Special Education Programs and Services

(EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS OF STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS)

WHAT IS SPECIAL EDUCATION?
Special education is defined as instructional and resource programs, related services, unique materials, physical plant adjustments and other special education facilities described or implied in Article XIV in The School Code of Illinois which meets the unique needs of exceptional children, and modify, supplement, support or are in place of the standard educational program of the public. The term includes speech pathology and vocational education. The provision of services to meet the special needs of the student is identified and assured through the development and implementation of an IEP (individualized education program).

 
Basic Requirements
Before a student can receive special education programming and/or services, a number of criteria must be met which include:
1. The student must be a resident of the district.
2. The student must be registered in the district.
3. The student must have a disability.
4. A handicapping condition must result from the disability.
5. The student must have an educational need.
6. Appropriate procedural safeguards must be followed to guarantee the student of his/her civil rights.

Residency
Residency is predicated upon the determination of legal custody and control of the student. Thus, it is possible to have several types of residency situations. The first and most frequent residency situation is that in which the parents or another adult and the student reside within the boundaries of the district and
the parents or the other adult retain legal custody and control of the student.
 
A second and less frequent residency situation is when the parents or another adult reside within the boundaries of the district, the student does not, but the parents or the other adult retain legal custody and control of the student. 
 
The third and last residency situation is when a state agency places the student within the boundaries of the district for domicile reasons and it assumes legal custody and control of the student. In this instance, the student is regarded as a ward of the state.

Disability
Before a student can be considered as having a handicapping condition, there must be a mental, physical, social, emotional learning, and/or communication disability. The term disability refers to a deviance from normal growth and/or development. Therefore, a student must be assessed as functioning at a mental, social, emotional, physical, learning, and/or communication level of development which is less than normal.

To receive special education programming and services, a student must have a handicapping condition which is the result of an adverse interaction between his/her disability and the educational environment of the school. This adverse interaction prevents the student from functioning at a level commensurate to
his/her regular education peers. Thus, it is implied that a handicap is an impaired functioning of the student in the educational situation. Specifically, the student is less able than his peers to derive academic and/or social emotional benefits from his/her educational situation. Not all handicapping
conditions qualify a child for special education. Those handicapping conditions by law which qualify a child for special education are: autism/autism spectrum disorder, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional
disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic disabilities, other health impaired, specific learning disabilities, speech and/or language impairment, traumatic brain injury and visual impairment.
 
Need for Special Education Programs and/or Services
The existence of a disability and a concomitant handicapping condition shall not, in and of themselves, qualify a student for special education. A student must have a need for special education programming and/or services. Specifically, the student must need special education programming or services in order to derive academic and/or social-emotional benefits from the educational situation. It is imperative that, in determining the need for special education programs and services, we not think of special education as the only or the first service to be provided, but it should be perceived as a service of
last resort. A student with a handicapping condition deserves the opportunity to receive his/her education in as normal an educational environment as possible, as long as the student can educationally benefit from the situation.

Procedural Safeguards
Appropriate procedural safeguards must be followed and, through this process, it must be determined that special education programming and/or services are necessary to meet the educational needs of the student. There can be no “short cuts” or “cutting of corners.” Each student shall be guaranteed
his/her civil rights. This is our responsibility.

Explanation of Procedural Safeguards
Available to Parents of Students with Disabilities
Complaint Resolution and Mediation

It is our hope that difference between the district and parent can be resolved with a minimum of delay. For that purpose we provide parents with an opportunity for a district conference.
 
If a district conference is unsuccessful in resolving these differences, complaints may also be referred in writing to the Division of Program Compliance, ISBE, for review, investigation and action within 60 days.
 
Mediation is a voluntary alternative to a due process hearing that provides a means of resolving disagreements regarding the appropriateness of special education and related services.

Requesting a Due Process Hearing
A parent or local district may initiate a due process hearing regarding the district’s proposal or refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student or the provision of a free, appropriate public education. A request for a due process hearing cannot be denied for any reason.
 
A parent request for a hearing must be made in writing to the Interim Superintendents of the district.
 
The parent or attorney representing the student must include the following information in a request for due process hearing.
1. Name and address of the student;
2. Name of school attended;
3. Description of the nature of the problem of the student relating to such proposed initiation or change, including facts relating to the problem; and
4. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the parent at the time.
 
A model form for requesting due process hearing shall be made available to the parent upon request. 
 
Within 5 school days of receipt of the request for a hearing, the district will contact ISBE by certified mail to request the appointment of an impartial hearing officer.
 
For a complete “Explanation of Procedural Safeguards Available to Parents of Students with Disabilities” please contact the Department of Pupil and Personnel.
 
Parents wishing to request a district conference, mediation or hearing should send
written request to:
Dr. David Lopez, Director of Pupil and Personnel
191 W. 155th Place
Harvey, IL 60426-3426

A copy of the letter should be forwarded to:
Ms. J. Kay Giles
Interim Superintendent of Schools
191 W. 155th Place
Harvey, IL 60426-3426

The director will be available to assist parents in scheduling a district conference mediation and/or utilizing the hearing process. For additional information please call the Department of Pupil and Personnel at (708) 339-9500, Ext. 5509.
 
Director of Pupil and Personnel Services
Dr. David Lopez
 
Case Manager
Jerrilyn Parker
 
Confidential Secretary
Veronica Keel
 
West Harvey-Dixmoor SD 147
191 W. 155th Place
Harvey, IL 60426
Ph: 708-339-9500
Fax: 708-596-7020
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