Children identified with a disability that affects their education may be eligible for special education services and 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.
Special Education services are bound by state and federal mandates to ensure students eligible for special education have meaningful access to general education (peers & instruction) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to meet their unique needs. The LRE is a continuum that fluctuates for each student in light of changing educationally based needs This LRE continuum expresses how much access a student has to general education courses and peers while still making meaningful progress in their individualized education program.
All SFUSD schools have some special education services available and most students with disabilities can apply to attend a school of their choice. However, certain highly specialized services for students with disabilities are only available at specific schools.
For more detailed information on Special Education services, please visit sfusd.edu/sped.
General Education with Special Education Support - available at every TK-12 school.
Every TK-12 school offers the necessary general education-based accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids, and/or supports designated in a student’s IEP.
Students in this program are assigned to a General Education classroom for the majority of the school day. They are assigned a Special Education case manager and receive accommodations and modifications as designated by their IEP. Every TK-12 school offers the necessary general education-based accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids, and/or supports designated in a student’s IEP.
Related Services - available at every TK-12 school
These services are available at every TK-12 school.
Related Services are designed to address specific, specialized interventions when necessary to provide access to core curriculum and grade level peers. A credentialed or licensed specialist provides services. These services may include: speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision services, orientation and mobility, nursing, audiology services and behavioral health services.
Related Services are:
- 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
Resource Specialist Program Services (RSP) - available at every TK-12 school
These services are available at every TK-12 school for students with disabilities and assigned to the general education classroom for most of the school day.
Resource Specialist Services focus on accessing grade-level content with grade-level peers, as well as individualized instructional supports. Each student is assigned a special education teacher (also called a Resource Specialist), who is the student’s case manager.
Resource Specialist services may be provided in the general education classroom and/or a separate setting as indicated in the student’s IEP. This includes sites with Learning Centers. Students with low incidence disabilities may receive all, or a portion of their instruction, in a regular class and/or may also be enrolled in a separate class to receive specialized academic instruction as indicated in IEP.
Separate Class or Special Day Class (SDC) - available at some schools
These classes are offered at some SFUSD schools.
Special Day Classes are for students who require separate class instruction and a smaller class size for the majority of the day. Students in Separate Classes for the majority of the day are assigned to a multi-grade classroom with a special education teacher. Instruction focuses on students accessing common core standards through accommodations, modifications and specialized academic instruction. SDC classrooms are assigned additional adult support.
Types of Special Day Classes:
Autism-Focused (Mild/Mod) - Designed to be enriched with evidence-based practices and supports to facilitate the development of academic, behavioral, and social skills for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This class utilizes ABA strategies and includes training and regular consultation to classroom staff from a Behavior Analyst, Speech Language Pathologist, and other Related Service providers as needed. Most students in these settings are working on Functional Communication Training, social pragmatics, and acquiring self-management skills. Students in this setting are on diploma track.
Autism-Focused (Mod/Sev) - Designed to be enriched with evidence-based practices and supports to facilitate the development of pre-academic, behavioral, and social skills for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This class utilizes ABA strategies and includes training and regular consultation to classroom staff from a Behavior Analyst, Speech Language Pathologist, and other Related Service providers. Most students in these settings are working on learning-readiness, adaptive (self-care) skills, communication, and independence. Students in this setting are not typically on diploma track.
Learning Center - Students in the Learning Center Program spend the majority of their day in general education and may receive additional support with specialists in a small group setting within or outside of the general education classroom. Students in this model are assigned to a Special Day Class Mild-Moderate teacher and are on a regular diploma track.
Mild/Moderate (Cross-Categorical) - Students in Special Day Classes (Mild/Moderate) spend the majority of their day in a Special Education classroom. However, almost all students are integrated in general education for classes they are able to access effectively with support. Most students in these settings are on a regular diploma tack. Instruction focuses on academic skills along with the expansion of communication, behavioral, and social skills, including: social communication, on-task and effective behavior, self-awareness and advocacy, self-management and independent transitions.
Moderate/Severe (Cross-Categorical)- This program provides a continuum of Special Day Class services to students that focus on basic academic, functional, and life skills. Students are certificate track - cannot access grade level curriculum even with accommodations and modifications. Instruction focuses on pre-academic skills, along with the development of communication, behavioral, and social skills, including: Learning-readiness (discrimination, 1:1 correspondence, attending), adaptive (self-care) skills, functional communication, social awareness (safety skills), independence. Students participate in community-based instruction and are included as appropriate in the general education curriculum and program. These classes may receive a variety of support services ranging from speech and language therapy to occupational therapy and are based on developmentally appropriate practices that address the areas of cognition, social-emotional, gross/fine motor, communication, and physical development.
SOAR: Success, Opportunity, Achievement, Resiliency (Mild/Mod) - SDCs are specialized for students with disabilities that impact their social, emotional, behavioral and academic functioning. This class is enriched with therapeutic and behavior supports to facilitate the reduction of behavioral excesses and the development of skills in the areas of self-awareness, self-management, social skills, and responsible decision-making. This class includes training and on-going consultation by a Behavior Analyst and Mental Health Clinician. Most students require instruction in the separate setting for over 50 percent of the day until they gain skills to access learning in a less restrictive environment. Students are on a regular diploma track in this program.
DHH Auditory/Oral (A/O) and Total Communication (TC) Mild/Mod students are in a separate deaf/hard of hearing auditory oral or total communication classroom over 50 percent of the day. The continuum of services includes specialized programs for students with significant hearing impairments who benefit from full-time placement in a special day class setting. Depending on a student’s IEP, sign language interpreters enableTC students to access general education classes and extracurricular activities as appropriate. Specialized DHH equipment is provided per a student’s IEP to maximize access to the curriculum.
Access Transition Program (ages 18-22) - available at some schools
Students eligible for Access, the Adult Transition Program, are on track for a Certificate of Completion at the end of 12th grade. Access programming includes post-secondary education, employment, and independent living skills. Individual student needs, strengths, preferences and interests inform IEP services for instruction, related services, community experiences, employment development, and other post-school adult living objectives. SFUSD students on IEPs are eligible for special education services through Access until they are 22 years of age or complete a high school diploma.
Has completed 12th grade
On a certificate of completion track
Has an IEP
AccessSFUSD Mission Statement
AccessSFUSD is a community based program for students 18-22 with disabilities. We focus on teaching functional life skills within the community setting.
San Francisco IS our campus.
We strive to help students discover their passions, unlock their potential, and become involved members of the community. We offer an individualized program that works with each student’s goals and interests to further develop their skills, gain vocational experience, and to create self-determined individuals who are active in their community.
Current AccessSFUSD Program Sites
AccessSFUSD: The Arc
AccessSFUSD: Bay Street
AccessSFUSD: Project Search*
*AccessSFUSD: Project Search is a one year intensive internship at Kaiser Hospital eligible to qualified students in their final year of their AccessSFUSD program
Special Education placement counselors at the Educational Placement Center are available to assist with enrollment. Call 415-241-6085 to speak with our team.
- For information about how to apply to special education programs visit our enrollment website: sfusd.edu/enroll or download the SFUSD Enrollment Guide.
- Types of Special Education Classrooms and Services
- View the slides from the Enrollment Fair for an overview of the special education enrollment process. English | Español | 中文
This page was last updated on May 16, 2023