Student Services / Special Education
Region 15 Schools provides education to students ages 3-21 eligible under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) through a continuum of district services and supports and follows the requirements of the IDEA and all accompanying provisions of state law and regulations, regarding the identification, evaluation, and placement of students with disabilities. These obligations include any and all requirements related to the development, implementation, review, maintenance and evaluation of IEPs for students with disabilities. In carrying out these obligations, Region 15 follows guidance and manuals established by the Connecticut State Department of Education, including their IEP Manual and Forms.
- Referral & Identification Process
- Special Education / Related Services
- Private Schools
- Procedural Safeguards
- Section 504
- Homebound / Hospitalization
- Transition Services
- Early Childhood Intervention (PreSchool) Program
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
- Child Find
Who can request a referral?
- School personnel may make a referral requesting that the student be evaluated to determine eligibility for special education.
- As a parent, you can make a referral in writing by contacting your school administrator. If you make a verbal request, it will be confirmed in writing.
What is the referral process in Region 15?
- A referral to special education is the first step in the process of determining if your child has a disability and is eligible to receive special education services.
- You will receive written notice of this referral and will be asked to participate in a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting.
- If the members of the PPT suspect that your child may have a disability, the team will recommend that an initial multidisciplinary evaluation be conducted (parental consent required).
- After the evaluation is completed, another meeting will be held and the results of the evaluation will be discussed. At the PPT, the team will decide, based on your child’s current performance and evaluations results, if your child meets the criteria for a disability and if they require special education services.
What if my child hasn't started school but I suspect a disability may exist?
- If your child is between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, and you believe that they may have a disability, you may refer your child for an evaluation by contacting the PreSchool Program (203) 758-8259 extension 2
What is a PPT?
- A PPT is a Planning and Placement Team meeting that will generally take place in the student's school during the regular school day.
- A Planning and Placement Team reviews the student’s referral to Special Education, determines if the student needs to be evaluated, decides which evaluations will be given to the student, and determines whether the student is eligible for special education services.
- The members of the PPT must include you (the parent), someone to chair the meeting (usually an administrator), a general education teacher, a special education teacher, a related service provider (usually speech, psychology, guidance or social work) and whenever possible, the student.
How often can a PPT be held for my child?
- The school is required to hold a PPT meeting every year to review the student's Individualized Education Program and develop a new one.
- At any time during the school year, the parent or school can request an IEP Team meeting to discuss making revisions to a current IEP.
- Oftentimes, parent questions and concerns can be addressed at parent-teacher meetings and do not require a formal meeting.
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) describes the educational program that has been designed to meet the student's unique needs. Teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students work as a team to design and implement a student's IEP.
What if a student is eligible for Special Education Services?
Once the student is determined to be eligible for special education, part of the process includes the following:
- Initial Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting
- Student's Annual Review Meeting
- Triennial Review Meeting
- Program Review Meeting(s) as requested by the team
What is the IEP process for a student eligible for Special Education services in Region 15?
- Once the student has been identified as eligible for special education, a PPT meeting is held to develop an IEP (this may also be completed at the eligibility meeting).
- Members of the PPT will develop the components of the IEP with input from the student, the parents, general and special education teachers and related service providers.
- At least once per year, the PPT evaluates progress and mastery of IEP goals and objectives at a meeting referred to as the “annual review”.
- The PPT can reconvene at any time throughout the school year to review, and possibly amend, the student's IEP.
How often is my child's continued eligibility for Special Education services and how is this done?
- The student's continued eligibility for special education must be determined at an IEP Team meeting once every three years.
- The Triennial Evaluation Report is used in order to determine the student’s continued eligibly for Special Education services.
Special Education Resource
The Special Education Resource Program is designed to provide academic support to students in grades K-12 who have special education needs. Due to identified learning disabilities, emotional needs, or other identified disabilities, these students require support in one or more academic area in order to be successful in the regular classroom. There are multiple models of service delivery for special education.
Learning Center I
LC I classes are designed to provide programs for moderately, severely, and profoundly intellectually disabled and/or multi-disabled students. These students are provided functional academic education, communication, self-help, social, emotional, fine & gross motor, and pre-vocational/vocational programs to help them develop their skills in all of these areas.
Students are included in regular homeroom activities and other regular classes as deemed appropriate for the individual student by the PPT.
Homebound instruction is available to students who are absent from school for three weeks or more (due to a health condition) may receive homebound instruction. Appropriate documentation, including a physician note, is required. Homebound instruction may also be recommended through the Planning and Placement Team process.
Students demonstrating a communication disorder which adversely affects his or her educational performance are provided service in either individual and/or small group settings. The Speech and Language Pathologist in each building works closely with classroom teachers and other staff involved with the student in an effort to facilitate communication skills and promote academic success.
Psychological & Counseling Services
Every school in the Region has both a School Psychologist and at least one Guidance Counselor who are active members of the PPT. Individual and/or group counseling is provided by them based on the individual student's needs. School Psychologists are also instrumental in the evaluation and diagnosis of students with disabilities. These staff members also work as the liaison between the school and other community agencies working with the students and their families.
The Learning Center Program is designed for those students with identified disabilities who require considerably more than support help in order to be successful in their school programs. Students receive direct instruction in as many academic areas as deemed necessary by the PPT, based on the individual student's needs. The goal of the Learning Center Program is to provide an intensive academic program and transition students back into the regular classroom as soon as they indicate they will be able to do so successfully.
The Alternative Education Program is a specialized high school program designed to offer selected students recommended by Pomperaug High School (PHS) Planning and Placement Team (PPT) an optimal learning environment off campus, to facilitate their academic progress, social-emotional growth and development and assist them in meeting the requirements for graduation from PHS.
A Pre-Primary Learning Center is available for students from 3-6 years of age. These students have developmental delays (intellectual, physical, social, emotional, or language) which will significantly impair their progress and adjustment in school when they enter Kindergarten. The children are given special instruction in order to develop their cognitive, perceptual, speech and language skills, as well as their self-help, social skills, and fine/gross motor coordination.
Occupational & Physical Therapy
Some students with disabilities may require physical and/or occupational therapy services to enable them to benefit from their special education program. These therapies are provided by fully-trained and licensed physical and/or occupational therapists. A prescription specifically written for each student must be approved by the student's attending physician before these services can be provided.
The Health Offices in Region 15 are supervised by Registered Nurses who are the primary health care providers in the schools. The school nurse provides care for a student with emergency injuries and illnesses. If further care is required, the student is sent home and/or referred to their personal physicians. The school nurse also provides nursing care for students with special health care needs while at school, conducts state-mandated health screenings, monitors and provides appropriate nursing interventions for communicable diseases and maintains health information on all students in the school.
Region 15 schools provide supports and services to identified students who are parentally placed in a private school within the towns of Southbury and Middlebury. These services are coordinated through the Student Services Department and the private school administrators. To find out more about these services please contact your private school administrator.
- If a student is eligible and attends a school in Region 15 (Middlebury or Southbury), the district provides a service plan for the student.
- If a student is a Middlebury or Southbury resident who attends private school outside of Region 15 please contact the Special Education office of the town in which the private school is located.
- Children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that he or she would receive if enrolled in a public school. The school district in which the private school is located is responsible for providing what special education services it designates to children with disabilities placed by their parents in the private elementary or secondary schools in its town.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), the federal law concerning the education of students with disabilities, requires schools to provide you, the parent, with a notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under the IDEA and IDEA regulations. A copy of this notice must be given to you one time a year and also when the following occurs:
- The first time you or the school district asks for an for an evaluation.
- You ask for a copy of these procedural safeguards.
- The first time in a school year you request a due process hearing or file a state complaint.
- A decision is made to take a disciplinary action against your child that is a change in placement.
Bureau of Special Education Resources
Seclusion and Restraint / Notificación a los Padres acerca de las Leyes Relacionadas con el Uso de Aislamiento y Restricción en las Escuelas Públicas
Transition Bill of Rights / Declaración de Derechos de Transición Para Padres de Estudiantes que Reciben Servicios de Educación Especial
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) prohibits discrimination against individuals with a disability in any program receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, an individual must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment.
In order to fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the Region 15 Public Schools recognize a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel, students, parents and members of the public who participate in school sponsored programs. In this regard, the Region 15 Public Schools prohibits discrimination against any person with a disability in any of the programs operated by the school system.
If you have questions, and your child attends elementary school, please contact your child's school administrator or school psychologist. For students attending Memorial or Rochambeau Middle Schools or Pomperaug High School, please contact your child's school counselor.
This service is provided for those students who, for medical or other designated causes, are unable to function in the regular school setting. Please contact Health Services for more information.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees the right of individuals, age 3-21, with specific disabilities to receive a Free Appropriate Education (FAPE) from their public school district through an Individualized Education program (IEP) that includes transition services.
Definition of Transition Services
Transition services are a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that is “designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.
Regional School District 15 offers a comprehensive and effective English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support program in accordance with CSDE guidelines. Our high-quality ESOL services involve collaboration with families, staff, and educators which enables K-12 English Learners (ELs) to acquire both English language and academic proficiency levels by way of research-based instruction and support. Region 15 ELs achieve success through support models and methods that are tailored to meet their individual needs and celebrate their personal strengths.
Kathleen Freund, TESOL: MES, LMES
Darcy Lockwood, TESOL: GES, PES, MMS, RMS, PHS
Child Find is a federal mandate that assures that all children who are in need or who are suspected to be in need of early intervention or special education services are located, identified, and referred to the Planning and Placement Team (PPT).
Parents/Guardians who have concerns regarding their child's speech and language, motor, self-help, play, and/or cognitive skills are encouraged to participate in Region 15's Preschool Screening process. During the screening parents/guardians will have the opportunity to discuss concerns with a preschool team member while your child participates in a simulated preschool environment with speech pathologists, special education teachers, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.
(203) 758-8259, ext 2
Stacey Zwick, Director of Guidance (also District Testing Coordinator), K-12
CSDE October 2022