Overview of Exceptional Children
Child Find: According to federal guidelines, states are responsible for locating, identifying and evaluating all children with disabilities in the state who need special education. The process for these actions is outlined below.
Referral or request for evaluation: A school professional may identify students suspected of having a disability. Additionally, parents may contact the student’s teacher or other school personnel and request evaluations. An IEP Team, which includes the parent, would meet in either case and complete a Special Education Referral (DEC 1). During this meeting, the team will review information about the student’s strengths and weaknesses, results of any interventions, information about educational history and daily classroom performance, state testing results (if available), etc. Based on a review of the information the team will decide if further data is needed to determine eligibility. If further data is needed, parental consent is required (Informed Consent for Evaluation DEC 2).
Evaluations requested by the team will be completed and an IEP Team, of which the parent is a part, will meet to review results and determine if the student meets the requirements for one or more of the 14 disability categories recognized within North Carolina (Eligibility Determination - DEC 3). If the disability has an adverse effect on educational performance and requires specially designed instruction, the student is found eligible for special education.
An Individual Education Program (IEP/DEC 4) will be developed which outlines the student’s strengths and weaknesses and the services, supplemental aids, modifications and accommodations required to meet the student’s needs to progress in the general education curriculum.
The IEP Team’s decisions and the rationale for those decisions are outlined on the Prior Written Notice(DEC 5). Parents are provided this document that explains the team’s decisions before any of those decisions are implemented.
Informed Consent for Initial Provision of Services (DEC 6) must be signed by the parent before the IEP can be implemented.
Reevaluation: At least once every three years (and no more than once per calendar year unless agreed on by the team) a student must be reevaluated to determine if eligibility requirements continue to be met and to determine if the student continues to be in need of special education. This is done via the Reevaluation Determination (DEC 7) process.
Transfer Information (In-state or Out-of-State)
When EC students transfer from another school system, Perquimans County Schools begin providing services comparable to those provided in the previous school system. A copy of an IEP from the previous school or verification of EC service via an email, fax, or phone call with the previous school is needed. Once services have been confirmed and records are received and reviewed, an IEP Team will meet and develop an IEP based on a review of the records from the previous school and the student’s daily performance since enrolling in Perquimas County Schools. If the student is transferring from out-of-state, the team will also review formal and informal assessment data and determine if additional data is needed to determine eligibility in the state of NC.
A student with a disability who violates the code of student conduct may be treated the same as a child without a disability if the removal from school is for 10 school days or less.
Extra protections (through the manifestation determination process) are in place if a student with a disability is removed for more than 10 school days in a single school year.
If, though, the student (1) carries or has a weapon, (2) has, uses, solicits the sale of, or sells illegal drugs; or (3) causes serious bodily injury to another person, he/she can be removed to an interim alternative education setting for up to 45 school days.
Local Dispute Resolution
Occasionally, members of IEP Teams will not agree about how to meet a student’s needs or about exactly what should be included in an IEP. Perquimans County Schools and the NC Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children’s Division, provide a range of resources to help the team resolve disagreements.
When challenges arise, first communicate with the person closest to the issues. Discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher, the IEP Team, the principal of your child’s school, or the Chief Academic Officer of Student Services.
If additional support is needed, informal and formal processes are available from DPI.
- Facilitation: When an IEP meeting is expected to be very complex or when the parties are apprehensive about the meeting, an impartial facilitator can be requested from DPI. This facilitator will help the IEP Team members communicate effectively, focus on the student’s needs and develop a compliant IEP.
- Mediation: Mediation is a process designed to resolve disagreements and work toward a solution that is agreeable to all parties. Parents and/or the school system may request mediation anytime disputes cannot be resolved without outside support. There is no charge for mediation.
- State Complaint: If a parent disagrees with a decision made by the IEP Team or believes the district is not appropriately serving the student, the parent has a right, within one calendar year of the alleged violation, to file a state complaint with the EC Division of the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).
If you would like more information concerning mediation and state complaints, please see: Parent Rights & Responsibilities in Special Education Notice of Procedural Safeguards
If you would like more information concerning facilitation, mediation and state complaints, please visit the NC DPI EC website: http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/dispute-resolution