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/District Departments / Special Education

Special Education

Before evaluating children for possible special education services, the Ball-Chatham School District first reviews the instruction, curriculum, and environment plus implements and monitors student response to various scientifically, research-based interventions with increasing time and intensity.

This systematic and on-going evaluation of student progress toward standards-aligned benchmarks is done with quick and authentic assessments (Universal Screening Tools). Progress monitoring provides immediate results that guide intervention design and occur before a student’s failure within the general education classroom.

The possible special education needs of students are evaluated only after such efforts have been documented and the team believes that the needs of the student exceed the capacity of general education.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA, 2004) requires a “free, appropriate public education” for all students with disabilities. The law mandates that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) be developed for each student with disabilities to ensure that his/her education and related services are appropriate in degree and amount and directly related to his/her educational needs. The law further requires that the IEP be developed in a group meeting of parents and school personnel and that planning for the student’s education is based on his/her present level of educational and functional performance.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is both a product and an ongoing process; it is the bridge between student assessment and intervention. It is meant to be a management tool, a compliance document, and a communication vehicle. Both the law and the rules and regulations for implementation emphasize the process of developing the IEP more than the product itself.

Aside from the legal mandate, the IEP is important for a number of other reasons. An Individualized Education Program. . .

  • Provides accountability

  • Provides an accurate description of the student

  • Is a tool for guiding instruction

  • Facilitates teacher, parent, and student communication

  • Makes teacher preparation more directed

  • Helps focus learning activities

  • Is a tool for making regular progress reports to parents


The process of developing the Individualized Education Program includes all of the steps from the screening of a student through placement and review of the placement.

Learning is a priority for all students and with teamwork, students will demonstrate success.

Director of Special Education

Kristy Wheeler

P: 217.483.2416| F: 217.483.2940 | E:

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