Thomas Jefferson provides a continuum of services for students with disabilities in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Determining student eligibility for special education services is a carefully managed process guided by Federal, State, local and Arlington Public Schools (APS) policies and procedures (25-4.4). Evaluations required to make this determination are completed only after parent consent has been secured.
Initially a school-based student study committee will review available information regarding students who are demonstrating learning and/or behavioral challenges that are interfering with their ability to access the curriculum. These students may be referred for an evaluation to determine the need for special education services at any time. An eligibility committee reviews required components and determines a student’s eligibility based on criteria outlined in IDEA and guidelines from VDOE. If a student is found eligible for Special Education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP), is developed by the IEP team. This well-developed legal document provides the necessary supports and outlines specific goals for the student to access the general education curriculum. The IEP may be revised or reviewed at any time, but must be done at least annually.
The goal of Thomas Jefferson Middle school is to provide all students with access to the rigorous general education curriculum while encouraging student interests and removing barriers. An accessible challenging curriculum fosters inquiry and provides opportunities for students to use their schema to build connections between content and their community. Thomas Jefferson Middle School places a high value on prior knowledge in order to enable students to develop into active members of their global community.
Special Education enhances the effectiveness of the school system by providing students with disabilities (SWD) access to the general education curriculum. Thomas Jefferson Middle School offers a continuum of Special Education services and placements. To the greatest extent possible and in accordance with the requirements for Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), SWD are educated with their non-disabled peers. However, for students who need more require more specialized instruction, SWD can be educated in any combination of inclusion, co-taught, or self-contained classroom settings.
We recognize the following features of the MYP are applicable for all students.
- IB learner profile embodies characteristics that all our students, without regard for differences of abilities and needs, must develop in order to become life-long learners and active global citizens capable of achieving personal success.
- Approaches to learning skills, (transferable skills and work habits) are necessary for academic and for life-long success. Approaches to learning skills may align with students IEP goals.
- Criterion-referenced assessments and rubrics measure students’ performance against standards which can include Virginia Standards of Learning, standards-based IEP goals, and MYP objectives. The data derived from these assessments drive curriculum development and encourage students to become active participants in their learning through clearly defined learning targets and expectations.
- Service as Action, a powerful and challenging concept for many middle school students, teaches students to consider the needs of others.
- Global Contexts, used as contexts for learning experiences and assessments, make learning interesting and engaging for all students. Thus, students better retain what they have learned.
- The Community Project, along with existing culminating community based activities allows students to exercise the skills acquired in their courses through the development of a project based on personal interests.
Students with Disabilities
Our Students with Disabilities include students who require modifications or adaptations to curriculum in order to meet their learning needs and facilitate continued academic growth. These students may include, but are not limited to:
- Students requiring an IEP
- Students requiring a 504
Special Education Services at Thomas Jefferson Middle School
Students are educated in a variety of settings in accordance with their IEP and LRE.
Current services and settings offered include:
- Inclusion classrooms
- Co-taught content classrooms
- Self-contained classrooms
- Various Special Education Programs
- Speech Language services
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Counseling services
- Hearing Services
- Vision Services
For the full range of services provided through APS refer to the Special Education section of the APS website.
Special Education Teacher
While all teachers are instructors of academics, affirm student identity, and build the self-esteem of students, Special Education teachers also develop and implement IEPs which drive highly specialized instruction. As well as teaching students, Special Education teachers collaborate with General Education teachers to provide support and guidance in how to implement accommodations for SWD in the classroom. Special Education teachers collaborate with general education teachers, specialists, related service providers, and families in order to provide the most supportive and successful least restrictive learning environment for students.
General Education Teacher
General Education teachers work collaboratively with other grade level content area teachers across disciplines to develop the curriculum sequence, identify instructional objectives, and plan units of instruction. Special Education and General Education teachers meet at least once weekly in the Collaborative Learning Team (CLT) to plan, develop lessons, modify and adapt instruction, assessments, and resources in order to meet the needs of all students.
Instructional Support Staff Roles
Instructional Support Staff provide instructional support to SWD under the direct supervision of Special Education teachers. Assistants work with students in the classroom or in small group settings to support their academic growth and achievement.