Free and Quality Special Education

Special Education Department logoThe Cottonwood School is committed to providing free and appropriate quality special education (SPED) services to students who qualify under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). Special Education is a program designed to support the unique educational needs of children with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria under the law.

Our school takes great pride in our commitment to students’ growth and success. As we work together with our families, we strive to provide the most appropriate support and services to our students identified as eligible for Special Education. We are committed to developing meaningful partnerships with our parents as we work together to meet the unique needs and realize the full potential of each child.

Special Education FAQs

What is special education?
Special education is a tailored educational program designed to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities, providing them with the necessary support, accommodations, and services to facilitate their learning and development.
Who qualifies for special education services?

Individuals who qualify for special education services are students with disabilities who require additional support and accommodations to access and benefit from education. This includes students who have been formally evaluated and identified as having a disability under the criteria outlined in special education laws, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the United States.

What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a personalized plan developed for students with disabilities to outline their educational goals, specific needs, accommodations, and services.

What's the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan?

While both IEPs and 504 plans are designed to support students with disabilities, they serve different purposes. An IEP requires the student to have a disability that adversely affects their educational performance and requires specially designed instruction. A 504 plan requires the student to have a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as learning, reading, concentrating, or sleeping. It ensures the students receive equal access to educational opportunities and facilities but it does not provide specialized instruction.

How are special education services delivered at The Cottonwood School?
Students with IEPs participate in special education services as indicated in their IEP documents. Services may be provided both virtually and/or in person by highly qualified service providers who are trained in addressing the child’s individual educational needs. Service providers address the student’s individualized goals listed in the IEP.
Can a student with disabilities participate in school extracurricular activities?

Yes, students with disabilities have the right to participate in school extracurricular activities to the fullest extent possible, just like their peers without disabilities. Federal laws provide protections to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to extracurricular activities and other nonacademic programs offered by schools.

How is eligibility for special education determined?

When a student is referred for special education, a comprehensive individual evaluation is completed to determine the presence of a disability and their educational needs. The evaluation covers all suspected areas of disability and serves as the basis for decisions regarding special education eligibility, placement, and services. Assessments are conducted by certified professionals with specialized training. Parents of enrolled students at The Cottonwood School who suspect their child may have a disability are encouraged to contact their child’s Homeschool Teacher for support and guidance on the next steps.