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    What are Special Education Services?

    Special Education Services are all the supplemental instruction, settings, and supports provided to an individual student in addition to the general education curriculum and setting. The scope and design of each student’s services is based on their evaluation.

    The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a comprehensive description of each student’s services. It follows a specific format, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for all students. Though the format of the IEP is standardized, the details are tailored to each student.

    Who Defines What Services A Student Receives?

    An IEP team is formed for each student, including: the student’s parent/guardians, a general education teacher, a special education teacher and an administrative designee. In many cases, additional people, such as related service providers, will be invited. They develop the IEP with input from all members.

    Opinions and subjective input from all team members is valued, but ultimately services must align with the student's established needs identified in the evaluation.

    Who Determines Where?

    The IEP team decides most but not all aspects of where a student will receive special education services. The IEP team decides the student’s least restrictive environment (LRE) for each individual area of service. These decisions are collectively referred to as placement. Additionally, for K-12 students enrolled in the District, the team selects a Seattle Public Schools Primary Placement from a continuum of alternatives; this is referred to as the Continuum Approach of Services.

    The District determines assignment. The pathway for that process is driven by a student’s Seattle Public Schools Primary Placement. Most special education students (about 70%) enroll using the same District procedures and process as any other student. About 25% of special education students may have an adjusted assignment due to the complexity of their services. When this occurs, proximity to home and alignment with the board approved assignment plan is the first criterion that determines assignment. About 5% of students will have such unique assignment needs that proximity to home is no longer the primary factor.

    Can a parent/guardian request a change in student assignment?

    Parents/Guardians may request a new assignment to a school that has their student’s Seattle Public Schools Primary Placement through the District’s School Choice or appeals process. The District supports equal access to the School Choice process and option schools, but we cannot accommodate all requests.


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    Seattle Public Schools

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