Placement and Primary Service Types
Special Education Placement and Primary Service Types
What defines placement?
Placement defines the setting, intensity, and instructional content of each student’s services.Placement is a specific term used in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA), so it means the same thing across the United States, within a special education context. Placement will impact your student’s SPS primary service type, which can also affect your student’s assignment. Having a specific placement or primary service type does not guarantee or imply attendance at a particular school.
Placement is a fundamental part of the IEP team process. Your student’s placement can be found in their Individualized Education Program (IEP),documented as setting , intensity of services, and instructional content .
Setting describes the location where a student receives instruction. Setting does not refer to a specificschool.
Every student should learn in their least restrictive environment (LRE) . The general educationsetting is the default LRE. However, some students have specific learning needs that make an alternative settingtheir LRE. A student’s LRE can vary throughout their school day, across instructional content and settings.
In a student’s IEP, their setting is often summarized as the percentage of time spent in the general educationsetting.
Intensity of Services
Intensity describes how complex a student’s services are.
Intensity of services is documented in the IEP with quantitative and qualitative measures. Both are factors indescribing the intensity of a student’s services.
Quantitative measures describe information that can be measured with numbers. This can include:
- how many areas of special education instruction and related services
- how many minutes of instruction and related services
- how many accommodations, etc.
Qualitative measures describe information about qualities and are captured in narrative sections ofthe IEP, including:
- present levels of academic achievement
- functional performance, etc.
Instruction describes what the services are.
Instructional content is the scope of what is being taught beyond the general education curriculum. Under IDEA it is called SpeciallyDesigned Instruction (SDI) .
Primary Service Types
The concept of a continuum of alternative placements applies to special education in all school districts in the state of Washington. The ContinuumApproach is how services are delivered within Seattle Public Schools.
A Primary Service type categorizes a student’s placement for the purpose of assignment within Seattle PublicSchools. (This is sometimes called a Seattle Public Schools Primary Service type or SPS Primary Service type.) Each student’s IEP team selects the PrimaryService type that best aligns with the student’s IEP. A student’s primary service type may change through the IEP process due to significant progress, or lack of progress.
Having a specific Primary Service type does not guarantee assignment to a particular school. The Primary Service typedefines the student’s admissions pathway, a process that leads to a specific assignment for a student.
These Primary Service type descriptions apply to students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools, grades K–12, and students receiving special education transition services (up to 21 years old). For preschool service descriptions, please see Early Learning Special Education.
Pathway Changes for Access and SEL for 2023-24
Schools that will have a primary service pathway of Extended Resource beginning 2023-24 school year:
Special Education Placements and Programs for Early Learning
Preschool options are designed to offer a continuum of services in an effort to meet a variety of student developmental needs. Read more about Early Learning Placements and Programs on the Early Learning website.