Specialized Services

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Welcome to Massac USD No. 1 Department of Specialized Student Services. We invite you to learn more about Special Education Services that are available through our District. Massac USD No.1, the Office of Student Services and its Director are committed to providing a quality education to all students in the least restrictive environment.

Child Find

If you are a parent of a 3-5 year old who is not enrolled in school, living in the Massac USD No. 1 District and you have developmental concerns regarding your child please make an appointment to bring your child into the school for a screening. Contact any local elementary building Principal.

Goal Statement

In Massac Unit School District #1, the goal of the Office of Specialized Student Services is to enable all students to benefit from a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Children who have been identified as having special needs are served through various types of delivery models ranging from the instructional classroom model, to the consultative model.

The Referral Process

Who can request an initial evaluation for a student? A request may be made by a parent of a child or by an employee of a State Educational agency, another State agency, a local educational agency, or a community service agency.

District’s Response to Request

The district shall be responsible for processing the request, deciding what action should be taken and initiating the necessary procedures. To determine what action should be taken, the district may utilize screening data and conduct preliminary procedures such as observation of the child, assessment for instructional purposes, consultation with the teacher or other individual making the request, and a conference with the child.

The district shall convene a team of personnel including the parent(s) and an individual having the knowledge and skills to administer and interpret evaluation data. The team shall identify any assessments necessary to complete the evaluation, should testing be deemed appropriate. This is called a Domain meeting.

Within 14 days of receiving the request for an evaluation by the proper authorities, the district shall determine whether an evaluation is warranted. Written notice will be provided to the parent(s) of such determination.

Parent consent is required to proceed with an assessment. Consent for testing is not consent for provision of special education services. Within 60 school days following the date of written consent, the determination of eligibility shall be made and the IEP meeting, if appropriate, shall be completed.

The reauthorization of IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) has brought about changes in the process for identifying students suspected of having a learning disability. New mandates dictate that we follow a very specific process. This process does not inhibit the identification of students but enhances the process of identifying specific needs.

RTI: Response to Intervention

Massac schools each have RTI Teams to address concerns regarding student development. If a student is struggling academically or behaviorally, teachers and/or parents may make a referral to the building Principal to establish an RTI Team Meeting for their child. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, classroom and individual paraprofessionals and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.

Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to assist in making the eligibility decision.

Although there are many formats for how Massac USD No.1 might implement RTI to best serve the needs of its students, in every case RTI can be a school-wide framework for efficiently allocating resources to improve student outcomes.

Special Education Categories

Students may qualify for special education services based on eligibility within one or more of the Special Education Categories: Autism, Cognitive Disability/Intellectual Disability, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech/Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment.

After a full case study evaluation, an Eligibility Review will be conducted. At this meeting, the IEP Team will determine, based on the information gathered, if a child qualifies for special education services. Qualification/eligibility for special education services must fulfill two requirements and will depend on whether or not a specific disability is identified and if that disability has an adverse impact on the child’s ability to be successful within the regular education setting without the provision of special education services. Standardized data from various sources will be utilized to determine any adverse impact. If the child qualifies, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be developed. The IEP will outline the program that will best meet the academic and/or behavioral needs of the students. If the child does not qualify for the special education services, other interventions and strategies may be presented to the parents and general education teacher.

In all of the schools in Massac USD #1, some level of special education services are available to those students. Programs providing the most support may be located within specific schools. The Board of Education for the Massac USD # 1 has made a commitment to serving all of our children with special needs in the least restrictive environment possible. This means that whenever possible, the children will be served in the regular education classroom. Through the REI (Regular Education Initiative) model, children with special needs participate in the classroom activities along with their non-disabled peers. The special educator goes into the classroom and team-teaches with the regular classroom teacher, and is able to help all students in the classroom, while serving those with special needs in the least restrictive environment possible (collaborative classrooms.) From time to time the special educator may determine that a child needs some re-teaching or clarification on more difficult concepts. This is often done in the special education room environment, where the child can get small-group instruction and more intensive help.

At the middle and high school level, students are assigned classes based on their individual needs. When it is necessary, students with more specific needs, grades K-12, are served in an instructional environment. Students needing an instructional setting are assigned to a regular education homeroom and go to all non-academics with their non-disabled peers. However, for most of their academic day, these students are taught in a special education environment. Students having less specific needs may be served in a resource setting in which they are also assigned to a regular education homeroom and may only receive special education services within a special education setting for one or two subjects. Some students may only require accommodations or modifications and support or consultation from a special education teacher while receiving all of their instruction within the regular education setting.

Among the related services that are available to special education students in the district are: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech, Hearing Impaired Itinerant, Vision Impaired Itinerant, Adaptive PE, Classroom and Individual Assistants, Vocational Education/DRS, Special Transportation, Social Work, Counseling/Psychological Services and a number of others. The necessity for any and all related services is determined by the IEP team at an IEP meeting.

Massac USD # 1 and the Office of Specialized Student Services are dedicated to working with teachers, parents, and the community to meet the special needs of all of our children. If you have any questions concerning our programs or services, please feel free to contact us by using the following information.

Cynthia Robinson, Director of Specialized Services, phone: 618-524-9376, fax: 618-524-4432, email: crobinson@massac.org

Jackie Hodge, phone: 618-524-4821, email: jhodge@massac.org

When submitting a referral for special education services please provide the following information to the Building Principal or to the Special Education Director at the Unit Office: Child’s name, Serving School (if known), Parents’ names, address, reason for referral, your name and relationship to student.