Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    Special Education Remote Learning FAQ

    Return to the Remote Learning FAQ webpage.

    How will the district be providing services and supports to students with disabilities during the 2020-21 school year?

    Our goal is to provide an engaging and rigorous remote learning experience for all students. We are confident our students can be served successfully in a remote setting. We are planning to provide academic, social emotional, behavioral, and related services and supports virtually, online, telephonically, and/or in a combination. Educators, including related service providers (such as SLPs, OTs, and PTs) and paraprofessionals, will be working collaboratively to provide special education services, and will support students remotely as students work to make progress on IEP goals. Although services may look different than they did prior to the COVID closures, our goal remains the same: to support and engage students in making meaningful progress.

    Case managers (usually the student's special education teacher) will be reaching out to families within the first few weeks of school to convene an IEP meeting to discuss and determine how services will be provided to support each student. Families will be at the table when discussing what supports for their student will look like.

    How is SPS determining which students will be served in-person?

    Our goal is to provide a robust remote learning experience for all students. All IEP teams will meet remotely to decide when and if any in-person services are needed. Teams will review data to determine if the student requires in-person services to make meaningful progress on their IEP goals and determine how in-person services can be provided in compliance with health guidelines. Consideration of further data collection may be necessary. If additional data collection is needed, staff will continue progress monitoring and will provide increased opportunities to build-in remote supports (small groups, accommodations, modifications).

    If the IEP team finds in-person services necessary, they will be provided at the student's assigned school, transportation will be provided, and services will be delivered in compliance with health guidelines.

    How are IEP meetings being handled this year?

    Seattle Public Schools will follow legal timelines according to OSPI with any current IEPs and reevaluations during this time. Meetings may be offered online or via conference call. Families have a right to request an IEP meeting at any time. You can request a meeting by contacting your student's case manager.

    How are initial evaluations and reevaluations being handled this year?

    Evaluations and reevaluations will be conducted via a combination of remote and/or in-person sessions with appropriate safety protocols. Preschool evaluations have been conducted all summer virtually and will continue in this manner until a system is in place for in-person evaluations.

    Will SPS be offering recovery services for students this year?

    Recovery services describe the need to recover any educational gaps in learning or loss of skills caused by unexpected school facility closures. IEP teams will determine on an individual basis what type of, how much, and when recovery services, if any, are needed. Recovery services are not generally expected to be in the same amount that was missed (i.e., minute for minute, hour for hour) and depends more upon on student progress and supporting equitable outcomes. Recovery services are generally provided outside of the district’s school day (documented separately or within the IEP) or they can be reflected as increased or supplemental services in the student’s current IEP. Some or all recovery services can be provided in Fall 2020 and some or all can be provided when in-person school operations resume.

    Will students receiving special education services have mandatory attendance in their general education settings?

    We will be following district policies regarding attendance collection and reporting for students with IEPs. If attendance becomes a concern for any student with an IEP in any course, the case manager will convene the IEP team to collaborate on a plan to support student engagement and attendance.

    What if my student has a 1:1 paraprofessional or behavior technician?

    IEP teams will determine all services and supports that are needed to support students in making progress on IEP goals during remote learning. If you have a question about your student’s services or students schedule including the providers who will be serving your student, please connect with your student's IEP case manager.

    What online platform will teachers be using for remote instruction?

    Special education teachers and paraprofessionals will be using the same learning platforms as general education teachers. In certain situations that require ASL interpretation, deaf and hard of hearing staff and students have been given permission to use Zoom.

    Are you offering in-home services?

    We are not currently offering services to students in their homes.

    How is the Special Education department communicating with families?

    The Special Education department is committed to providing information to families. In addition to the regular communications to families from the Office of Public Affairs, schools, and individual teachers or service providers, we will be providing specific information to families of students who receive special education services once a month. Those communications will be via email and archived on the Special Education Department webpage. The monthly communications will also be translated for our multilingual families.

    If families are not receiving communications from the Special Education Department, please email

    What if I have questions?

    If you have specific questions about your student, we encourage you to get in touch with your student’s IEP case manager. If you are encountering issues reaching your student’s teacher or case manager, please contact your school’s principal. You can also reach the department at 206-252-0054 or

    For more contacts, visit our Special Education Department staff webpage.