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Qualifying for Special Education services

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the Federal mandate to provide Special Education services, which is based in the belief that all children can learn and disabled children can benefit from learning with their nondisabled peers.

The process of qualifying for Special Education services follows strict procedures to protect students from being labeled as disabled when they are not.  At the same time, we must identify all students from age 3 through 22 who meet the Federal and State definition of having a disability.  To meet the needs of the students who are disabled and protect students from inaccurately being identified the following steps are followed:

  • When a concern is identified by the school or the parents, a Student Success Team (SST) meeting is held to address the needs and to provide an intervention
  • If the intervention is not effective, a referral for a Special Education assessment is made
    • The SST makes a written referral, or
    • The parents make a written request an assessment
  • A Special Education Assessment Plan is sent to the parents within 15 days of the request
  • The parents return the Special Education Assessment Plan to the Special Education department, and the parents can choose either
    • Consent to the assessment for Special Education, or
    • Decline the assessment for Special Education
  • If the parents consent to a Special Education assessment, the district will complete the assessment within 60 days from the receipt of the signed assessment plan (excluding vacations of 6 days or more)
  • A school psychologist will assess the student in all areas of concern using:
    • Multiple formal and informal assessment tools
    • Review of relevant medical records or private assessments
    • Input from the parents
    • Observation of the student
    • Input from the teacher and other staff
    • Other concerns and strengths
  • The assessment results must indicate within which of the 13 eligibility categories of Federal and California Education Code the student falls
    • Eligibility is not a diagnosis
    • A medical or psychiatric diagnosis, while providing helpful information, does not necessarily make a student eligible for Special Education
    • There must be evidence that the identified eligibility has an adverse affect on the student's access to instruction
    • The final determination of qualifying for Special Education services is made in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting--with participation by the parents, teachers and district staff--which is held within the 60-day deadline
  • Parents have a choice, either
    • Consent to the IEP and Special Education services are implemented
    • Decline Special Education services


Contact Us
Millbrae School District 555 Richmond Drive
Millbrae, CA 94030
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