Student Support Services
LJA has a multi-faceted Special Education program for any students needing additional support. The model is an inclusion model, with student’s needs addressed within a general education classroom. In order to meet the student’s needs, there may be additional supports for the student placed within the general education classroom. This may include a Special Education teacher in a co-teacher model or an educational paraprofessional. In addition, students may receive related services from contracted providers. These related services typically occur outside of the general education classroom. These related services are based on student need and may include the following: social work, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, DAPE, vision, nursing, etc. This may be in the form of individual, group or in the general education setting and is dependent on student need. Parents are partners with both general education and special education staff in meeting the educational needs of their scholar.
Students who struggle academically, socially or behaviorally will be referred to the student support team. This team consists of the director of special programs, the dean, the school social worker, school psychologist, special education teacher and general education teacher. This team will develop strategies to support student growth in the identified area of need. Parents will be engaged in this process to support growth at home.
Students with Disabilities
Disabilities come in many different forms. Students with disabilities might not require any special services or accommodations in order to participate fully in the educational program. However, if a student’s disability does prevent them from fully participating in the educational program, they can be provided with an IEP or a 504 plan.
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. This is a legal document associated with each student enrolled in special education that lists their disability, background information on their present performance in school, progress goals, special education services, and accommodations that the school must provide to the student.
Each IEP is developed by a team of people including a special education teacher, a general education teacher, the student’s parent(s), the special education director or coordinator, and a representative of the leadership team, as well as any applicable related service providers (e.g. social worker, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist).
IEPs follow the student as they transfer from school to school, and are reviewed and updated at least once per year. Parents or staff can request additional IEP meetings or changes to the IEP at any time. Parents can also choose to remove their student from special education at any time.
Special education teachers and related service providers provide families with progress reports on a quarterly basis.
Laura Jeffrey Academy strives to provide an inclusive special education program, which means that special education students are included in the general education classes as much as possible, according to their needs. Additionally, when possible, special education teachers co-teach classes with regular education teachers, and education assistants support students to access materials and manage their behaviors within the classroom.
How do I request an IEP for my student?
In order for a student to have an IEP, they must be evaluated to determine whether or not they are eligible for special education. You can request an evaluation verbally or in writing by contacting any staff member.
Once you request an evaluation for your student, LJA is required to reply to you in writing within 10 school days, letting you know whether the school will proceed with the evaluation or not, and why. The team might recommend that your student participate in an intervention first, to see if the issue can be resolved without involving special education services.
An initial evaluation for special education cannot begin without parent consent.
LJA’s child study team can also recommend an evaluation for a student without a parent request. This might happen in the case that a student has already participated in multiple interventions that have been unsuccessful. Even in this case, a parent would still need to give approval for an evaluation to move forward.
An evaluation for special education typically involves a vision & hearing screening, academic testing, classroom observations, parent and teacher questionnaires, review of pertinent records, and screening or speech/language and occupational therapy issues. The evaluation process must be completed within 30 school days.
If an evaluation determines that a student qualifies for special education, an IEP will be written based on that evaluation data and the recommendations of the IEP team.
Further resources on IEPs:
What is a 504 plan?
A 504 plan is a legal document that protects a student with an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, whether the student receives special education services or not. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (34 C.F.R. Part 104) is a federal civil rights statute that assures individuals will not be discriminated against based on their disability. All school districts that receive federal funding are responsible for the implementation of this law.
Examples of physical or mental impairments that may be covered under Section 504 include: epilepsy, AIDS, allergies, vision impairment, broken limbs, cancer, diabetes, asthma, temporary condition due to accidents or illness, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, depression, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Examples of major life activities that can be affected by the student’s disability include: learning, thinking, concentrating, reading, speaking, walking, breathing, sleeping, caring for oneself, as well as major bodily functions, including brain function, immune system function, or digestive functions. This is not an exhaustive list.
A 504 plan does not include services. Rather, it lists physical, instructional, assignment, and testing accommodations that staff must provide, as well as behavior management and special considerations if applicable.
How do I request a 504 plan for my student?
You can request a 504 plan verbally or in writing by contacting your students advisory teacher, a member of the leadership team, or the school social worker. You must be able to provide documentation of your student’s disability.
Once you request a 504, the school social worker will coordinate a meeting with the parent, a general education teacher, and herself. The team will decide together what accommodations should be written into the 504 plan.
504 plans are reviewed/updated at least once per year.
For more information on 504 plans: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html