Specialty Sites

  • Service Delivery Models

    AACPS is committed to educational excellence by "Elevating all Students, Eliminating all Gaps." To that end, AACPS offers a full continuum of specialized instruction and related services, as determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, to meet the unique needs of each student in the least restrictive environment. All special education services are provided keeping our mission of "preparing each child (Birth to 21) to contribute to their communities in meaningful and positive ways, by providing specialized instruction, allowing for individual differences and learning styles, and developing independence," as the priority for our students. Decisions regarding which service delivery model is appropriate to meet the individual needs of each student is made by the IEP team, including the student’s parents or guardian.

    Consultative Services

    Consultative services provide the classroom teacher and other staff working with the student with strategies for instruction, implementation of accommodations and supplementary aids and services, behavior and/or social emotional supports, data collection. These services can be provided by the special educator and/or related service providers, using observation, evaluation and feedback in the general education environment. Consultative services involve ongoing and regular communication between service providers and observation of students.

    Direct Services

    In the General Education Setting

    AACPS is committed to providing specialized instruction in the least restrictive environment through the use of differentiated instruction, flexible grouping and co-teaching strategies. Direct services may be provided by the special education teacher, general education teacher, related services providers, and/or teaching assistant in the general education setting.

    Outside of the General Education Setting

    In cases where the student requires a more restrictive learning environment in order to make progress, AACPS provides a full continuum of options. The decision about the appropriate learning environment for a student is made by the IEP team based on individual student needs. Specialized instruction and/or related services may be provided outside the general education classroom for a part of the day or for the full school day, as determined by the IEP team. Services outside of the general education classroom may be provided by AACPS staff members in AACPS school buildings or through partnerships with nonpublic schools co-located in some AACPS schools. Specialty sites, such as Alternative Academic Curriculum classes, Regional Programs serving students with emotional and/or behavioral needs, or Autism Classes, offer services both in and outside of the general education setting, and are located at specific schools throughout AACPS. AACPS also provides specialized instruction in separate special education centers for our students with the most intensive needs.

    Services Description

    Preschool Services

    Services may be provided in a variety of settings. The goals of the IEP and where the child spends the day are the determining factors in where services are provided. The following is the continuum of options for preschoolers:

    Community-Based Services (CBS): Services are provided to children with mild to moderate delays in general education, community-based settings. Such settings can include: private preschool; child care; Head Start; and other site-based locations. The idea is for children with delays to be integrated in typical environments and for services to be provided on-site to them and to their teachers. Special educators and therapists (speech, occupational, physical) come to the school or site and provide intervention. For more information the Community-Based Services lead teacher at 410-222-0922.

    Single services: Children with only motor or speech delays or disorders [generally for articulation issues] may be seen at their local elementary school by a school system speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist; typically this is done in a small group setting.

    Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Classes: There are elementary schools throughout the county that have an ECI class. The goal of an ECI program is to provide intensive instruction in relatively small classes with a special education teacher, teacher assistant and speech language pathologist. Children have moderate and severe delays and need to focus on basic language and cognitive concepts as building blocks for academic success. The program is 2.5 hours per day and children can attend for as little as two half days per week or as many as five half days. Sessions are held in the morning and afternoon. The parents and educators determine the amount of time that is needed to achieve developmental goals through an Individual Educational Program (IEP). Bus transportation is provided to and from school. Many schools with an ECI class also have a pre-K class; these co-located classes provide opportunity for integration of children between ECI and pre-K. For more information contact the Early Childhood Intervention Specialists.

    Services for School Aged Students Outside of the General Education Classroom

    Alternative Academic Curriculum Classes

    Profile of Students

    • Students have a wide range of disabilities

    • Students generally have moderate to significant cognitive disabilities

    • Students in grades 3-12 participate in the Alternative State Assessment as indicated on their Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    Instruction

    • Students participate in all core academic subjects (language arts, math, social studies, and science)

    • Teachers utilize an alternate curriculum aligned with College and Career Ready Standards

    • Math instruction includes components of the core math program along with alternative activities that align with the student’s needs

    • Reading instruction includes utilization of stories from the core reading/language arts program and alternative activities that are modified to meet the student’s needs

    Least Restrictive Environment/Integration

    • Students participate in cultural arts, lunch, and recess with non-disabled peers

    • To the maximum extent appropriate students participate in general education content classes. This is an individualized determination based on the student’s strengths/IEP

    High School students may participate in community based activities.

    Specific Program Supports:

    • Small group settings for instruction

    • Alternative reading programs or interventions, based on student need

    • Behavior supports and social skill instruction based on student need

    Autism Classes

    Profile of Students

    • All students have Autism Spectrum Disorders

    • Students generally need related services, behavior support, and benefit from a more highly structured learning environment

    • Students in grades 3-12 participate in the Alternative State Assessment as indicated on their Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    Instruction

    • Students participate in all core academic subjects (language arts, math, social studies, and science)

    • Teachers utilize the modified curriculum in reading and math

    • Math instruction includes components of the core math program along with alternative activities that align with the student’s needs

    • Reading instruction includes utilization of stories from the core reading/language arts program and alternative activities that are modified to meet the student’s needs

    Least Restrictive Environment/Integration

    • Students participate in cultural arts, lunch, and recess with non-disabled peers

    • To the maximum extent appropriate students participate in general education content classes. This is an individualized determination based on the student’s strengths/IEP.

    Specific Program Supports:

    • Small group settings for instruction

    • Alternative reading programs or interventions, based on student need

    • Behavior supports and integrated social skill instruction

    • High level of structure and visual supports

    Regional Programs for Students with Behavioral/Social Emotional Needs

    These classrooms or centers are located throughout the county at AACPS elementary and secondary schools.

    Profile of Students

    • Students exhibit behaviors that significantly impact their ability to benefit from instruction in a large group environment

    • Students require a highly structured, consistent and intensive behavior management/ modification program to maximize their learning availability and achievement

    • Students generally have an Emotional Disability or Other Health Impairment (ADHD)

    • Students require integrated social emotional/mental health support and services

    • Students are diploma bound and participate in state assessments with accommodations as indicated on their Individualized Education Program (IEP). Accommodations are also provided to students as part of their daily instruction.

    Instruction

    • Students utilize grade level curriculum approved for county-wide use

    • Students are provided with modifications and accommodations

    • Teachers deliver small group instruction with interventions specific to both Reading and Math, as needed

    Least Restrictive Environment/Integration

    • Based solely on the individual’s progress in demonstrating self regulatory skills. This is reviewed continually to maximize access with non-disabled peers.

    Specific Program Supports:

    • A variety of behavioral supports in a self-contained setting

    • Small group settings for instruction

    • Counseling and social skills instruction (scheduled and on an as needed basis)

    • Highly structured, positive behavior management program

    • Crisis intervention services as needed

    • Psychiatric consultations/services as appropriate

    The Phoenix Academy

    The Phoenix Academy serves as a model for multi-agency collaboration and cooperation in bringing quality educational, social-emotional, and family support services to student and their families. The Phoenix Academy is designed to house two separate programs. These two programs serve both middle and high school students as follows:

    The Secondary Alternative Academy- Grades 10-12

    The E. D. Regional Program Grades K-12

    The Secondary Alternative Academy will serve students who are experiencing myriad barriers to learning in the comprehensive school environment grades 10-12 with the goal of achieving a high school diploma and/or industry certifications.

    The E. D. Regional Program is intended to serve the students who have not been successful in home school or regional programs in the county. Elementary and middle school aged students receive specialized instruction in a Separate Public Day School Program. High School students may receive specialized instruction with nondisabled peers, as determined by the IEP team.

    Special Centers

    Profile of Students

    • Students have a wide range of disabilities, behavioral and/or health needs

    • Students generally have significant cognitive disabilities

    • Students in grades 3-12 participate in the Alternative State Assessment as indicated on their Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    Instruction

    • Students participate in all core academic subjects (language arts, math, social studies, and science)

    • Teachers utilize a modified curriculum

    • Math instruction includes components of the core math program along with alternative activities that align with the student’s needs

    • Reading instruction includes utilization of stories from the core reading/language arts program and alternative activities that are modified to meet the student’s needs

    Least Restrictive Environment/Integration

    There are no opportunities to receive instruction with nondisabled peers within the center, however, students may participate in community and vocational activities outside of the school setting.

    Partnerships

    AACPS partners with several nonpublic schools by co-locating nonpublic classrooms in AACPS comprehensive schools throughout the county. Partnerships with nonpublic schools provide specialized instruction for elementary, middle, and high school students, as determined appropriate by the central IEP team.

    Nonpublic and Residential Schools

    Students who an IEP team has determined do not benefit from receiving instruction with their nondisabled peers are referred to a central IEP team, where an appropriate placement is determined. All referrals to nonpublic schools, including residential schools, must be made by the central IEP team.