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Director's Message

8 months ago



Director picture

Dallas Myers


Welcome to the Fremont County School District #25 Special Services page. We are very happy that you chose to click on our link and find out more about Special Services here in FCSD #25. As is the goal of FCSD #25, Special Services staff is committed to meeting the unique Special Education needs of all FCSD #25 students. On this web page you will find a lot of information about Special Education. Below I have listed some important information for you to peruse before going on. If you have questions about your child's education or your rights, please call your principal, case manager or me at (307)856-5250.

The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) is your child's guarantee to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. IDEA is the law that governs special education services for students with disabilities. We take this law very seriously and follow it to insure your child gets the educational services they deserve.

IDEA has three major features: procedural safeguards, least restrictive environment and the IEP (Individual Educational Program). We have included on this website the "Notice of Procedural Safeguards of IDEA for parents of Children with Disabilities." Information on this website is designed to help you prepare for your child's IEP meeting with special and general education professionals who work with your child. A dictionary of some special education terms is included.

Together, we can make a difference, so here is to a great year. I cannot express enough how much we appreciate your support of our efforts to better educate your child. You are our partner in the educational process and we value your participation.

Special Services Department

8 months ago

Special Services Department

121 North 5th Street West
Riverton, Wyoming 82501
Phone:(307)856-5250
Fax:(307)857-2448

Our staff is committed to meeting the unique Special Education needs of all Fremont County School District #25 children. Please review the following checklist and let us know at your IEP meeting, or at any time, how we may be of assistance. Do not hesitate to ask about items that are not on the list.

We are happy to offer:

  • Ideas to help your child with school work
  • Information about community resources
  • Help with bus routes and times
  • Someone to talk to about your child
  • Help in understanding the effects of disabilities
  • Help in providing information regarding school programs & activities
  • Employment training opportunities for your child
  • Suggestions for managing your child's behavior at home

 

Special Services / Alt Program Staff

about 1 month ago

Dallas Myers

Director of Special Services / Alternative Administrator
dmyers@fremont25.org 

Denise May

Director's Administrative Assistant
dmay@fremont25.org 

Tiffany Forbis

School Psychologist
tforbis@fremont25.org 

Shana White

School Psychologist
swhite@fremont25.org 

Cheryl Coleman

BCBA
ccoleman@fremont25.org 

Cathy Fisher

At Risk Coordinator
CFisher@fremont25.org 

Valorie Ratliff

Hearing Technician/IEP Compliance Secretary
vratliff@fremont25.org 

Penny Novotny

Special Services Secretary
pnovotny@fremont25.org 

Petrina Murfitt

Case Manager Alternative School
pmurfitt@fremont25.org

Kamee Eller

Case Manager Riverton High School
keller@fremont25.org 

Brian Peil

Case Manager Rendezvous Elementary
bpeil@fremont25.org 

Sarah Hughes

Case Manager Jackson Elementary
shughes@fremont25.org 

Joyce Shimogaki

Case Manager Ashgrove Elementary
jshimogaki@fremont25.org 

Pat Horton

Case Manager Willow Creek Elementary
phorton@fremont25.org 

Pam Pince

Alternative Science Teacher
ppince@fremont25.org 

Phil Pierson

Alternative Math Teacher
ppierson@fremont25.org 

Nick Esposito

Alternative Language Arts Teacher
nesposito@fremont25.org 

Troy Anderson

Alternative Social Studies Teacher
tanderson@fremont25.org 

Beth Leonhardt

RMS 6th and 7th Grade
bleonhardt@fremont25.org 

Adair Aune

RHS 9th , RMS 8th and ACE
aaune@fremont25.org

Parental Rights

8 months ago

Parental Rights In Special Education

As a parent of a child who may receive special education, you have rights which are guaranteed by state and federal law.

We want you to be involved in decisions about your child's education. You will be invited and encouraged to attend meetings that identify, that evaluate or that place your child in special education.

Once your child qualifies for special education, the school will provide a free and appropriate public education, which we refer to as FAPE.


Prior Written Notice

Prior written notice means the school will notify you before testing your child and before making any major program changes. If we have a disagreement with you about a major issue, we will write to you explaining why and how we made that decision.

We are interested in what you have to say, including personal observations you have made of your child. Your input is invaluable when testing your child and when making decisions. You will be informed before your child is tested or receives Special Education. If your language is other than English, we will arrange to have an interpreter for you, if you need one.

Prior written notice also explains why your child needs testing and the process involved. If you do not understand any part of this notice, please ask for someone to explain it. Different professions use terms that are familiar to them but may be confusing to others. Please feel free to let us know if you need further explanation at any time. We want you to ask questions. We want you to be involved in the decisions concerning your child.


Informed Consent

Informed consent means that you have been fully informed of the reasons for the testing of your child. The reasons must be explained to you, in your native language, and your written permission is required to allow the testing of your child. Consent is voluntary and you may take back this permission at any time.

Before testing is requested by the school building intervention (BIT) team, your child's teacher will try different methods of classroom instruction. If your child continues to struggle in the classroom, the teacher will look for assistance from the BIT to try more ways to help your child learn. The testing process is the next step in helping your child, if he/she is still not doing well in school.

If the testing results show your child has a disability and needs Special Education, your written consent will be requested the first time your child starts receiving Special Education. Every three years, students are retested to see if they still qualify, and then the IEP (Individual Education Program) will be written to address your child's current needs.


Access to Records

You may look at your child's records without unnecessary delay. If you want to have someone else review the records, you must give your written consent. To guarantee your child's privacy, the school will keep track of anyone who looks at the records.

The school will answer any questions you may have about your child's records, a copy of records will be made available upon request. If you transfer your student to another school, records will be sent to the new school. If the information in the records is incorrect, then you may ask that it be removed.


Evaluation Procedures

If your child is having educational problems in school, we will look at every possible way to help. Testing will be done before your child is placed in a special education program. The tests will show your child's learning ability and level of classroom performance. The school will be looking at the whole picture (all tests, observations, your input, etc).

The school wants your child to be as comfortable as possible during the testing process. Tests will be given in your child's native language and will not discriminate culturally or racially.

Your child may be tested by several staff members. Each person doing the testing is a trained specialist in the test given. When the testing is completed, you will be invited to an IEP meeting, and a team member will explain the test results and recommendations. Decisions will not be based on one single procedure. Once again, please feel free to ask for an explanation at any time.

There are times when you may disagree with the school's testing results. You may ask to have more tests given by an agency other than the school. You must explain why you disagree. Before paying for this evaluation, the school may request a due process hearing to confirm that its evaluation is appropriate. If a hearing officer agrees the evaluation is appropriate, you would have to pay for the other evaluation, if you still want one.

The school district will provide you with the information needed to proceed with your own independent evaluation.


Least Restrictive Environment

The least restrictive environment means your child will be educated in the classes and school with children who do not have disabilities, as long as it's appropriate for your child. The child will be removed from the regular education classroom, only if extra help or assistance is needed. Your child's IEP (Individual Education Program) team will determine the best placement for his/her educational needs.


Voluntary Private School Placement By Parents

When the school is providing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), the school is not required to pay expenses if you choose to place your child in a private school.

If you place your child in a private school and you believe FAPE was not offered, or not being provided for your child, you may ask to be paid back for the cost of that enrollment through a due process hearing. Then, a hearing officer will determine whether or not you are entitled to a refund. If the school or if you disagree with a hearing officer decision, it can be appealed to district court.


Surrogate Parent

A surrogate (substitute) parent is not the legal parent. A surrogate makes decisions that will allow the child to receive an appropriate education.

A surrogate parent must be assigned when the parents of a child are unknown or if the child is a ward of the state. The surrogate parent protects the educational rights of the child and represents the child in all matters relating to FAPE.

A surrogate parent must not have any involvements that conflict with the interests of the child. The surrogate must have knowledge and skills that allow representation. The surrogate may not be an employee of the local school district or any other agency involved in the care or education of the child.


Dispute Resolution

Talk to the teacher first. Both you and the school share in the education of your child. If you have concerns about your child's education, you should contact your child's teacher and openly discuss your issues. As stated earlier, teachers value your personal observations and suggestions. We encourage you to become actively involved in your child's Individual Education Program (IEP).

At times, you may disagree with the school district's educational decisions. Every attempt should be made to talk this out as soon as differences come up. Talk to the teacher, to the principal, and to the Special Education Director. If your disagreements still are not resolved, you may ask for mediation or a due process hearing.


Resolution Session

Before the due process hearing, the resolution session involves a meeting with the parent and the school to try to get to the bottom of your concerns. The school will get in touch with you within 15 days of receiving your request. If you want, you may bring your attorney with you; if you do, the school will have its attorney attend. You and the school can waive this meeting and may agree to the mediation process instead.

If we get everything worked out during the resolution meeting, both parties will sign a legally binding agreement that is enforceable in court.

If your issues are not resolved within 30 days of receiving your request, the due process hearing may occur.


Mediation

Mediation occurs when an agreement can not be reached.

The difference between mediation and the resolution session is the mediator. The mediator is trained to see both sides of the disagreement but is not personally involved. A trained mediator works with both parties to guide everyone toward a solution that is in the best interest of the student's education. Mediation is voluntary, and you or the school may wish to have a due process hearing.


Due Process Hearing

If you've tried everything else and you feel your child is still not receiving FAPE, or you disagree with the identification, or the evaluation, or the educational placement, then the hearing would be the next step.

You may choose to say "no" to mediation or resolution and go right to hearing. An impartial hearing officer will be appointed by the state. This is a very formal, legal process. You're encouraged to bring your attorney, as you will present evidence and cross examine witnesses. You will be informed of any free or low-cost legal services.

To request a due process hearing, submit a written request to:

State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Wyoming Department of Education, Hathaway Building
2300 Capitol Avenue, Second Floor
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002-0050

The letter must include a clear description of the disagreement and a proposed solution to the problem. The letter must be signed and dated. Please call Mike Kouris, our Director of Special Education. He will give you a Due Process Request Form and help you with details if you wish.


Child Placement During Pendency of Due Process

Basically, this is a "stay put" situation. During the entire due process procedures, your child will remain where he/ she is unless you and the school agree otherwise.

If your child is not enrolled in school at the time of the hearing request, you have the right to have him/ her attend public school until a decision has been reached.

In the case of a dangerous behavior, your child will be put in a safe environment and a hearing will be conducted as quickly as possible.


What Does Civil Action Mean?

If you do not agree with the final decision in a due process hearing, you have the right to appeal. This means you want a court to reconsider your request. Your appeal must be filed within 60 calendar days after receiving written, certified notice of the hearing officer's decision.


Attorney Fees

You may be reimbursed for your attorney costs if the hearing officer rules on your side. Attorney fees may only be awarded by the court, so you would need to ask a court to award them.

Attorney fees may not be awarded after a written offer of settlement is given to you if the offer was more than ten days before the hearing begins or if the offer is not accepted within ten days.

You may receive attorney fees if you were justified in rejecting the settlement offer.


Filing A Formal Complaint

If you feel strongly that the school failed to follow the law in providing FAPE to students, you may file a formal complaint about the school. You must follow the procedure by sending a written and signed letter, explaining the violation of law and the facts of the bases of the violation, to the Wyoming Department of Education (same address listed under the Due Process Hearing).


Discipline: Interim Alternative Educational Setting

An interim setting means a temporary placement away from the school the child attends. If your child commits a serious offense where weapons, drugs, or bodily injury is involved, the school may want to change where your child is educated.

This may apply to disciplinary action that suspends your child out of school for 10 days or more. You will receive written notification, will be invited to an IEP meeting to discuss the suspension, and will decide whether or not the student's disability caused the behavior. You are a very important member of the IEP team.

If the school district did not conduct a behavior assessment and come up with a behavior plan prior to the discipline problem, the school will conduct an IEP meeting and decide on a plan. An appropriate behavior plan will be designed to help prevent the behavior from happening again. The IEP team determines the interim alternative educational placement for a child who has been expelled or suspended for more that ten school days in a school year, if appropriate.

The school will consider all circumstances, case-by-case, when determining whether to change the placement for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct.


Transfer Of Parental Rights At Age 18

When your child reaches age 18, the school district will provide any required notices to both you and your child. All other rights transfer to your child.

The school district will inform you and your child of the transfer at least one year before your child reaches age 18. If your child wants you to continue making decisions for his/ her for educational purposes, the child may grant that in writing. If you have guardianship of your adult child, you will continue making decisions without written permission.

 

IEP Process

8 months ago

Special Services IEP Process


  1. The parent, teacher, or someone else has an educational concern.
  2. The Building Intervention Team (BIT) is called together to review the concerns, brainstorm interventions and implement a plan of action which will be reviewed in approximately four weeks, revised and tried again.
  3. If interventions have not been successful, the BIT may reconvene and make a referral for evaluation to determine if a disability exists, or refer to other programs/services.
  4. The case manager will obtain input from parents and other IEP team members to develop a Multidisciplinary Evaluation Plan (the evaluations to be done).
  5. The team members will complete individual evaluations according to the MDA plan.
  6. The case manager will set the meeting at a time mutually agreed upon by parents and other team members.
  7. The principal or case manager will conduct the IEP meeting and the IEP is completed. The parent is a vital part of the IEP team.
    • Parental Safeguards (parent rights) will be reviewed, if you wish, and the purpose of the meeting stated.
    • The IEP team will review the student's performance, including evaluation needs of the student, and determine eligibility for educational services.
    • The IEP team will, if the student is eligible for special education, determine goals and objectives, special education and related services which would be designed to help the student benefit from special education. Special Education services would be provided in the "Least Restrictive Environment" (LRE) appropriate.
    • The IEP team will determine modifications and accommodations needed to help the student benefit from special education services.
    • The IEP team will plan transition services, beginning at age 16, or sooner if appropriate.
    • The case manager will obtain written parent consent for the first special education placement.
  8. Copies of the IEP including the goals and objectives will be given (usually mailed) to the parents.
  9. The IEP is implemented on the next school day unless otherwise noted. The IEP team will, on at least an annual basis, convene to review progress toward meeting goals and revise the IEP as necessary. A meeting may be requested earlier by any member of the IEP team, including the parent.

 

IEP Meeting

8 months ago

Special Services IEP Meeting


The IEP Team

Many people may be involved in your child's education. Some or all of them will be at your child's IEP meeting. The IEP Team will consist of you, a special education provider, a general education teacher, and an administrator or designee who will ensure that the District will provide appropriate special education services for your child. Specialists who may have evaluated your child may provide classroom and home recommendations.


Preparing For Your Child's IEP Meetings

Thorough preparation will enable you to participate knowledgeably in your child's IEP meeting. Here is a suggested "checklist" of things you may want to do before the meeting.

  • Talk With Your Child. Try to find out how your child feels about school, discuss his/ her likes and dislikes. Ask your child if there is an area - academic, behavioral, social, vocational - in which he/she would like to improve.
  • Visit your child's classroom. Make an appointment with your child's teacher, then, visit the class to observe how your child is progressing. Spend some time just sitting and watching.
  • Prepare to share what you know about your child. When it comes to your child, you are an expert, and we need your help. Perhaps you might write a short version of your child's life story, including a brief description of his/her relationship with family members and friends, health history, behavior at home, hobbies and interests, the "rewards" which motivate your child, and progress you've seen your child make. Include a short list of tasks your child does well and those he/she finds interesting.
  • Make a list of questions. It is easy to forget a question or concern during the "give and take" of an IEP meeting, so we suggest you write down every question you want to ask about your child and his/her educational program. Bring your list of questions to the meeting and we'll make sure you receive the answers.
  • Be prepared to discuss your expectations for your child. Knowing what you want for your child may be the most important preparation you make. What do you think will benefit your child? What kind of progress would you like him/her to make during the year? What about the future - what are your child's prevocational needs? What do you think should be included in your child's program? Seek advice of people who know your child and talk to other parents of children in Special Education. Remember - your thoughts about your child's education are valuable. You are an expert on your child, and that makes you an important member of the education team.

During The Meeting

Do not forget your notes which may include questions, suggestions, ideas, regarding your child. What you have to say will help us design a program to meet those needs.


After The Meeting

Review your notes of the IEP meeting. Be sure you understand your role in your child's education and what the school plans to do. Discuss the meeting with your spouse and/or child if they were not present.

  • Volunteer to help out in your child's school. As a volunteer, you may observe teaching methods you could use at home.
  • Plan home activities which reinforce what you child is learning at school.
  • Attend all parent/teacher conferences and annual reviews for your child. Keep the lines of communication open by sharing information about your child and by working with us to find ways to help your child.

 

Dictionary

8 months ago

Special Services Dictionary


Building Intervention Team (BIT)

A team usually consisting of the building principal, the student's teacher, and other professionals. Its purpose is to review screening information on students who may be experiencing difficulty in school. The team may recommend interventions, monitor the implementation and progress of interventions and refer the student for a multidisciplinary evaluation, if necessary.


Goals and Objectives

The IEP team develops goals and objectives to help the student benefit from education. The goals and objectives are designed individually for each student and are inked to state standards for all students. Special education teachers report progress toward meeting your child's goals several times per year.


Individual Education Program (IEP)

A written plan that includes educational goals for the student and describes the special education program which will be provided to reach those goals. Parents are active participants in the meeting in which the IEP is written. You will receive a copy of the IEP after the meeting.


IEP Annual Review

A yearly meeting of the team including you and other professionals serving your child. This is held to review your child's progress during the past year and plan for the year ahead. You may, however, call an IEP meeting at any time; you do not have to wait until the annual review to meet if you have concerns or wish to review the IEP.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

LRE refers to a 'free and appropriate public education' in an educational setting with age-appropriate non-disabled peers. Special classes and separate schools are considered only when the severity or complexity of a child's disability prevents them from making progress in a general education class.


Multidisciplinary Evaluation

An evaluation of the referred student's educational needs, designed to determine whether the student qualifies for special education services. A multidisciplinary evaluation must focus on the suspected disability as indicated by the referral and can only be conducted with written parent consent. The exact nature of the evaluation depends upon the complexity of the student's educational difficulties and areas of suspected disabilities. The evaluation process must be repeated every three years if the student qualifies for special education services.


Referral

Students may be referred for a multidisciplinary evaluation in areas of suspected disabilities by the BIT.