Special Education

Students entitled for Special Education Services are provided an array of supports through a continuum of services designed to increase the students' access to the District 303 curriculum.

The Department of Special Education is part of the Department of Student Services. This department is responsible for the collaboration and intervention for any student who exhibits significant learning, social, emotional, or behavioral difficulties. The identification, evaluation, and reevaluation of students with one or more of 13 categories of disability is another role the department serves.

D303 Continuum of Services

The continuum of services represents all levels of special education services and support available to students entitled to special education in the district. A student’s placement on the continuum of services is based on the percentage of time the student accesses the general education environment. Levels of service across the D303 continuum include:

This means that educational placement is not a classroom or building; it refers to the percentage of general education time mentioned above. The below diagram outlines the D303 Continuum of Services (listed above) in more detail. Based on the D303 Continuum of Services, students in instructional programs sit within the 02 or 03 level of service based on their Individualized Education Plan.

The continuum of services extends beyond the 03 level; however, for the purposes of this program guide, that information is not included. Please reach out to your building principal or a DOII administrator if you would like to discuss the continuum of services beyond the 03 level.

Caption: Graphic visualization of the Continuum of Services outlined above

Maintaining Connection to Student’s Home School

The District 303 instructional programs serve qualifying special education students throughout the district regardless of their home school. The instructional program educational team communicates with each student’s home school. In addition, representatives from the student’s home school may participate in the student's IEP meetings. This ensures that while students in instructional programs who are receiving their education and related services at a building that may be different than their neighborhood school maintain a connection to their home school. D303 offers the following instructional programs:

Instructional program teams are committed to providing students with meaningful inclusion opportunities as part of their programming. For some students, this may look like increased access to the general education setting within the serving school and a transition back to the student’s home school as determined by the IEP team. These decisions occur through the IEP process and are individualized based on the identified needs of each student.

Students and families of students in instructional programs are always welcome to participate in after-school events/activities at either their serving school or home school. Students and families are welcomed as members of both their serving school and home school communities.

Parent/Guardian and Family Partnerships

Communication, collaboration, and partnerships between parents/guardians and school are essential for students' progress. In instructional programs, parents/guardians of participating students will receive ongoing communication through district platforms including email regarding student performance, which allows parents/guardians and students to communicate regularly at home regarding daily school programming. The student’s case manager is the primary point of contact for parents/guardians though families will also receive communication from their child’s related service providers and general education teacher, as appropriate. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s case manager with any questions or concerns.

Parents/guardians will have opportunities to participate in school conferences, IEP meetings and informal conversations with their child and the school team. Parents/guardians and students are welcome and encouraged to attend school activities including all school events and school performances. Parents/guardians and families are welcome to serve as volunteers for school-sponsored events. Students and their families are also welcome to attend all school-sponsored events as well as participate in events and activities at their home school.

Some students in instructional programs participate in therapies outside of school (i.e., Occupational Therapy, Speech Language Therapy, Social/Behavioral Therapy). With a signed consent for release of information on file, instructional program teams can collaborate with outside service providers to support consistency of interventions across settings, to increase generalization. Instructional program teams seek to work in active partnership with families to best support students; we believe that the key foundation for collaboration is open communication.

Special Education Parent Advisory Committee Information

D303 Special Education Documents