Special Education Information


What is Special Education?

Special Education is specially designed instruction to meet the individual needs of eligible exceptional students guaranteed under the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), public law 105-17, WV code chapter 18, article 20, section 5, and WV Policy 2419 - Education for Exceptional Students.  These laws mandate that all children with special needs are entitled to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

Special Education Cycle

There is a step-by-step process that the county school system follows in planning and providing special education programs and services for every child with special needs.  Parents should be involved in every step of the special education cycle.

Referral Cycle Picture

When a parent or school personnel feels that a child is not making progress in school, the information is provided in writing to the student assistance team (SAT).  This team is made up of principal/designee teachers, specialists, and therapists.  The team determines the interventions, modifications, and/or accommodations that the child needs to make progress in the curriculum. Data is collected and reserved during this process.  When necessary, the SAT team refers the student for screening or a multi-disciplinary evaluation.

A multidisciplinary evaluation is a series of procedures used to determine a child's abilities.  Conducted by a team of trained teachers and specialists, the evaluation determines the child's strengths, weaknesses, and educational needs.

In order for a child to receive special education services, the child must first qualify according to specific guidelines.  At the eligibility meeting, a decision is made as to whether a child meets the program requirements to receive special education services.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Every child in special education must have an IEP.  The IEP is a written plan, developed by an IEP committee, describing the specially designed program needed to meet the needs of the individual child.

The IEP committee makes the placement decision, identifying the appropriate options for providing the specialized instruction and related services in the least restrictive environment.

Implementation of the IEP
After the IEP is written and a placement decision is made, the instructional process begins.  Parents and school personnel must work together to make the IEP and placement work for the child.

Annual Review
At least once per year, a formal review is conducted.  This review is an ongoing process to determine whether changes are needed in your child's program.  Every three years, the IEP team meets to determine if a special student continues to be eligible for special education services.

Related Services are support services require to assist a child to benefit from special education.  Services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Audiology
  • Counseling
  • Occupational therapy
  • Orientation and mobility services
  • Parent counseling/training
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • Recreation therapy
  • Rehabilitation counseling
  • School health services
  • Social work services
  • Special transportation
  • Speech/language therapy


Academic and social integration is the interaction of students with special needs with their non-disabled peers in the same classroom or setting.  This reinforces the concept of 'least restrictive environment' and develops relationships among all students.

Least restrictive environment (LRE) is the educational placement that meets the unique learning and behavioral needs of a student while providing integration to the maximum extent possible.  Types of placement (from least to most restrictive environment) include the following:

  • Regular education program:  full-time with modification
  • Regular education program:  part-time with resource services or special class services
  • Special education program:  special class
  • Special education program:  out-of-school environment
  • Special education program:  residential facility

Transition services are a coordinated set of activities that promote movement from school to adult life.  Transition from school to adult life focuses on career preparation and life skills.  A successful transition is dependent upon the cooperation and shared responsibilities of all individuals involved.

Other important information
WV Department of Education Office of Special Programs and Hancock County Schools Special Education Department offer brochures on the following subjects:

  • The Mediation Process for Special Education
  • The Compliant Process for Special Education
  • Early Resolution for Complaint Investigations
  • Special Education Due Process Hearings
  • Procedural Safeguards
  • Rights and Responsibilities:  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Americans with Disabilities Act
  • IEP Parent Reference Guide