A Letter from the Director
I would first like to say welcome to Toledo Public Schools. We are honored that you have chosen us to educate your child. We are committed to serving all students, including students with disabilities. It is the goal of the district to provide an appropriate education to all students, allowing them to have access to the general education curriculum. It is also the goal of the district to be compliant in every aspect of local, state and federal law. Programs are provided to support students with learning disabilities, emotionally disturbed, multiple handicapped, and hearing and visually impaired, developmentally handicapped, other health impaired, autistic, traumatic brain injured, and speech and language impairment.
Toledo Public Schools offers a continuum of services beginning at the pre-school level and culminating with graduation. Toledo Public Schools believes that special education is a service, rather than a place. Through commitment and dedication, the district has moved from a district of seclusion, to a district with a full continuum of services.
Prior to evaluating a student for special education services, the district has developed Intervention Response Teams in each building to observe and provide interventions to students. These teams are made up of classroom teachers, administrators and parents. The student’s teacher brings data to the team concerning academic and/or behaviour issues. The team then suggests interventions and supports. If the team feels that the student needs more than what can be provided through interventions, the next step is an evaluation.
Inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classes has become a priority, as the district realizes that regular education settings provide students with disabilities stimulation and modelling for learning, as well as opportunities to learn positive social and vocational skills and build self-esteem. Staff is provided to support both the general education teacher and the student with disabilities.
Karla Spangler; Director of Student Services
Is Your Child Struggling in School? Are You Worried He or She Might Have A Disability?
Has Your Child Been Diagnosed with ADHD, Learning Disability, Mental Health Condition, or Anything Else that is Impacting School Performance? Your Child May be Entitled to Either an IEP or a 504 Plan under federal law to provide supports in school.
- Every school has an intervention response team to help determine what your child may need to be more successful. You may refer your child at any time by contacting the school psychologist about your concerns. The team will try interventions to see if they help your child improve or if further supports are needed. Intervention teams meet monthly, and parent input is important.
- You may also request that your child be evaluated for special education (an IEP) at any time during the intervention process by providing a written signed request. The school team must then either evaluate your child within 60 days or provide you with written notice as to why they feel it is not necessary within 30 days.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Student Services at 419-671-8413.
TPS and Child Find-Services and Supports for Students with Disabilities
Toledo Public Schools believes that all students deserve access to a high quality public education. TPS has a number of programs in place to support students who need additional assistance and supports in order to excel in school.
Intervention Response Team assistance
Intervention Response Teams (IRTs) are school-based problem solving groups designed to assist teachers and families when students are struggling in school. IRTs are multi-disciplinary teams which provide strategies and resources for dealing with student learning needs including instructional and behavioral problems. Each school has an IRT available. Parents and teachers can request IRT assistance by completing a “Request for Assistance” form which is available in the school office. The completed form should be returned to the school principal who will submit the form to the IRT for consideration. IRT assistance can include additional instructional assistance, interventions to address academic needs and behavioral needs, and resource sharing with teachers and parents.
Many students struggling in school will benefit from these additional supports and interventions and will not need 504 plan assistance or special education services.
However, parents or school personnel who suspect that a child has a disability and is eligible for special education services or a 504 plan, may request an evaluation for special education or 504 plan services at any time. A school district may not use interventions to delay a special education evaluation. If interventions have not been implemented prior to the referral for a special education evaluation, appropriate interventions should be implemented during the 60 day time frame in which the school district conducts a full multi-factored evaluation.
Parents who believe that their child has a disability that negatively affects his or her education and want the child to be evaluated for eligibility for special education services, can submit a letter to the building principal, and/or The Office of Student Services requesting a special education evaluation for the child and stating the reasons why they believe that an evaluation is necessary.
Special Education Services
Child Find/Referrals for Special Education Services
In accordance with federal and state law, TPS is responsible for identifying, locating and evaluating all children age 3-21 residing within its district who may be in need of special education and related services. This obligation is called Child Find. Child Find is required by the federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and by the state law called the Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies serving Children with Disabilities.
Teachers, administrators, counselors and other school staff who “suspect” that a child might have a disability may refer the student for a special education evaluation, also called a multi-factored evaluation (MFE). A parent or community provider may also refer a child for a special education evaluation. Reasons to suspect a disability could include:
- student has been held back or assigned to a grade level one or more times.
- student has failed the same subject for multiple years or has failed many subjects repeatedly.
- student has been disciplined multiple times per month for many months.
- student has been removed from school for behaviors or disciplinary reasons more than ten days in a school year.
- student has a diagnosis of a medical or mental health condition that may impact learning and the student’s education appears to be impacted.
Special Education Evaluation Process
Before a child can receive special education or related services, an evaluation called a multi-factored evaluation or “MFE” must be completed. The completed initial evaluation or MFE is called an Evaluation Team Report or ETR. An evaluation can only be done with a parent’s consent. Before starting the evaluation, the school staff should meet with the parent to talk about the different types of tests, observations and record reviews that should be completed and seek the parent’s suggestions about what additional information or testing may be needed. The evaluation can consist of academic and achievement testing, observations from teachers, therapists and school psychologists, occupational therapy evaluations, physical therapy evaluations, or speech evaluations, information from parents and other medical and mental health providers. Each evaluation should be individualized to the child so that issues of concern can be addressed. Within 60 days of obtaining consent to complete the initial special education evaluation, the ETR should be completed. The ETR is completed at an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting. The team must consist of the school psychologist, parent, special education teacher, regular education teacher, district representative, any specialists who conducted evaluations or assessments, and other community providers and advocates invited to participate by the parent. The IEP team determines whether a child has an educational disability and whether a child is eligible for special education services.
If a parent disagrees with the school’s opinion about whether the child has a disability or about which disability category is most appropriate, the parent can sign a statement of disagreement at the end of the ETR and/or request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense.
Parents may also utilize a variety of dispute resolution options provided for under state and federal law. For more information on these dispute resolution options, see Whose IDEA is This?
If the child is identified as a student eligible for special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be in place within 30 days of the ETR meeting. This IEP document must be developed by the IEP team and must outline all services and supports that are needed by the child.
When a school staff person refers a child for a special education evaluation, the initial evaluation must be completed within 90 days of the referral.
If a parent requests a special education evaluation in writing, the school district must respond to the request within 30 days. The district can either obtain a parent’s consent to start the evaluation or provide the parent with written notice refusing to do the evaluation and explaining the reasons that the district does not suspect that the child has a disability.
Once parental consent has been obtained, the ETR must be completed within 60 days regardless of who made the referral.Once the ETR is completed, if the child is found eligible for special education services, an IEP must be in place within 30 days.