Welcome to the Special Education Department
The Pawtucket School Department fully recognizes the Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities as adopted by the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education June 3, 2010.
As stated in 300.1 of the regulations, The purpose of these regulations is –
- To ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living:
- To ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected;
- To assist state agencies, local education agencies, education service agencies, Federal agencies, educational collaborative, and other public agencies to provide for the education of all children with disabilities; and
- To assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities
Definition of a Disability
A child with a disability is defined in section 300.8 of the regulations as:
A child, aged 3 to 21, evaluated in accordance with sections 300.304 through 300.311 as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and who, by reason there of, needs special education and related services.
Identification of a Disability
A student who has a suspected disability can be referred to the school’s evaluation team by a parent or teacher. Upon receipt of the referral, the evaluation team must meet within 10 school days to discuss whether additional testing or data collection is needed.
The evaluation team also must determine if exclusionary conditions for determining a disability exist. Such conditions could include. But not limited to, lack of schooling (past history of poor school attendance), environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Program Service Models
Once a student has been identified as having a disability, an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) must be written. The IEP is written by the IEP team which consists of the parent, student if applicable, student’s general education teacher, the special education teacher, related service providers if applicable and a representative from the school or school department. All IEP teams must consider the least restrictive environment when determining the services that will be provided. The program is determined by the IEP team.
Reporting and Assessment of Student Progress
Student progress is measured following the same policy as students without disabilities. In addition, parents will also receive progress reports based on the student’s progress toward achieving their IEP goals. These progress reports will be sent home at the same time that report cards are issued. Students with disabilities participate in all state assessments. The student’s IEP team determines whether an alternate assessment is required.
The Pawtucket School Department encourages parent participation. Parents should participate in their school’s School Improvement Team as well as other activities sponsored by their school. In addition, there is a district–wide Special Education Advisory Committee in which parents, who have children with disabilities, are encouraged to participate.