Students With Disabilities

If your child has a disability, lives in Gilchrist County, is between ages three and twenty-one, and has not graduated from high school, he is entitled to receive educational services beginning with pre-kindergarten.

Since every child has his own needs, the services offered by the school will be different for different children. The school will want your help in designing the best program for your child. You will be asked to work with the school by

• giving information
• asking questions
• making suggestions
• helping to make decisions

As a parent you will want to know what to expect...

There are a number of things that must happen before your child can receive a special program.

Your child’s progress is monitored and results are used to make decisions about additional instruction and intervention through Florida’s Problem Solving and Response to Instruction/Intervention Model (RtI). Response to Intervention (RtI) is a process that provides intervention and educational support to all students at increasing levels of intensity based on their individual needs. The goal is to prevent problems and intervene early so that students can be successful. RtI has three tiers that build upon one another. Each tier provides intensive levels of support, while high quality research based instructional and behavioral supports are provided within a collaborative model.

  • Tier 1 includes high quality instruction
  • Tier 2 includes additional targeted, supplemental instruction and intervention
  • Tier 3 includes intensive interventions

Information is collected throughout each tier through screening programs, checklists, teacher and counselor observations, standardized tests and collaboration with parents along the way. Persons from whom relevant information is gathered include parents, teachers, psychologists, and other school specialists, physicians, and other professional personnel as well as the child.

Data about the student is used to help in the development of appropriate educational interventions and programs for all students and for reports required by state and federal agencies. School wide screenings are provided to determine which students need closer monitoring or additional interventions. If school personnel determine that further evaluation of a child is called for, the child’s parent/guardian will be consulted before the school proceeds. A parent may request an evaluation to determine eligibility for Exceptional Student Education at any time, however data must be made available from the RtI process to be able to determine if a student is eligible for Exceptional Student Education services.

The evaluation consists of gathering all data from the RtI process, in addition to conducting further testing if needed. A report will be written, and you will be invited and encouraged to attend an Eligibility Staffing. The people at the staffing meeting will recommend whether your child is eligible for exceptional student education. A child is eligible when he meets the requirements listed in the State Board of Education Rules for exceptional student education.

If the members of the eligibility staffing team decide that your child has a disability and needs an exceptional student education program, the next step is to write an individual educational plan. This is often called an IEP. This IEP could be developed the same day the eligibility determination is made or at a mutually agreed upon time within 30 days of the eligibility staffing date. The IEP is a plan that tells you, the teachers, and other school staff what special programs and related services will be provided to your child. These services will be designed to meet your child’s learning needs.

Your child cannot receive exceptional student education services and related services until the IEP is written.

After the IEP has been developed and you have given your written consent for your child to receive special education and services, services will begin promptly on the date that the IEP team determines as the initiation date.