Special Services

Special Education

Federal and state law requires all schools to provide a free, appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities. The free, appropriate public education refers to special education and related services described in an Individualized Education Program and provided to the child in the least restrictive environment. Children with disabilities, and their parents, are guaranteed certain educational rights, known as procedural safeguards, from birth to age 22. The law and its implementing regulations also provide methods to help you assure your input is considered. If your child is having difficulty in school, please check with the teacher to determine what interventions have been implemented to help your child succeed. If the interventions are unsuccessful, a referral for a special education evaluation may be necessary. If special education disabilities are suspected, we are required to evaluate your child to identify and document whether your child has a disability that affects his or her learning and, if so, to determine what special education and related services are required. This evaluation will be conducted according to federal and state guidelines and only after the plan is shared with you. If your child qualifies for special education services, you will be a part of the team that will develop your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). 

Special Education Records

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that protects the rights of students with disabilities. In addition to standard school records, for children with disabilities education records could include evaluation and testing materials, medical and health information, Individualized Education Programs and related notices and consents, progress reports, materials related to disciplinary actions, and mediation agreements. Such information is gathered from a number of sources, including the student's parents and staff of the school of attendance. Also, with parental permission, information may be gathered from additional pertinent sources, such as doctors and other health care providers. This information is collected to assure the child is identified, evaluated, and provided a Free Appropriate Public Education in accordance with state and federal special education laws. Each agency participating under Part B of IDEA must assure that at all stages of gathering, storing, retaining and disclosing education records to third parties that it complies with the federal confidentiality laws. In addition, the destruction of any education records of a child with a disability must be in accordance with IDEA regulatory requirements.

45 Day Screenings 

Screening shall be completed within 45 calendar days after entry for newly enrolled school-aged children. The screening identifies any concerns with a child’s academic achievement or development. Parents are notified if any concerns are noted.

504 Plans 

A 504 Plan helps a child with special health care needs to fully participate in school. Usually, a 504 Plan is used by a general education student who is not eligible for special education services. A 504 Plan lists accommodations related to the child’s disability and required by the child so that he or she may participate in the general facilities, classroom setting, extracurricular activities, and educational programs. Each school entity has a 504 coordinator listed in the school supplement to support students and families.


It is the policy of SchoolsPLP not to discriminate on the basis of disability. SchoolsPLP has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations implementing the Act. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The Law and Regulations may be examined in the office of Danielle Paulson, Director of Special Education. She has been designated to coordinate the efforts of SchoolsPLP to comply with Section 504. Any person who believes she or he has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability may file a grievance under this procedure. It is against the law for SchoolsPLP to retaliate against anyone who files a grievance or cooperates in the investigation of a grievance.


  • Grievances must be submitted to the Section 504 Coordinator within 30 days of the date the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory action.
  • A complaint must be in writing, containing the name and address of the person filing it. The complaint must state the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or relief sought.
  • The Section 504 Coordinator (or her/his designee) shall conduct an investigation of the complaint. This investigation may be informal, but it must be thorough, affording all interested persons an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint. The Section 504 Coordinator will maintain the files and records of SchoolsPLP relating to such grievances.
  • The Section 504 Coordinator will issue a written decision on the grievance no later than 30 days after its filing.
  • The person filing the grievance may appeal the decision of the Section 504 Coordinator by writing to the Site Coordinator of SchoolsPLP within 15 days of receiving the Section 504 Coordinator’s decision. The Site Coordinator shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 days after its filing.
  • The availability and use of this grievance procedure does not prevent a person from filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of disability with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. SchoolsPLP will make appropriate arrangements to ensure that disabled persons are provided other accommodations, if needed, to participate in this grievance process. Such arrangements may include, but are not limited to, providing interpreters for the deaf, providing taped cassettes of material for the blind, or assuring a barrier-free location for the proceedings. The Section 504 Coordinator will be responsible for such arrangements.

Educational Records 

Student Records:

Parents/guardians have access to their children’s school records. School employees observe confidentiality of student records and recognize that only important, factual information should be in permanent records. FERPA regulations broadly define a “record” as “information recorded in any way, including but not limited to, handwriting, print, computer, media, video or audio tape, film, microfilm and microfiche.” The term “educational record” is defined as “those records, files, documents, and other materials which…contain information directly related to a student; …and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by person acting for such agency or institution.” 

Annual Notification of Confidentiality Rights Regarding Education Records of Students and Their Parents: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students." Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.

Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information. 

Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31): 

  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable 29 amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

FERPA for Non-Custodial Parents 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) sets out requirements designed to protect the privacy of parents and students. In brief, the law requires a school district to: 1) provide a parent access to the records that are directly related to the student; 2) provide a parent an opportunity to seek correction of the record he or she believes to be inaccurate or misleading; and 3) with some exceptions, obtain the written permission of a parent before disclosing information contained in the student's education record. 

The definition of parent is found in the FERPA implementing regulation under 34 CFR 99.3. 

"Parent" means a parent of a student and includes a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian. 

Section 99.4 gives an example of the rights of parents. 

An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent, unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody, that specifically revokes these rights. 

This means that, in the case of divorce or separation, a school district must provide access to both natural parents, custodial and non-custodial, unless there is a legally binding document that specifically removes that parent's FERPA rights. In this context, a legally binding document is a court order or other legal paper that prohibits access to education record, or removes the parent's rights to have knowledge about his or her child's education. 

Custody or other residential arrangements for a child do not, by themselves, affect the FERPA rights of the child's parents. One can best understand the FERPA position on parents' rights by separating the concept of custody from the concept of rights that FERPA gives parents. Custody, as a legal concept, establishes where a child will live, and often, the duties of the person(s) with whom the child lives. The FERPA, on the other hand, simply establishes the parents' right of access to and control of education record related to the child.