Special Education Vision Every Student with Special Needs prepared for maximum independence in learning and living

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District Vision
Every student prepared for a world yet to be imagined

District Mission

Provide excellent, distinctive educational experiences that equip students for success today and in the future
District Goals:

Colorado Springs School District 11 will:

  1. Demonstrate improvement of student achievement

  2. Demonstrate a high-performing team

  3. Embrace a culture of constant innovation

  4. Communicate and engage frequently with our customers

  5. Provide a safe learning and working environment

  6. Demonstrate operational efficiencies

  7. Demonstrate fiscal prudence and financial responsibility

Special Education Vision

Every Student with Special Needs prepared for maximum independence in learning and living

Special Education Mission

Provide an excellent, distinctive educational experience for each student in keeping with their individual needs

District # 11 Special Education Handbook


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides for accommodations and/or services to students who have or have had a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. 504 Plans are not a part of the IEP process and are not the responsibility of the special education team. Each building has a 504 liaison who can answer questions regarding this process.


  • Students with low cognitive ability may be eligible to take CSAP A rather than CSAP. Under very rare circumstances should students who do not have low cognitive ability be permitted to take “A.” Each school is required to submit to its facilitator a list of students who will be taking “A.” Since CSAP A is indicated on the IEP, if a student does not qualify for “A” but has it marked on the IEP, the school will be required to re-convene an IEP meeting to remove the designation. Further guidance may also be found in the annual CSAP-A procedures manual.

Behavior Consultants

Behavior consultants are available to school special education teams as additional resources once building resources (school psychologist/school social worker) have been utilized. Special education staff can contact their assigned behavior consultant to discuss individual students and obtain a referral form. Behavior consultants must be contacted prior to a recommendation for center-based programming for SIED or STAR students.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
A Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) can be a component of a student’s educational programming and may be completed as part of the IEP process. The BIP, however, is not considered to be part of the IEP. By keeping the BIP separate from the IEP, Teams have the flexibility of adjusting the BIP without convening a full IEP meeting. Any changes to the BIP should be done based on data and are carefully crafted to support the student’s success. When a special education team determines that a student is in need of a BIP, a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) needs to be completed by the special education team prior to writing the plan.

Center-Based Special Education Programs

If all building resources have been utilized and the building’s continuum of services has been exhausted, the district has several center-based special education programs to meet student needs. All center-based placements must be determined through the IEP re-evaluation process with the involvement of the Special Education Facilitator. See Center Based Guide Tab for a list of current center-based programs.

Child Find

School District 11 initiates and carries out Child Find awareness activities. Children 0 to 21 suspected of having a disability have the right to a formal determination as to whether or not they have a disability. For more information on the Child Find process for children ages 0 to 5 (who are not kindergarten age eligible), call the Early Childhood Office at 328-3111. Students who are of school age can be referred to the Problem Solving Team at their neighborhood school.

Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Website

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website is an excellent source of information on a variety of topics relating to special education services (for example, definition of disabilities, Extended School Year Services (ESY), Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), CSAP/CSAP-A, etc). Information regarding special education laws, rules and regulations, and policy are also available. In addition, licensing/ certification information for staff is available on the website. Click on www.cde.state.co.us.


All special education files need to be kept confidential and in a secure location. Each school site posts a list of staff allowed to access special education files and maintains a record of individuals accessing files.
IEPs distributed to staff (special education primary provider, school social worker, nurse, general education teacher, etc.) also need to be treated in a confidential manner. Under no circumstances should student files be taken by staff to their home.
Confidentiality extends to both verbal and written communications with staff, peers, students and parents, etc. When referring to students, staff will not use names or other identifying information.

Continuum of Service Delivery

Each building will provide a continuum of general and special education services to meet a wide array of individual student needs. Through your building continuum, students with disabilities can be served in general education with appropriate supports and modifications, small group and/or individualized instruction and resource classes. District continuum services include center-based programs, homebound placement and out-of district placements that can only be accessed through the Special Education Facilitator.

Crisis Prevention Coordinator

The District Crisis Prevention Coordinator is responsible for activities as directed in the Safe and Drug Free Schools Grant as well as training in suicide prevention. The person coordinates the District Crisis Prevention Team and all prevention and post-vention activities. She is also the district contact for the media when crisis occurs.

Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI)

Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) teaches staff to safely intervene with students exhibiting escalating behavior (verbal or physical) using Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI) techniques. Special education staff members are expected to become trained in CPI techniques and take a refresher course periodically. For information regarding use of appropriate techniques with individual students, staff can contact their behavior consultant. For information regarding available classes or scheduling classes contact the Professional Development Office.

Department Chairs

Per Master Agreement, District 11 Special Education Department Chairs exist for: Special Education Resource Teachers, Communication Specialists (Speech-Language Pathologists), School Psychologists, Social Workers, and Nurses. Special Education Facilitators work collaboratively with the department chairs. Department chairs are available to staff as resources in the above specific areas. In most cases, questions regarding availability of tests/assessments and protocols can be directed to the appropriate department chair.

Extended School Year

A very limited number of students may receive extended school year services (ESY). For eligibility, it must be determined that educational benefits accrued during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized in the absences of ESY. Two types of data should be applied: retrospective data, such as evidence of significant past regression and recoupment; and predictive data relating to future regression and recoupment. Facilitators will provide information on an annual basis.

District 11 Special Education Website

The Special Education Department maintains a website as part of the District 11 website, www.cssd11.k12.co.us. The website, found within the drop-down box under Curriculum and Instruction, includes the following: the Special Education Newsletter, Special Education Advisory Committee information, Online Resources, and information on current special education initiatives.

Educational Assistant/Aide Support

Educational Assistants must NOT be listed as service providers for any service component on the service plan of the IEP!! When specific support is needed in regards to health, safety, mobility, transition, instruction, etc., the certified Special Education Staff are considered the provider of the services to the student. It is appropriate for the certified Special Education Staff Member to delegate specific services to an Educational Assistant. Those delegated services are always provided under the supervision of the certified staff member
Certified staff is responsible for the development and implementation of students’ educational related programming (for example, reading instruction, Behavior Intervention Plan, access skills) and assessment of all students with disabilities. Educational Assistants will carry out related duties (progress monitoring, modifications, data collection) under the direction of the special education certified staff. Principals have primary responsibility for evaluations of educational assistants.
The following are guidelines for the use of educational assistants:

  • EAs should be assigned to a team/department or to the building, not to specific students.

  • EAs should not work with the same student over several years.

  • A “fading plan” for lessening the time an EA spends with students and to increase the level of independence if that student should be developed for each student who works with an EA.

  • A transition plan should be developed for each student beginning at age 15, or no later than the completion of the student’s 8th grade year, with the goal of having the students become totally independent before they graduate from high school.

If a Principal believes additional Educational Assistant support is necessary in order to meet the needs of the students in their building, a rigorous review of staff utilization will be conducted. The “Impact Rubric” will need to be competed on each student who requires the assistance of an EA and copies of the Services Plan of each IEP will need to be reviewed the Special Education Facilitator and the Executive Director of Special Education..

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
A Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is a collection of data around a targeted behavior or set of behaviors. Data collection for an FBA can include information from a number of sources including the following: interviews, school records, observations, and other formal or informal methods. FBAs need to be completed prior to the writing of a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). FBAs are the primary responsibility of the school psychologist and/or social worker with input from persons involved or connected with the student.

“Green Notebook”

Each special education staff member is provided a “Green Notebook” that includes the District 11 Comprehensive Procedures Manual for the Implementation of Federal and State Special Education Regulations, including IEP and due process forms, information on Center-based programs and other pertinent District 11 information. Staff should update their notebook as they receive new information from the Special Education Department.

Home Schooling

Special Education students who are being home-schooled have the right to “Child Find” services, which means the District is responsible for providing assessments to determine if a student meets the criteria for having an educational disability. Standard assessment procedures and timelines are followed. It is the parent’s responsibility to bring the student to the neighborhood school during regular school hours for testing. If it is determined that a student has an educational disability, students who are being home schooled have no entitlement to any special education services unless they enroll in a Public School.

IEP File Audit
Special education files are continually audited as a part of an effort to improve the Special Education planning process. IEPs are regularly reviewed by central administration office staff to assure key components of the IEP are completed accurately. Student files should be sent to the Special Education office within 5 working days of the IEP meeting. If an IEP does not include all of the required components, the staffing coordinator will be contacted and asked to correct the concern. It is expected that the corrections be made within a reasonable time. If there are ongoing compliance concerns the principal will be notified and a meeting to address the concerns will be arranged. Teachers and staffing coordinators are encouraged to contact their facilitator at any time if assistance with IEPs is needed.

IEPs – Important Things to Know

Procedural and legal requirements for the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the IEP process can be found in the “Green Notebook”. Additional information you may need to know regarding the IEP and the IEP process includes the following:

  • Parents have the right to bring persons knowledgeable of their student’s educational needs to an IEP meeting. This may include parent advocates, private tutors, representatives from community agencies, etc.

  • Parents have the right to bring attorneys to IEP meetings. In this case, the school district will also have the District 11 Attorney present. If the special education team is aware that the parent will be bringing an attorney to the IEP meeting, a member of the team must notify the Special Education Facilitator immediately. The Special Education Facilitator will contact the Executive Director of Special Education who will call the District 11 Attorney to determine availability and a time for the IEP meeting. Rescheduling of the IEP meeting may be necessary. If an attorney attends a meeting unexpectedly, the IEP meeting must be stopped. Contact the Special Education Facilitator immediately. The IEP meeting will be continued when the District 11 Attorney can be present.

  • District 11 does not typically tape record IEP meetings. However, if a parent elects to tape record an IEP meeting, District 11 will also tape record the meeting and the special education team will maintain the tape in a secure location. It is not acceptable for either the family or the school district to tape record a meeting without the other’s knowledge.

  • Quarterly progress on IEP objectives must be documented at the end of each quarter. Copies will be distributed to parents at the time report cards are distributed. If the student also has a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), progress towards objectives on the BIP also need to be documented and distributed as described above.

  • IEPs must include educational services. Related services cannot stand alone on an IEP. Speech-Language services are the only services that can be considered primary or related services.

  • “One-on-one aides” will NOT be written on IEPs. For more information see the section on Educational Assistant /Aide Support. If a student has paraprofessional support for the majority of the day, an independence goal must be included in the IEP.

  • Specific names of programs, curriculum, and/or equipment must not be written on the IEP. Instead, a description of the student’s needs will be documented (for example, the student needs a multi-sensory approach to reading – NOT Lindamood-Bell reading program; student needs an augmentative communication device – NOT a Pathfinder).

  • Prior to being written into the service plan, related service providers must be consulted and notified of the IEP meeting.

  • When transportation is determined to be a related service on the IEP, a “Registration and Request of Transportation” form must be completed and sent to the Special Education Department for approval. The transportation information will then be forwarded from the Special Education Department to the Transportation Office. The Transportation Office will contact the parents as to the start date and times of pick-up and drop-off. It typically takes 3-4 days from the receipt of the request of transportation for the transportation service to be arranged for the student.

Licensure Guidelines

Colorado Department of Education (CDE) requires that at least 51% of the special education teacher’s caseload be comprised of students with disabilities in an area in which the teacher is currently licensed to teach. 85% of the Special Education teacher’s time must be spent in work involving special education students.

The following is a list of the required licensure to work with each disability:
Identified Student Disability Required Teacher’s Licensure
SE I Moderate Needs,

Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Educationally Handicapped (EH),

Severe Needs,

Significant Limited Intellectual SE Severe Needs II – Cognitive,

Capacity (SLIC) or Multiple Educably Mentally Handicapped (EMH), Severe Needs III – Profound,

Trainable Child,


Significant Identifiable Emotional SE Severe Needs II – Affective,

Disability (SIED) Educational Handicapped (EH), Generalist*
Hearing Disability Aurally Handicapped,

Hearing Handicapped,

Severe Needs Hearing,

Spec. Ed. Specialist: Deaf/Hard Hearing
Visual Disability Visually Handicapped,

Severe Needs Vision,

Sped. Ed. Specialist: Visually Imp.
Physical Disability Physically Handicapped,

Moderate Needs,

Severe Needs Cognitive,

Severe Needs Affective,

Severe Needs Communication,

Profound Needs

Special Education Generalist

*The Special Education Generalist may serve any of the disability areas except for

Early Childhood, Visually Impaired or Hearing Impaired.

Materials/Equipment – How to Access

Funds to purchase materials and equipment for students with disabilities can be accessed in a variety of ways: through the building funds via the building principal or Special Education Department Chair, through special education funds via your Special Education Facilitator, or through Medicaid funds via the Medicaid Reimbursement Specialist (for health and heath-related materials/equipment only). Specialized equipment needed to fulfill IEP requirements around augmentative devices, assistive technology, motor and mobility, vision and hearing, communication, etc., may be accessed through the appropriate service provider with prior consultation and permission.
Additional materials (textbooks, professional journals, books, teacher resource materials, tapes, videos, make and take lab) are available through the Professional Resource Center (PRC) located at Tesla, 520-2743. Staff can access the PRC catalog on the District 11 website by clicking on Destiny Library System, then, under Special Libraries, go to Professional Resource Center and enter a search topic.


Certified special education service providers are required to bill for Medicaid eligible services and case management. Billing for IEP meetings is also required and appropriate forms must be filled out and signed at each IEP meeting. District 11 employs a Medicaid Reimbursement Specialist to assist staff and parents with Medicaid billing and issues. The District 11 School Medicaid Committee, representing all staff eligible to bill for Medicaid services, meets throughout the school year as an advisory group to the Medicaid program.

Mileage Reimbursement

Mileage forms need to be submitted on at least a quarterly basis and must be approved by the immediate supervisor (staff assigned to buildings should get approval from the building principal; staff assigned to the DSLC at Tesla should get approval from the Special Education Facilitator). Staff requesting mileage reimbursement must sign the form in ink. Electronic forms are available on the Intranet or on the “S” drive.

Private Schools
Students attending private schools have the right to be assessed for determination of an educational disability. Standard assessment procedures and timelines apply. An Individual Support Plan (ISP) is developed to outline the services that any eligible student who attends a private school is entitled to receive. The ISP will reflect the specific services that are available to a student who has an educational disability and is choosing to attend a private school. Each year the District determines the proportional share of funds that must be spent for services for students who attend Private Schools. When this determination is made, the District follows the process outlines in IDEA to work with representatives from the area’s privates schools regarding services for students in private schools.

Problem Solving Teams
Each school site will have a problem solving team to address academic or behavioral concerns regarding individual students. The team functions as part of the general education program to support all students by providing intervention ideas and programs for staff.

Professional Development

A variety of classes are offered to general and special education staff through the District Professional Development Office. A listing of the class offerings and registration for these professional development opportunities are available through Electronic Registration Online (ERO) system. The Professional Development Office also provides transcripts that list credits you have earned when you registered for District training. Staff may be able to access district funds for workshops and conferences through the principal or Special Education Facilitator. The Special Education Department supports attendance at conferences and workshops with prior approval by reimbursing half of conference/workshop fees as funds are available.

Response to Intervention (RtI)
The Response to Intervention (RtI) model is a strategic approach to improving achievement for all students demonstrating academic and/or behavioral gaps in performance. The RtI initiative has been unanimously supported by the District 11 School Board for district-wide development and implementation. Each District 11 school has a Problem Solving Team that makes recommendations regarding research based interventions to address any specific identified educational need of a student. The data gathered through this process is critical to the appropriate identification of students with Specific Learning Disabilities.

Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
The Special Education Department has an active Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) comprised of staff, parents and other community members. SEAC’s aim is to research current issues for special education stakeholders, gather information and provide recommendations to the committee for further consideration. For more information, visit the special education website.

Student Services Calendar

A calendar of upcoming events/meetings can be found on the Shared Drive (S drive). This calendar lists important dates of which staff members should be aware. Be sure to check the calendar on a regular basis for updates and other information. If staff would like to post an upcoming special education event, submit the event to the Special Education Department for approval for inclusion on the calendar.

Special Education Facilitator – Roles and Responsibilities

Special Education Facilitators provide continuity in services to buildings in the following ways:

  • Assist in the development of special education service delivery systems; including continuum of services in each building.

  • Consult with Problem Solving Teams on matters regarding the integration of RtI and Special Education.

  • Assist in the implementation and monitoring of special education laws, procedures and requirements.

  • Assist in supervision and evaluation of special education staff.

  • Coordinate services in regards to out-of-building placements and referrals.

  • Provide consultation and technical assistance to principals, staffing coordinators and special education staff.

  • Assist in the development of curricular and program activities.

  • Participate in complex IEP meetings.

  • Allocate and monitor special education resources; including staff, materials, etc.

  • Review IEPs for compliance and maintain records.

  • Prepare and communicate compliance practices and information.

  • Communicate and monitor CDE regulations.

  • Supervise special education programs.

  • Collaborate with special education department chairs.

  • Assume other roles/responsibilities as delegated by the Executive Director of Special Education.

Staff Allocation

Building principals receive a special education staff allocation yearly from the Special Education Office. Both certified and support staff (including aide time) are included in the allocation. Allocations can be updated as student needs change. Staff may be re-allocated throughout the school year.

Staffing Coordinators – Roles and Responsibilities

The role of the building Special Education Staffing Coordinator is to monitor the special education process and service delivery at building level. While ultimate responsibility for special education compliance lies with the principal, most schools designate this responsibility to a licensed staff member who is a member of the building special education team. Except when an administrator serves in this capacity, the staffing coordinator receives a stipend for his/her duties.
The following is a list of the performance responsibilities of the building Special Education Staffing Coordinator:

  • Attend mandatory Staffing Coordinator Meetings – if the coordinator is unable to attend the meeting, another member of the building special education team must attend to represent the building.

  • Share information obtained at Staffing Coordinator Meeting with building special education team and building administrators – within two weeks.

  • Coordinate and maintain a yearly staffing calendar and/or flow chart to ensure that special education records are reviewed and up-to-date.

  • Schedule IEP meetings and inform all participants. Home School must be notified regarding students in center-based programs.

  • Facilitate IEP meetings and ensure that Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are complete and distributed to the appropriate parties.

  • Monitor special education process and service delivery.

  • Ensure implementation of procedural safeguards.

  • Monitor IEP records for completeness (including progress monitoring of goals)

  • Serve as Building Special Education Records Coordinator.

  • Transfer building special education records to appropriate parties when a student is in transition between special education placements

  • Ensure that reports are completed on time, including the EOY report and data for December Count.

  • Monitor Medicaid process and forms to ensure proper billing; ensure yearly parental consent for Medicaid billing is obtained.

  • Provide input to ESP scheduling (in some buildings, this may include creating the ESP schedule)

  • Coordinate district and state assessment process for students with IEPs.

  • Contact the Special Education Facilitator when the IEP team is considering a center-based or out-of-district placement for a student.

  • Monitor placements of students outside of neighborhood school by attending IEP meetings and review conferences.

  • Serve as building contact regarding inquiries concerning building special education programs.


Students with disabilities may be suspended for 10 cumulative school days within a school year. If the suspension exceeds the 10-day limit, a manifestation determination meeting must be held to determine whether or not the behavior for which the student was suspended is a manifestation of the student’s disability. In-school suspension counts towards a student’s cumulative days, with a partial day (in or out of school suspension) counting as a full day of suspension. Building administrators and special education staff need to be aware of the accumulated days of suspension for students with disabilities. It is critical that data be kept on both in school and out of school suspensions since this data is reported to the state on an annual basis.

Temporary Teacher Eligibility (TTE)

District 11 is committed to employing highly qualified staff. However, if the District is unable to employ an individual who is appropriately endorsed in the area of their special education assignment, temporary teacher eligibility (TTE) must be obtained. Staff members who require a TTE should contact the Special Education Department to talk with the Special Education Facilitator assigned to TTEs to obtain the TTE application and/or verification forms. As part of the TTE process, staff must have their university advisor or chairperson verify that they are enrolled in an appropriate special education endorsement program and/or making adequate progress toward appropriate endorsement. The TTE verification process is completed every year for up to three school years. Teachers on a TTE are not considered Highly Qualified.
Staff working under a TTE must also have a current license from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). If staff does not have an approved license from CDE (for example, elementary education, social studies, etc.), they need to contact the District 11 Human Resources Office for assistance in obtaining the required license.
Personnel with a teaching license in another field who are teaching special education students will obtain a SEE. These individuals are considered Highly Qualified.
Transition (School Level Changes)
When students transition between school levels (for example, preschool to elementary, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to post-high school) information needs to be shared between the sending and receiving schools. Receiving schools need to be invited to IEP meetings for students transitioning between levels. If a student is due for an initial or re-evaluation assessment during the first quarter of the following school year, the sending school is responsible for evaluating the student and completing the IEP before the end of the current school year, unless another course of action is mutually agreed upon between the sending and receiving schools.
Transition from High School (indicator 13)
In the new State Performance Plan (SPP) much greater emphasis is given to transition from high school. All students aged 15 and above with an IEP (or before the completion of Ninth Grade) must have coordinated, measurable, annual goals and transition services that will reasonably enable the student to meet post secondary goals. See “Managing IDEA 2004 Transition Requirements in Appendix for details.

Updated 4/3/2018

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