Arlington Public Schools (APS) provides a continuum of services for students with disabilities, PreK through high school, found eligible to receive special education services. Identifying a student as eligible for special education services is a carefully managed process guided by State and Federal regulations, as well as APS Special Education policies and procedures (25 4.4). Evaluations required to make this determination are completed only with parent/guardian permission.School-based student study committees review available information regarding students who are experiencing problems that adversely affect their educational performance. Students suspected of having a disability are referred for evaluation. An eligibility committee at the student’s school reviews assessment data from school-based evaluations as well as any information provided by parents to determine if the student has a disability which requires special education services. When a student is found eligible for special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed with the participation of the school staff, the parents/guardians, and the student (when appropriate). An IEP is a statement of the special education and related services that will be provided to the student, which is updated at least annually throughout a student’s eligibility for special education.
The Office of Special Education provides ongoing support throughout the special education process for students with disabilities, parents/guardians, principals, and school staff, to include support in the areas of evaluation, identification, placement, instruction, and transition services.
Individuals with disabilities are valued members of the community, entitled to access opportunities which comprise a meaningful and dignified life. The Office of Special Education (OSE) actively promotes and fosters inclusion of all students in the school and greater community as part of a respectful culture which recognizes the value of individuality.
- Special Education is an integral part of the total education system, not a separate entity. Special Education enhances the effectiveness of the school system to meet the needs of all students. Students with disabilities will be educated in an age appropriate environment with non-disabled students to the maximum extent possible. Students should be served within the regular classroom setting to the degree that is consistent with meeting the specific needs of each student, while providing an appropriate education and environment for all students. Students should be provided special education services within their neighborhood or selected alternative school, unless there is a compelling educational reason for change in school placement.
- Students, regardless of their educational needs, will be a part of their school community, which will actively promote and foster positive attitudes toward and full acceptance of all students. Staff will be empowered to meet the educational needs of all students. Professional development activities will be provided to support the learning and professional growth of school-based staff.
- Parent involvement in the school community will support the educational success of all students.