Special Education / Special Services

MCPS Parent Guide to Special Education 

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Programs at Seneca Valley

SVHS Special Education At-A-Glance 

The Special Education/Special Services department at Seneca Valley is located on the first floor in the north wing (turn left after entering building).  We provide three different programs to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and other handicaps:  Learning and Academic Disabilities (LAD), Learning for Independence (LFI), and School/Community Based (SCB)

Learning and Academic Disabilities (LAD) - serves students who require special services primarily as a result of a learning disability which significantly impacts academic achievement. LAD students participate in the Inclusion program, which means they take classes with regular education students in the same classroom.  Inclusion classes are team taught, which means students have a specially trained team of either two teachers, the "teacher-teacher model," or a teacher and an SEIA (Special Education Instructional Assistant), the "teacher-assistant model." 

Learning for Independence (LFI) - emphasizes individualized student learning in school and community sites. These classes serve students with mild to moderate mental retardation and/or multiple disabilities. These students learn functional life skills and basic academics in the context of general school environments and in community settings. The students are often included in general education learning environments with adapted curriculum. 

School/Community Based (SCB) - serves students with mild/moderate to severe and profound handicaps.  The program emphasizes individualized instruction in regular schools and real community and work environments. The school/community-based program model includes the following components: (a) Age-Appropriate Classes; (b) Heterogeneous Groupings; (c) Planned Peer Interactions; (d) Individualized Instruction; (e) Transition. 

Special Education Bus Services - MCPS's booklet, Special Education Transportation Questions, supplements the "What Students and Parents Need to Know About Riding the School Bus" for those involved in the MCPS special education program.  It provides information that is requested most often.  For specific questions not included in this document, parents are urged to contact either the special education office (301-279-3135) or the special education transportation unit (301-670-2283). 

Best Buddies is a volunteer based program designed to improve the school environment by promoting friendships between students with developmental disabilities (buddies) and students without disabilities (peer buddies).  

Post Secondary Opportunities

There are many post secondary opportunities available to students in the LAD and LFI programs at Montgomery College which offer a smooth transition from high school to college.

Montgomery College - College Access Program (CAP)
Montgomery College - Disability Support Services
Montgomery College - Gateway to College
Montgomery College - Concurrent Enrollment-College Institute 
Montgomery College - Academic & Workplace Preparedness  (Information about the Challenge Program, Pathways to Success, Graduate Transition Program, and Continuing Education Placement Options)

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Vocabulary 

504 Plan:
An individualized plan developed for a student with a disability that specifies what accommodations they will get in school to "level the playing field" so that they may derive as much benefit from their public educational program as their nondisabled peers. The plan follows from the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and also applies to extracurricular activities and non-student situations such as employment. Section 504 applies to all public entities receiving federal monies or federal financial assistance.

Admissions, Review, & Dismissal (ARD):
The process by which decisions on placement, promotion, acceleration, and retention are made for students.

Case Manager:
Case Managers at Seneca Valley are typically a special education teachers who are assigned a number of special education students for which they provide the following services:

  • Inform teachers of accommodations and modifications in the IEP 
  • Monitor student progress through online grading  
  • Record quarterly progress toward IEP goals, attached to the report card  
  • Attend annual review meetings 
  • Work with related service personnel to develop appropriate IEP goals for the following year  
  • Collaborate with the Resource Teacher 
  • Work with guidance counselors to set appropriate class schedules 
  • Complete assessments needed, includng the Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) 
  • Coordinate testing by psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, etc.  
  • Maintain paperwork mandated by federal, state and county law, including medical assistance forms  
  • Maintain frequent contact with parents to discuss progress, problems, etc. 

Educational Management Team (EMT):
The Educational Management Team (EMT) is a group of qualified individuals, including a student’s parents, that meets to discuss concerns and provide information regarding individual student academic needs.  A teacher or parent may request that a student be evaluated by the EMT.  Both types of referrals must be in writing. Parents with concerns should discuss them with their child’s teacher.  If you desire a meeting with the EMT, please write your request, date and sign it. The EMT is a facilitative group process. Under IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, there is a timeline for the referral process. You are entitled to an EMT meeting within 30 days of your request.  As the one who knows your child best, you are also strongly encouraged to attend any EMT meetings that either you or your child’s teacher request. Copies of notes from the meetings will be provided.  

Extended School Year (ESY):
MCPS provides extended school year (ESY) services to eligible students receiving special education services. These services are part of a free, appropriate public education and usually are provided in the summer. More information.

Individual Education Plan
(IEP):
Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for that student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.  For more information, click here.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE):
The LRE is the educational setting where a student with a disability can receive a FAPE (Free and Appropriate Education) designed to meet the student's unique needs, while being educated with peers without disabilities in the general educational environment, to the maximum extent appropriate. The LRE mandate of the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) requires students with disabilities to receive their education in general education settings to the maximum extent appropriate. If such a setting is not appropriate, the student is to receive his or her education in a setting with the least amount of segregation from the student's nondisabled peers, as possible.

Each public agency shall ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities, including students in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with students who are not disabled. Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of students with disabilities from general educational settings occur only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in general education settings, with the use of supplementary aids and services, cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

In short, the LRE relates to the settings WHERE a student with a disability receives special education services, and how much TIME is spent in those settings, NOT WHAT SERVICES a student is to receive. The determinations of whether placement is more or less restrictive is based on how often a student is able to receive access to, and instruction in the general curriculum and have meaningful interaction with his or her nondisabled peers. Thus, the more a student with a disability receives his or her specialized instruction in general education settings with nondisabled peers, the less restrictive the placement. Conversely, the more time a student with a disability is segregated from his or her nondisabled peers in general education settings, the more restrictive the placement.

The placement where the student receives services is to be as close as possible to the student's home. Unless the student's IEP requires another arrangement, the student is to be educated in the school the student would attend if not disabled. A student with a disability is not to be removed from age-appropriate general education classes solely because modifications are needed in the general curriculum. A student may receive instruction and participate in many settings throughout the day.

RTSE (pronounced "Ritzy"):
Resource Teacher, Special Education (Department Head)

Transition Specialist:
Assists to facilitate a smooth transition from school to post-secondary activities including but not limited to, post secondary education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

Transition Support Teacher (TST):
The transition support teacher participates in assessment, instruction, and consultation related to developing and coordinating transition activities for students who receive special education services. To ensure a successful transition of students from school to adult living the TST collaborates with others to develop and implement an effective instructional program, strengthen productive partnerships, and make linkages in the community.

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Resources

MCPS Special Education Information & Resources  
Frequently Requested Telephone Numbers 

Videos

To view or borrow any of the videos (below), please contact the SVHS Media Center at 301-353-8009.

The Motivation Breakthrough…Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child
What does it take to motivate the ‘forgotten’ student that traditional methods just don’t seem to reach?  Educator Richard Lavoie draws on decades of teaching experience to demonstrate six basic motivational styles and strategies for inspiring the most withdrawn and reluctant student in his newest video. (2007, approx. 90 minutes) 

Beyond FAT City: A Look Back, A Look Ahead
For those of you who have seen the most popular of Richard Lavoie's videos, The F.A.T City Workshop How Difficult Can This Be?, here's a great follow-up video.   F.A.T.-- Frustration, Anxiety, Tension -- three all-too-familiar feelings for the families of children with learning disabilities and the basis for a 1987 workshop simulating the children's daily experiences.  Richard Lavoie, creator of the original internationally acclaimed FAT City workshop, reviews the history and philosophy of the project, the major trends and issues in the field of learning disabilities since 1987, and the challenges ahead for parents and educators.  Includes a roundtable discussion with audience members.  To view this particular video, please contact Brenda Martin or Melissa Blount. (2004, approx. 90 minutes) 

When the Chips are Down
Learning Disabilities and Discipline
This informative and inspirational video presents strategies for minimizing out of control situations and resolving behavioral conflicts quickly and effectively.  Richard Lavoie's powerful, preventive discipline strategies create a predictable, safe environment for the learning disabled children to flourish in.  Both parents and teachers will benefit from this bold, proven-effective approach to improving the behavior of special needs children.  (1997, approx. 60 minutes) 

Last One Picked, First One Picked On
Learning Disabilities and Social Skills
For children with learning disabilities, simply playing with friends all too often leads to an unhappy, tearful, or embarrassing event.  Renowned expert Richard Lavoie shows parents and teachers how to help learning disabled children meet everyday challenges.  He presents authoritative guidance on social skills development, dos and don'ts for fostering social competence, and parents' and teachers' roles in building a child's social skills.  (1994, approx. 60 minutes) 

How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop
A Learning Disabilities Workshop
Millions of children are receiving special education services for learning disabilities every year.  View their world as they face Frustration, Anxiety and Tension in the classroom.  See how parents, educators and psychologists can work more effectively to overcome the pain these children experience.  Widely used in training special education teachers, this video workshop is excellent for professional development and concerned parents.  (1989, approx. 75 minutes) 

Diagnosis Related Links 

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Forms

IEP Parent Report 
Physical Disabilities Program - Motor Characteristics Checklist
Section 504 Plan
Section 504 Testing Accommodations 

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