Special Education

Services and Accommodations

What are special education services?

Special education services are the supports, settings, and instruction provided to an individual student, supplementing general education curriculums and settings. The scope and design of each student’s services are driven by their evaluation.

What services will your student receive?

Services are based on each eligible student’s unique educational needs. Every student receiving special educationservices has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) which defines what services that student receives.

IEP (Individualized EducationProgram) The format of an IEP is standardized, but the details are specific to each student. Each student’s IEP is developed by their IEP team. Services must align with the student’s established needs.

Placement and Primary ServiceTypes Placement is informed by the IEP and defines the setting, intensity, and instructional content of each student’s services. Within Seattle Public Schools, each IEP team selects a SPS Primary Service type based on placement decisions. This choice will determine some aspects of service delivery within Seattle Public Schools.

Where will your student receive services?

Assignment and ServiceLocations – A student’s assignment is the location where they attend school. The district determines assignment, after considering the student’s placement and services. When possible and appropriate, students receiving special education services will be served in their neighborhood school. Some students may have modified assignments due to the complexity of their services.

How will your student change or maintain services?

Changing Schools andRising – As students progress through their education, they are likely to change schools at least once. Why might a student change schools? What are your student’s options, and what is affected by special education services?

Maintaining and RevisingServices – Change and growth are expected. Learn about what that means for your student’s services. Yearly IEP reviews and other types of changes.

Exiting Services – Details about exiting from special education services. Graduation, aging out, and summary of performance (SoP).

Related Topics andServices – An index of topics and services related to special education.

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Services – DHH program information and resources
  • Vision Services – Vision program information and resources
  • Twice Exceptional (2E) – Students who qualify for both Special Education services and Advanced Learning/Highly Capable services.

Continuum Approach

The concept of a continuum of alternative placements is universal for all school districts under the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC). The Continuum Approach is a service delivery structure specific to K-12 students attending Seattle Public Schools. It couples a flexible delivery approach with a rigorous delivery structure, allowing for predictability and quality simultaneously with individualized programming.

Flexible delivery approach

Our flexible approach derives its resilience from teamwork. By clustering intensive services in continuum schools they can share skills, resources and opportunities that only a team-based delivery provides. Rarely are a student?s needs a perfect fit in one instructional specialty, and student needs flex and change with time. Schools that provide intensive service delivery must be able to embrace flexibility as a constant. This team-based approach creates the diverse instruction and support ecosystem that can grow and change with the students they serve.

Rigorous delivery structure

Our rigorous structure derives its function from thoughtful specialization of case managers coupled with a geographically even, predictable distribution of each specialty across the District. The Continuum Approach provides five Primary Service types, a term specific to Seattle Public Schools. These defined specialties create predictable pathways/options for student school assignment and for teacher professional development.

Students not attending Seattle Public Schools

Students Not Attending Seattle PublicSchools – For students entering the district with an IEP, students attending private school or home school, and students who are dually-enrolled.

Entering Seattle Public Schools with an IEP

Students of any age entering the district with an Individual EducationProgram (IEP) must be enrolled in the district before they can receive services. This includes students with existing IEPs who are transferring into Seattle Public Schools from a different school district, or students transitioning from preschool.

Enroll your student through the Admissions Department. Be sure to tell Admissions that your student has a pre-existing IEP. If possible, bring a copy of your student’s most recent IEP and evaluation to give to Admissions.

Out of District Placement Process

Once a student with a pre-existing IEP has been enrolled, the out of district placement process begins. This processincludes:

  • reviewing the student’s existing evaluation and IEP
  • forwarding existing materials to the student’s assigned school
  • considering if the student should be reevaluated

If a reevaluation is recommended, the existing IEP will guide the services provided until a new IEP is in place.

Private Schools, Homeschools, and Contracted Placement

Students not attending SPS include homeschooled students, students voluntarily enrolled by their parents in privates chools, and students in contracted placements.

Regardless of their daily school setting, all students designated to receive services must have an IEP or ServicePlan that accurately reflects their evaluation and areas of qualification. However, the delivery of services for students not attending SPS may be different.

Students voluntarily attending approved private schools have two service delivery options: a service plan or part-time enrollment . Service delivery varies depending on the option selected. Students who are homeschooled or attending an unapproved private school may only access services through part-time enrollment.

Service Plan (SP)

A service plan is an alternative to an IEP. It is available to select parentally-placed private school students whoare:

  • enrolled in approved, non-profit private schools
  • eligible for special education
  • not enrolled in the district for school-based or IEP services

Part-time Enrollment

All private school and homeschooled students have the option of enrolling part-time in their resident district to receive special education services through an IEP. If a student attends a school within the Seattle School District but resides out of district, part-time enrollment for special education services is not an option. This was previously called dual enrollment.

Contracted Placements are part of Seattle Public Schools’ continuum of alternative placements. In these settings, all services will be provided in accordance with the student’s IEP, that institution’s policy and practice, andWashington State Law.

The initial referral and evaluation process is the same for students, whether they attend Seattle Public Schools or not. Reevaluations are not automatically conducted if students are not enrolled in Seattle Public Schools.Reevaluations only occur for these students if their parent/guardian requests a reevaluation.


Enroll your student  (Seattle Public Schools Admissions Department)

Approved Private Schools  (Washington State Board ofEducation)