The Special Education Department is responsible for identifying eligible students and ensuring the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Specially designed instruction and related services are determined by the Assessment, Review, and Dismissal Committee (ARD Committee) for each student. This committee includes parents, the student (when appropriate), and a team of educational professionals dedicated to each student's success in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
Special Education Referral
At any time, a parent may request an evaluation for special education services by contacting the campus and requesting that the request be considered by the Student Success Team (SST) or the Section 504 Committee if the student is protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If the SST or 504 Committee recommends a special education evaluation, Leadership Prep School must decide if the evaluation is needed within a reasonable period of time. If the evaluation is needed, the parent will be notified and offered an opportunity to provide informed written consent for the evaluation no later than the 15th school day after the written request for evaluation is made.
Leadership Prep must complete the evaluation and the written report within 45 school days from the date LPS received the written consent. LPS will provide a copy of the evaluation report to the parent.
LPS will not use intervention strategies, including multi-tiered systems of support, to delay or deny the provision of a full and individual evaluation of a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, including dyslexia or a related disorder.
If an evaluation is not warranted, LPS will provide the parent with prior written notice which explains why the student will not be evaluated. This written notice will include a statement that informs parents of their rights; in addition, LPS will provide parents a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards. Additional information regarding IDEA is available in a companion document, Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process.
The TEA's Parent's Guide to the Admission, Review & Dismissal Process states: There is a two-part test for determining whether your child is eligible for special education and related services: (1) your child must have a disability; and (2) as a result of the disability, your child must need special education and related services to benefit from education. To meet the first part of the two-part test for eligibility, a child between the ages of 3 through 21, except as noted, must meet the criteria for one or more of the disability categories listed below:
- auditory impairment (from birth);
- deaf-blindness (from birth);
- emotional disturbance;
- intellectual disability;
- multiple disabilities;
- noncategorical early childhood (ages three through five);
- orthopedic impairment;
- other health impairment;
- specific learning disability;
- speech or language impairment;
- traumatic brain injury; or
- visual impairment (including blindness from birth).
The ARD committee must make the eligibility determination within 30 calendar days from the date of completion of the initial evaluation report.
ARD - Admission, Review & Dismissal
APE - Adapted Physical Education
ASD - Autism Spectrum Disorder
AT - Assistive Technology
BIP - Behavior Intervention Plan
CM - Content Mastery
ED - Emotional Disturbance
ESY - Extended School Year
FA - Functional Academics
FAPE - Free & Appropriate Public Education
FBA - Functional Behavior Assessment
FERPA - Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act
FIE - Full Individual Evaluation
GT - Gifted and Talented
ID - Intellectual Disability
IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IEP - Individualized Education Program
IHPT - In-Home/Parent Training
ITP - Individual Transition Plan
LD - Learning Disability
LRE - Least Restrictive Environment
LSC - Life Skills Class
LSSP - Licensed Specialist in School Psychology
OHI - Other Health Impairment
OT - Occupational Therapy
PLAAFP - Present Levels of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance
PT - Physical Therapy
RTI - Response to Intervention
SBS - Specialized Behavior Support
SI - Speech Impairment
SLP - Speech Language Pathologist
TEA - Texas Education Agency
TEKS - Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills
Leadership Prep School believes in educating students in the least restrictive environment. General education curriculum is the foundation for all instructional programs. The Full and Individual Evaluation, along with current information regarding present levels of academic achievement and functional performance form the basis for decision-making by the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD/IEP) Committee who determine specific services needed on an individual basis.
A full continuum of instructional and related services is available to eligible students, with initial consideration given to provision of services in the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible. Students spend varying amounts of time in general education and special education settings, depending upon their specific needs. Special education instructional services are available on every campus, as well as, district-wide instructional / related services. Campus services may include full-time placement in a general education classroom and/or pull-out services in a special education classroom. Services are individually determined for each student based on instructional environments that will ensure educational benefit.
Services Provided at Campuses
This instructional setting provides special education and related services in the regular classroom in accordance with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Qualified special education personnel are involved in the implementation of the student's IEP. In addition, the student's regular classroom teacher(s) is a critical component in the instructional process. Examples of special education services provided in the general education classroom include, but are not limited to, direct instruction, helping teacher, team teaching, co-teaching, paraprofessionals to help support instruction, instructional accommodations, curriculum modification, specialized materials/equipment, and consultation with the student and his/her regular classroom teacher(s) regarding the student's progress in regular education classes.
Special education services may be provided in a special education setting to augment classroom instruction. Support is provided in this setting by special education teachers and paraprofessionals. It is typically a quiet setting where students’ individual support and learning styles can be accommodated. Students may come to Content Mastery to receive assistance on assignments and projects both during and outside the school day. Additionally, IEP requirements such as small group or oral administration testing can also be provided in Content Mastery, though every effort is made to provide these type of support services in general education settings to the greatest degree possible.
Special Education Classroom
Students requiring specific instruction beyond what is available in a general education classroom may receive services in a special education setting. The amount of time a student spends in this setting varies, depending upon his/her specific needs. One student may receive instruction in a special education classroom for only one academic subject and the rest of instruction in general education classes. Another student may need to spend the entire instructional day in a special education setting. Instruction is provided by special education teachers who are designated highly qualified in the instructional services they provide. These classes are typically and characterized by smaller class size and altered pace of instruction. These services are offered from kindergarten through high school.
This instructional setting provides educational services primarily to students with cognitive impairments who access the general education curriculum through prerequisite skills. An individually paced curriculum is developed for each student, focusing on reading, writing and math with a strong emphasis on pre-vocational skills. Instruction meets the needs of students requiring alternate assessment. Students are typically able to participate in some activities and classes with their non-disabled peers. These services are provided from elementary through high school.
Life Skills Class
This instructional setting prepares students with significant disabilities to participate as independently as possible in critical natural environments. The goal is to achieve the highest level of academic progress possible while participating with maximum independence in integrated community, domestic, recreational and vocational activities. Life Skills provides educational services to students who require specialized assistance in the areas of academics, social, self-help, communication and independent living skills. Students are typically able to participate in some activities and classes with their non-disabled peers. These services are currently provided from elementary through middle school.
Post-High School Services
Students who have earned the required high school credits but have not yet met graduation criteria are provided post-high school services that emphasize preparation for adult life following graduation. The goal is to provide students with an age-appropriate post-high school educational experience that promotes independence and life-long learning through the use of community-based vocational, independent, and social integration activities. Development in the following skill areas is the focus of services: Vocational, Daily Living, Community-Based, Social and Leisure/Recreation. Services are individualized to meet the needs of each student. These students may fulfill graduation requirements prior to 22 years of age at which time services would cease.
Speech Language Services
Speech therapy services in a school are based on an educational model. Under this, students are provided with the services they need to succeed in a school setting with a focus on supporting a student’s ability to understand and use information taught in the classroom and participate in learning to achieve success both academically and socially. Speech therapy is an instructional service which means it can be the only service a student receives or it can also be provided as a part of a more in-depth IEP for students with disabilities such as autism, traumatic brain injury, learning disability and attention deficit disorder. Speech Language Pathologists in schools typically evaluate and provide direct individual and/ or group therapy as well as consultative services for skills such as articulation, language, social skills, executive functioning, voice, and fluency. Speech Language Pathologists also serve an important role in educating parents and teachers about communication disorders.
Purpose of Adapted Physical Education
Adapted physical education (APE) is a program for students with disabilities from birth through 21 years of age. This is a diversified program of developmental activities, games, sports, and rhythmical movements suited to the interests, capacities, limitations of students with disabilities who may or may not safely or successfully engage in the activities of a general physical education program.
Adapted physical education (APE) instruction is specified in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) ad shall meet the standards of the TEKS. Its purpose is to provide a physical education program in which the activities and teaching procedures are adapted to the specific strengths and limitations of students with disabilities who cannot participate in the general physical education program or who need adaptations for safe and successful participation. All students should be provided functional and/or community-based physical education instruction on activities to enhance progress at their appropriate level.
Curriculum and Instruction
The content of the APE program is organized into a progressive sequence of instruction. It is designed to strengthen and extend the basic movement competencies already acquired with increased emphasis on physical fitness and lifetime activities.
Delivery of Services
Direct services personnel are those professional identified in federal laws as having primary educational responsibility for students with disabilities. An APE professional can assume two basic roles when meeting the physical education needs of students with disabilities. The following is a detailed explanation of each of these roles.
- Direct Instruction- Professionals in APE provide instruction to a student or a small group of students at a designated intervals. The APE teacher assists students with disabilities by teaching the motor fitness skills needed to achieve the annual goals, and objectives specified on the student’s IEP.
- Supplementary Services– Supplementary services are provided to the teacher(s) and/or paraprofessional to meet the student’s specific IEP annual goals and objectives. The supplementary model also provides a professional design services to ensure that appropriate programming and/or equipment is in place so that the services provider is well informed of safe and successful instructions. The APE teacher also spends time with the students during his/her schedule monitoring visit to help assist with any activity modifications and/or new activities.
Adaptation encompasses both modifications and accommodations. A modification is the practice of changing the manner in which instruction is delivered and/or how the curriculum is modified. An example of modification to instruction would be to have students rotate through stations in small groups instead of the entire class receiving directions to the activity while watching the teacher demonstrate.
Instruction for Students with Vision Impairments
Programming for students with vision impairments will be created through an ARD committee and may include:
- Compensatory Access: concept development, spatial understanding, communication modes, speaking and listening skills, study and organizational skills, use of adapted and specialized educational materials.
- Assistive Technology: access to information, communication, personal productivity.
- Sensory Efficiency: visual function, auditory function, tactile function.
- Orientation and Mobility: body concepts, environmental concepts, spatial concepts, perceptual/sensory skills, mobility skills, orientation skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills.
- Independent Living Skills: organization, personal hygiene and grooming, dressing, clothing care, time management, eating, cooking, cleaning and general household tasks, telephone use, money management.
- Social Interaction: appropriate body language, social communication, effective conversation patterns, cooperative skills, interactions with others, social etiquette, development of relationships and friendships, knowledge of self, interpretation and monitoring of social behavior.
- Recreation and Leisure: development of interests and skills involved in physical and leisure activities.
- Career Education: career awareness, career exploration, career preparation, career placement.
- Self Determination: self-knowledge, awareness of individual rights and responsibilities, capacity to make informed choices, problem solving and goal setting skills, ability to engage in self-regulated and self-directed behavior, self-advocacy and empowerment, assertiveness skills.
Instruction for Students with Auditory Impairments
Programming for students with auditory impairments will be created through an ARD committee.
Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. AT provides access to curriculum, allows for independence and enables students to actively participate in their education. AT may include:
Low tech to high tech communication systems
Computer technologies, such as access switches, keyboards and specialized software
FM systems for students in special education
The ARD committee may request an evaluation from the Assistive Technology Team in order to determine if a student needs a specialized device/equipment in order to access his/her curriculum.
Educationally based occupational is provided, as a related service, to enhance the special education student's ability to adapt to and physically function within an educational environment.
The role of the occupational therapist is to facilitate a student's functioning in the school setting. The goal of educationally relevant therapy is to minimize the effects of the student's disability on his or her ability to participate in the educational process.
The OT therapist observes the student's functional skills and offers strategies to promote functional independence within the individualized educational program (IEP). In the school setting, educational objectives hold primary position while therapeutic activities are undertaken to support the educational objectives. Services are generally consultative in nature with implementation of the therapist's recommendations by the teacher, assistant, or parent.
OT services will be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), which generally means the classroom. By providing services in the classroom the therapist offers strategies needed for the student's daily activities with active teacher/assistant involvement. These strategies may include handling techniques, classroom modifications, school related self-care skills, fine motor skill development, sensory supports and/or adaptive equipment.
Parent and In-Home Training
Parent and In-Home Training needs will be identified by the ARD committee.
Educationally based (school-based) physical therapy, provided as a related service, should be directed towards achievement of the functional tasks required to participate and benefit from special education placement. School-based physical therapy is provided to minimize the effects of the student’s disability on his or her ability to participate in the educational process. The physical therapist evaluates the student’s functional skills and collaborates with school staff to develop an appropriate IEP. The role of the physical therapist is to enhance the student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment. Services can be direct and/ or consultative in nature with implementation of the therapist’s recommendations by the teacher, assistant, or parent. PT services will be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE). By providing services in the child’s naturally occurring educational setting, the therapist is able to offer strategies needed for the student’s daily activities with active teacher/ assistant involvement.
Psychological Services are provided by Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSPs). LSSPs are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. LSSPs partner with families, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community (NASP). Specific psychological services are provided when prerequisites have been met. Services include general and special education consultation, special education evaluation, and special education indirect and direct counseling services.
TransitionTransition is an important component to help students of all ages with disabilities succeed in school. Whether students are transitioning from grade to grade, from early childhood programs to elementary school, elementary to middle school, middle to high school, or high school to college or employment, the special education team at LPS is ready to support our students.Transition is a process of a coordinated set of activities that includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
For additional help/information on transition services at LPS, please contact Danelle Standifer.