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Special Education


What is it?

Special Education is the term for the federal law titled the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law provides students with disabilities instructional services and other supports needed to ensure they are able to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). 

Who is it for?

For Kindergarten through 21 years of age, eligible students will have a disability that causes an adverse educational impact which requires specially designed instruction to remediate. Disabilities and eligibility requirements are defined in the Washington State Administrative Codes (WACs). Students up the age 9 with significant development delays may also be eligible for services. The developmental preschool program offers supports for students from birth to age 5 who have a disability of significant developmental delay. 

All students must be evaluated and found eligible for and in need for special education services before they can receive support through this program. 

Special Education provides services to students with certain disabilities that are specified in state and federal laws. Services are free of charge to the parent. Anybody may refer a student for an evaluation to determine if the student qualifies for services. The referral needs to be in writing (unless, of course, you are unable to write) and should be directed to the student's principal or classroom teacher. If you suspect that your child has a disability and might require special education services and your child is not currently enrolled in public school you may direct the referral to the special services office.

Eligibility for special education services requires that we conduct an evaluation. The result of the evaluation needs to show that the child has a disability as defined in Washington's Administrative Code AND that this disability has a negative effect on the child making progress in what is being taught in the general education classroom. If the child is a preschooler, the disability would need to cause the child to fall behind in activities that children without a disability do.

Services that eligible students receive need to address their individual needs. These services are outlined in an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) that school staff and parents jointly develop.

There are a multitude of legal rules and regulations that determine what happens in special education. They are outlined in the Washington Administrative Code (link above) and are written in legal language. Please feel free to contact one of us at the Special Services Office or the Social Service Provider at your child's school for some plain language interpretation. Another source of help for interpretation of these rules is an organization called PAVE at 1-800-5-PARENT or the Family Educator Partnership Project at 1-888-754-8798. Further information may also be obtained from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Child Find Notice 

Rainier School District is committed to addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities ages Birth through 21 residing within the boundaries of the Rainier School District. This includes children with disabilities enrolled in private, including religious schools, as well as children who are homeless (if your family is living in a temporary situation, you may contact the district where you are currently staying for a screening.) Disabilities can be in any one of several areas that ultimately affect a child's learning, such as the ability to think, to express oneself, to see or hear clearly, to get around, or understand instructions given.

Birth to 5 children have access to free developmental assessments.  Areas could include:  
   - approaches to learning
   - physical/motor
   - social/emotional
   - cognitive
   - communication and language
   - literacy
   - math/numeracy
   - sensory function
   - temperament
   - behavior
   - specific disabilities such as autism 
Who do I contact for more information?
Special education teachers and SLP's are the student's case managers. Contact your building principal, school psychologist, SLP or special education teacher for more information about this program. You may also discuss student Concerns with your school Student Support Team. 
If you have a child who you think might have a disability requiring special education instruction or significant accommodations at school, or if you know of such a child, please feel free to contact the Rainier School District Special Services Office at 360-446-7406 ext 1210 or PO Box 98 Rainier, WA. 98576. Please submit in writing for a special education referral. 
WAC 392-172A-02040 - School districts shall conduct child find activities calculated to reach all students with a suspected disability for the purpose of locating, evaluating and identifying students who are in need of special education and related services, regardless of the severity of their disability.