Special Education Department Goals
- Ensure that students with disabilities are provided access to the general education curriculum and extra -curricular activities in the regular education setting to the maximum extent possible with assistive supports to maintain the student in the appropriate public school that the student would attend if not disabled
- Ensure the participation of all students with disabilities in state, school system, or alternative assessments
- Ensure compliance with state and federal regulations regarding students' annual IEP reviews, re-evaluation procedures, and periodic program updates
- Using state and federal guidelines to maintain timely procedures for the identification processes for students suspected of having disabilities
- Promote collaborative practices across educational settings between regular staff, special educators and related service providers
- Maintain a constant effort towards continued staff development on current educational trends and educational issues
- Support and facilitate parent involvement/participation in the special education process
- Ensure participation in and dissemination of information concerning the transition process for students with disabilities and their parents
- Incorporate a formative evaluation process with a stakeholder advisory committee comprised of community members, local school system staff and parents, to maintain continuous improvement
- Collaborate with local, state, private, and community agencies to establish, implement and maintain local interagency planning of programs for students with disabilities
The parent, the general educator, the special educator, the building administrator, and other key individuals are active participants in all placement decisions as part of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process. All high school students and the adult student are also members of their IEP team.
In order to fulfill its mission, the Allegany County Public Schools Special Education Department supports:
- School administrators who welcome all children and strive to develop appropriate supports for all children.
- Systemic and school-based practices that reflect the needs of all students.
- Efficient use of funds and educational resources for all students, including incentives for engaging in positive inclusive educational practices.
The administration and staff of Allegany County Public Schools (ACPS) believe all students have a right to be educated in the least restrictive environment in order to access the general education curriculum. This means that, to the maximum extent appropriate, a student with disabilities must be educated with children who do not have disabilities. Special education services to support students must be provided in the regular classroom environment when appropriate. Special classes, separate schooling or removal of a child from the regular educational environment shall occur only when the nature or severity of the needs is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be satisfactorily achieved. The Special Education Department has the responsibility of ensuring services and supports necessary for students with disabilities to access a free, appropriate, public education across all Allegany County Public School settings. A full continuum of services and placements is available to students with disabilities in the ACPS.
All decisions regarding the placement of a child with a disability in a special education service delivery model will be made by the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team in consultation with the parents or guardians of the child and consistent with the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A hard copy of the service delivery models is available upon request. The ACPS will make a concerted effort to ensure the attendance of one or both parents. If a meeting is conducted without the parent, documentation of the meeting and all attempts to secure the parent's attendance will remain on file. Additionally, the ACPS will make every reasonable effort to ensure the parent understands the proceedings of the meeting, including but not limited to provision of an interpreter for parents whose native language is not English.
In the case of a student transferring from another public agency with an existing IEP, the ACPS will provide services comparable to those identified in the IEP to ensure the student receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Each staff member responsible for implementing the student's IEP shall have access to the IEP and be informed of their roles and responsibilities and the accommodations, modifications, and supports to be provided for the student as outlined in the IEP. During the development of an IEP, the ACPS shall ensure the proper functioning of hearing aids or external component surgically implanted medical devices worn in school.
If, at any point in the IEP process, a parent wishes to receive free legal services, Maryland Legal Aid provides free civil legal services to financially qualified Maryland residents. In Allegany County, contact: Maryland Legal Aid, 110 Greene Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-7474.