Programs and Services
Special education programs and services are delivered through a continuum of placements in the least restrictive environment in the child’s home school. This continuum includes instruction in general education classes with resource support, resource classrooms with services for 2-3 hours a day, self-contained special education classrooms, special education schools and home-bound teaching. When students must be transported to their programs, transportation services are provided.
The vision of the Office of Special Services and Student Equity is to provide a quality education to every child in an instructional setting appropriate for his or her needs. This vision is supported by the district’s mission to educate all students in the least restrictive environment. The federal mandates Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are intended to support the idea of quality education by emphasizing the necessity of relying on research-based instructional practices.
Evaluations must be considered at least every three years after the child has been placed in special education or more frequently if conditions warrant, to determine if the child continues to be a “child with a disability”.
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Transition support
- Preferential intervention
Ancillary Support Services
- School Social Workers
- School Psychologists
- Speech Therapists
Instructional Support Team
Given the risks of stigma, over-identification and misclassification, the protection of the child’s rights and interests requires that every possible avenue be explored to maximize the student’s access to an appropriate general education.
The Instructional Support Team (IST) is a collaborative, problem-solving effort by general education personnel in conjunction with special education diagnostic personnel and parents. Before referring a student for individual assessment and consideration for special education eligibility, all schools are asked to make a systematic attempt to determine whether satisfactory adjustment and progress can be achieved in the general education curriculum.
Response to Intervention
A major concern for parents as well as teachers is how to help children who experience difficulty learning in school. Everyone wants to see their child excel, and it can be frustrating when a child falls behind in learning to read, do math, or experiences behavioral difficulties that impact success in the classroom. Children who have the most difficulty are often referred for an evaluation to determine if they need and qualify for special education services.
Response to Intervention (RTI) is an individual, comprehensive student-centered assessment and intervention concept that focuses on a problem-solving framework to identify and address the student’s difficulties using effective, efficient instruction and targeted interventions leading to improved achievement. The Office of Special Services and Student Equity is working collaboratively with teachers, administrators and support staff to:
- Increase competency in grade level content expectations for all students
- Address behavioral issues that frequently present barriers to successful academic achievement
Children from birth through age 3 may be eligible for special education services. The Early Intervention Program provides special education instruction and ancillary services to infants and toddlers in both the home and classroom setting. These services are available to children residing in the Pontiac School District service area. Speech therapists provide services for children from birth through age 3 who have communication or hearing disorders.