- Assignment of Responsibility and Building Team: Administrative responsibility for all special education programs for students with disabilities is assigned to the building principal.
Building Teams are responsible for the identification of students with disabilities, the diagnosis of disabilities, the design of individual intervention plans for these students, evaluation procedures, entitlement decisions, and development of individual education plans (IEPs). The IEP determined by the Building Team for each student will be developed in accordance with the student’s individual needs. The plan will provide for frequent progress monitoring regarding of the student’s needs, rate of progress, and the effectiveness of the program. The Building Team will base its decision as to whether to serve a student in a regular classroom, or in a special program, class or school on the best interests of the student. However, the needs of other students in the school will also be considered. All procedures will be in accordance with federal and state requirements.
- Least Restrictive Environment: The Board recognizes that most students with disabilities have greater similarities to typical students than differences and should be educated with or in close proximity to the regular school programs to the benefit of all students. To the maximum extent appropriate, therefore, students with disabilities of this District will be educated with students who are not disabled. Special classes, separate schooling or other removal of students with disabilities from the regular educational environment will occur only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes, with the use of supplementary aides and services, cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
When making a placement decision, the staff of this District along with support staff from the Heartland Area Education Agency, will determine the least restrictive environment for each student in accord with the following options:
- General education direct instruction in collaboration with special education staff.
- General education direct instruction with co‐teaching of general education and special education staff.
- General education direct instruction with additional remediation instruction in a special education setting.
- Special education setting – instruction in collaboration with general education staff.
- Special school.
- Parental Involvement: Parents will be invited to participate, at a date and time agreeable to the parents and the District, in the planning and implementation of their student’s educational program. At a minimum, written parental consent will be secured and a parental rights brochure will be reviewed with the parents prior to initial placement of a student. At a minimum, parents will be invited to attend a yearly review of their student’s IEP. Also, written notice to parents will be given prior to any subsequent change in placement.
- Contracting for Special Education Instructional Services: If the nature of the student’s disability is so unique or for other legitimate reasons it is determined that an appropriate program is not and will not be available within the District, the appropriate services, will be secured for the student by contracting for such services from another school district or private agency either within state or out‐of‐state. For appropriate services provided under such a contract or agreement with another school within the state, the District will reimburse the district providing the service a sum equal to the actual cost incurred by the providing district. To a private agency within state or a school district or agency out‐of‐state providing appropriate services, only a sum equal to the amount generated by the student through the weighted factor will be reimbursed.
- Facilities for Special Education Classes: The Board recognizes that the very nature and location of facilities utilized for special education programs can stigmatize and negatively affect the integration of students with disabilities into the mainstream of the student body. Therefore; it is the policy of this District that every effort shall be made to hold special education classes in classrooms that are at least equal in all physical respects to average standards of the rest of the school. Further, such facilities will be located so as to maximize the integration of such students into the life of the school and minimize separation, stigmatization and unnecessary grouping of special education classes and students.
- Program and Building Accessibility: The Board recognizes that civil rights of people with disabilities are denied when they are refused the opportunity to participate in programs and activities solely on the basis of disability. The District considers the physical mobility of pupils when providing special education programs that are accessible to the pupils.
- Exclusion of Disabled Students: A student with disabilities in this District is entitled to an appropriate instructional program through 21 years of age or graduation after the satisfactory completion of the appropriate course of study.
When it becomes necessary to suspend a student with disabilities from either an existing special education program or regular class offerings, after procedural safeguards, (that include the Building Team reviewing the need for and making changes in the pupil’s program) and due process procedures are properly observed, the District remains responsible to offer an appropriate instructional program to the student by establishing the necessary program or contracting such services from another district or agency, or as, otherwise provided in Chapters 273, 281, and 442 of the Code of Iowa.
- Graduation of Special Education Students: This District will issue to special education students the same certificate or diploma as granted to other students meeting the requisite necessary for completion of their educational program.
Graduation requirements for special education students will be in accord with the prescribed course of study as described in their IEP. Prior to the student’s graduation, the IEP team will determine that the graduation requirements have been met and terminate special education programming, as needed.
Upon the successful completion of the prescribed course of study, the student with disabilities will enjoy the same ceremonial activities as any other student in the school.
- Extended Year Programming: It is the policy of this District to recommend and approve extended school year program variations (beyond the standard instructional year) for students with disabilities. Extended‐year programming will be offered only if this time period proposed for the extended school year is determined to meet one of four criteria:
- Will interruption of instruction allow the child to gain meaningful benefit from FAPE?
- Is there or has there been significant regression during periods of interruption that need to be recouped?
- Is this a rare and unusual circumstance: critical state in skill development/window of opportunity?
- Are there other considerations that need to be discussed?