Special Education

Special Education is intended to provide services to students who have disabilities, and who, because of those disabilities need specially designed instruction to make effective progress in the general education program.  Special education is regulated by both state and federal law.  It is the goal of the Gateway Regional School District to make the general education environment the appropriate placement for all students however we provide a full continuum of services and programs to ensure that the needs of our special education students are met and that they are able to access the general education program to the greatest extent possible.  

Gateway Regional School District Special Education department provides a variety of programs and services designed specifically to meet the needs of our special education students.  Each student in special education has been evaluated, determined eligible by a team , and has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that details the goals, services, and placement appropriate to the student's needs.  

It is the belief of the Gateway Regional School District that all students can learn and that there are various learning styles and approaches to learning.  There is always a focus on improving teaching and learning in the classroom as a critical component of intervention, whether it be under the umbrella of special education or not.

If you would like more information on special education you can refer to the sub pages of this website or contact Kurt Garivaltis, Pupil Services Director at (413) 685-1019 or via email at kgarivaltis@grsd.org 


SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

REFERRAL

Students are referred for special education either by parent request or via a Response to Intervention Team (please see RtI page for more information).  Once a written referral is received in the Pupil Services Office a consent to evaluate is issued to the parent(s)/legal guardian(s); assessments chosen for the evaluation are to be in all areas related to the suspected disability.  Once consent to evaluate (which includes what types of assessments will be administered) is sent and received by parents, they are encouraged to return the consent document signed as soon as possible.  The District cannot move forward with any formal evaluations until consent is received in the Pupil Services Office.  

Once received the District has 30 school days to complete the evaluation and 45 school days to hold an initial team meeting to determine eligibility.  Each evaluator will develop a comprehensive report including the tests administered, the results, interpretations, and recommendations.  Upon written request, the parents can receive these reports two days prior to the team meeting.  

If you have any questions regarding initial referral for special education please contact the Pupil Services Office.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility for special education is a team process and is based on review of all data available on the student.  The eligibility team typically includes parents, evaluators, a team chairperson (LEA), appropriate special education staff, and a general education teacher.  The team reviews the testing reports, other pertinent student information, parent information, and together discuss and reach consensus regarding eligibility.  

Eligibility meetings are structured to ensure that teams are following a process to make a determination.  The following are the legal eligibility guiding questions that the team uses to determine if a student is eligible for special education:

1.  Does the student have one or more disabilities, as defined by 603 CMR 28.02 (7)?
2.  Is the student making effective progress?
3.  Is the lack of progress a result of the disability?
4.  Does the student require specially designed instruction (defined as a need to adapt/modify content, methodology, delivery of instruction, and/or performance criteria) in order to make effective progress?

If the team finds that a student is eligible for special education, an IEP is then developed according to the student's needs.  If a team does not find a student eligible, other avenues may be explored (504 eligibility or RtI).  

If you have any questions regarding eligibility, please contact the Pupil Services Office.