This time of year is always a particularly busy time for the Special Education Department. We are currently in the initial stage of collecting information regarding the projections on the number of special education students and their service minutes for FY 18. Much of this information is the result of the annual review meetings that are held on each student. This information will be used to determine staffing needs for next school year.
Information regarding Extended School Year will be forthcoming for the parents and guardians of the students who qualify for this program. As last year, the program will be held at Forest Road and Barnsdale.
Many of our special education related service providers attended a Social Skills presentation by Scott Bellini, Ph.D. in February that was offered by LADSE for the Coop members. We have been implementing social skills programming for students who have identified needs in this area with great success. It is always helpful for our staff members to hear from experts in the field on various programs that address the needs of our students.
I attended our preschool "Loose Parts" concert on February 28th. It was extremely entertaining and a true credit to our pre-school staff members who worked very hard in the production this excellent show! It was great to see so many parents and grandparents in attendance for this lively event.
Dr. Justin Zelenka, LaGrange 102 District Physical Therapist, will be presenting information for parents regarding movement and learning, at the RAiSE Parent Meeting on April 11th. This will be held at Park Junior High at 7:00 p.m.
Spring Break is right around the corner and a good time for our students to do just that. Take a break and enjoy what will hopefully be a good opportunity to bask in the beauty of spring weather and outdoor activities. Let's hope the little preview we had last month of an early spring will carry over into March.
Joyce Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
As we enjoy these mild temperatures, it is hard to conceive that we are in the last month of 2016. The fall has been busy as our teachers have been very focused on the new literacy curriculum, Schoolwide. Although we began implementation of Math Expressions and Digits last year, we still view these additions new to our curriculum as well. We are very lucky to have the opportunity for these programs.
There has been a great deal of attention recently, to the prospect of the withdrawal of District 102 from the LADSE Cooperative. We welcome the input from the parents and community members for this process and value your opinions. We encourage you to join us for the upcoming parent forums to be held on December 7th at 9:00 a.m. and again on January 11th at 7:00 p.m. More specific information on locations for these meetings is included in this newsletter and on the website.
Raising children and keeping them involved in activities both in and outside of school requires dedication, planning, and most of all, time. Parents of our students with special needs often have time set aside for their children for activities, providers, supports and organizations outside of school. In any case, this takes a tremendous amount of commitment as well as time from your very busy lives.
Our children benefit from organized activities, but it is equally important to allow time for them to make free choices in recreation and hobbies. Winter break affords the opportunity for these activities. “Downtime” can be very beneficial for all of us, but children need choice in play and recreation. Promoting opportunities for this, when possible, can be very rewarding.
While it is difficult to place a value on time, I believe it is one of the greatest gifts to have and to give. The time that you offer to our students, schools and community is always greatly appreciated.
Enjoy spending time together this Holiday Season!
Joyce Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
We welcome new and returning families to the 2016-2017 School Year!
We know the majority of our students are returning to their same school and placement for special education services, but each school year offers change. Others might be new to School District 102, we welcome you and understand the complexities of a new start.
For many of you, this may be the first time your child is in school. That in itself, can be very overwhelming. Add to this, the special needs that these children have and require support for, and it is understandable when parents are apprehensive.
Our Special Education Department includes teachers, speech pathologists, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, hearing and vision itinerants, and paraprofessionals. Coordinating services for our students can be challenging and while we plan far in advance for our students, changes beyond our control happen. I can assure you that our staff members are focusing on meeting the needs of each and every one of our students.
We are very fortunate to be able to welcome the following staff members to our District 102 Special Education Team:
Speech and Language Pathologists
|| Congress Park
|| Forest Road
|| (Substitute at Ogden)
|| Cossitt & Barnsdale
|| Ogden & Forest Road
Each of these individuals brings something new to our department. We look forward to developing working relationships with them and supporting them in their new beginnings at SD102.
As always, we are very fortunate to have your support. Collaboration with home and school in meeting the needs of students is extremely important, and very rewarding. We are confident that having a strong partnership with you will result in successful outcomes for our students.
Joyce M. Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
Spring Break provides a nice pause at this time of year, and allows for much needed rest and relaxation. While our main focus is on the current trimester and moving towards the end of the school year, much of our time is spent in planning for next year. Therefore, it is an exceptionally busy time of the year. Our planning for next year includes review of enrollment and numbers of students identified for special education instruction and related services. We are also reviewing interventions, service delivery models and the data to support the success of these programs and services. The review of this information will inform our instructional practices in going forward.
We are in the process of sending information to parents and guardians regarding our Extended School Year Program (ESY), for those special education students who qualify. The intent of ESY is to minimize skill loss and recoupment time at the start of the year by maintaining skills over the summer months. ESY services are not comprehensive, but focus on those areas of educational need for which there is significant loss of skill.
I have had the opportunity to dialogue with several groups throughout the course of this school year and last school year, who bring a variety of ideas regarding education.
These groups include community members, parents of students, staff members, colleagues and outside consultants. These conversations have been purposeful with the common theme of Meeting the Needs of Our Students. This genuine concern is very reassuring and I am confident that these discussions will continue to be beneficial for our school district.
Joyce M. Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
Happy New Year!
We have been off to a busy start of the New Year, with transition meetings for 8th graders at Park with Lyons Township High School staff. These meetings are extremely helpful in planning and programming for our students. We are also beginning to plan for services for our K-8 students for 2016-2017. This includes reviewing all Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) to determine programming and staffing needs.
We have exciting news in the special education department! Two special education staff members gave birth during the last two months. Bridget Boam, speech pathologist at Forest Road and Barnsdale, welcomed a new son, and Nicole Hobus, occupational therapist at Barnsdale, welcomed a new daughter.
There will be information forthcoming regarding a parent night for those who are new to special education. We have plans to bring information that we believe can be helpful in understanding the process and procedures of special education programming and planning, which can often be overwhelming for parents.
Enjoy these last days of January!
Joyce M. Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
Our long awaited spring is upon us and the volume of noise in our school halls is indicative of our students heightened enthusiasm, which is absolutely wonderful!
We are well into the first round of PARCC testing and plans are being made for the end of the year tests in late April and the beginning of May. Shortly after spring break we will begin the Dynamic Learning Maps testing which is the alternate test to the PARCC for our students with cognitive delays. This assessment takes the place of what we previously referred to as The Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA). The teachers of these students have prepared well for this assessment by participating in training modules and professional development regarding the test.
I have received a list of email addresses from parents who wish to receive notifications from the special education department as I post information. If you have not submitted your email address and wish to be contacted, please send your information through this website.
I have included information on our district programs and services in special education in this update. I hope you will find this beneficial.
Have a wonderful, restful, and well-needed spring break.
Joyce M. Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
La Grange School District 102 Special Education
Programs and Services
Special education is individually designed to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Special education, however, is a part of the whole and its success depends, in part, on the quality, philosophy and diversity of the total educational program for meeting the needs of all students. Today, special education cannot be viewed in isolation from general education.
Lagrange School District 102 offers a continuum of programs and services to meet the needs of children with special needs. These include: consultation, resource services, supported general education classrooms, cross-categorical classrooms, Early Childhood Special Education classrooms, the Connections programs, LADSE programs and outside private programs.
Related Services may include: Speech and Language Therapy (SL), Social Work (SW), Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT), Assistive Technology (AT), Vision Itinerant (VI) services and Hearing Itinerant services (HI).
Cross-Categorical programs permit students with varying disabilities to be combined for delivery of services. All services and placements are based on the Individual Education Plan (IEP), which represents a legally binding commitment of services.
The district Cross-Categorical classrooms are located at Congress Park School and serve students in grades K-6.
The Cross-categorical classrooms address students' needs across all disability categories and incorporate a variety of evidence-based teaching strategies and curricula to facilitate academic instruction for students who are experiencing a significant delay in academic progress. Inclusion opportunities utilizing the continuum of supports are available based on student's needs.
• Typically students require direct instruction in all areas of academics to make appropriate progress.
• Students may access the general education curriculum and supplemental curriculum is introduced on an individual basis and is monitored for individual success.
• Social and behavioral skill instruction is integrated throughout the student's day
The Connections Program
The Connections program uses several methodologies to meet the educational needs of students with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The District Connections classrooms are located as follows:
ECE/K Barnsdale School
Primary and Intermediate at Forest Road School
Junior High at Park School
The Connections program uses several methodologies to meet the educational needs of students with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The foundation of these classrooms is Structured Teaching, the method developed at TEACCH (University of North Carolina; www.teacch.com
) to foster maximum independence of learners in the classroom. This is the “stock of the soup” (Flint, 2009) and provides the physical structure of the classrooms, schedules, work systems, functional routines and visually clear activities and tasks. The next component is a merging of the best and current practices in Applied Behavioral Analysis with the integration of the principles of B.F. Skinner’s (1957) Analysis of Verbal Behavior to assess and develop language, social and other skills crucial to learning. The assessment and teaching techniques include direct instruction and natural environment teaching to promote generalization. The following components are also implemented as needed and identified in the Individual Education Plan (IEP): the utilization of augmentative and alternative communication including picture exchange and devices, computer programs, Social Stories, relaxation routines, safe area routines, structured movement and exercise, yoga, sensory breaks, opportunities in general education, and community trips.
Structured Teaching can be used in the programs and is particularly useful for classroom set up, independence, leisure skills, and academics. The Verbal Behavior Approach emphasizes pairing ourselves with reinforcers to increase our value to the student, to develop cooperation by contriving natural motivation for a student to want to learn from us and their environment, as well as communication and assessment of barriers in general learning and academics. Note the overlap – it means we have more than one way to approach a skill. Likewise, both of these methods are utilized to teach social skills.
Structured Teaching vs. Verbal Behavior – both emphasize errorless learning and changing the environment to suit the individual and to foster maximal independence. Structured Teaching emphasizes “competence motivation” in that being finished with a task is reinforcing in itself. This is an important concept. “The Verbal Behavior Approach” includes the important principle of positive reinforcement for acquisition of individualized targeted skill areas and capturing the motivation for a particular reinforcer in that moment. “The Verbal Behavior Approach” also supports that it is important that reinforcement is faded to something that is natural and maintained in everyday life. We use continuous positive reinforcement (reinforcement of every response) for new skills (acquisition) and fade as quickly as possible to intermittent/varying reinforcement for maintaining skills.
In addition to these underpinnings, the program is supported by a team of professionals including a special education teacher, speech language pathologist, social worker, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, and paraprofessionals who assist certified and licensed staff with instruction, practice, and inclusion opportunities as is appropriate for each child. Dr. Marrea Winnega, a licensed Clinical Psychologist with specialties in autism spectrum disorders and developmental psychology, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and a Structured Teaching trainer, serves as a consultant to the program.
As we welcome the new year, there are a number of things to do in planning for next school year. Meetings with Lyons Township (LT) for our current 8th graders have been ongoing since we returned from winter break. LT holds all their meetings at the beginning of the new year to enable incoming freshman to access the appropriate courses and electives. For most students, this meeting will act as their annual review meeting. Robert Condon, Director of Special Education for District 102, and your child’s case manager will attend these meetings to represent your child’s progress at D102 and any ongoing IEP needs at the high school level. If you have any specific questions, please contact your child’s case manager, who will be glad to help you.
Student projection forms for the 2015-2016 school year have been sent to the buildings. Students’ case managers complete these forms for each student, relying primarily on the “Next Year” minute’s page from IEP documents. This information is reviewed and used as preliminary data with regard to planning, staffing and programming for next year.
This year also includes additional things for our “To Do” list related to preparation for the PARCC testing. The test preparation for our teachers has included the following; overview and test administration training, review of the PARCC information on the ISBE website, submission of individual accommodations for students, and continued implementation of the Common Core Standards. As you can see, our teachers are extremely busy and we should applaud their efforts in addressing so many new expectations.
Special education resource teachers from the primary grades and the reading interventionists attended Wilson Reading Fundations training on January 16th. This is a reading program for primary grades and serves as a research based intervention. We are planning to hold additional Wilson training in the future and through next school year. While we have current programs in place for struggling readers, it is in the better interest of students to offer additional interventions, as “One size does not fit all.” This program, in addition to our current reading programs, will afford us a variety of interventions for our students.
There is a positive side to the cold and snowy winter weather, in that it affords us time to spend at home with family. Recognizing that extra-curricular activities fill much of the time out side of the school day, I encourage you to use the time at home for reading with your child as much as possible.
Joyce M. Powell, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
District 102 offers monthly developmental screening opportunities for children ages three through five to provide early intervention for children who are suspected to have developmental delays or other handicapping conditions. Children are screened in the areas of Language Development, Fine and Gross Motor Development, Concept Development, and Vision and Hearing. Children identified through the screening process are referred for a full evaluation to determine eligibility and need for programming. Children experiencing significant risk factors in their environment but not at risk for disability may be eligible for our Blended Early Childhood Program. For information on screening or programs, contact our early childhood program at Barnsdale School at 708.482.3003.
A student is referred for a special education evaluation when there is a reason to believe he/she may have a disability requiring special education services. Referrals may be made by School District 102 personnel, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the student, a representative from a state accredited private school within District boundaries, an employee of a community service agency, or other qualified persons as determined by Federal and State Law. The educational team, primarily the grade level or Tier 3 instructor, is the most common source of referrals in schools.
Regardless of the source of the referral, if the referral is appropriate, the school district must notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) and referring party in writing of their decision to initiate the evaluation process. Once a referral is initiated, the team, including parents, will come together at a Domain Meeting to review and evaluate existing information about the student. Upon reviewing the information, the team members shall determine whether additional evaluation data are needed, and which qualified members of the team will conduct the evaluation. The following areas (domains) may be assessed: academic/developmental skills, functional skills, cognitive functioning, hearing/vision, health, motor abilities, communication status and social/emotional status. Written parental consent must be obtained prior to conducting the evaluation. Illinois Rules and Regulations that govern special education mandate that a case study evaluation and an IEP Eligibility Conference be completed within sixty school days from the date of written consent.
The evaluation process compiles data identified at the domain meeting. These data may be existing information within the school, parental interview, private evaluation, or additional diagnostic assessment. When the evaluation is completed, the team, including the parents/guardians, will meet at an Eligibility Determination Conference (EDC) to review the results and determine if the student meets eligibility criteria for special education. If special education eligibility is determined, and there is an adverse affect on the student’s educational performance, the team will also develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the student. The team must include, but is not limited to, the following individuals: parent(s)/guardian(s), general education teacher, special education teacher, LEA representative, and an individual(s) qualified to interpret the results of the evaluation.
Eligibility for special education is based on the following three criteria:
1. The student has an identified, disabling condition.
2.The student’s identified disability has an adverse effect on his/her educational performance. This is determined by documenting that the student has been resistant to interventions presented in the general education setting, and the student’s present levels of performance are discrepant from that of age/grade standards.
3. The student requires specialized instruction or services outside the reach of general education to address the adverse effect.
A student may not be found eligible to receive special education services if a student’s delay is based on one of the following factors: lack of instruction in reading, lack of instruction in math, limited English proficiency, or environmental/cultural factors.
District 102 follows the state and federal laws that establish criteria for special education eligibility. The federal government recognizes 14 categories under which children may qualify for special education. These disabilities include:
Other Health Impairment
Developmental Delay *
Traumatic Brain Injury
Speech or Language Impairment
Specific Learning Disability**
Developmental delay can only be used for young children, ages 3 through 9, who are experiencing significant delay(s) in at least one of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social and emotional development, or adaptive development.
**In 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was reauthorized. Key to that reauthorization was the inclusion of the concept of Response to Intervention (RtI) as a recommended option in identifying a Specific Learning Disability (SLD). Illinois expanded on the federal recommendations and mandated the use of RtI. The history of this is best summarized in the Foreword of the publication Response to Intervention, Policy Considerations and Implementation, 2006 by the National Association of Directors of Special Education (NADSE).
Over the past several years, state directors of special education, along with other members of the special education community, have expressed increasing concern about the rapid rise in the numbers of students identified as learning disabled, especially when the term is applied to students whose primary difficulty is reading. This concern has led to an increasing lack of confidence in the discrepancy model* as a means of identifying children with learning disabilities.
One of the most far-reaching outcomes of the 2001 Learning Disabilities Summit, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, was an endorsement of the Response to Intervention (RtI) approach in identifying specific learning disabilities. When Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004), it authorized local education agencies to utilize RtI…
* IQ-Discrepancy Model is the practice of comparing a Full Scale IQ score (100 is average) to a child’s actual achievement (standard scores) to determine the presence of a learning disability. A significant discrepancy would be a measure of underachievement as demonstrated by standard scores 15-20 points or more below an IQ score.
RtI is the process of (1) providing high quality instruction/interventions matched to student needs and (2) using learning rate over time and level of performance to (3) make important educational decisions (NADSE, 2006). The origins of RtI are found in the work of educational researchers in the late 1970’s. The current implementation of RtI across the nation has been fueled by unresolved problems in the traditional practices of identifying SLD through an IQ-discrepancy model, still used by private practitioners. (See section on Private Evaluation)
Among the issues identified in the NADSE 2006 publication Response to Intervention, Policy Considerations and Implementation, 2006, those related to the use of RtI as part of the process for identification of SLD over the traditional model are listed below:
Integration of eligibility determination and instruction
In addition to the concerns about the consistency of SLD classifications, researchers and practitioners are concerned about the relationship of the assessment procedures used in eligibility evaluations with the design, monitoring, and evaluations of instructional programs in special education. Traditional assessment and eligibility determination practices in SLD and other disability categories that are aimed at confirming a disability (e.g. deficit model) have few implications for designing the instructional programs or the behavior interventions that children and youth need. SLD eligibility determination using the current IQ-achievement discrepancy causes harm by delaying treatment from kindergarten or first grade, when academic and behavior problems first emerge, to later grades when persistent achievement problems are more difficult to resolve (Fletcher, et al, 2002).
Failure of traditional assumptions
Many of traditional foundations for identifying disabilities and designing specific special educational instruction for students with high-incidence disabilities are unsupported by research. Modern special education dating from perhaps the mid 1980’s was founded on the assumption that: (1) instructional interventions differed for different categories of high-incidence disabilities; (2) underlying processing deficits could be readily identified and used to improve the accuracy of disability identification; and (3) learning style, modality preferences or cognitive processing strengths could be identified accurately and outcomes improved if instructional methodology were matched to these strengths. None of these assumptions is supported by research. Matching instructional method to presumed cognitive processing strengths is an attractive idea that lacks an empirical foundation. Cronbach once described the effort to match teaching methodology to cognitive strengths as ‘a hall of mirrors that extends to infinity’ (1975, p. 119). More recently, Vaughn and Linan-Thompson summarized the matching literature with: ‘There is no empirical support for the use of modality-matched instruction or learning styles as a means to enhance outcomes for students with LD (learning disabilities)’ (2003, p. 142).
Research and major policy reports supporting the RtI model and further refuting the IQ-discrepancy model can be found from the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD) Studies, the National Reading Panel, National Research Council Panel on Minority Overrepresentation, National Summit on Learning Disabilities, and the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education. These are also summarized in the NADSE 2006 publication (www.nadse.org).
The District provides information on its RtI model HERE. A broad summary of general RtI services is reflected in the commonly used triangle or pyramid representing the three tiers of RtI. The base of the pyramid or Tier 1 applies to all children and data should reflect a minimum of eighty percent of the children receiving and benefitting from the school district’s core curriculum. These children generally reflect average or expected achievement in school, the twenty-fifth to seventy-fifth percentile nationally. In high-achieving districts, this can be ninety percent of the students or more. When this occurs it is common for districts to provide opportunities for advanced or accelerated classes, but it is important to remember the expected age/grade standards to which the full population should be held. In high-achieving districts it is very easy to lose sight of the fact that a child performing as expected for a particular age/grade is not in need of remedial intervention. Placement in remedial programming would be a disservice to such a child. The use of data to ensure students are appropriately placed and challenged is critical, especially in such districts.
Tier 2 instruction is designed for those students whose academic profile places them in the low average range, tenth to twenty-fifth percentile nationally. Based on statistics, this can be anywhere from ten to fifteen percent of the district’s population. In a successful or high-performing district with ninety percent of children in Tier 1, this number would be lower. Children in Tier 2 require some additional support and remediation to be successful in the Tier 1 programming. Although there is some flexibility in the guidelines, the district strives to maintain each child in the richest environment. The goal of all intervention levels is to return the child to Tier 1 where the child has the greatest exposure to grade level content and can have the opportunity to excel.
Tier 3 instruction is designed for those students whose academic profile places them in the below average range, the tenth percentile or lower nationally. Based on statistics, this can be anywhere from two to five percent of the district’s population. These children demonstrate the need for more intense remediation, often below age/grade expectations. Fortunately, many of the children respond positively to the intensity of the remediation and return to Tier 2 and Tier 1 as their primary educational environment.
Children who demonstrate a lack of response to the district’s most intense general education intervention, approximately two percent, are referred to the building problem-solving team and a consideration for referral to special education. If supported by the mandated data, a Domains Meeting would be convened (DETAILS HERE). If there are no other areas of concern or extenuating circumstances, one of the benefits of RtI is the ability to accept the RtI data as a completed case study and proceed with eligibility.
Please bear in mind that RtI applies only to the area of SLD and does not apply to the other categories of disability. Identification of eligibility is predicated on the three criteria listed at the beginning of this section.
If a student is found eligible to receive special education services, an IEP must be developed within 30 calendar days of determining eligibility. In developing an IEP, the team must consider the following factors: student’s strengths, parent(s)/guardian(s) concerns, identified needs based on recent evaluations, and other factors related to the student’s specific needs. All services must be tied directly to the evaluation data.
- An IEP must contain the following components:
Statement of student’s present levels of performance
Statement of measurable annual goals that are aligned to the Common Core Standards, short term objectives
Description of the specific special education and related services needed
Description of the supplemental aides, services and program modifications needed
Explanation of the extent, if any, the student will be removed from the general education environment
Statement of student’s ability to participate in state and district wide assessments, determination of the appropriate placement for the student
Consideration of need for extended school year (ESY)
Any other components as required by federal and State rules/regulations.
A review of the student’s progress and the above components must take place at least one time per year by the team. At any point in the school year, the school team or parents may convene an IEP meeting to discuss a student’s progress and educational programming.
Schools are required to re-evaluate students receiving special education services every three years to determine ongoing eligibility. A domain meeting will be called to determine what areas of an evaluation (domains) should be assessed and to obtain parent/guardian consent to conduct the evaluation. Continued eligibility is based upon disability criteria and the adverse affect the disability has on performance in the educational setting.
At times schools are presented with an evaluation parents have conducted privately. If this information is shared with the school, the school is required to review the evaluation and determine its relevance to the student’s educational programming. This occurs most commonly within the eligibility categories of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) and areas of Emotional Disability (ED/mental health) or Other Health Impairment (OHI/ relating to physical health). It is important to note that private evaluations use different sources of data and evaluation than schools and interpret the data from a clinical perspective. It is not uncommon for some private evaluators, and even some pediatricians, to state in their reports or prescriptions that a child is eligible for an IEP; however, the determination for special education eligibility falls singularly to the educational institution. Diagnosis of a disability does not establish eligibility for special education services. (See section on Eligibility)
Upon receiving a private evaluation or outside diagnosis of a medical condition, parents are urged to share this information with the school. Given this information the district’s responsibility for Child Find (identification of children who may be in need of special education services) is activated. The private report is reviewed in relation to the student’s performance in school and in the case of a private diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability, the child’s response to general education interventions (RtI) within the Tiers (INFO HERE.) After reviewing the information provided by the parents, the district must consider if there is a need for a school evaluation called a Case Study.
Students who meet home-bound criteria (physician statement stating student will be out of school for a minimum of two consecutive weeks or a pattern of absence due to chronic illness) are eligible for home-bound tutoring.
Following the federal mandate for Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), District 102 provides a full continuum of services. Placement options are determined at the IEP meeting and are determined by the goal and level of service needed to make reasonable progress toward those goals. District options include: programs for autism and self-contained educational programs, which offer inclusion opportunities and early childhood speech or preschool programs; or building-based program providing support and/or remediation through co-taught classes or specialized small group instruction in the areas of deficit.
If a student requires more intensive programming than what is provided in a public school setting, District 102 is committed to seeking other appropriate placement options outside of the school district. School District 102 works with many Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) accredited programs that provide these services to students.
District 102 works in collaboration with private and parochial schools to provide special education and related services to students with disabilities who have been voluntarily enrolled in private schools by their parents. The same federal and state rules and regulations apply, with the exception of the student receiving an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) rather than an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Services and duration are dependent upon funding received.
The special education administrator plays a key and multi-faceted role in the education of our students. Special education administrators determine educational standards and goals for special education programs, ensure that those programs comply with federal, state, and local laws, set policies and procedures for special education teachers and staff who are implementing those programs, review and evaluate all programs, mediate disputes between parents and schools, and attend community meetings when critical special education issues are discussed.
A special education teacher is assigned as a case manager for each eligible student. The teacher oversees the implementation of the child’s IEP and provides a contact point for the parents. If the student has an aide working with them, the special education teacher provides the supervision and training for the aide. Special education teachers also provide consultation to classroom teachers and may co-teach or provide small group instruction within the general education classroom. All buildings are staffed appropriately to meet the needs identified in students’ IEPs.
The early childhood program, both special education and blended classrooms, are staffed by teachers certified in both early childhood education and special education. Early childhood teachers oversee the implementation of the child’s IEP and provide a contact point for the parents. If the student has an aide working with them, the special education teacher provides the supervision and training for the aide.
The school nurse is a liaison between school personnel, family, health care professionals, and the community. The school nurse ensures adequate communication and collaboration among the school staff, family, physician, and providers of community resources for children identified with health needs resulting in eligibility or as a related condition to a broader disability.
The school social worker is available to provide counseling for any student whose social, emotional or behavioral needs are impacting their educational performance. The social worker and classroom teachers work together to obtain a functional behavior assessment and to develop positive behavioral intervention plans. Social work services may be provided in the classroom or through pullout sessions with individual or small groups of students. Like all other services, social work services are identified within the students IEP; however, students may access social work through general education if the issue is unrelated to the eligibility category.
The LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE) staffs the district with School Psychologists who perform educational assessments for special education evaluations, intervention strategies and progress monitoring for classroom teachers, and counseling or behavior management support for individual students. The LADSE Psychologist is a member of the Student Support Team in the school.
The Speech/Language Pathologist screens, evaluates, and provides therapy for those students having articulation or language needs that directly impact their educational performance. All kindergarten students are screened for speech/language delays within the first weeks of school, and parents are contacted if there is a need to do a more formal evaluation. Speech services may be provided in the classroom or through pullout sessions with individual or small groups of students.
For those students found eligible, LADSE Occupational or Physical Therapists provide individual or small-group, school-based therapy. These services address those motor needs that impact on a student’s access to the educational environment. School-based services do not take the place of any private therapy a child may need for rehabilitation.
Cooperative Association for Special Education (CASE) provides itinerant teacher support for those students having a vision, hearing or physical mobility needs that impacts their ability to participate in the school setting. The Student Support Team will refer a student to CASE for an assessment and determination of eligibility for the service.
From time to time the Special Education Department receives information about events or conferences that might be of interest to families. The District would like to forward such information to our families.