program designed to meet the unique educational needs of children with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria under the law. Special education services can begin at birth and continue for your child until the age of twenty-two (22). Your child may receive special education services under one of the following disability categories:
- Speech or language impairment
- Specific learning disabilities
- Other health impairment (chronic or acute health condition resulting in limited strength, vitality or alertness adversely affecting educational performance)
- Serious emotional disturbance
- Mental retardation
- Autism or autistic-like behaviors
- Orthopedic impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Visual impairment including blindness
- Traumatic brain injury
- Multiple disabilities (two or more of the previously listed conditions)
Preschool children, ages 3 to 5 years old, may qualify for special education services if they have on of the previously listed eligible disabilities or an “established medical disability.” An “established medical disability” is a disabling medical condition or congenital syndrome very likely to require special education services.
In California , children with disabilities younger than 3 years of age may also qualify for early intervention services, which help enhance their development. Children who qualify for early intervention will receive services from one of the service provider districts in the West San Gabriel Valley (WSGV) SELPA, if they have solely a visual, hearing, or severe orthopedic impairment. All other children in this age range who exhibit developmental delays or have established risk conditions with harmful developmental consequences will receive early intervention services from their local regional center. In many cases, the regional center, which provides services to families within the Garvey School District ’s attendance area, is the East Los Angeles Regional Center located in Alhambra , CA .
If your child is eligible to receive special education services, you have the right to be informed about all available public and non-public schools, or programs. The law requires that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities be educated with children without disabilities. This placement is sometimes called “the least restrictive environment.”
Each student may require a different program or combination of programs, and when appropriate, a student’s curriculum can be modified. The goal is to build programs around a student’s needs rather than trying to fit the student into the programs. The following is a list of program options from the least restrictive to the most restrictive environment:
General education classes
Whenever appropriate, students with disabilities will be educated in general education classes. In addition, whenever possible they will attend the school they would ordinarily attend if they were not in special education.
General education classes with consultation
In order for students with disabilities to be appropriately educated in general education classes it may be necessary for their teacher to consult with the school site special education personnel to receive guidance and support.
General education classes with designated instruction and services (DIS)
A resource specialist program provides instruction and services to students with disabilities assigned to the general education classroom for the majority of the school day. The goal of the resource specialist program is to enable students with disabilities to succeed in the general education environment. The program provides assistance in a variety of ways depending on the needs of a particular student. For example, the resource specialist may work with the student in a small group setting, in a separate room. If appropriate, the resource specialist and instructional assistant may collaborate with the student’s teacher in or out of the general education classroom, to help the student access the grade level curriculum.
General education classes and special day classes
Depending on their needs, students with disabilities may be educated in general education classes for part of the school day as well as in the special day classes for the other part of the school day.
Special day classes (SDC)
Special day classes serve students who, because of their disabilities, cannot participate in general education classes for a majority of the school day. These classes are provided on general education sites. As appropriate, students enrolled in special day classes interact with their general education peers through academic, non-academic and extracurricular activities.
Students are enrolled in special schools/centers when it is determined that the nature and severity of their disabilities require more intensive educational instruction. As appropriate, students enrolled in one of the SELPA classes or the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) programs interact with their general education peers through academic, non-academic and extracurricular activities.
Non-public schools / Non-public agency
When no appropriate public education program or services are available, a student with disabilities may be placed in a non-public school, or may receive services from a non-public agency, under contract with the District. These facilities must be licensed and certified by the State of California .
Home or hospital
Students with a verified medical or emotional condition, which prevents them from attending school, may receive services on a temporary basis in the home or a hospital.
State residential schools
State residential schools provide comprehensive assessment and services for students with visual and/or hearing disabilities.
Does Your Child Need Special Education?
The Garvey School District is committed to serving the educational needs of each of its students. Each school district has a process that brings together the parent or guardian, the student, if appropriate, and school personnel to address any problems that interfere with a student’s success in school. This team of people, Student Study Team (SST), is responsible for identifying the student’s needs and developing a plan to enable the student to be successful.
Sometimes however, students may require special education services. The Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team determines eligibility for special education services after a student has been evaluated. Students receive special education services only after all the resources of the general education programs have been considered and tried.
A student who is not eligible for special education services may qualify for accommodations or classroom modifications under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. You or your child’s teacher may submit a written request to the school administrator for a Section 504 evaluation of your child in order to determine whether accommodations or modifications might be appropriate. You will be notified when the evaluation meeting is to take place and you may participate in this meeting. Your child may then be provided with accommodations or a 504 Plan for classroom modifications and intervention strategies, in the general education classroom. A 504 Plan, which is also referred to as an Individualized Accommodation Plan (IAP), is a function of general education, not special education.
The Special Education Process
The special education process determines whether or not your child is eligible for special education services and if so, what special education services are the most appropriate for your child.
There are four basic steps in the special education process:
- Referral for Assessment
- Development and Implementation of an Individualized Educational Program (IEP)
- IEP Review
Guidelines for Assessment
When your child is assessed, the following guidelines will be followed:
- Your child will be assessed only after you consent to the Assessment Plan.
- Your child will be assessed in all areas related to his or her suspected disability.
- The assessment will be administered in your child’s primary language or a qualified interpreter will be provided.
- The assessment must include a variety of appropriate tests to measure your child’s strengths and needs. The persons administering these tests must be qualified to do so.
- The assessment will be adapted for students with impaired sensory, physical or speaking skills
- A multidisciplinary team, including at least one teacher or other specialist with knowledge in the area of your child’s suspected disability, will assess your child.
Assessment tools and procedures must not be racially, culturally or sexually discriminatory.
What is an IEP?
The IEP is the written plan that describes a child’s abilities and needs, and the placement and services designed to meet the child’s unique needs. Your child must have an IEP before he or she receives special education services. Your child’s IEP must be implemented as soon as possible after the IEP meeting. In addition, your child’s IEP must be reviewed and, if necessary, revised once a year or more often upon request.
If your child is found eligible for special education services, the IEP will contain:
- Annual goals and short-term objectives focusing on your child’s current level of performance;
- The services that your child will receive;
- When services will begin, how often they will be provided, and for how long;
- The instructional program(s) where these services will be delivered;
- The amount of time your child will spend in general education. If your child is not educated completely in general education, it should state why; and
- How the school will measure your child’s progress.
Children with disabilities should attend the school they would ordinarily attend if they were not in special education. This requirement may be waived when a student’s IEP requires it and states why.
You will receive a copy of the IEP at the IEP meeting. If you do not attend the IEP meeting, a copy will be mailed to you, with a cover letter that must be signed and returned to the district as evidence of your knowledge and consent. You have the right to agree or disagree with any part of the IEP. The school is required to get your consent to the IEP before your child receives special education services. Upon your request, you must be given a copy of the IEP in your primary language, whenever possible.
Will I Receive Notice of the IEP Meeting?
The school must provide you with notice of the IEP meeting within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. This notice will include: the date, time, and place of the meeting; the reason for the meeting; who will be at the meeting; and a statement of the right of participants to electronically record the meeting. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may call the school to reschedule.
Information About Surrogate Parents
To protect the rights of a child, the District must determine if he or she needs a Surrogate parent, and if appropriate, assign a surrogate parent when:
- No parent or guardian can be identified;
- The District, after reasonable efforts, cannot find the parent or guardian; or
- The child is a ward of the State.
The District must ensure that the person selected to be a surrogate parent has no interest that conflicts with the interest of the child he or she represents. In addition, the person selected should have the knowledge and skills to adequately represent the child.
The surrogate parent may not be a person employed by the District. A person is not an employee of the District solely because he or she is paid by the District to serve as a surrogate parent.
The surrogate parent may represent the child in matters relating to identification, assessment, instructional planning and development, educational placement, reviewing and revising the Individualized Education Program (IEP), and in other matters relating to the child’s special education services. He or she may sign any consent relating to IEP purposes. This includes consenting to an IEP containing non-emergency medical services, speech therapy services or counseling services.
Information About Parent Support Groups and Organizations
There are many fine organizations which are available in our community which offer meetings, publications, counseling and advocacy for students with disabilities and their families. For more information, call the SELPA office at (626) 254‑9406.
For More Information:
If you would like more information about special education or have further questions regarding your child’s education, you may contact any of the following:
Your child’s teacher
Your child's school Principal
Student Support Services Department, Special Education Director, Dr. Alison Walker at (626) 307-3427 Ext. 2253