Continuum of Services
The school district provides special education services in the least restrictive environment. The majority of our students are served in their neighborhood school. Students participate in the general education environment to the maximum extent appropriate, based on their individual needs. The IEP team, including staff and parents, determine the most effective service or combination of services, including:
- Consultation services: Students with mild needs may be served through regularly scheduled collaborative planning and problem-solving between general and special educators. Consultative services are provided to staff rather than directly to students.
- General Education: (in-class) Support: Students receive their special education services in the general education setting. Collaboration occurs between the general and special educators to design accommodations and/or modifications needed.
- Discovery Rooms (elementary) or Resource Rooms (secondary): Students with special needs receive specially designed instruction in a separate setting within the regular school. Most students spend the majority of their day in the general education setting.
- Center-Based programs: Center-based programs provide highly-structured and highly-individualized programs for students with moderate to significant disabilities. The programs are located in certain locations within the district. If the IEP team decides that a student will best be served in a center-based program located in a building that is not the student's neighborhood school, transportation will be provided at no cost.
What is different about a Center-Based Program?
- Services are specialized. Students from across the district come to a particular location that serves their needs most appropriately.
- The staffing ratio is usually smaller.
- The staff may have specialized training.
- The setting may have specialized equipment or structure (quiet spaces, sensory rooms, seclusion room, private bathroom and/or shower.)
When do we consider Center-Based Programs?
- For a small number of students, the home school does not provide the LRE and a center-based option may be considered.
- We have a specific process that we use to make these determinations.
When more than one center-based program may be appropriate, how are decisions made?
- The staff utilizes a Least Restrictive Environment process. Staff from all center-based programs being conduct observations of the student in their current setting and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each program under consideration.
- The input of the parent is considered.
- Other considerations include:
- Current numbers of students in each program
- Home school of the student
- The needs of a student that may be so significant as to override other concerns (such as easy access to a restroom or safe room)
- When two or more programs may serve the needs of a student, the decision is made by administrators (principals, special education coordinators, and/or special education director.)
Decisions regarding center-based programming can be complex. Effective communication between staff members and families is a critical component of the decision-making process.
The Bridge is a way to prepare eligible student with disabilities, 18 to 21 years of age, to function effectively and independently in their community. They engage in community based instruction for independent living, employability skills, community participation, recreation and leisure, social development and specific skills instruction.