Skip to main content

What to Expect: Special Education Programs

What to Expect: Special Education Programs

The Office of Special Education will continue the implementation of Early Interventions and Special Education Services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), and MSDE guidance.

Early intervention and special education services will be provided to students from birth to age 21. For students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), specially designed instruction and related services will be delivered according to what is documented in the student’s IEP. The district has developed processes to meet the special education mandates of federal and state law. These mandates include timelines and documentation associated with assessments, IEP team meetings and the delivery of specially designed instruction and related services. All students will receive the full implementation of services as outlined in their IEP or Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP). IEP teams will follow all legal procedures to implement services and/or convene required IFSP/IEP meetings if changes to these documents are necessary after a data review. 

Instructional and/or assistive technologies required for students with disabilities will be provided. Professional learning and job-embedded coaching opportunities will be provided for general education, special education and English Language Development (ELD) teachers, paraeducators, related service providers, and administrators. These opportunities will address specially designed instruction, Tier III evidence-based reading, writing, and mathematics interventions, behavioral and social emotional supports and strategies, and instructional/assistive technology. 

Infants and Toddlers

The Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program (MCITP) provides services in person in the home or other natural environment. Parents/guardians may opt to receive services virtually to meet their needs.

Child Find

Screening and evaluations for students ages 3–5 are conducted in person. Virtual screenings may be offered in special circumstances. Screening and assessment measures may include an extensive parent/guardian interview, a preschool teacher questionnaire, informal developmental activities and other documents. Standardized measures, including parent/guardian rating scales, are administered virtually and/or in person given the parameters of each assessment and the individual needs of the student. Direct observations of the student in their home or childcare environment are conducted when recommended and feasible. Assessment results are shared with families through an IEP initial eligibility meeting. An IEP is developed, if appropriate, for the child to receive special education services to prepare them for kindergarten.

Screening and evaluations for students in Grades K-12 and/or through age 21 are conducted in person. Standardized measures including parent/guardian rating scales are administered in person given the parameters of each assessment and the individualized needs of the student.

Evaluations conducted by occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech/language pathologists and other related service providers will in most circumstances be conducted in person. Evaluations may include parent/guardian interviews, student observations and standardized measures as appropriate.

Service Delivery

MCPS continues to provide services to students in the least restrictive environment. School teams are encouraged to consider the range of educational opportunities offered to all students with a continued emphasis on maximizing opportunities for students with disabilities to learn and make progress with their non-disabled peers and participate in the school community.

Compensatory/Recovery Services

Students previously found eligible for Compensatory/Recovery Services whose services will not be completed by the end of summer 2023 school year will continue to receive their identified services through the 2023-2024 school year. 

IEP Implementation in Emergency Conditions

Specially designed instruction and related services for students with disabilities will be implemented in accordance with decisions documented in the IEP Planning for Emergency Conditions sections in the student’s IEP. MCPS has provided school teams with the MSDE Technical Assistance Bulletin: Special Education – Learning Continuity Plan – Requirement Ensuring Continuity of Special Education Services during Emergency School Closures.

Section 504 Plans

All students with Section 504 Plans will receive their documented accommodations. The Section 504 Plan case manager will coordinate virtual or in person Section 504 Plan meetings at least one time per school year to review and revise the Section 504 Plan as needed or upon parent/guardian request.

If you have questions regarding special education services, please contact the school principal and/or the Office of Special Education Services at 240-740-3900.