Frequently Asked Questions
A: No. Once your child is registered as a Pre-K student, the registration carries over to the new school year, as long as they continue to be eligible for the program. However, Pre-K students moving up to Kindergarten need to register at their home-zoned school.
A: No. The district offers a full-day program that provides academics, socialization, and related services, or a Clinic setting for related services only.
A: Exceptional Student Education (ESE) provides services to over 2400 students identified as disabled or gifted. A full continuum of programs and related services is offered to students from preschool through high school in accordance with their Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Services include placement in the least restrictive environment, which may be an inclusion setting in the student's home school general education classroom with consultative support or resource pull out. Other placements may require a more restrictive setting, which may range from self-contained classes at cluster sites to hospital/homebound. In addition, an ESE Parent Liaison is available to provide individualized assistance and to support parents. The primary goal of the department is to ensure that your son or daughter is provided a free, approrpiate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The Exceptional Student Education Department is always striving for academic success and we are committed to giving exceptional students the means of achieving success by delivering the highest quality of service and working on the goals as specified on each student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
A: When Dyslexia is a concern of parents, they should discuss it with the Targeted Problem Solving Team at their child’s school, including the assigned school psychologist. The speech and language pathologist may also be involved if there are language concerns.
The school psychologist may consult with the parent and administer screeners to explore deficits with phonological processing and reading deficiencies in word identification and reading fluency. Sometimes this information may already be available in current reading assessment information that is available on the student and this can be reviewed.
We do not diagnose dyslexia in the schools, but can review and/or collect information for the purpose of identifying areas of reading that would be impacted by dyslexia and could be targeted with instructional intervention.
If the student who is experiencing reading challenges does not have reading interventions already in place, this will be discussed and added as part of the problem solving and Multi-Tiered System of Supports process.
A: If your child is struggling with academics, behavior, or both, your child may be appropriate for a referral for the MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) process. Although this referral is typically initiated by your child’s teacher or other school personnel, parents may also request a meeting to discuss the appropriateness of a referral. This meeting is a lot like a parent/teacher conference, but participants may include a number of different people who are working with your child. During the meeting, the team, with your input, will develop an intervention plan to address the areas in which your child is struggling. Once the plan is implemented, regular meetings will occur to review your child’s progress and modify the plan, if necessary, to increase his or her chances of success. To find out more about the MTSS process, please click here.
A: Accommodations are changes that can be made in the way a student accesses information and demonstrates performance. Accommodations do not reduce learning expectations. Usually, there are four categories of accommodations: Presentation – how a student will access information; Response – how the student will demonstrate competence; Setting – where the student will be instructed and assessed; and Scheduling – when the student will be instructed and assessed.
Interventions are curricular, instructional, and/or other adjustments made to address core instructional issues. Interventions may also be provided to students in small groups or individually, in addition to and aligned with core instruction in order to target a specific skill or concept.
A: An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services. The child on an I.E.P. receives services and supports that are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and education law. They must be given services from which they will actually benefit. The IEP contains goals and progress reporting for parents. The IEP team meets annually to discuss whether the child is making progress with services provided.
Section 504 is a civil rights law, not an education law. Its purpose is to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disability. The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment. The services and accommodations on a 504 Plan are meant to ensure that the educational needs of the student with disabilities are met as adequately as the educational needs of the student without disabilities are net.
Important Differences Between 504 Plan and IEP
Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an IEP is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth.
For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances. There are no goals in a 504 Plan.
Students whose disabilities are "less severe" may not require or qualify for services under IDEA. (Note: In practice, many students with learning disabilities, attentional disorders and emotional disabilities are placed into 504 categories.) These students with disabilities still have a civil right to reasonable accommodations under Section 504.
A: Any input from your child’s physician should be given to the guidance department at the school your child attends for review. The team at your school will consider the information received from the doctor, but please keep in mind that physicians are not always familiar with the educational regulations that your child’s school must follow.
A: A parent can request a meeting, at any time, by contacting the guidance secretary at their child’s school. Please be prepared to let the secretary know what the meeting will be about and who you would like to have in attendance at the meeting.
A: IEP meetings may be called for a number of reasons. Below is a list of possible purposes for meetings and what they mean.
- Annual Review – The goals on an IEP are written for a maximum of one year. Each year, the goals must be reviewed and a new IEP created to keep up with the growing student. Expect to meet with the IEP team at least once a year for this review.
- Three Year Re-Evaluation – Although formal evaluations may be requested by an IEP team at any time there is a documented need, every 3 years the IEP team must document whether there is a need for consideration of formal evaluation. The team will use guiding questions to make this determination, such as “does the student continue to require specially designed instruction” or “are the student’s needs being met”.
- Eligibility/Ineligibility Meeting – This is the official meeting where all the data and evaluations will be reviewed and the IEP team will determine whether the student is a student with a disability.
- IEP Review, Consider Dismissal – This is a meeting to discuss the consideration of dismissing a student from ESE services. The team may be proposing the student be completing dismissed from all ESE services (such as dismissal from SLD or EBD or OHI) or it may be dismissal from related services (OT, PT, SI, LI).
- IEP Review, Possible Change of Placement – This should be followed by what exactly the team is considering for change. For example, the Language Therapist may wish to ask the team to consider decreasing language services from 60 MPW to 30 MPW. The ESE Teacher may suggest the team consider increasing academic supports from consultation to support facilitation. The IEP team may need to consider ESY services based on the data collected by teachers or therapists. The IEP team may need to consider adding behavioral supports for problem behaviors.
- IEP Review, Parent Request – As the parent of a student with a disability, you have the right to call an IEP meeting. Please remember – an IEP meeting is different from a Parent/Teacher Conference. If there are specific issues to be discussed resulting in the amending of an IEP, then the meeting is an IEP meeting. If you would like to speak to a teacher about their curriculum or behavior management, that is a Parent/Teacher Conference.
- IEP Review, Waiver Consideration – There is a process and eligibility requirements for consideration of an FCAT or an EoC Waiver. An IEP meeting is required for either consideration. At the meeting, the IEP team will review the requirements and determine whether the student meets them.
- IEP Review, Summary of Performance – Seniors graduating with a standard diploma are required to assist their ESE teachers with completing a Summary of Performance. Typically, this is reviewed during the Annual Review in their Senior Year. Although FAPE ends with high school graduation, some colleges continue to provide supports. This document will go with the student to college, if the student wishes to continue to receive assistance as a student with a disability.
- Manifestation Review – Students who receive 10 days of out of school suspension or who are demonstrating a pattern of behavior that will lead to 10 days of out of school suspension are required to have a manifestation meeting. At the meeting, the team will discuss what the behavior leading to the consequence, current assessment information, parent and teacher input of student behavior and student placement & services. The team will then answer two questions – was the behavior directly related to the disability or was it because of the school not following the IEP. At times, these meetings also discuss change in placements or services, based on the information reviewed.
- Articulations – Students articulate from Pre-K to Elementary, from Elementary to Middle and from Middle to High school. Not all students require an IEP meeting to do so. Typically those students with more intensive supports in place or those who require assistance to make the transition will have a meeting requested by the sending school. Parents may also request articulations if they believe their student will require such assistance.
A: Florida students entering grade nine may choose from one of four options to earn a standard diploma. They are
A: A change of placement results when the services change (either less or more) or the location changes between general education and ESE. A change of placement requires an IEP meeting and data to support the changes. Only an IEP team can determine a change of placement. Some examples may help clarify what a change of placement is:
If a student is moved out of general education classes and into a more restrictive setting, such as ESE classes for math & reading, this is a change of placement. In this case, they continue to get math & reading instruction, but the location is now an ESE classroom setting (only ESE students in the class) and the curriculum is a change (no longer standard diploma curriculum).
If a student is moved into a learning strategies class in place of an elective, this is a change of placement. Learning strategies is a service – it’s daily support by an ESE teacher. This is a change of placement due to the services and location (it’s an ESE class, which is why general education students aren’t able to take it).
If a student is moved from monthly consultation to support facilitation, this is a change of placement. This would be a change of services from consultation to direct. Also, adding supports such as counseling (if provided by our School Psychologist), speech, language, and behavioral supports are all considered a change of placement because they are adjusting the services the student is receiving.
If a student is moved from one teacher to another for the SAME class it is NOT a change of placement (say Teacher A’s Algebra IA to Teacher B’s Algebra IA). There is no change in services and it remains the same setting (in this example, it’s still a general education class).
A: Only a student whose IEP requires special education, transition planning, transition services or related services through the age of 21 may defer receipt of their standard diploma. In addition, once a student defers, they must be enrolled in accelerated college credit instruction, industry certification courses that lead to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements or a structured work-study, internship or pre-apprenticeship program in order to continue to receive FAPE (s. 1003.4282(10)(c), F.S.)
Rule 6A-1.09963(6), F.A.C., specifies the district’s obligations, which include the following: • Review the benefits of deferring with the parent and the student, including continuation of educational and related services • Describe to the parent and the student, in writing, all of the services and programs available to students who defer • Note the deferral decision on the IEP • Provide a document that notes the decision for the parent, or the student if over 18 and rights have transferred, to sign that is separate from the IEP • Inform the parent and the student, in writing, by January 30 of the year in which the student is expected to meet all graduation requirements that failure to defer releases the school district of the obligation to provide FAPE, that the deadline for acceptance or deferral is May 15 and that failure to attend the graduation ceremony does NOT constitute deferral • Ensure that the names of the students who are deferring are submitted to appropriate staff for entry into the district’s management information system.
Note - Students must make their decision to defer receipt of their standard diploma by May 15 in the school year in which they are expected to meet all of the requirements for graduation. The decision must be noted on the IEP and also kept on file in writing. (Rule 6A-1.09963(6)(a)2., F.A.C.) Failure to walk at graduation does not qualify a student for deferral of diploma.
A: To be considered for a statewide, standardized assessment results waiver, the following criteria must be met: 1. The student must be identified as a student with a disability, as defined in s. 1007.02, F.S.: The term “student with a disability” means a student who is documented as having an intellectual disability; a hearing impairment, including deafness; a speech or language impairment; a visual impairment, including blindness; an emotional or behavioral disability; an orthopedic or other health impairment; an autism spectrum disorder; a traumatic brain injury; or a specific learning disability, including, but not limited to, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or developmental aphasia. 2. The student must have an individual educational plan (IEP). 3. The student must have taken the statewide, standardized assessment with appropriate allowable accommodations at least once. 4. In accordance with s. 1008.22(3)(c)2., F.S., the IEP team must make a determination of whether a statewide, standardized assessment accurately measures the student’s abilities, taking into consideration all allowable accommodations for students with disabilities. The IEP team may meet at any time to: • Verify that the criteria have been met • Document the team’s determination and information analyzed in making the decision.
Per District Pupil Progress Plan regarding CDF waivers, a student with a disability, as defined in S. 1007.02, for whom the individual education plan (IEP) team determines that the Common District Final (CDF), standardized assessments under this section cannot accurately measure the student’s abilities, taking into consideration all allowable accommodations, shall have CDF assessment results waived for the purpose of receiving a course grade. If a student is granted a waiver for a CDF, the exam score will not be calculated as district designated percentage of the student’s grade.
A: For information regarding post-secondary options while continuing to receive FAPE, click here to visit our transition page.