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Exceptional Children

Debbie Berry,
Director of Exceptional Children

     Pam Pack, Department Secretary

     Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant

 

Check out our website with information for students, parents and teachers!  Updated regularly! 

 

Exceptional Children Services

Purpose

The Jefferson County Schools Exceptional Children Services Department's purpose is to promote individualized educational services and program for students with identified special education needs.  The department is committed to ensuring that all students reach their maximum potential i order to transition successfully into adulthood.

Beliefs

As Special Education personnel, we believe the role of our department is to:

  1. Identify students with special needs, create maximum learning opportunities and foster high expectations

  2. Create a collaborative relationship between parents, teachers, students, administration, and support staff

  3. Promote individualized instructional techniques and supports for students

  4. Access general education curriculum through inclusion

  5. Utilize technology as an instructional tool for students and teachers

Special Education Programs & Services

Special Education Manual - updated

Questions and Answers on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Evaluations, and Reevaluations. (MS Word) (Jun 17, 2010)
Questions and Answers on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Evaluations, and Reevaluations. OSERS issues this Q&A document to provide States, State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), parents, and other stakeholders with information regarding the IDEA requirements relating to individualized education programs (IEPs), evaluations, and reevaluations. (MS Word)

 

Assessment

 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and NCLB require that all students, including those with the most severe disabilities, must be included in state-mandated assessments.  The Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) includes several alternative assessments available to students with disabilities whom participation in the regular state assessment is inappropriate, even with the use of extensive accommodations.  Included in Tennesseeís alternate assessments are:

  1. TCAP-Alt Portfolio Assessment:  An assessment designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities (approximately 1%) and is based on

alternative content standards.  TCAP-Alt Portfolio strands measure Content, Choice, Settings, Supports, and Peer Interactions.  The decision

for TCAP-Alt Portfolio Assessment participation is an IEP team decision based on the needs of the individual student.  All student work

contained in a portfolio assessment must be performed by the student and in the presence of a teacher and/or paraprofessional.

 

2.      TCAP-Modified Academic Achievement Standards (TCAP-MAAS):  An assessment designed to provide a more appropriate means of

measuring the skills of a student whose disability interferes with performance on large scale assessments.  In Tennessee, the MAAS assessment

for students with disabilities in grades 3 through 8 is intended to evaluate individual learning needs and yield results that more accurately reflect

studentsí academic progress while also guiding instruction based on individual studentsí needs.  Studentsí scores of Proficient or Advanced on

the TCAP-MAAS may be included in AYP calculations, subject to a cap of 2% of all students assessed at the state and district levels.  The

decision for TCAP-MAAS participation is an IEP team decision based on the needs of the individual student.

 

  1. Alternative Performance-Based Assessments (EOC):  Students with disabilities must participate in the state End of Course (EOC) assessment.  These students must receive appropriate support and accommodations with the goal of mastering course content and passing the EOC assessment.  However, a student on an active IEP whose disability interferes with performance on the EOC assessment may demonstrate mastery of core knowledge and skills for that course through the approved alternative performance based assessment.  The IEP team must determine if the disability is likely to have an adverse effect on performance on the EOC assessment.  Discussion of the potential need for the alternative performance based assessment may take place at the annual IEP meeting and be appropriately documented.  In the event the student fails to earn a passing grade for the course, the alternative performance based rubric will be used to assess the level of mastery of the course content.  The studentís level of achievement of the core knowledge and skills for each state end of course test is determined by the teacher of record in consultation with the IEP team and special education providers, using the state approved alternative performance based assessment document.  Results of the performance based assessment will not improve Adequate Yearly Progress calculations for the school, but will count toward graduation rate.  Students with disabilities who successfully participate in this process will meet the course requirement leading to a regular high school diploma.

Additionally, special testing accommodations may be used by students who are receiving special education services or services under Section 504 and have the need documented in their IEP or 504 Service Plan.  Accommodations are modifications made to the test environment or test administration procedures.  An accommodation may be used by a student only when necessary and when the student is proficient in its use.  There are three types of testing accommodations available for student use:  Allowable Accommodations, Special Accommodations, and English Language Learner (ELL) Accommodations.  The decision for student participation in any alternate assessment or special accommodation is an IEP team decision based on the needs of the individual student.

Contact

Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services

 

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is any device or service that improves or maintains the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

 Jefferson County Schools Assistive Technology team strives to enable students with disabilities to achieve by providing them access to assistive technology devices and/or services needed in order to progress in their educational programs.

Types of Assistive Technology

*Low Tech Examples (not all inclusive & subject to evaluation)

  Electric scissors                         Magnetic board/letters

  Loop scissors                             Colored acetate

  Velcro                                      Adapted utensils

  Seating                                    Book stand

  Highlighted Keyboard                   Wrist rest

  Highlighters                               Headpointer

  PVC pipe                                   Post-it notes

  Pillows                                      Stickers

  Writing utensils                         Chair with arms

  Pencil grips                               Weights

  Modified paper                           Weighted vests

 

*Mid/High Tech Examples (not all inclusive & subject to evaluation)

  Adapted play equipment               Talking calculator

  Tape recorder                             Hand-held note taker

  NCR paper                                  Books on tape

  Magnifiers                                  Franklin dictionary/speller

  Switches                                   Switch toys

  Communication board                   Schedules

  Adapted books                            Personal FM Systems

  Braille writer                                Slate & stylus

  Scooter boards                            Walkers

  Outdoor adaptations                     Ramps

  Lifts                                           Alpha smart

  Straps                                        Trays

  Seat belts                                   Toilet seats

  Big Mac                                       Head phone

 

*Computers (not all inclusive & subject to evaluation)

  Lap tops                                      PC

  Adapted keyboard                       Large monitor

  Printer                                         Scanner

  Screen magnification                    Braille embosser

  Touch Screen                              Intellikeys

  Track balls                                  Joy stick

  Mouse alternatives                      Keyboard guards

  Mounting devices                        Speech recognition software

 

Referral/Evaluation Process

To refer a student for an Assistive Technology evaluation, contact one of the team members listed below or call Nancy Whittaker at (865) 397-3194.

Contacts

Linda Caldwell, Physical Therapist 

Julie Ennis, Occupational Therapist 

Vera Reneau, Speech Pathologist 

 

Comprehensive Development Class (CDC)

The Special Education Department provides a continuum of services to students with disabilities.  We start with the premise that the general education classroom is the first consideration for all students.  Based on that premise, services intensify depending upon the IEP developed and the services identified as necessary to meet the studentsí individual needs.  The CDC classroom is one service delivery model on that continuum.

Students enrolled in CDC classrooms have been identified as needing a small, structured environment where core academic areas are addressed at the studentís instructional level while still integrating curriculum standards.  Typically students in this environment have deficits across the curriculum that are significantly below grade level.  These students might have significant cognitive deficits as well.  In addition to emphasizing academic progress, teachers focus on social skills, self-help skills, and self-advocacy skills.  The advantage of this model is that students have the opportunity to become familiar with their peers and their teacher(s) remain consistent for at least one school year.

The CDC classroom is available at all schools in Jefferson County with the exception of Talbott Elementary.  The department makes every effort to maintain a small pupil to teacher ratio in CDC classes.  Classrooms are staffed with instructional assistants.  Students served in these classes still have access to school resources and activities that are appropriate and beneficial for them.  Placement in a Comprehensive Development Classroom (CDC) is and IEP team decision.

Contact: 

Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services

Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant

Pam Pack, Department Secretary 

 

 

Child Find

Contact: 

Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant

 

GATE

Contact: 

Debbie Estep, Teacher

 

Inclusion

Contact: 

Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services

 

Occupational/Physical Therapy

 

Jefferson County Schools speech and language personnel assess, identify, and plan programs for students with communication disabilities.  Our goal is to identify student needs, support student education, and facilitate student development throughout the years.

 

The speech pathologists of Jefferson County provide direct contact services for eligible students in individual, small group, and/or classroom settings.  Jefferson Countyís speech/language pathologists utilize the 3:1 Integrated Therapy Model providing direct services for three (3) weeks.  During the one (1) week of integrated therapy, the therapists will provide inclusion services to the children and consultative services to the classroom teachers regarding appropriate classroom modifications, instructional materials, and techniques/strategies designed to meet the unique communication needs of each eligible student.

 

The speech/language pathologist is responsible for identifying and serving students and assisting other educators in their efforts to improve learning.  Speech pathologists participate in RTI team meetings as needed.  Screening language, articulation, voice, fluency, and/or hearing as requested, they provide intervention strategies and services as indicated prior to completing comprehensive evaluations.  The SLPs participate in Individual Education Program (IEP) team meetings and assist the IEP team in determining eligibility for services and in designing an appropriate IEP.  They may serve as Case Manager when appropriate.  They prepare speech and language program services complimenting the general education curriculum and provide support for skills impacted by the studentís speech/language disability.

The speech/language pathologists review field tests and share information regarding new diagnostic tests, instructional materials and service delivery strategies.

 

Contacts

Vera Reneau, Dandridge

Becky Gray, Dandridge

Anne Wharton, Jefferson Elementary

Linda Henson, Jefferson Elementary and Jefferson Middle

Julie Pray, New Market and JCHS

Anna Woods, Piedmont

Candace Craig, Rush Strong

Nina Payne, Talbott and Maury

Vanessa Green, White Pine

Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant (whittakern@k12tn.net)

 

Contacts: 

                Linda Caldwell, Physical Therapist 

                Julie Ennis, Occupational Therapist

                Daphne Lakin, Preschool Occupational Therapist

                Diane Overhiser, Occupational Therapist

                Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant      

 

Preschool

Jefferson County Schools currently provides support services for preschool children with special needs at two sites-Jefferson Elementary and Dandridge Elementary.  Both sites provide a loving, learning environment with emphasis on language development. 

 An initial assessment identifies children appropriate for the classrooms.  Both classrooms provide occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech/language therapy as needed.  Our goal is to equip the children with the social and academic skills necessary to attend kindergarten.

Links to Preschool Websites

Hubbardscupboard.com  (lesson plans/unit ideas)

Abcteach.com (puzzles/center signs)

123teach.com (lesson plans/themes)

Dltk.com (games, crafts, bookmarks, etc.)

Childcareland.com (file folder games)

Firstschool.com (abc ideas/ arts and crafts)

 

Contact: 

              Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant

              Ann Harrell, Preschool Teacher

              Teresa Marcus, Preschool Teacher

 

Psychological Services

Our purpose in psychological services is to facilitate positive change and enhance learning and emotional well-being through assessment, data-driven decision-making, and collaboration with all stakeholders, enabling students to successfully transition into adulthood.  We believe in the unique potential of our students, families, and school communities and therefore hold ourselves to high ethical standards always acting in the best interest of the student.

 

Beliefs

As school assessment specialists we believe our role is to:

  1. Enhance learning opportunities of students through communication regarding strengths and needs
  2. Work collaboratively with all stakeholders to develop effective learning communities within a continuum of services through data-driven decision-making
  3. Review and assess the needs of the student that impact the educational experience, including motivation, cognitive skills, emotional state, cultural background, and family and health factors
  4. Analyze and interpret data for the purpose of assisting staff in developing effective academic programs and positive behavior interventions
  5. Foster positive and cooperative relationships between special education and general education
  6. Assist students to enhance their academic and social/emotional development
  7. Successfully transition students through their academic career and into adulthood

Contacts

Amanda Doty, School Psychologist

Emily Fuller, School Psychologist

Cindy Stelzman, School Psychologist

Denise Walker, ECS Consulting Teacher

Office (865-3974468)  Please leave a message if no answer

 

Informational Links

www.state.tn.us/education/speced/assessment.shtml

www.nasponline.org

www.interventioncentral.com

www.tasponline.org

www.wrightslaw.com

www.nichcy.org

www.jc-schools.net/RTI/

www.schoolpsychology.net

www.psychwatch.com/schoolpage.html

www.indiana.edu/~div16/index.html

 

Resource

Contact: 

Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services

 

Speech & Language

Jefferson County Schools speech and language personnel assess, identify, and plan programs for students with communication disabilities.  Our goal is to identify student needs, support student education, and facilitate student development throughout the years.

 The speech pathologists of Jefferson County provide direct contact services for eligible students in individual, small group, and/or classroom settings.  Jefferson Countyís speech/language pathologists utilize the 3:1 Integrated Therapy Model providing direct services for three (3) weeks.  During the one (1) week of integrated therapy, the therapists will provide inclusion services to the children and consultative services to the classroom teachers regarding appropriate classroom modifications, instructional materials, and techniques/strategies designed to meet the unique communication needs of each eligible student.

The speech/language pathologist is responsible for identifying and serving students and assisting other educators in their efforts to improve learning.  Speech pathologists participate in RTI team meetings as needed.  Screening language, articulation, voice, fluency, and/or hearing as requested, they provide intervention strategies and services as indicated prior to completing comprehensive evaluations.  The SLPs participate in Individual Education Program (IEP) team meetings and assist the IEP team in determining eligibility for services and in designing an appropriate IEP.  They may serve as Case Manager when appropriate.  They prepare speech and language program services complimenting the general education curriculum and provide support for skills impacted by the studentís speech/language disability.

The speech/language pathologists review field tests and share information regarding new diagnostic tests, instructional materials and service delivery strategies.

Contacts: 

                Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services

                Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant

                Pam Pack, Department Secretary

                Speech Pathologist at each school

 

Transition

Contacts: 

                Carrie Oakley, JCHS

                Sarah McCue, JCHS

 

Work Based Learning

Contacts: 

                Summer Moore, JCHS

                Carrie Oakley, JCHS

                Sarah McCue, JCHS

 

Vision/Hearing

Contacts: 

                Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services

                Nancy Whittaker, Administrative Assistant

                Pam Pack, Department Secretary

                Julie Moody, District Vision/Hearing Screener

 

Acronyms used in Special Education

 

Acronym

D

ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

AT

Assistive Technology

AYP

Adequate Yearly Progress

BIP

Behavior Intervention Plan

CEC

Council for Exceptional Children

EOC

End of Course high school tests

DD

Developmental Delay

EIS

Early Intervening Services

ED

Emotional Disturbance

EC

Early Childhood

ESL

English as a Second Language

ESY

Extended School Year

FAPE

Free Appropriate Public Education

FBA

Functional Behavior Assessment

FD

Functional Delay

FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

HI

Hearing Impairment

IDEA

Individuals with Disabilities Act

IEP

Individual Education Program

IFSP

Individualized Family Service Plan

ID

Intellectual Disability

IG

Intellectually Gifted

LEA

Local Education Agency (school district)

LRE

Least Restrictive Environment

MD

Multiple Disabilities

NCLB

No Child Left Behind

OCR

Office for Civil Rights

OHI

Other Health Impairment

OI

Orthopedic Impairment

OSEP

Office of Special Education Programs (USDOE)

OSERS

Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services

OT

Occupational Therapy

PT

Physical Therapy

PLOP

Present Levels of Performance

RTI

Response to Intervention

SEA

State Education Agency

SLD

Specific Learning Disability

STEP

Support & Training for Exceptional Parents

TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury

TCAP

TN Comprehensive Assessment Program

TSB

TN School for the Blind

TSD

TN School for the Deaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these links will leave our school district site. Links that leave our school district site are not under the control of the district, and the district is not responsible for the contents of any of these linked sites or any link contained in a linked site, or any changes or updates to such sites. The district is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the site by our district.

Tennessee Department of Special Education
US Department of Education

 

 


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