Special Education

The Special Education Department of Summit Hill School District 161 is committed to providing support services to all students and teachers and to provide each student with disabilities a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. It is believed that these services can most effectively be provided through a school-based model which focuses on the use of building level resources. Such an approach places as much responsibility and accountability with school personnel as possible. It is expected that this model will provide the following advantages:
  • Foster feelings of responsibility for meeting the needs of each student among school personnel
  • Encourage principals, teachers and support personnel not only to identify children who may have physical, intellectual or behavioral problems but to seek alternative strategies for meeting the educational needs of such students
  • Encourage the trial of general education alternatives within the school before an evaluation is requested
  • Develop a collaborative spirit among school personnel in seeking solutions for students who are encountering difficulties
  • Ensure that school personnel will receive information needed to be well informed about students with disabilities, special education programs, related services, district policies and procedures and other educational alternatives
  • Foster parent participation in planning the student's program

The role of the Special Education Office staff, in the school-based model, shall be to:
  • Monitor to ensure that the policies and procedures established by the Special Education Department, in accordance with all federal, state and local mandates, are implemented
  • Design, implement and evaluate appropriate programs for students with disability
  • Provide technical assistance and staff development opportunities

The role of the school staff shall be to:
  • Deliver instruction and support services consistent with the policies and procedures established by the Special Education Department
  • Monitor the quality of on-going programs within the school
  • Seek technical assistance for program improvement
  • Provide input to program design and policy development
School and Special Education Office staff should work collaboratively and be concerned with the consistency and quality of special education programs and related services within the school and across the district.

Vision Statement - Special Education

Special Education serves as a vehicle for access to general education and to minimize the impact of specific needs that arise out of the disability. 

Actions supported by the statement include:
  • Viewing special education as a support system for students and to general education
  • Promoting collegial collaboration between special education and general education
  • Serving students in the least restrictive environment and within their home schools
  • Sharing responsibility and resources to benefit all students
  • Working with and respecting parents as partners in the educational process
  • Recognizing that education of youth is a responsibility of the whole community
  • Acknowledging each individual as a lifelong learner and contributing member of our world
  • Recognizing all students as special and educating them through a team effort
  • Serving students with differing abilities in a caring environment which is responsive to their individual needs
  • Creating goals which focus on desirable educational outcomes for each student

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