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Welcome to Special Education

Welcome to the Special Education Department

Special education ensures that the unique needs of students with an IEP are met through additional services, supports, programs, specialized placements, or environments. 

Special education services are provided to eligible students at no cost to families. The core purpose of special education is to provide specialized academic instruction and intervention, as well as to give students with an IEP access to the same educational programs and/or activities that are available to their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible.

Special education provides a full continuum of program options to meet the educational and service needs of individuals with exceptional needs in the Least Restrictive Environment.

Special education is specialized instruction provided for children from birth to age 22 who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by the state and federal government. A student may qualify for special education services as an individual with special needs in one of thirteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Learn more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I think my child has a disability?

The first step is to contact your child’s academic counselor or the school psychologist to discuss your concerns.  It may be recommended that a Student Study Team (SST) meeting be held in order to discuss your child’s strengths and areas of concern.   Depending on the discussion of the SST team general education interventions, a 504 plan, or an assessment for special education may be recommended. 

Referrals for special education can be made by school staff or parents. Prior to referral for special education, the District is legally mandated to document that the student’s educational needs cannot be successfully met through the support and adjustment of the general education program.

Once the request for a special education assessment is made, an Assessment Plan must be developed within FIFTEEN (15) DAYS of the referral date.

What is an IEP?

IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. The IEP is a legally binding contract of services provided by a school district for children who are identified with a disability and qualify for special education services.  The IEP will address the student’s strengths, areas of need, and necessary accommodations, modifications, goals, services, and placement.

What special education services and placements are offered at SMUHSD?

SMUHSD offers a continuum of services within our District as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA). Depending on the child’s disability and areas of deficit, services may include Specialized Academic Instruction, Speech, and Language, Individual Counseling, Adaptive Physical Education, Occupational Therapy, etc…   Once the IEP team determines and agrees upon services and placement the team discusses where and how often those services can best be implemented. 

How often does the IEP Team Meet?

The IEP Team meets to review the student’s performance annually to determine progress and plan for the upcoming year. A reevaluation of the student’s program is completed every three years, unless both the parents and district agree that it is not required. The IEP team may also meet at other times to discuss new concerns that have arisen

Who comes to the IEP?

The IEP team includes the following members:

  • Parent
  • Student (when appropriate)
  • General education teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Administrator
  • Assessors (when an assessment has been completed)
  • Other service providers, as appropriate
  • Parents may also invite outside participants who can assist with the development of the IEP 

I’m new to SMUHSD from out of the County / State / Country and we already have an IEP, how do I continue special education services?

  1. Follow this link to determine your neighborhood school based on your address of residence: School Locator
  2. Create online web enrollment for your student: Online Enrollment and Registration
  3. Gather the IEP and residency verification documents: Required Documents
  4. Once you have assembled the required documents, and finalized your residency verification, you will be contacted by a special education representative from your assigned school site. 

Special Education Advisory Committee Meetings

SMUHSD's Special Education Advisory Committee invites parents/guardians of students with IEPs to a series of meetings throughout the 2023-2024 school year.  Our goal is to provide parent education about special education supports and resources in high school and to build community among families. Our first meeting was December 6 with Superintendent Randall Booker and the Special Education department where we shared our vision in supporting students.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 6 - 7:30 p.m.  |   RSVP
Mentoring and Supporting our Incoming Parents for 2023-2024 

If you have questions please contact SMUHSD Program Specialist Tina Ish at

Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available.