The Berryessa Union School District is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of all eligible students with disabilities who reside within the District. Approximately 10% of the students in the district are receiving assistance from a wide variety of Special Education programs and services which are uniquely designed to meet the individual needs of each student.
The following information will provide students, parents, school personnel, and other members of the community with a brief overview of Special Education. If you have specific questions, we encourage you to call the Special Education Department at 923-1820.
WHAT IS SPECIAL EDUCATION?
In accordance with Federal and California State guidelines, Special Education programs and services are provided to students with disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance. Eligible students are provided a free and appropriate educational program in the least restrictive environment. Services are available to identified individuals from birth through the age of twenty-one, who exhibit one of the following disabling conditions:
- Specific learning disabilities
- Asperger's Syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Orthopedically impaired
- Multiple disabilities
- Mental retardation
- Other health impaired
- Speech delays
- Emotionally disturbed
- Deaf blind
HOW IS MY CHILD REFERRED TO SPECIAL EDUCATION?
If you suspect that your child displays any condition which may require some intervention or Special Education programs and services, a referral can be made in the following manner:
- For children between the ages of three to five, please contact the Preschool Assessment Team at 923-1846.
- For students enrolled in the Berryessa Union School District School, please contact your elementary school principal or school psychologist.
The Student Study Team is the first step in the referral process.
WHAT IS A STUDENT STUDY TEAM?
A Student Study Team (SST) is a school-based, problem-solving group whose purpose is to provide assistance to teachers in the areas of instruction and behavior management. The SST can provide support by contributing both personnel and school resources in response to identified student needs. The SST will meet shortly after parent referral to review parent/teacher concerns.
The SST can include the parent, principal, or other administrator, psychologist, counselor, speech therapist, special education teacher or classroom teacher. Parent concerns and student needs are often successfully addressed through the SST process over a period of time. If suggested interventions and strategies do not adequately address student needs, the Student Study Team can request an assessment for Special Education.
HOW WILL MY CHILD BE ASSESSED FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION?
If assessment is warranted, arrangements will be made to have your child's strengths and needs evaluated. This will be done through assessment and conferences held among those who work with your child. The participants in this assessment process may include teachers, psychologists, nurses, counselors, therapists, and others. No assessment will be conducted without the written permission of the child's parent or guardian. An Assessment report will be completed and shared an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting held within sixty days of the date the signed assessment plan is received by the district.
WHAT IS AN ASSESSMENT PLAN?
An assessment plan is developed by Special Education staff and may include the school psychologist, resource specialist, speech and language pathologist, or other Special Education teacher(s) to address the identified needs of the student. The assessment plan will state the areas in which the child will be assessed, the kinds of assessment instruments that will be utilized, and the titles of the staff members who will participate in the assessment.
WHAT IS AN INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) MEETING?
After the assessment has been completed, the parent or guardian will be invited to attend an IEP meeting. The date and time of the meeting is mutually set by all participants. At the IEP meeting, district staff will present the results of their assessment. Parents are encouraged to ask questions and become fully informed as to their child's strengths and needs.
After the assessment information is presented and discussed, the members of the IEP team will determine the student's eligibility for Special Education services in accordance with State and Federal guidelines. If the student is found eligible for Special Education, the IEP will include the following:
- A summary of the assessment findings including the student's current levels of performance
- A statement of student goals and objectives that will be addressed over the next six to twelve months. Goals and objectives are written so that student progress can be objectively measured. The team will suggest methods of meeting these goals and objectives and will make maximum use of the child's strengths and abilities. A description of evaluation criteria will also be included to determine how well the plan is working.
- Specific services will be identified which are determined to be appropriate in meeting the child's goals and objectives.
- A recommendation for placement, starting date and anticipated frequency and duration of Special Education services will also be provided.
WHAT ARE MY PARENT RIGHTS?
Parents are notified of their rights at various stages throughout the IEP process and at least annually. Parent's rights include the right to request an IEP meeting; the right to review assessment information; the right to have their eligible child receive free and appropriate educational services in the least restrictive environment. Remember, if you have any questions, school district personnel are here to assist you.
Your consent is also required before the IEP can be put info effect. If you are uncertain at the end of the meeting as to whether you want the plan to go into effect, you may wish to ask for further clarification. The IEP team and your student's case manager is your resource and will provide you with any information you may require. Those components of the plan which are approved may be implemented; however, you have other rights if you disagree with the plan. Any questions about your rights can be answered by the school personnel.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS FOUND INELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION?
The district is obligated to follow the guidelines for student eligibility as set out by State and Federal law. Special Education is designed to serve students with significant disabilities which adversely affect their educational performance. If a student is not identified as having a disability or disabilities under the State and Federal guidelines, the IEP team will suggest interventions and strategies that can be utilized to address student needs. IEP team members may also decide to refer the student back to the SST for further interventions, or suggest that parents contact outside agencies and/or services.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HAVE AN EFFECTIVE IEP FOR THEIR CHILD?
Prior to the meeting, conference with your student's teacher(s).
Review or request a copy of any information, evaluation, assessment results, etc., that were conducted for your child.
Jot down any questions you may have or any suggestions you wish to make regarding educational objectives, health issues, transportation, schedules, and insights you have about your child's strengths and needs.
During the Meeting:
Review the IEP and any other document you received at the meeting. Maintain a file of important IEP papers, assessments, and staff contacts. If you have any questions or concerns, call the case manager or an appropriate member of the IEP team. As appropriate, share information with your child.
If you have further questions about the process in the Berryessa Union School District please contact:
Tom Anderson - Director of Student Services
Michele Hatfield - Program Specialist for the District
Both may be reached at (408)-923-1820.
WHAT IS THE SOUTH EAST SPECIAL EDUCATION LOCAL PLAN AREA (SELPA)?
The District has joined with nine other Districts in South East Santa Clara County to form the South East SELPA. The SELPA was created for the purpose of ensuring the quality special education programs and services are available throughout the Valley. This consortium of school districts plans and provides regionalized services for students eligible for Special Education programs and services. The SE SELPA also provides and coordinates workshops for parents and staff. The SELPA also has a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) parent group that provides support, information, workshops, and valuable links for parents. For more information about the SELPA and the CAC please contact:
Nancy Birenbaum, Ed. D.-- Director of the South East SELPA
Leo Magapu -- Program Administrator for the South East SELPA
The telephone for the SELPA Office is (408)-223-3771