Special Education Processes

  • The Special Education Process
    The special education process of Surry County Public Schools is a collaborative effort between school staff and parents/families.  The process includes the following:

    1. identification
    2. referral
    3. evaluation
    4. eligibility
    5. IEP development
    6. placement
    7. reevaluation

    School Receives the Completed Referral

    Once the school receives a referral from a parent, teacher, physician, or other person having a vested interest in and knowledge of a student, the special education process begins.  Within ten (10) administrative working days, the Child Study Committee meets to review all available information and determine whether or not the student needs a Comprehensive Evaluation.

    Comprehensive Evaluation
    A comprehensive evaluation involves the gathering and analyzing of information relative to the educational needs of the student, and the determination of whether a disability exists under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its revisions. Written parental consent must be obtained prior to completing a comprehensive evaluation.  The components of a comprehensive evaluation must include all areas related to the suspected disability, and may include the following assessments:

    1. Developmental – a written report describing how the student currently functions in the major developmental areas of cognition, motor, social/adaptive behavior, perception, and communication.
    2. Educational – a written report describing the student’s current level of achievement, identifying academic strengths and weaknesses.
    3. Medical – a written report from a licensed health care professional indicating general medical history, and identifying any medical problems that may be an impediment to the learning process.
    4. Sociocultural – a written report from a qualified visiting teacher or school social worker that is the result of an interview with the parents or primary caregivers, or other methods of data gathering.  The report describes family history/dynamics, developmental health history, and social/adaptive behavior in the home, school, and community.
    5. Psychological – a written report from a qualified psychologist that is the result of the administration of an appropriate battery of instruments which include individual intelligence test(s) and psycho-educational tests.
    6. Other – a written report of other assessments such as, but not limited to, speech and language, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, as appropriate.

    All evaluation components will be completed in a timely manner and made available to the parent(s) at least two (2) business days before the scheduled eligibility meeting.  Reports may be picked up at the Special Education Department.  To reduce wait time, parents are asked to call (757) 267-2558 ext.113 prior to arriving to pick up reports.  

    Within sixty-five (65) administrative working days from the date or receipt of the referral, the Eligibility Committee meets to review and analyze all evaluation data as they apply to eligibility criteria.  A student is found eligible for special education services if:

    1. The student meets the eligibility criteria; and
    2. There is evidence of adverse educational impact.

    Should a student be determined to require special education and related services, a summary of essential deliberations is forwarded to the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) team.  The IEP Team meets within thirty (30) days of the Eligibility Committee Meeting to develop a plan for providing services.  NOTE:  The Eligibility Committee may not discuss IEP goals, services, or other particulars as such discussions are beyond the committee’s purview.  

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
    An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed for each student who meets the criteria of a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The IEP Team is made up of the parent(s), school staff, and the student (when appropriate).  The IEP identifies:

    • the levels at which the student is functioning (present level of performance);
    • what the student will be taught over the term of the plan (goals and objectives);
    • who (by title) will provide services;
    • how the goals and objectives will be evaluated;
    • any related services required;
    • in what location(s) services will be provided;
    • the amount of time the student will spend with special education staff;
    • the amount of time the student will spend with peers without disabilities;
    • and other information.

    For the initial IEP, no services will be provided until written consent to implement the IEP is received.  The IEP will be revisited annually, unless the team agrees to meet and consider changes before that time.  

    Special Education Services Offered
    Surry County Public Schools has a long-standing commitment to the provision of a free, appropriate education for all students with disabilities, ages 2 through 21, inclusive.  The appropriateness of services, including identification of the least restrictive environment, is defined in the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), which is developed collaboratively by school staff, the student’s parent(s), the student (when appropriate), and other invited participants.   Special education services may be provided in zoned or out-of-zone schools within the division, as well as in special programs or schools outside of the division, as appropriate.   Surry County Public Schools provides special education services for students identified by the Eligibility Committee as having any one or more of the following disabilities:

    • Autism
    • Deaf
    • Deaf-Blind
    • Developmental Delay
    • Emotional Disability
    • Hearing Impairment
    • Intellectual Disability
    • Learning Disability
    • Multiple Disabilities
    • Orthopedic Impairment
    • Other Health Impairment
    • Speech and Language Impairment
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Visual Impairment  

    Educational Placement
    Educational Placement refers to the setting in which special education services will be provided.  The decision of educational placement for a student with a disability is determined by the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) Team.  It is made once decision have been made by the team regarding the student’s needs, with consideration given to the least restrictive environment (LRE) for the specific student.  The concept of LRE means that the student with a disability will be educated with students who are not identified as having disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate.  These decisions are based on individual student needs.  Placement consideration utilizes the following continuum of options:

    • Public Day School
    • Public Separate School Facility
    • Private Separate School Facility
    • Public Residential Facility
    • Private Residential Facility
    • Home Based Program
    • Home Bound Program
    • Hospital
    • Correctional Education Program

    Services for Students Identified as Hearing or Visually Impaired

     The Department of Education shall annually prepare and distribute to local school boards packets of information describing the educational and other services available through the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired. Local school boards shall annually post this information on the school division's Web site and inform the parents of those students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired of its availability. School boards shall ensure that packets of such information are available in an accessible format for review by parents who do not have Internet access.

    Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) provides information on educational services and resources to support students who are deaf and hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, or deaf-blind at its website.  The following links to information and resources are excerpted from the VDOE’s website at Special Education-Specific Disabilities-Sensory Disabilities: