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FAQs - Special Education (SPED)

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What resources do middle schools have to support our students with special education needs?

Middle school principals and teaching staff continue to provide robust and caring support for all students, including those with special needs. In addition, they provide for students enhanced supports not generally available at the elementary level. This includes a full-time psychologist or social worker, grade-level counselors, a full-time social-emotional learning specialist, and content area experts, as well as additional administrative supports. This means that in several ways, students get more access to supports, not less, as is commonly perceived.
  
My child receives special education services. How will this transition impact my child?
  • Our mountain schools, which have center programs, have transitioned students at the 6th grade level for years. It is important local elementary teams work in concert with middle school teams to prepare to receive incoming students as they currently do for 7th grade students.

  • SPED partners will be working with sending and receiving schools in this work to include support in communicating with parents and getting students prepared for the transition.

  • Middle schools have been allocated an additional half-time position to support students transitioning out of center programs. This started with the 2017 - 18 school year. Middle school principals are charged with determining, together with their teams, how to best leverage this additional resource to support incoming students.

  • As caseloads will be increasing, so will allocations to support those students, as is done in our current system, based upon December 1 count.

  • A master plan is being developed where district staff will realign, establish, and expand programming as necessary. Services for students will not be disrupted.

What will happen to students who attend a center program in an area that is transitioning to the K - 5/6 - 8 model, but the assigned middle school is remaining a 7 - 8 model?

If the program the student is currently in is changing to a K - 5, and their neighborhood middle school is not yet transitioning to a 6 - 8, then an individual transition plan will be developed prior to the end of this first semester.


What are the costs to add a special education program to a school?

Adding a SPED program does not cost the local school any money. In fact, it is an “add” for the school in several ways. This includes the special education department paying for all associated staff and startup costs (room modification, curriculum needs, etc.). The school still gets the normal per pupil allocation for each of these students plus, in many cases, the mental health and speech language allocations are increased to support the increased need, at no cost to the school.


Will middle schools receive additional mental health support with the addition of 6th grade students?

All middle schools are already receiving additional mental health supports with full-time social-emotional learning specialists. This began with the 2016 - 17 school year and is continuing. Each year we revisit and update the Special Education Guiding Principles, looking at ratios and staffing at each level. This will be done again this fall.


Are there middle schools with center programs for autistic students?

As students progress through various types of center programs at the elementary level, our goal is to help them continually move toward increasing levels of independence, both academically and behaviorally. By the time middle school arrives, many are ready to transition into a regular classroom setting or classes run by learning specialists with appropriate supports, rather than remaining in more intensive center programs. As always, student supports are driven by needs defined in the IEP process. If a student still needs center-level supports when they reach middle school, that is what we provide. At this level, students with all types of needs, including ASD, are supported in SSN III programs. There is one middle school ASD-only program housed at Sobesky Academy.


If a student in a center program no longer needs to be in that program and decides to choice enroll at a middle school, will transportation still be provided?

All Jeffco families are welcome to apply for choice enrollment at any school they wish. Transportation is only provided if, through the IEP team process, a particular type of program is recommended for a student and the district places a student in that program. As is the case for any choice enrolled student, disabled or non-disabled, transportation remains the responsibility of the family.
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