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Special Education
Special Education is specialized instruction provided for children who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by the state and federal government. A student may qualify for special education services as individuals with special needs in one of thirteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004).
 
For more information about Special Education, visit the California Department of Education web site.
 

Eligibility

Based on Education Code § 56303, “A pupil shall be referred for special educational instruction and services only after the resources of the regular education program have been considered, and where appropriate, utilized.” If a student continues to exhibit learning difficulties, each school site conducts a Student Study Team meeting that reviews all potential referrals to special education. An Individual Educational Program (IEP) team composed of assessment team members, other school staff, and the parents review assessment results to determine eligibility for special education services.
 

Parents' Rights

Parents of children with disabilities from ages three through twenty-one have specific educational rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These rights are called procedural safeguards. Individuals serving as surrogate parents and students aged eighteen receiving special education services, are also entitled to these rights.
 
A number of staff in the child’s district and special education local plan area (SELPA) may answer questions about the child’s education and the parents' rights and responsibilities. When the parent has a concern, it is important that they contact their child’s teachers or administrators to talk about their child and any problems they see. This conversation often solves the problem and helps maintain open communication.
 
Parents must be given opportunities to participate in any decision-making meeting regarding their child’s special education program. Parents have the right to participate in individualized education program (IEP) meetings about the special education eligibility, assessment, educational placement of their child and other matters relating to their child’s education.
 

Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)

Gateway Community Charters is overseen by the El Dorado County Charter SELPA, the first statewide charter-only SELPA. The Charter SELPA is a cooperative model designed to ensure special education programs are available for all students with disabilities.
 
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