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Special Education

Special Services

This group is dedicated to providing resources, support and learning opportunities to our parents as it relates to students who have different leaning styles and abilities. Areas of focus include Special Education, Gifted Education, Tiers of Support, 504 Plans, EIP, ESOL, and therapy services.

We hope to provide support and understanding of resources available within Morris Brandon, APS, and throughout our community. Most communication will be via BeeMail or through a special distribution list of parents. If you are interested in learning more about available Special Services, please contact the appropriate person listed here:

For school and academic questions, please contact Heather Stephenson at 404.802.8826 for the Main Campus (Grades 3-5) or Sara Moore at 404.802.3850 for the Primary Center (Grades K-2).

For parental/PTA involvement and support, please feel free to email Suzanne Jones or Karen Warrior, Chairs of the Special Services Committee.

FAQs

Who is eligible for special education?

Children with disabilities are eligible for Special Education and related services when they meet IDEA’s definition of a “child with a disability” in combination with state and local policies. IDEA’s definition of a “child with a disability” lists 13 different disability categories under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services. IDEA describes what each of these disability categories means. You’ll find those descriptions online at: http://www.nichcy.org/disability/categories/

What does it mean to receive special education services?

In general, Special Education services provide specially designed instruction that involves modifications to the curriculum itself and/or the way the curriculum is taught to meet the specific needs of the student. Other Special Education-related services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy may also be needed. These are just a few of the related services that could be provided.

What special services are being provided to our Morris Brandon community?

Morris Brandon provides Special Education services to approximately 70 students with disabilities currently enrolled at both campuses. These exceptionalities can range from mild to quite involved. Our school supports children with such diagnosis’s such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, visual impairments, speech and language delays, Mitochondrial Disease, etc.

Special Education services are geared to minimize the impact of a student’s disability through a continuum of services, ranging from services provided in the general education classroom to fully contained classroom settings depending on the severity of the disabilities. Teaching methods used at Brandon include Paraprofessional support in the classroom, co-teaching, and pull out resource services.

In addition to Special Education, Morris Brandon also provides many other students with a variety of additional educational options. These special services include Gifted Education (Challenge), 504 Plans, EIP, ESOL, and Tiers of Support.

Special Education Staff

Special Education Leads

  • Heather Stephenson (hstephenson@atlanta.k12.ga.us or 404.802.8826) – MC Special Education Lead Teacher
  • Sara Moore (slmoore@atlanta.k12.ga.us or 404.802.3850) – PC Special Education Lead Teacher
  • Rebecca Williams – RTI/SST Coordinator (oversees 504 & Tier Process)

Special Education Teachers

  • Laura Hayley – PC Special Education Teacher (Co-teach 2nd, Resource K-1st)
  • Megan Huffman- MC Special Education Teacher (Resource 3rd-5th)
  • Dorkus Muwandi- MC Special Education Teacher (Co-teach 5th, Resource 5th)
  • Diana Pricket- MC Special Education Teacher (Co-teach 3rd)
  • Elisbeth Schnurr – PC Special Education Teacher (Co-teach 1st, Resource 2nd)
  • Dana Stroud- MC Special Education Teacher (Regional Classroom)
  • Maggie Wright – MC Special Education Teacher (Co-teach 5th, Resource 4th-5th)

Special Education Parapros

  • Michael Block – MC
  • Quartray Brewster – MC
  • Marquita Collins – MC
  • Caroline Derrick – MC
  • Xavier Glenn – MC
  • Tiffany Haugabook – MC
  • Lauren Hysmith – MC
  • Sharon O’Neill – PC

Related Service Supports

  • Regina Gennaro – Adaptive Physical Education
  • Marie Lesley – Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Tonisha Johnson – Assistive Technology
  • Bianca Reed – MC Occupational Therapist

Additional Support Teachers (APS Employees)

  • Pam Carter – Deaf/Hard of Hearing Teacher
  • Natalie Cosby – PC Occupational Therapist
  • Troy Keller – APS Special Education Cluster Coordinator
  • Jackie Wilson – PC Physical Therapist

If a student qualifies for Special Education, there are many ways in which they can be supported through the School system, the most common being:

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLANS (IEPs)

This is a written plan that is designed for any student who receives special education and related services. IEPs are required for every special education student under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. The IEP describes the goals that are set for the student over the course of the school year and spells out any special supports needed to help achieve those goals. Parents are an important part of the IEP process.

504c PLANS:

The “504” in “504 plan” refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or postsecondary schooling. “Disability” in this context refers to a “physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes.

What is the difference?

At a summary level, an IEP provides an eligible student with services, accommodations, and goals. A 504 Plan provides accommodations only, but it does not necessitate eligibility. Rather, a 504 Plan is used for students with a documented medical condition.

Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an IEP is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth. For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances.

© Copyright 2016 Morris Brandon PTA

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