Special education and related services are provided to eligible students with disabilities. Special education at University Academy is specifically designed instruction that enables students to make continuous progress in school. University Academy’s philosophy is reflected in the practice of responsibly including students in educational and social activities to the maximum extent appropriate, based on their individual learning needs.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Reauthorized by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in December, 2004, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA-04) guides all special education practices in the United States. IDEA-04 mandates that each student identified as eligible for special education services receive a “free and appropriate public education” in the “least restrictive environment” and be afforded “due process rights” as delineated in the legislation.
Individual Education Program (IEP)
The Individual Education Program, or IEP, describes the special education services a student will receive from University Academy. Written by an IEP team, including the parents and the student, if appropriate, the IEP includes information designed to communicate to the school and the parents a plan for delivering services and measuring student growth toward IEP goals.
The IEP is reviewed with parents at least annually. IEP progress reports are sent home quarterly.
Special Education Eligibility
A variety of tools and strategies are used to gather information to determine whether or not a student is eligible for special education. The evaluation process establishes whether or not a child has an exceptionality, and has a need for special education and related services.
The eligibility team, comprised of parents and educators, is required to review data from a variety of sources, such as general education interventions, early childhood screenings, record reviews, interviews, observations and/or tests.
Students must meet two criteria to be enrolled in special education:
• Does the student have a disability?
• Does the student need specially designed instruction to benefit from the general education curriculum?
About Extended School Year
Students with a disability-based IEP may be eligible for Extended School Year (ESY) services through the Special Education Department. The decision for extending services into the summer or other lengthy school breaks is made by the IEP team.
The purpose of Extended School Year is to maintain skills that the student has developed during the school year. The team must consider data that indicates that without extended services, the student would lose skills that could not be regained within a reasonable time period upon returning to school.
The service each student receives is individualized and is based on IEP goals that have been attained during the regular school calendar. Related services such as speech and occupational therapy may be continued through Extended School Year based on the decision of the IEP team. Transportation to and from the student’s home will be provided. Accommodations that are provided throughout the school year will be continued during ESY transportation.
About Section 504
The Rehabilitation Act was passed in 1973 to prohibit entities receiving federal funds from allowing disability discrimination. Subpart C of Section 504 of that act requires school district to make programs and activities accessible to and usable by all individuals with disabilities. It states: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Since University Academy receives federal money, we are required to provide eligible disabled students with equal access (both physical and academic) to services, programs, and activities. Section 504 is a civil rights statute and not a special education statute. University Academy aims to ensure that the educational needs of each student with a disability are met and that students have access to the necessary evaluation, placement and procedural safeguard requirements. The responsibility for insuring Section 504 compliance rests with each Academy’s principal or principal’s designee.
Special Education Related Links
Federal Government's Disability-Related Information Site