DIRECTORY OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
The Ennis Independent School District special education department operates a variety of services to students with identified disabilities and their parents. This information is an attempt to describe some of the services the district provides.
As a general overview of special education services, this directory describes the continuum of services available to implement a special education student's individual education program. This list is an informative description of some services but is not a categorical description of all services or placements available to students.
All placement decisions involving specialized settings are based on the thoughtful and collaborative review of evaluation, current competencies and other data shared at an Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting.
DEVELOPING AND ENHANCING A CONTINUUM OF SERVICES
Development of a Clearly Defined Model
IDEA requires that a range of support options be available. These options represent a hierarchy of more intensive services and supports. Besides instruction in general education, other options for receiving special education services may be considered, including special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. Considering all IEP components, the ARD Committee must decide which one of these settings is the Least Restrictive Environment for each individual student.
Instructional Support Services/Levels of Support
In order to base appropriate service delivery decisions on the need of the student, all educators must be acutely aware of the service delivery options relative to a continuum of services. These options represent a hierarchy of support that can be delivered by educators in a variety of educational contexts, and will differ in frequency and intensity based on the unique need of any student. The focus is placed on the SUPPORT that the student needs in order to be successful while accessing the general education curriculum, as opposed to a PLACE where the student goes. In order to create a common vocabulary, the support available via special education will be discussed in terms of intensity, each representing an increased level of support for the student, based on his or her need: (a) consultative support, (b) in-class support, and (c) specialized support.
Students who require this level of support have a relatively low need. These students are in the general education classroom receiving their instruction and do not require a second adult in the classroom. They may have need for a limited number of accommodations or support materials, which are prepared prior to the instructional delivery and can be implemented by the general educator in the classroom. The need for these materials is identified through the IEP process and collaborative planning between the general education teacher and special population's personnel.
When provided the appropriate level of support to meet their needs, most students with disabilities can be successful in the context of the general education classroom with a variety of supplemental aids and services, which in some cases might include instruction or behavioral support from a second adult. This support is directly related to the goals and objectives of the student with the disability and is designed to minimize the impact of the disability on the performance of the student in the general education classroom. The support occurs in the general education classroom. The frequency and intensity of support is based on the individual need of the student and is determined via the IEP process.
Many students can appropriately meet their IEP goals and objectives within the general education environment with weekly support, particularly if they are placed in a classroom where the general education teacher is skilled at making accommodations and differentiating instruction for all learners. The purpose for the support, which could be delivered two or three times a week, is to assist the student in making progress on his/her IEP objectives, which in turn positively influences learning in the general education curriculum. On days that the support is not directly scheduled into the general education classroom, additional supplementary aids and services including differentiated instruction, accommodations, cooperative learning (and other peer support systems), and other special populations teachers can be utilized to help the learner be successful. Weekly support is appropriately delivered by either a paraprofessional or a certified special educator. If the IEP team determines that a student requires more frequent and intense support to make progress relative to IEP goals and objectives, it would be appropriate to consider daily support as an option.
A student who has a need for more intense support (either instructionally or behaviorally) in order to be successful in the general education curriculum and make progress on IEP goals and objectives might receive daily support within the context of the general education classroom. Due to training and skill level, a certified special educator is typically the most appropriate designee to deliver this high level of support. This support is scheduled daily for a given content area, based on the needs of the student, and is delivered in the general education classroom.
Regardless of frequency, in-class support options provide the student with the opportunity to access the general education curriculum while having the support come to the regular classroom. In addition to minimizing loss of instructional time, which can occur when a student leaves the classroom to go to an alternative setting, teachers can intensify instructions by working collaboratively with one another. By utilizing specially designed instructional approaches in these settings, teachers can lower the student-teacher ratio and differentiate instruction to a degree that might otherwise be challenging to accomplish. Thus, the use of collaborative teaching provides another supplementary aid and service that can be delivered within the context of the general education classroom.
Some students, due to the severity of their disability, might have to leave the general education environment for a portion of their instructional day to receive very intense and specific instruction related to their IEP goals and objectives. This ARD decision is made only after all other options, supports, supplementary aids and services in the general education environment have been considered and explored. The decision for a student to receive support in a setting other than the general education environment is reached through an analysis of individual student needs and not on the basis of disability labels or traditional special education settings.
THE FOLLOWING IS A NON-EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF SOME OF THE SERVICES/SUPPORTS OFFERED TO SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS
(MANY OF THESE SERVICES ARE DETERMINED BASED ON ELIGIBILITY THROUGH ASSESSMENT AND CONSENSUS OF THE ARD COMMITTEE MEMBERS)
Assistive Technology (AT)
Assistive technology supplementary aids and services help students be more independent with communication, learning and self-help needs through the use of modifications and adaptive aids. Assistive technology includes technology solutions that are generally considered instructional technology tools. IEP teams use a collaborative decision-making process to determine when an individual student requires assistive technology.
Certified teachers provide itinerate services, consultation, staff development, direct instruction in language and auditory training, use and care of adaptive equipment and adapted materials to prepare students to be literate, independent, functioning members of society. These services are determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee.
This service provides counseling that focuses on school-related issues and is considered to support the student in achieving his or her individual education goals in the Individual Education Plan (IEP). Counseling emphasizes practical and immediate application rather than development of insight. These services are determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee.
Dual Enrollment: In Public and other school (private or home school)
Parents of an eligible child ages 3 or 4 may "dual enroll" their child in both public and private schools beginning on the student's third birthday until the end of the school year in which the student turns 5 or until the student is eligible to attend the district's public school kindergarten program, whichever comes first. The school district where the student resides is responsible for providing special education and related services to a student whose parent has chosen to dual enroll and comply to the individualized education plan set forth by the Admission, Review, and Dismissal committee.
Extended School Year (ESY)
ESY services are individualized instructional programs provided to eligible students with disabilities beyond the regular school year. These services must be determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee and must be addressed annually for each student with a disability.
The purpose of ESY is to address severe and substantial regression in one or more acquired critical skill that cannot be recouped within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 8 weeks.
Homebound services provide students academic content, commensurate with classmates, while they are at home recuperating from illness or surgery.
This service provides educationally related support services to students, families, instructional staff and administrators of NISD to assist students in functioning as independently as possible while mastering the goals in the Individual Education Plan (IEP). These services are determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee.
Orientation and Mobility (O&M)
This service provides assistance to students with visual impairments in achieving maximum independence through safe, efficient travel within their environment and community. These services are determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee.
This service provides educationally related support services to students, families, instructional staff and administrators of NISD to assist students to function as independently as possible in the least restrictive environment. These services are determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee.
Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
This service provides special education services to children ages 3-5 who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Services begin on the child's 3rd birthday. These services are provided at most elementary campuses and two Head Start Child Development Centers. ECSE services are provided through a continuum of service options that may include "drop-in" speech therapy, in-class support, or specialized instruction. Decisions about a child's program are made by the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee and are based on the child's assessment information.
Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD)
This service is provided to prepare students who are hearing impaired/deaf for their roles as independent functioning, literate members of society. A wide range o service options are available to RDSPD students. These options may include itinerate services at the student's home campus, RDSPD classrooms clustered on mainstream campuses and fully inclusive classrooms with RDSPD teachers collaborating with general education. Audiological, interpreting, speech and specialized counseling services are also available as related services.
Special Olympics provide a year-round training and competition in a variety of sports to students with developmental delays. Through training and competitions athletes are able to develop physical fitness, improve skills and set realistic, meaningful, challenging and attainable goals for themselves. Special Olympics assist each athlete in learning to participate in a warm and supportive environment that enables them to reach their fullest potential. The most crucial contribution the program can make to an athlete is to help them develop self-confidence and a belief that, "Yes, I Can!"
The Speech-Language service helps students improve their speech and/or language and assists them in becoming more successful in school by improving their listening and speaking skills. These services are determined on an individual basis by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee.
Support specialists support classrooms and other special education services by assisting staff in creating, maintaining and evaluating effective behavior and instruction techniques, interventions and strategies for students with behavioral or learning difficulties.
Certified teachers of students with visual impairments provide instruction to meet the visual impairment needs which are the direct result of vision loss such as communication need, social/emotional skills, daily living/independence skills, visual efficiency/optical devices, adaptive devices/technology, and career/technology planning.