Cedar Rapids Community School District is committed to providing quality educational services for students with disabilities, and provides comprehensive services to help meet the academic, social, emotional, behavioral, adaptive, and physical needs of all students who require special services.
CRCSD prioritizes serving students in their regular classrooms using the general education curriculum. Students are placed into alternative instruction only after it has been demonstrated that general education interventions have been exhausted and it is in the student’s best interest to receive an alternative method of instruction.
CRCSD also strives to serve as many students with disabilities as possible in their neighborhood schools. Every school building has a multi-categorical special education program for serving students with mild and moderate disabilities. Students with low-incidence disabilities—such as autism or hearing impairments—are served in CRCSD-wide programs at selected schools.
For more information about special services, please contact us at 319-558-2575.
Suspecting a disability
If a parent or other concerned adult believes a student may need special education services, they are encouraged to talk with the student’s teacher or principal. Specialists from Grant Wood Area Education Agency are assigned to schools and will work with the family and school staff to identify any areas in which a student may be having difficulty.
The state of Iowa uses a response to intervention model to evaluate students and determine eligibility for special education services. GWAEA staff and school staff help the family and school staff determine if a disability is suspected and, if so, will also describe the evaluation process and most importantly will identify steps or interventions for improving learning and performance.
Extended school year services
Extended school year (ESY) services are special education services that may be provided to an eligible student beyond the normal school year. This might be during the summer or any break during the year.
ESY services are special education instructional and/or related services that may be provided to an eligible student beyond the normal school year, such as during the summer or any break during the year.
Some students may need continuous skill instruction in order to receive an appropriate educational program. This instruction may help students learn new skills during a critical time or help students maintain skills throughout the year.
Other students may regress during the interruption of school services and require significant recoupment time when school resumes. ESY services may prevent the loss of skills during breaks in the school year.
Eligibility is discussed at an IEP meeting. The student’s IEP team makes the determination. In Iowa, the IEP team addresses four questions to help determine a child’s need for ESY services:
- Are there goal areas of concern which need to be acquired or maintained without interruption for the student to meaningfully benefit from a free, appropriate public education?
- Has there been (or is there a potential for) significant regression during periods of interruptions that would require significant recoupment?
- Are there rare and unusual circumstances that necessitate continuous instruction for service?
- Are there other factors to be considered in determining the need for ESY services?
The IEP team also reviews progress monitoring data on IEP goals provided by the parents, interviews with teachers, or staff reports from outside agencies, if available.
For more information on ESY, please contact your child’s teacher, the building principal, or special services at 319-558-2575.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
All CRCSD programming provided for students with special needs is consistent with federal law through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which entitles every student to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. A team of CRCSD professionals meets with the student’s parents to identify the student’s unique educational needs, develop annual goals for the student, and determine needed accommodations, program modifications, testing accommodations, and other special services for the student. These needs and the appropriate placement are recorded in an individualized educational program (IEP).
Transition as referenced in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a coordinated set of activities designed for a student with a disability to promote and support the student’s movement from school to post-school activities such as post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment, adult services, independent living, and community participation.
The activities are based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account his or her strengths, preferences and interests. The activities may include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment skills, adult living objectives and, when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and a functional vocational evaluation.
Transition toward adulthood really begins when children are born; everything they do and learn is designed to make them a competent and independent adult. The focus becomes really strong as students enter middle school. In Iowa, students become involved in their IEP meetings by age 14. Students must learn to advocate and be able to ask for the supports they need both in school and on the job site. Transition refers to all the activities that make that happen. Your child’s IEP team will begin advising you and your child about the many steps that happen along the way, from selecting courses to sampling jobs and even being at a job site.
IDEA is specific about the need for transition activities to support students as they transition from school-based to post-school activities. However, there are other natural transitions that all students including students with special needs experience as well, from early childhood to elementary, from elementary to middle, and middle to high.
For support with these types or levels of transition, please contact your child’s special education teacher or building administrator.