Special Education

Office of Special Education Services

Crystal Swan-Gravatt - Director of Special Education
Beverly Launius - Administrative Assistant
Sandwich Middle School
600 S. Wells Street
Phone: 815-786-6851
Sandwich, IL 60548

Welcome to the Department of Special Education

Welcome to Sandwich District #430 Department of Special Education Services. We invite you to learn more about Special Education Services that are available through our District. Sandwich District #430, the Office of Special Education Services and its Director are committed to providing a quality education to all students in the least restrictive environment.

Child Find

If you are a parent of a 3-5 year old who is in not enrolled in school, living in the Sandwich School District and you have developmental concerns regarding your child please make an appointment to bring your child into the school for a screening.

Screenings are conducted every other month at Lynn G. Haskin Elementary School located at 720 S. Wells St. in Sandwich. To make an appointment call: Lynn G. Haskin Elementary School (815) 786-8812.

Goal Statement

In Sandwich District #430, the goal of the Office of Special Education Services is to enable all students to benefit from a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Children who have been identified as having special needs are served through various types of delivery models ranging from the instructional classroom model, to the consultative model.

The Referral Process

Who can request an initial evaluation for a student? A request may be made by a parent of a child or by an employee of a State Educational agency, another State agency, a local educational agency, or a community service agency

District's Response to Request

The district shall be responsible for processing the request, deciding what action should be taken and initiating the necessary procedures. To determine what action should be taken, the district may utilize screening data and conduct preliminary procedures such as observation of the child, assessment for instructional purposes, consultation with the teacher or other individual making the request, and a conference with the child.

The district shall convene a team of personnel including the parent(s) and an individual having the knowledge and skills to administer and interpret evaluation data. The team shall identify any assessments necessary to complete the evaluation, should testing be deemed appropriate. This is called a Domain meeting.

Within 14 days of receiving the request for an evaluation, the district shall determine whether an evaluation is warranted. Written notice will be provided to the parent(s) of such determination.

Parent consent is required to proceed with an assessment. Consent for testing is not consent for provision of special education services. Within 60 school days following the date of written consent, the determination of eligibility shall be made and the IEP meeting, if appropriate, shall be completed.

The reauthorization of IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) has brought about changes in the process for identifying students suspected of having a learning disability. New mandates dictate that we follow a very specific process. Please see the section on RtI following for an overview of that process.

TAT Team

Sandwich schools each have a Teacher Assistance Team (TAT Team) to address concerns regarding student development. If a student is struggling academically or behaviorally, teachers and/or parents may make a referral to the TAT Team. At this level, team members, with the cooperation and participation of the parent(s), explore ideas for implementation to promote progress/success. Interventions may include, but are not limited to, modifications in the delivery of the curriculum, reduced assignments, and additional help both in the classroom and after school. Students who are referred to the TAT Team are monitored closely for progress. Data is often collected and shared at follow-up meetings to document progress. If the student makes progress and can then be successful without the continued interventions, they will be released from the TAT Team. However, after a period of time, if the student fails to make progress, the teacher or parent may refer the student to the PPS Team. Prior to a referral to the PPS Team the TAT Team will complete a process referred to as Response to Intervention (RtI). RtI is a process in which students are provided with varied tiers of interventions. See the following for an in-depth explanation.

Response to Intervention (RtI)

With the reauthorization of IDEA 2004, the Federal special education law and the rules which govern the State of IL, schools must now use a process called RtI to determine eligibility under the special education category of a Learning Disability.

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, classroom and individual paraprofessionals and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.

Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to assist in making the eligibility decision.

Although there are many formats for how Sandwich Schools might implement RTI to best serve the needs of its students, in every case RTI can be a school-wide framework for efficiently allocating resources to improve student outcomes.

PPS Team

Sandwich Schools each have a Pupil Personnel Service Team. (PPS Team) These teams are made up of the Parent(s), Director of Student Services, the school psychologist, the school speech/language clinician (as needed), the school social worker, the classroom teacher, a special educator, and the school nurse. The PPS teams at each school meet monthly to discuss children who have been identified by the TAT process as having concerns that cannot be remediated using the RtI process. Based on a recommendation from the PPS team, and written agreement from the parents to proceed, a case study evaluation may be conducted. Not all PPS Referrals will end in a case study evaluation.

Special Education Categories

Students may qualify for special education services based on eligibility within one or more of the Special Education Categories: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech/Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment.

Special Education Services and
Related Services

After a full case study evaluation, an Eligibility Review will be conducted. At this meeting, the IEP Team (the PPS team members), will determine, based on the information gathered, if a child qualifies for special education services. Qualification/eligibility for special education services will depend on whether or not a specific disability is identified and if that disability has an adverse impact on the child's ability to be successful within the regular education setting without the provision of special education services. If the child qualifies, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be developed. The IEP will outline the program that will best meet the academic and/or behavioral needs of the students. If the child does not qualify for the special education services, other interventions and strategies may be presented to the parents and teacher.

In all six of the schools in District #430, special education services are available to those students who need them. The Board of Education for the Sandwich School District has made a commitment to serving all of our children with special needs in the least restrictive environment possible. This means that whenever possible, the children will be served in the regular education classroom. Through the REI (Regular Education Initiative) model, children with special needs participate in the classroom activities along with their non-disabled peers. The special educator goes into the classroom and team-teaches with the regular classroom teacher, and is able to help all students in the classroom, while serving those with special needs in the least restrictive environment possible. From time to time the special educator may determine that a child needs some re-teaching or clarification on more difficult concepts. This is often done in the special education room environment, where the child can get small-group instruction and more intensive help.

At the high school level, students are assigned classes based on their individual needs. When it is necessary, students with more specific needs, grades K-12, are served in an instructional environment. Students at the elementary and middle school level needing an instructional setting are assigned to a regular education homeroom and go to all non-academics with their non-disabled peers. However, for most of their academic day, these students are taught in a special education environment. Student having less specific needs may be served in a resource setting in which they are also assigned to a regular education homeroom and may only receive special education services within a special education setting for one or two subjects. Some students may only require accommodations or modifications and support or consultation from a special education teacher while receiving all of their instruction within the regular education setting.

Among the related services that are available to special education students in the district are: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech, Physical Impairment Itinerant, Hearing Impaired Itinerant, Vision Impaired Itinerant, Interpreter Services, Adaptive PE, Classroom and Individual Assistants, Vocational Education, Special Transportation, Social Work, and a number of others. The necessity for any and all related services is determined by the IEP team at an IEP meeting.

Helpful Links

Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)

Procedural Safeguards: English

Procedural Safeguards: Spanish

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD)

Council for Exceptional Children

Comments and Questions Welcome

Sandwich District #430 and the Office of Special Education Services are dedicated to working with teachers, parents, and the community to meet the special needs of all of our children. If you have any questions concerning our programs or services, please feel free to contact Crystal Swan-Gravatt, Director of Special Education Services, either by phone at 815-786-6851, by FAX at 815-786-1628 or via email at: [email protected].

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