Office of Student Services
Welcome to the Department of Student Services
Welcome to Sandwich District #430 Department of Student Services. We invite you to learn more about Special Education Services that are available through our District. Sandwich District #430, the Office of Student Services and its Director are committed to providing a quality education to all students in the least restrictive environment.
If you are a parent of a 3-5 year old who is in not enrolled in school, living in the Sandwich School District and you have developmental concerns regarding your child please make an appointment to bring your child into the school for a screening.
Screenings are conducted every other month at Lynn G. Haskin Elementary School located at 720 S. Wells St. in Sandwich. To make an appointment call: Lynn G. Haskin Elementary School (815) 786-8812.
In Sandwich District #430, the goal of the Office of Student Services is to enable all students to benefit from a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. Children who have been identified as having special needs are served through various types of delivery models ranging from the instructional classroom model, to the consultative model.
The Referral Process
Who can request an initial evaluation for a student? A request may be made by a parent of a child or by an employee of a State Educational agency, another State agency, a local educational agency, or a community service agency
District’s Response to Request
The district shall be responsible for processing the request, deciding what action should be taken and initiating the necessary procedures. To determine what action should be taken, the district may utilize screening data and conduct preliminary procedures such as observation of the child, assessment for instructional purposes, consultation with the teacher or other individual making the request, and a conference with the child.
The district shall convene a team of personnel including the parent(s) and an individual having the knowledge and skills to administer and interpret evaluation data. The team shall identify any assessments necessary to complete the evaluation, should testing be deemed appropriate. This is called a Domain meeting.
Within 14 days of receiving the request for an evaluation, the district shall determine whether an evaluation is warranted. Written notice will be provided to the parent(s) of such determination.
Parent consent is required to proceed with an assessment. Consent for testing is not consent for provision of special education services. Within 60 school days following the date of written consent, the determination of eligibility shall be made and the IEP meeting, if appropriate, shall be completed.
The reauthorization of IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act) has brought about changes in the process for identifying students suspected of having a learning disability. New mandates dictate that we follow a very specific process. Please see the section on RtI following for an overview of that process.
Sandwich schools each have a Teacher Assistance Team (TAT Team) to address concerns regarding student development. If a student is struggling academically or behaviorally, teachers and/or parents may make a referral to the TAT Team. At this level, team members, with the cooperation and participation of the parent(s), explore ideas for implementation to promote progress/success. Interventions may include, but are not limited to, modifications in the delivery of the curriculum, reduced assignments, and additional help both in the classroom and after school. Students who are referred to the TAT Team are monitored closely for progress. Data is often collected and shared at follow-up meetings to document progress. If the student makes progress and can then be successful without the continued interventions, they will be released from the TAT Team. However, after a period of time, if the student fails to make progress, the teacher or parent may refer the student to the PPS Team. Prior to a referral to the PPS Team the TAT Team will complete a process referred to as Response to Intervention (RtI). RtI is a process in which students are provided with varied tiers of interventions. See the following for an in-depth explanation.
Response to Intervention (RtI)
With the reauthorization of IDEA 2004, the Federal special education law and the rules which govern the State of IL, schools must now use a process called RtI to determine eligibility under the special education category of a Learning Disability.
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, classroom and individual paraprofessionals and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.
Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to assist in making the eligibility decision.
Although there are many formats for how Sandwich Schools might implement RTI to best serve the needs of its students, in every case RTI can be a school-wide framework for efficiently allocating resources to improve student outcomes.
Sandwich Schools each have a Pupil Personnel Service Team. (PPS Team) These teams are made up of the Parent(s), Director of Student Services, the school psychologist, the school speech/language clinician (as needed), the school social worker, the classroom teacher, a special educator, and the school nurse. The PPS teams at each school meet monthly to discuss children who have been identified by the TAT process as having concerns that cannot be remediated using the RtI process. Based on a recommendation from the PPS team, and written agreement from the parents to proceed, a case study evaluation may be conducted. Not all PPS Referrals will end in a case study evaluation.
Special Education Categories
Students may qualify for special education services based on eligibility within one or more of the Special Education Categories: Autism, Cognitive Disability, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech/Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment.Autism
Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance. (A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the other criteria of this Section are satisfied.) Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.
Intellectual Disability means significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Deaf-Blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Developmental Delay means for children aged three through nine who are experiencing developmental delays, as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development; and who, by reason thereof, need special education and related services.
Emotional Disability (includes schizophrenia but does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance) means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
- An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors;
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers;
- Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances;
- A general pervasive mood of anxiety or unhappiness or depression; or
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
Hearing Impairments means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as cognitive impairment, cognitive impairment-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
Orthopedic Impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., Poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
Other Health Impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened sensitivity to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that
- is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, or sickle cell anemia; and
- adversely affects a child’s educational performance
Specific Learning Disabilities means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of cognitive impairment, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. [105 ILCS 5/14-1.03(a)]
Speech or Language Impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Listed below are related sites for speech-language:
Speech-Language Pathology Services encompass such activities as:
- Screening, diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech and language impairments;
- Identification of children with speech and/or language impairments;
- Referral and follow-up for medical or other professional attention necessary for the habilitation of speech and language impairments;
- Planning and developing interventions and programs for children or youth with speech and language impairments;
- Provisions of services for the habilitation and prevention of speech and language impairments; and
- Counseling and guidance of parents, children, and teachers regarding speech and language impairments.
Traumatic Brain Injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; psychosocial functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Visual Impairment means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Special Education Services and
After a full case study evaluation, an Eligibility Review will be conducted. At this meeting, the IEP Team (the PPS team members), will determine, based on the information gathered, if a child qualifies for special education services. Qualification/eligibility for special education services will depend on whether or not a specific disability is identified and if that disability has an adverse impact on the child’s ability to be successful within the regular education setting without the provision of special education services. If the child qualifies, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be developed. The IEP will outline the program that will best meet the academic and/or behavioral needs of the students. If the child does not qualify for the special education services, other interventions and strategies may be presented to the parents and teacher.
In all six of the schools in District #430, special education services are available to those students who need them. The Board of Education for the Sandwich School District has made a commitment to serving all of our children with special needs in the least restrictive environment possible. This means that whenever possible, the children will be served in the regular education classroom. Through the REI (Regular Education Initiative) model, children with special needs participate in the classroom activities along with their non-disabled peers. The special educator goes into the classroom and team-teaches with the regular classroom teacher, and is able to help all students in the classroom, while serving those with special needs in the least restrictive environment possible. From time to time the special educator may determine that a child needs some re-teaching or clarification on more difficult concepts. This is often done in the special education room environment, where the child can get small-group instruction and more intensive help.
At the high school level, students are assigned classes based on their individual needs. When it is necessary, students with more specific needs, grades K-12, are served in an instructional environment. Students at the elementary and middle school level needing an instructional setting are assigned to a regular education homeroom and go to all non-academics with their non-disabled peers. However, for most of their academic day, these students are taught in a special education environment. Student having less specific needs may be served in a resource setting in which they are also assigned to a regular education homeroom and may only receive special education services within a special education setting for one or two subjects. Some students may only require accommodations or modifications and support or consultation from a special education teacher while receiving all of their instruction within the regular education setting.
Among the related services that are available to special education students in the district are: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech, Physical Impairment Itinerant, Hearing Impaired Itinerant, Vision Impaired Itinerant, Interpreter Services, Adaptive PE, Classroom and Individual Assistants, Vocational Education, Special Transportation, Social Work, and a number of others. The necessity for any and all related services is determined by the IEP team at an IEP meeting.
Comments and Questions Welcome
Sandwich District #430 and the Office of Student Services are dedicated to working with teachers, parents, and the community to meet the special needs of all of our children. If you have any questions concerning our programs or services, please feel free to contact Crystal Swan-Gravatt, Director of Student Services, either by phone at 815-786-6851, by FAX at 815-786-1628 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.