Who Receives Special Education Services?
What Is An Individual Education Program (IEP)?Children identified with a disability that adversely affects their education may be determined as eligible for special education services through an Individual Education Program (IEP). This educational plan is developed by a team that includes: parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and other special education service providers. An IEP may include special education instruction, related services, the use of supplementary aids and services, curriculum accommodations and modifications and a range of other services. If you think that your child may require special education services, please contact Screening and Assessment at 415-759-2222. Additional information is also available on the Special Education website.
What Is The Application Process For Students With Special Education Services?
Students with IEP’s are required to submit an enrollment application if one of the following scenarios applies:
- Students new to SFUSD
- Students in transitional grades who need a new assignment for the next school year (Pre-K, Transitional Kindergarten, 5th or 8th grade, and those entering into transitional services for students aged 18 to 22)
- Students in a non-transitional grade who want to transfer to another school for the following year
- Current SFUSD students with a recent change in special education service delivery (i.e. a separate class is now specified in the IEP)
The same enrollment application form is used by all students applying for the 2016-2017 school year.
Families with students who require special education services should:
- Mark the box on the application indicating that your child has an IEP
- Attach a copy of the most recent IEP to your application (if available)
- Review the list of Service Delivery Options below to determine those schools that meet your child’s needs (as designated in the IEP) and complete the school preference list accordingly
- Meet with an EPC Special Education Placement Counselor
- Consult the section of this site relevant to details on the enrollment policies, process, and key dates
Please note that any change in special education services must be made through the IEP team and finalized in the IEP. The EPC cannot process requests for changes in service.
What Assistance Is Available To Families For Completing The Enrollment Process?
Special Education Counselors at the Educational Placement Center (EPC) are available to assist parents/guardians of children with special education needs with the entire enrollment process, whether their child is new to SFUSD or already attending an SFUSD school. EPC is located at 555 Franklin Street (at McAllister) in Room 100, and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Appointments with a Special Education placement counselor are recommended but are not necessary. Call EPC at 415-355-6995 to make an appointment.
What Are The Placement Options For Students Receiving Special Education Services?
Unless the IEP of a student with a disability requires some other arrangement, the student should be educated in the school that he/she would attend if not disabled. Since SFUSD placement offers are determined through the enrollment application process, families with children who receive special education services should complete the SFUSD enrollment application, including the selection of school preferences, within the specified placement timelines.
Students with special education needs whose IEP’s determine that the student will spend the majority of the instructional day in the general education classroom can be served at any school within SFUSD. However, certain highly specialized services for particular disabilities with lower incidence rates are not available at all school sites. When a student’s IEP team has determined that the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is a separate special education classroom for 50% or more of the school day (also known as a Special Day Class), enrollment options are limited to those schools offering that particular set of specialized services and supports. For more information on placement options, please see the additional information on page 94, the section titled What are the Service Delivery Options for Special Education Services?
What Are The Types and Locations of Separate Classes?
Although Separate Classes are not offered at every school, SFUSD strives to offer these specialized services at sites spread geographically throughout the city. The types of Separate Class offered are based upon the following similar education needs:
- Mild/Moderate with Autism Focus
- Moderate/Severe for Autism
- Deafness & Hearing Impairment
- Services for Students with Emotional Disturbance
- Community Access & Transition (for Moderate/Severe students ages 18-22)
The lists and maps, provided on pages 96-99 of the enrollment guide, identify the SFUSD school sites that will offer Separate Classes in the 2016-2017 school year. This list is subject to change due to fluctuating capacity requirements; please review the online EPC website prior to completing your application for the latest information.
Parents/guardians should review their child’s IEP to determine whether a Separate Class is designated to meet their child’s needs and what type of Separate Class is stated in the IEP. Those unsure of the placement needs for their child should meet with an EPC Special Education Counselor for assistance.
How Does The Placement Process Work For Students With Special Education Services?
The EPC Special Education team will review, verify, and process all applications for students with IEP’s. As part of the verification process, the EPC counselors will make sure that the school preferences listed on the application form meet the applicant’s needs as described in the IEP. Students with IEP’s will participate in the student assignment process in which parental choice, school capacity, and the tie-breakers (as detailed elsewhere in this Enrollment Guide) play a role in determining each student’s school assignment when there are more requests than available capacity.
Students requiring Separate Class (also known as Special Day Class) for a majority of the instructional day, or other specialized services not available at every school, will also participate in the student assignment process for placement into the subset of schools that can provide the services designated in their IEP. Again, parental choice, school capacity, and the tie-breakers (as detailed in this Enrollment Guide) determine the school assignment when there are more requests than available capacity.
Completion of the application process according to the timelines will result in a school assignment offer. All new special education placements result in a 30-day interim placement that will be reviewed by each IEP team to ensure that each student’s educational needs can be met at the newly assigned school. Parents/guardians should expect to participate in a Transition IEP meeting. In the event of a conflict, locations specified in the IEP supersede assignment offers made through the student assignment process.
Families who did not receive the assignment of their choice may want to participate in subsequent placement periods, such as the May Placement period, the August Waiting Pool, or the medical and family hardship appeals process. Those families may submit their requests according to the key dates.
Students with special education needs who enter SFUSD outside of the regular enrollment periods defined in this guide will be assisted by the EPC in selecting from available sites that meet their student’s education needs, based upon the free and appropriate public education offer outlined in the current IEP.
What Are The Service Delivery Options For Special Education Services?
The Service Delivery Options listed below describe the primary settings where special education services are delivered.
- General Education
- Related Services
- Resource Specialist Services
- Separate Class
The student assignment process varies depending upon the services required to meet a child’s educational needs and the amount of time the student spends in the general education setting. Since all options are not available at every school, the enrollment process for students with special education services is dependent upon the Service Delivery Option as determined by the IEP team.
Students who receive special education services in a general education classroom are provided with appropriate accommodations and modifications and/or supplementary aids and supports, as designated in their IEP. The IEP team determines the appropriateness of placement in general education based upon the educational benefits available to the student in a general education classroom, supplemented by appropriate aids and services, as compared with the educational benefits of a separate class setting. This service delivery option is available at every K-12 school. Parents/Guardians whose student’s Service Delivery Option is General Education may list any school on their application.
Related Services are designed to provide specific, specialized interventions when necessary for a student to benefit from his or her instructional program. Related Services are provided by a credentialed or licensed specialist in either the general education or a separate education setting or classroom. Services may also be provided by a specifically trained instructional aide or other certificated staff under the direction of the specialist. Related Services can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Speech and Language Services
- Audiological Services
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- Orientation and Mobility
- Vision Services
- Adaptive Physical Education
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Assistive Technology
- Counseling and Mental Health Services
- Vocational Education and Career Development
Students requiring only Related Services are assigned to the general education classroom for the majority of their school day. Related Services are available at every K-12 school. Parents/Guardians whose child requires only Related Services may list any school on the enrollment application.
Resource Specialist Services
Resource Specialist Services are provided to students of any eligibility who are assigned to the general education classroom for the majority of the instructional day. Each student is assigned to a special education credentialed teacher (also known as an Education Specialist) as case manager. This special education teacher provides services within the general education classroom and/or in separate education settings, both individually and in small groups. Resource Specialist Services focus on accommodating a student in the general education setting and/or providing direct Specialized Academic Instruction to support a student in developing the skills necessary to be successful in the general education setting and access core curriculum. This Service Delivery Option is available at every K-12 school. Parents/Guardians whose student’s Service Delivery Option specifies Resource Specialist Services may list any school on their enrollment application.
Separate Class (also known as Special Day Class [SDC])
Separate classes are a more restrictive setting and provide services to students with more intensive needs who require 51% or more of their day in a separate special education classroom to meaningfully benefit from instruction. Students are assigned to a special education credentialed teacher and multi-grade classrooms according to their learning needs. Special education teachers collaborate with general education classroom teachers and the IEP team to plan services and provide instruction in the least restrictive environment possible. The primary focus of instruction is access to the common core academic standards accommodated and/or modified with specialized instructional strategies to meet individual student needs. Students who spend the majority of the instructional day in a Separate Class may also spend a portion of the day in the general education classroom, as determined by the IEP team. Separate Classes with specialized services are not offered at every school. The types and locations of Separate Classes offered are listed on pages 96-97 of the enrollment guide. This list is subject to change due to fluctuating capacity requirements; please review the online EPC website prior to completing your application for the latest information.
Please find additional resources for families who have children with special needs on our Special Education website.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD
Enrollment for special education services for Early Childhood begins with an Assessment. Please visit the Special Education website for more detailed information.
Contact information for assessment services depends upon the age of your child:
- For students ages 3 to 5, contact the SFUSD Pre-School Intake Unit at (415) 401-2525
- For children ages birth to 3, contact the Golden Gate Regional Center at 1-888-339-3305
Service Delivery Options for Early Childhood
The Service Delivery Options listed below describe the primary settings where special education services are delivered for infant, toddler and preschool students.
Early Start (Birth to 36 months): The SFUSD Early Start Program provides family-centered services to families and their children, ages birth to 36 months of age, who have a low-incidence disability -- hearing, visual or severe orthopedic impairment, or a combination thereof.
Related Services: Related services are designed to address specific, specialized interventions when necessary for a student to benefit from their environment. Services are provided by a credentialed or licensed specialist or by a specifically trained instructional aide under the direction of the specialist. These services may include speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision services, orientation and mobility, nursing, audiological services and mental health services.
Preschool Language Center: Speech and Language Specialists provide therapy to eligible preschool children, generally in small groups, located at SFUSD school sites.
Itinerant Early Education Services: Early Childhood Special Education teachers provide a continuum of services to students in their natural environment. Services can include consultation to family and staff as well as direct support to the child. The goal of these services is to ensure progress towards goals, access to curriculum and peers, and maintaining the child’s current environment.
Preschool Autism Resource Services: Individualized instruction is provided based on methodologies and best practices for children with Autism. Programs are developed and implemented based on students’ unique strengths, needs and motivations.
Preschool Language & Learning Class: Early Childhood Special Educators provide instruction in collaboration with a Speech Language Pathologist in order to improve social skills, support goal progress and build communication skills. This program provides 3 hours of service per day, either 2 or 3 days per week in a separate special education class.
Inclusive Setting Class: Early Childhood Special Educators monitor and support goal progress and peer engagement in asupported SFUSD Early Education classroom with typically developing peers. This program provides 4 hours per day, 5 days a week of services.
Separate Class: Early Childhood Special Educators provide intensive instruction to support goal progress and peer engagement. This program provides 4 hours per day, 5 days a week of services in a separate special education class.
- Special Education Services Separate Class List for School Year 2016-2017 Early Childhood (page 99 of the Enrollment Guide)