Special Education is subject to federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004, which dictates the standards that all states must meet. In addition to the IDEA Federal Regulations, Michigan has Administrative Rules for Special Education that sets a higher standard than the federal mandates. Together, they require public agencies to offer a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that meets individual needs of students with disabilities.
A pre-referral process begins when students are suspected of having a disability that adversely affects their educational and/or functional performance in the general education classroom. Initially, a variety of scientifically based research interventions are tried in the general education classroom. The effectiveness of these interventions is reviewed periodically by a team of school staff, known as the Student Based Intervention Team (SBIT).
If the student’s education performance does not improve, a referral is made to the district’s special services office. The program specialist or special education director will notify the parent to request consent to evaluate.
Each student suspected of having a disability will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary evaluation team. This team’s report will make a recommendation for eligibility to the individual education program team. The information presented will be drawn from a variety of sources, including parent input.
For students who are found to be eligible for special education, the IEP team is charged with developing a written plan to address the following:
The student’s present level of academic achievement and functional performance.
Annual goals and short-term objectives to address the individual needs. This will include the appropriate criteria, evaluation procedures, and schedules for each short-term objective.
The educational placement of the student with a disability in programs and services from a continuum of placements.