Special Education

The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meets at least four times annually, with dates, times, and locations of meetings published in local newspapers, on the division’s website, and in flyers made available to parents and other community members.  For information regarding serving on the committee or committee meetings, please call the Office of Special Education at (757) 365-1616. Additional information can also be found on the SEAC web page.
The Special Education Process
The special education process of Isle of Wight County Schools is a collaborative effort between school staff and parents/families.  The process includes the following:
  1. identification
  2. referral
  3. evaluation
  4. eligibility
  5. IEP development
  6. placement
  7. reevaluation
Once the school receives a referral from a parent, teacher, physician, or other person having a vested interest in and knowledge of a student, the special education process begins.  Within ten (10) administrative working days, the Child Study Committee meets to review all available information and determine whether or not the student needs a Comprehensive Evaluation.  

Comprehensive Evaluation
A comprehensive evaluation involves the gathering and analyzing of information relative to the educational needs of the student, and the determination of whether a disability exists under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its revisions. Written parental consent must be obtained prior to completing a comprehensive evaluation.  The components of a comprehensive evaluation must include all areas related to the suspected disability, and may include the following assessments:
  1. Developmental – a written report describing how the student currently functions in the major developmental areas of cognition, motor, social/adaptive behavior, perception, and communication.
  2. Educational – a written report describing the student’s current level of achievement, identifying academic strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Medical – a written report from a licensed health care professional indicating general medical history, and identifying any medical problems that may be an impediment to the learning process.
  4. Sociocultural – a written report from a qualified visiting teacher or school social worker that is the result of an interview with the parents or primary caregivers, or other methods of data gathering.  The report describes family history/dynamics, developmental health history, and social/adaptive behavior in the home, school, and community.
  5. Psychological – a written report from a qualified psychologist that is the result of the administration of an appropriate battery of instruments which include individual intelligence test(s) and psycho-educational tests.
  6. Other – a written report of other assessments such as, but not limited to, speech and language, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, as appropriate.
All evaluation components will be completed in a timely manner and made available to the parent(s) at least two (2) business days before the scheduled eligibility meeting.  Reports may be picked up at the Special Education Department of the Isle of Wight County School Administrative Offices at 820 West Main Street; Smithfield, Virginia 23430.  To reduce wait time, parents are asked to call (757) 365-1616 prior to arriving to pick up reports.  

Within sixty-five (65) administrative working days from the date or receipt of the referral, the Eligibility Committee meets to review and analyze all evaluation data as they apply to eligibility criteria.  A student is found eligible for special education services if:
  1. The student meets the eligibility criteria; and
  2. There is evidence of adverse educational impact.
Should a student be determined to require special education and related services, a summary of essential deliberations is forwarded to the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) team.  The IEP Team meets within thirty (30) days of the Eligibility Committee Meeting to develop a plan for providing services.  NOTE:  The Eligibility Committee may not discuss IEP goals, services, or other particulars as such discussions are beyond the committee’s purview.  

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed for each student who meets the criteria of a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The IEP Team is made up of the parent(s), school staff, and the student (when appropriate).  The IEP identifies:
  • the levels at which the student is functioning (present level of performance);
  • what the student will be taught over the term of the plan (goals and objectives);
  • who (by title) will provide services;
  • how the goals and objectives will be evaluated;
  • any related services required;
  • in what location(s) services will be provided;
  • the amount of time the student will spend with special education staff;
  • the amount of time the student will spend with peers without disabilities;
  • and other information.

For the initial IEP, no services will be provided until written consent to implement the IEP is received.  The IEP will be revisited annually, unless the team agrees to meet and consider changes before that time.  

Special Education Services Offered
Isle of Wight County Schools has a long-standing commitment to the provision of a free, appropriate education for all students with disabilities, ages 2 through 21, inclusive.  The appropriateness of services, including identification of the least restrictive environment, is defined in the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), which is developed collaboratively by school staff, the student’s parent(s), the student (when appropriate), and other invited participants.   Special education services may be provided in zoned or out-of-zone schools within the division, as well as in special programs or schools outside of the division, as appropriate.   Isle of Wight County Schools provides special education services for students identified by the Eligibility Committee as having any one or more of the following disabilities:
  • Autism
  • Deaf
  • Deaf-Blind
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Disability
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Learning Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Speech and Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment 

The Virginia Department of Education is required to annually prepare and distribute to local school boards information describing the educational and other services that are available to students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or visually impaired. The Code of Virginia at § 22.1-217.01 requires school boards to annually post this information on school division websites to inform the parents of students who are identified as deaf, hard of hearing, or visually impaired of the availability of such services.