The Individual Disabilities Education Improvement Act ( IDEIA) is a Federal law, the purpose of which is to “ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a Free Appropriate Public Education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.”
Friendship Public Charter School does not discriminate against students with disabilities and enrolls and serves all students regardless of the type or severity of disability including but not limited to students with learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism, students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. FPCS believes all students can learn with appropriate educational services.
Friendship Public Charter School prides itself in providing multiple student supports, including but not limited to a specialized instruction from qualified special education teachers and related services including but not limited to the area of counseling, behavioral supports, speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. FPCS offers a continuum of settings and placements for students with special needs. The goal and mandate of federal law (IDEA) are to educate students in the least restrictive environment that meets their academic and social emotional needs. FPCS educates students with special needs in the least restrictive environment.
The least restrictive environment is an inclusion setting where students with special needs are provided instruction that meets their individual needs in the general education classroom. The student remains with his/ her general education peers but receives the necessary supports and accommodations from the special and general education teachers to be successful. If a student needs more support than can be provided in an inclusion setting, based on academic and/or social difficulty in the general education classroom, additional classroom environments may be considered. For example, the students may show more success after receiving instruction in a pull out setting; resource classroom or self-contained classroom. The least restrictive educational setting is made by a multi-disciplinary team that includes school staff and the parent. After the decision is made the special education staff regularly review each student’s level of service and monitor his/her progress to ensure that the services and setting are appropriate.
You as a parent or legal guardian can request that your child is evaluated. Procedures for making referrals, conducting evaluations, communicating with families, writing and reviewing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), maintaining student records and reporting student progress are managed at each school by the Special Education Coordinator (SEC). If your child is found eligible for special education and related services, the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations mandate that all persons who are residents of the District are entitled to receive those services from birth through age twenty-two. The State Educational Agency provides services to ages birth to 3 years. FPCS provides services to individuals age 3 to 22.
The cornerstone of IDEIA is the requirement that parents be active participants in determining the services that will appropriately address the special education needs of their children. An effective partnership between parents and educators is necessary and requires that all people involved be fully informed about the student’s special education needs and collaborate together to address the needs. Sometimes collaboration will include exploration of additional home and community-based supports that can be provided outside of the school day to assist the student. Opportunities to explore options, alternative or additional outside the learning environment are important to the overall success of the student. FPCS is committed to partnering with parents to foster a positive educational experience for their child.
What is an IEP?
If your child is found eligible for special education services, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be developed with your participation and input. The IEP is a written plan of the specialized instruction and related services specifically designed and necessary to meet the unique educational needs of your child. The IEP states the classroom supports, services, and resources that FPCS will provide to each student with a disability. It contains measurable goals in academic and/or social-emotional areas based on the student’s present level of educational performance. In addition, the IEP states the setting where the services will be delivered, and describes the amount of specialized instruction, related services, and supports necessary for the student to make progress on the goals.
For more information about Special Education services, please contact Ms. Rachelle Roberts, Senior Director of Student Support Services, at 202-281-1700