The Special Education Advisory Committee 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 below.
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:
- IEP development
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.
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:
- Developmental – a written report describing how the student currently functions in the major developmental areas of cognition, motor, social/adaptive behavior, perception, and communication.
- Educational – a written report describing the student’s current level of achievement, identifying academic strengths and weaknesses.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- The student meets the eligibility criteria; and
- 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:
- 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
Services for Students Identified as Hearing or Visually Impaired
The Department of Education shall annually prepare and distribute to local school boards packets of information describing the educational and other services available through the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired. Local school boards shall annually post this information on the school division's Web site and inform the parents of those students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired of its availability. School boards shall ensure that packets of such information are available in an accessible format for review by parents who do not have Internet access.
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) provides information on educational services and resources to support students who are deaf and hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deaf-blind at its website. The following links to information and resources are excerpted from the VDOE’s website at Special Education-Specific Disabilities-Sensory Disabilities:
- Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) - The VSDB is located in Staunton, Virginia and provides a K-12 educational day program, outreach services, and residential services exclusively for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deaf-blind. The VSDB Outreach Services assist early intervention providers, local school divisions, and families in meeting the needs of children across the Commonwealth. The VSDB’s admissions policy is available at its website.
Specialty Centers and Programs
- Accessible Instructional Materials Center-Virginia (AIM-VA) - The AIM-VA’s extensive library has developed an alternative system of providing accessible educational media under standards set by federal law to students who meet the federal requirements for print disabilities and who are eligible for accessing educational media under an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as required under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The AIM-VA, in conjunction with partnering agencies, provides required accessible educational materials to students with an IEP and training for staff, at no cost to Local Educational Agencies.
- Radford University Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program - Radford University offers Virginia’s only academic program leading to Virginia teacher licensure with an endorsement in Special Education-Hearing Impairment PreK-12. Courses are taught through combined on-campus, distance education, and varied educational field experiences. The comprehensive program teaches all communication/instructional approaches used with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Tuition assistance is available for qualified Virginia teachers.
- Technical Assistance Center for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TAC-DHH) - The TAC-DHH provides training and technical assistance pertaining to students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Assistance is available to local public school divisions as well as early intervention and preschool programs through the Virginia Network of Consultants for Professionals Working with Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VNOC).
- Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairment (VI Consortium) - The VI Consortium is the only academic program in Virginia for teacher preparation leading to Virginia teacher licensure with an endorsement in Special Education-Visual Impairment PreK-12. Classes are offered through combined on-campus, video, and web conferencing through five universities: George Mason, James Madison, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, and Radford. Tuition assistance is available for qualified Virginia teachers.
- Contact: Kimberly Avila, Coordinator, at email@example.com or (703) 993-5625
- Virginia Hearing Aid Loan Bank (HALB) - The HALB provides hearing aids and FM systems for children in Virginia under age 18 whose hearing loss is confirmed by an audiologist. Devices are loaned for free for up to six months while families/school divisions are waiting for a permanent device to arrive.
Educational Placement refers to the setting in which special education services will be provided. The decision of educational placement for a student with a disability is determined by the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) Team. It is made once decision have been made by the team regarding the student’s needs, with consideration given to the least restrictive environment (LRE) for the specific student. The concept of LRE means that the student with a disability will be educated with students who are not identified as having disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate. These decisions are based on individual student needs. Placement consideration utilizes the following continuum of options:
- Public Day School
- Public Separate School Facility
- Private Separate School Facility
- Public Residential Facility
- Private Residential Facility
- Home Based Program
- Home Bound Program
- Correctional Education Program
Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Annually, The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) is appointed by the local School Board through the Superintendent. Committee membership includes parents of children with disabilities and persons with disabilities. Division staff serve as committee consultants. The functions of the Special Education Advisory Committee are to work cooperatively and cordially to:
- advise the Local Education Agency (LEA) of unidentified educational needs of students with disabilities;
- assist the LEA in the development of long-range plans;
- assist the LEA in prioritizing and strategizing to meet the identified needs of students with disabilities;
- assist the LEA in interpreting for the community plans for meeting the educational needs of students with disabilities;
- submit periodic reports and recommendations regarding the education of students with disabilities to the School Board, through the Superintendent; and
- review the policies and procedures for the provision of special education and related services prior to their submission to the local School Board and the Virginia Department of Education.