Special Education Services & IDEIA
All special education programs provided by public schools in Illinois are governed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). In response to the reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), the ISBE has adopted new rules and regulations for special education service delivery in the state. These new rules and regulations have had a significant impact on the process of identifying students as eligible for special education services, caseload requirements, parental involvement, and the overall provision of special education services. A power point presentation with an overview of the new rules and regulations can be viewed at......http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/default.htm

District 29, with its focus on collaborative parental partnerships, data-based decision making, and service-driven practices, has been in compliance with the spirit of the new IDEIA long before the new rules became law.

Anyone interested in more information on the new rules and regulations, or their impact on services in District 29, should contact Dr. Edward Stange @847.881.9453.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Versus 504 Plans
There are two types of legally binding educational plans which can be developed and implemented by public schools to support students with disabilities.

Students with disabilities that impact a major life function may qualify for reasonable accommodations, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of1973. This is commonly referred to as a 504Plan. The plan identifies the student's disability and the corresponding reasonable accommodations. A 504 Plan should be updated annually, and is subject to re-evaluation for eligibility every 3-years.

Services for students with disabilities requiring that specialized instructional services (beyond accommodations) are governed by IDEIA via the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Currently, ISBE identifies 13 categories for special education eligibility under IDEIA. Regardless of the category under which eligibility is sought, a student must both a) show evidence of the disability and, b) show evidence of educational impact. For more information of the protected disability categories and the IEP process, please visit the Special Education web-page of the ISBE.

In brief, the IDEIA eligibility process is more involved than that required under Section 504. Instructional services, goals, and accommodation under the IDEIA are delineated in a plan called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a legal document which describes the student's disability, instructional supports/accommodations, goals, related services, and other relevant educational programming information. IEPs are reviewed annually and subject to re-evaluation for eligibility every 3-years.

Response to Intervention & Flexible Service Delivery
Based on the integration of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the re-authorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), all public school system sare now required to implement a 'Response to Intervention' process for determining eligibility for special education services for students with Learning Disabilities by 2010-2011. This means that schools districts can no longer solely utilize the discrepancy between a given student's intellectual ability and academic achievement (as measured by Nationally norm-referenced standardized assessments) to determine eligibility for a learning disability. In contrast, schools must base this eligibility decision on a student's response to scientifically-based interventions.

The Student Services Department in District 29 utilizes a flexible service delivery model and Response to Intervention approach, to determine eligibility for special education services and provide for the needs of all children in our district. Within student services, special education eligibility is viewed as one part of a continuum of services and options available to support students in need. Our goal is to strengthen the whole general education system by providing a supportive array of interventions,disseminated through a problem solving process, and continuously evaluated through data-based decision making.

Our flexible service delivery system is focused on shared general and student services staff expertise and resources. Student problems are defined as the discrepancy that exists between the student's current and expected academic or behavioral performance. Interventions are predominantly delivered in the general education classroom, and are based on reliable and measurable information. Student progress is frequently monitored. This system is intended to de-emphasize labels while encouraging creativity and problem solving.

Two important responsibilities of the Student Services Department are the development of specific student interventions and the coordination of progress monitoring to evaluate their efficacy. Progress monitoring is the evaluation of movement toward long-term goals or terminal outcomes. Progress monitoring tells us whether or not interventions are effective in producing desired growth. This monitoring provides a clear idea of expectations for performance. The data collected also provides an objective database for decision-making and continuous feedback for instructional planning.

In keeping with our district's inclusive philosophy, special education services are provided within the context of the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible. Students receive special education instruction through the collaborative efforts of the classroom teachers and student services teachers. Most of the students found eligible for special education (i.e., students with an Individualized Education Plan) require less than 50% of their day supported by the Student Services Department. The vast majority of district students receive programming in their home school.

In sum, District 29 believes strongly in child-centered programming and collaboratively partnerships with parents and private service providers to address the educational needs of our students.
Last Modified on June 27, 2011