About Special Education
Special Education is a specifically designed service to meet individual needs of children with disabilities. It is the belief of Habersham County School System that all students with disabilities have the right to be educated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate and to receive a high quality education. Through engaging work each student is allowed and encouraged to reach his/her maximum potential. The Special Education program is designed to meet the specific needs and prepare them for employment and independent living of students with disabilities aged 3 through 21.
It is the belief that students with disabilities shall be provided with real and valid opportunities to learn through the use of specialized research-based instruction, supportive services, supplemental aids and supports, including ongoing training for teachers, in order to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn and demonstrate what they know. If you suspect that your child may have a disability, please contact the Habersham County Schools Special Education Department.
The Special Education Department currently serves over 1100 students with 90 Teachers, 92 Paraprofessionals, 4 School Psychologists, 1 Diagnostician, 12 Speech Language Pathologists, 1 1/2 Physical Therapists, 1 Occupational Therapist, and 3 Interpreters of Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
Habersham County participates in Georgia's Continuous Improvement Monitoring Process (GCIMP), targeting performance goals for Students with Disabilities. Data is collected and analyzed throughout the year to measure progress towards meeting Georgia's Performance goals. A stakeholder committee, comprised of educators, parents, and community leaders utilizes the data to determine system strengths and weaknesses. Using this data, the local stakeholder committee develops or revises their Improvement Plan.
Habersham Schools' Special Education Department participates with other counties in the regional area in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) initiative, promoted through Georgia State University. This initiative focuses on educating all students within the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent possible while incorporating a wide variety of support and training for all staff.
Special Education Services:
Special education is service not a place, evaluation is a process not a test.
Board Rule 160-4-7-.04-6 EVALUATIONS AND REEVALUATIONS states that the following items are additional requirements in the evaluation process:
(5) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS. (when consent is required)
(a) Review of existing evaluation data. As part of an initial evaluation (if appropriate) and as part of any re-evaluation, the parent and other qualified professionals, as appropriate, must review existing evaluation data on the child, including:
1. Evaluations and information provided by the parents of the child;
2. Current classroom-based, local, or State assessments and classroom-based observations; and
3. Observations by teachers and related services providers. [34 C.F.R. §300.305(a)(1)(i) – (iii)]
(b) On the basis of that review and input from the child's parents, identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine:
1. Whether the child is a child with a disability and the educational needs of the child, or in case of a reevaluation of a child, whether the child continues to have such a disability and the educational needs of the child; [34 C.F.R. § 300.305(a)(2)(i)(A) –(B)]