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Contact Information:
Pam Courson, Coordinator of Specialized Instruction K-5
410-222-5470

Martha Lehman, Coordinator of Specialized Instruction, K-12
410-222-5437

Special Education

Specialized Instruction K-12

Mission

The Elementary and Secondary Departments of Special Education are committed to assuring that all students K-12 with special needs meet academic and social success within the least restrictive environment. Our focus is on equipping school staff with the skills, materials and tools to teach all students the standards of the state curriculum with appropriate modifications and accommodations and to ensure that all students reach their greatest potential academically, socially and vocationally.

Initiatives

  • Train and provide support to teachers in the use of research-based interventions and strategies that support implementation of differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all students.

  • Provide a continuum of special education services to the greatest extent possible in schools in order to support home school placements.

  • Provide continuous targeted professional development to increase Team Teaching and utilization of social skills strategies to foster student engagement and greater access to the Least Restrictive Environment.

  • Equip schools with the Materials of Instruction and instructional technology tools to meet individual student needs and to engage small and large groups of students in instruction.

  • Focus on transition planning for students age 14 and up to place emphasis on student driven goals and the pathways needed to accomplish these goals.

Referral and Eligibility

If a student is suspected of having a disability he/she will be referred to the school IEP team and the Special Education process will begin.  This process will determine if a student meets the eligibility criteria for one of 14 Federal disabilities and if special education and related services is needed. Refer to Special Education Overview/Process on the website.

 

Services for Students K-12
 

Special Education and related services are provided to ensure that students with disabilities ages 5-21 achieve academic success to the maximum extent possible with non-disabled peers in the general education classroom. A continuum of services is provided in comprehensive schools, specialty sites regional programs and developmental centers which allow students to receive identified services within their home school or in a school as close to their home community as possible.

Resource Support Staff
 

Elementary Special Education Instructional Coaches are assigned to specific elementary schools as part of a collaborative Curriculum & Instruction network team. They work very closely with special educators and instructional staff to provide guidance in delivering quality services for students. The SBRT works with schools and families to resolve differences, train instructional staff in specific strategies and initiatives, advise administration regarding services and compliance, act as a liaison between the schools and central office staff, and act as a general special education consultant to schools. 
 

Secondary School Based Resource Teachers (SBRT) aare assigned as generalists to a specific feeder system to support the delivery of special education services at the school level. They work very closely with special educators and instructional staff to provide guidance in delivering quality services for students. The SBRT works with schools and families to resolve differences, train instructional staff in specific strategies and initiatives, advise administration regarding services and compliance, act as a liaison between the schools and central office staff, and act as a general special education consultant to schools.  
 

New Teacher Induction Program supports the needs of elementary and secondary special education teachers new to the field of special education.  While they benefit from mentors that are assigned directly to their schools, new special educators require the specific support and input from a mentor who is an expert in the specialized instructional and compliance skills needed to be a master special educator.  The Induction Facilitator coordinates training sessions for new teachers that provide learning opportunities in topics like IEP writing, specialized instruction strategies, data collection and documentation, delivery of specialized assessments, classroom management and differentiated instruction.  
 

Least Restrictive Environment Specialists work with schools to assure that students with special needs are receiving their instruction within the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible.  The specialists assist teachers and instructional assistants in accessing training that is needed to best support their students. Remaining informed about best practices, research based interventions and instructional strategies are an important facet of the LRE Specialistís responsibilities. If the studentís home school cannot successfully serve a student, the LRE Specialist works with families to assure that appropriate placements are determined to meet student needs. The LRE specialists also coordinate the implementation, training and use of instructional technology tools as well as assisting in monitoring the implementation of multiple grants.
 

Behavior Specialists support school staff in serving students with emotional disabilities and related issues. The specialists and their technicians work diligently with schools to provide strategies and techniques to successfully educate challenging students in their home school. In addition, they work closely with the instructional staff in the self-contained ED regional classrooms and specialized programs to assure that best practices, instructional technology and exposure to the voluntary state curriculum are in place. They strive to make certain that all students benefit from their education regardless of their emotional challenges.
 

Low Incidence Specialists provide support to schools who work with students with Autism, Intellectual Disability and Multiple Disabilities.  A technician provides follow up support and direct assistance to school teams and students. The Low Incidence Specialist and technician work diligently with schools to provide successful strategies and techniques in order to educate students with low incidence disabilities in their home school.  In addition, they work closely with the instructional staff in the self-contained Autism and Multiple Intensive Needs Classes (MINC) classrooms to assure that best practices, instructional technology and exposure to the voluntary state curriculum are in place.  They strive to make certain that all students benefit from their education regardless of their academic or behavioral challenges.
 

Literacy Specialists provide support to all schools.  They work closely with the Reading and English Departments. At the elementary level, the Literary Specialist along with her technicians assist school teams to determine appropriate reading interventions for students who have not made progress in the core reading program.  Direct support and training is provided to school teams.  In addition, assistance is provided to specialty sites for students who require alternative reading programs. In the secondary schools the literary specialist assists schools in determining and putting specialized reading interventions in place for those students with disabilities who have not made adequate progress with less intense reading interventions.
 

A Social Skills Specialist for High Functioning Autism (HFA) provides support and direct service to school teams K-12 as they work with students with autism who require social skills support and strategies.  Building Bridges, a social skills guide developed through AACPS is a tool that is frequently used with students.  In addition, the Social Skills Specialist provides assistance to school teams who need parent or student community resources. 
 

A Transition Specialist assists middle and high schools in developing meaningful and student driven transition plans for students age 14 and up.  Transition services for students moving into the 8th grade are critical to transition to adult life.  This specialist works very closely with 5 transition facilitators and their job coaches as well as technicians in preparing and supporting enclave training and supported employment within the community.  The Transition Specialist also supports the Anne Arundel Community College program which serves students with significant disabilities on the college campus.
 

An Alt-MSA Specialist supports the efforts of the elementary and secondary special education teachers in designing and implementing the Alternative Maryland Assessment (Alt-MSA) for students who are identified to take this form of assessment. The Alt-MSA specialist works with special educators in grades K-12, as student need indicates, and in the three developmental centers to assure that studentsí skills are appropriately assessed and accurately reported to the Maryland State Department of Education.