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Qualifying for Special Education Services

Under Federal Law, all students have the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If a student is determined to have a disability that impedes this right, s/he must be provided with special education services that ensure s/he receives the same education as typical needs students.   Special education services for District 63 students are coordinated through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). To determine whether or not a student qualifies for an IEP, the District carries out a thorough assessment and evaluation process:  

  • First, a student must be suspected of having or known to have a disability that affects his/her ability to receive a FAPE. Such students come to our attention in various ways:  through Child Find -- a process through which parents ask for an evaluation -- or through a referral by the school or other individual. Often, a student is referred through the District's Response to Intervention (RTI), a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. 
  • Not all students suspected of having a disability are referred for further evaluation. However, for those who are, a team of District professionals and parents/guardians assess a student's ability to learn in the educational environment.
  • The team may or may not determine that the student needs special education services. Again, the key factor is whether a disability affects the student's ability to learn.
  • Once eligibility is established, the student may receive services with the consent of the family. Goals and progress are tracked through an IEP.
  • District professionals meet annually with the family to review the qualifying student's progress. Every three years, the District must assess and re-evaluate the student's eligibility for services.