Frisco ISD believes in educating students in the least restrictive environment. General education curriculum is the foundation for all instructional programs, and planning for a student’s special education program begins on the neighborhood campus. The Full and Individual Evaluation, along with current information regarding present levels of academic achievement and functional performance form the basis for decision-making by the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD/IEP) Committee who determine specific services needed on an individual basis.
A full continuum of instructional and related services is available to eligible students, with initial consideration given to provision of services in the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible. Students spend varying amounts of time in general education and special education settings, depending upon their specific needs. Special education instructional services are available on every campus, as well as, district-wide instructional / related services. Neighborhood campus services may include full-time placement in a general education classroom and/or pull-out services in a special education classroom. Services are individually determined for each student based on instructional environments that will ensure educational benefit. A high percentage of students receiving special education services attend their home campus.
Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities
Children 3-5 years of age with an identified disability and need for special education services may receive services in one of the following options, dependent upon the unique needs of the child. All of these services are provided at the Early Childhood School.
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Services Provided at Neighborhood Campuses
This instructional setting provides special education and related services in the regular classroom in accordance with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Qualified special education personnel are involved in the implementation of the student's IEP. In addition, the student's regular classroom teacher(s) is a critical component in the instructional process. Examples of special education services provided in the general education classroom include, but are not limited to, direct instruction, helping teacher, team teaching, co-teaching, paraprofessionals to help support instruction, instructional accommodations, curriculum modification, specialized materials/equipment, and consultation with the student and his/her regular classroom teacher(s) regarding the student's progress in regular education classes.
At the secondary level, special education services may be provided in a general education Learning Lab to augment classroom instruction. Support is provided in this setting by both general & special education teachers, as well as paraprofessionals. It is typically a quiet setting where students’ individual support and learning styles can be accommodated. Students may come to the Lab to receive assistance on assignments and projects both during and outside the school day. Additionally, IEP requirements such as small group or oral administration testing can also be provided in the Learning Lab. Staffing patterns, specific students receiving support (Regular Education, Special Education, 504, Student Support Team), and hours of operation may vary between campuses.
Also at the high school level, students receiving special educations services who do not earn course credits during the academic year are eligible for placement in Credit Recovery. The purpose of this program is to provide students an opportunity to earn credit via an alternate method and setting. Currently, Frisco ISD offers self-paced interactive online classes to students in Credit Recovery. Students who receive regular credit and minimal special education support may be enrolled in Advanced Academics courses. Students who receive Regular credit but require significant special education support or students who receive Modified credit access PLATO courses. Courses may be scheduled during zero hour before school or during the school day depending on seat availability and student schedule flexibility. Coordination with campus counselors is necessary to determine placement, scheduling and fees associated with the courses.
At the elementary level, special education services may be provided in a special education setting to augment classroom instruction. Support is provided in this setting by special education teachers and paraprofessionals. It is typically a quiet setting where students’ individual support and learning styles can be accommodated. Students may come to Content Mastery to receive assistance on assignments and projects both during and outside the school day. Additionally, IEP requirements such as small group or oral administration testing can also be provided in Content Mastery, though every effort is made to provide these type of support services in general education settings to the greatest degree possible.
Special Education Classroom
Students requiring specific instruction beyond what is available in a general education classroom may receive services in a special education setting. The amount of time a student spends in this setting varies, depending upon his/her specific needs. One student may receive instruction in a special education classroom for only one academic subject and the rest of instruction in general education classes. Another student may need to spend the entire instructional day in a special education setting. Instruction is provided by special education teachers who are designated highly qualified in the instructional services they provide. These classes are typically and characterized by smaller class size and altered pace of instruction. These services are offered from preschool through high school.
Those students needing highly specialized programming from highly specialized staff in order to gain educational benefit may receive services in a centralized setting. These classrooms are not available at every campus, requiring that some students receive services away from their neighborhood campus. An ARD/IEP committee recommends a centralized classroom only when a student is not able to receive educational benefit from the services available at his/her neighborhood school. Students receiving services in these specialized settings also spend a varying amount of time in the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible.
Specialized Behavior Support (SBS)
Students accessing this instructional setting demonstrate significant behavioral and emotional challenges that require intensive support after all other efforts have been unsuccessful. This program addresses students’ academic and behavioral needs with highly individualized approaches and positive behavior supports. Social skills instruction is a critical curriculum component in SBS. Students have opportunities to interact with their typical peers to the fullest extent possible in an effort to reinforce the generalization of acquired skills. These services are offered from elementary through high school.
Social and Interpersonal Learning (SAIL)
This instructional setting provides services for students with characteristics similar to individuals with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. SAIL students require a highly specialized learning environment due to significant communication, social, and behavioral needs. This classroom setting includes intensive social skill instruction, behavior modification strategies, and concentrated academic instruction based on the individual needs of students. These services are offered from elementary through high school.
This instructional setting provides educational services primarily to students with cognitive impairments who access the general education curriculum through prerequisite skills. An individually paced curriculum is developed for each student, focusing on reading, writing and math with a strong emphasis on pre-vocational skills. Instruction meets the needs of students requiring alternate assessment. Students are typically able to participate in some activities and classes with their non-disabled peers. These services are provided from elementary through high school.
Structured Learning Class (SLC)
This instructional setting offers specially designed instruction for children with autism and/or other communication disorders who require support to build functional language and communication skills. The primary emphasis is on language/communication and behavioral needs at the preschool level with increased emphasis on academic support and functional routines at the elementary and middle school levels. The classroom environment is highly structured and incorporates positive behavior supports and instructional strategies in alignment with the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Students participate in activities with their non-disabled peers, as appropriate, to help generalize skills learned in the SLC classroom. These services are currently provided at preschool, elementary & middle school levels.
Life Skills Class
This instructional setting prepares students with significant disabilities to participate as independently as possible in critical natural environments. The goal is to achieve the highest level of academic progress possible while participating with maximum independence in integrated community, domestic, recreational and vocational activities. Life Skills provides educational services to students who require specialized assistance in the areas of academics, social, self-help, communication and independent living skills. Students are typically able to participate in some activities and classes with their non-disabled peers. These services are currently provided from elementary through middle school.
Academic, Community, and Career Environment for Student Success
This instructional setting prepares students with significant disabilities to participate as independently as possible in critical natural environments. ACCESS provides instruction in the areas of academics, social, self-help, communication, and independent living skills. The goal is to achieve the highest level of independence when accessing community, domestic, recreational, and vocational activities. To achieve this goal, instruction in the ACCESS classroom focuses on:
- Functional prerequisite skills when accessing the TEKS
- Systematic instruction in functional and age-appropriate skills that is integrated into community settings assisting each student to increase skills leading to independence within the community
- Work-based learning in the areas of vocational exploration, vocational assessment, vocational training, and cooperative vocational education
- Learning in functional environments using naturally occurring materials and situations
- The building of independence in daily living skills, social interactions, and recreation/leisure activities
- Utilizing positive behavior support to foster appropriate independent and group behavior skills
These services are currently offered in the high school setting.
Active Learning Class
This instructional setting offers specifically designed instruction for children with low incidence disabilities. These students have significant developmental delays, often exhibiting physical/sensory disabilities. Students may also have medical fragility. The primary emphasis is to increase the students’ receptive and expressive communication, their ability to interact with the environment in meaningful ways, and enhancement of their physical abilities. These services are currently provided from preschool through high school.
Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities
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Post-High School Services
Students who have earned the required high school credits but have not yet met graduation criteria are provided post-high school services that emphasize preparation for adult life following graduation. The goal is to provide students with an age appropriate post-high school educational experience that promotes independence and life-long learning through the use of community based vocational, independent, and social integration activities. Development in the following skill areas is the focus of services: Vocational, Daily Living, Community-Based, Social and Leisure/Recreation. Services are individualized to meet the needs of each student. These students may fulfill graduation requirements prior to 22 years of age at which time services would cease.
A Step Beyond
The Step Beyond (18+) Program provides specific hours of support, individually determined, resulting in the student attaining employment, developing personal care and safety skills, volunteering, and accessing community resources. Instructional activities are developed based on person-centered planning and reflect transitional outcomes leading to the student’s individualized post-secondary goals in the areas of education and training, independent living, and vocational skills. Student instruction is engaged within a variety of environments, including community based recreation and leisure, work sites, public transportation, and adult learning institutes. Instruction emphasizes skills supporting communication, socialization, personal management, vocational, personal care, safety, self-advocacy, interpersonal, and self-help which ultimately lead to independent adult life skills and employment.
The Project SEARCH Program
Project SEARCH is a one-year internship for students with disabilities, in their last year of public schooling. The program targets the students for which the goal is competitive employment. The program will partner with Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel, Convention Center, and Spa, where total immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills. Students participate in three internships to explore a variety of career paths. The students work with a team that includes their family supports, a special education teacher and rehabilitation services administration to create an employment goal and support the student during this important transition from school to work. The students selected for this program will attend 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
Regional Day School Program for the Deaf
Frisco ISD contracts with RDSPD in Plano ISD to provide a range of educational services for students with hearing impairments, including students who are deaf, as determined by the ARD Committee.
Speech Language Services
Speech therapy services in a school are based on an educational model. Under this, students are provided with the services they need to succeed in a school setting with a focus on supporting a student’s ability to understand and use information taught in the classroom and participate in learning to achieve success both academically and socially. Speech therapy is an instructional service which means it can be the only service a student receives or it can also be provided as a part of a more in-depth IEP for students with disabilities such as autism, traumatic brain injury, learning disability and attention deficit disorder. Speech Language Pathologists in schools typically evaluate and provide direct individual and/ or group therapy as well as consultative services for skills such as articulation, language, social skills, executive functioning, voice, and fluency. Speech Language Pathologists also serve an important role in educating parents and teachers about communication disorders.
Purpose of Adapted Physical Education
Adapted physical education (APE) is a program for students with disabilities from birth through 21 years of age. This is a diversified program of developmental activities, games, sports, aquatics and rhythmical movements suited to the interests, capacities, limitations of students with disabilities who may or may not safely or successfully engage in the activities of a general physical education program.
Adapted physical education (APE) instruction is specified in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) ad shall meet the standards of the TEKS. Its purpose is to provide a physical education program in which the activities and teaching procedures are adapted to the specific strengths and limitations of students with disabilities who cannot participate in the general physical education program or who need adaptations for safe and successful participation. All students should be provided functional and/or community-based physical education instruction on activities to enhance progress at their appropriate level.
Curriculum and Instruction
The content of the APE program is organized into a progressive sequence of instruction. It is designed to strengthen and extend the basic movement competencies already acquired with increased emphasis on physical fitness and lifetime activities.
Delivery of Services
Direct services personnel are those professional identified in federal laws as having primary educational responsibility for students with disabilities. An APE professional can assume two basic roles when meeting the physical education needs of students with disabilities. The following is a detailed explanation of each of these roles.
Direct Instruction- Professionals in APE provide instruction to a student or a small group of students at a designated intervals. The APE teacher assists students with disabilities by teaching the motor fitness skills needed to achieve the annual goals, and objectives specified on the student’s IEP.
Supplementary Services– Supplementary services are provided to the teacher(s) and/or paraprofessional to meet the student’s specific IEP annual goals and objectives. The supplementary model also provides a professional design services to ensure that appropriate programming and/or equipment is in place so that the services provider is well informed of safe and successful instructions. The APE teacher also spends time with the students during his/her schedule monitoring visit to help assist with any activity modifications and/or new activities.
Adaptation encompasses both modifications and accommodations. A modification is the practice of changing the manner in which instruction is delivered and/or how the curriculum is modified. An example of modification to instruction would be to have students rotate through stations in small groups instead of the entire class receiving directions to the activity while watching the teacher demonstrate.
Instruction for Students with Vision Impairments
Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired provide services to students who are blind or have impaired vision that cannot be corrected with prescription lenses to 20/70 in the better eye, or who may have a progressive condition that will result in no vision.
Research shows that 85% of learning is visual, that is the typically sighted individual learns much through watching others, or incidental learning. The individual with impaired vision often needs direct teaching in the areas which are referred to as the Expanded Core Curriculum. Those areas are:
Compensatory Access:concept development, spatial understanding, communication modes, speaking and listening skills, study and organizational skills, use of adapted and specialized educational materials.
Assistive Technology: access to information, communication, personal productivity.
Sensory Efficiency: visual function, auditory function, tactile function.
Orientation and Mobility: body concepts, environmental concepts, spatial concepts, perceptual/sensory skills, mobility skills, orientation skills, interpersonal skills, decision making skills.
Independent Living Skills: organization, personal hygiene and grooming, dressing, clothing care, time management, eating, cooking, cleaning and general household tasks, telephone use, money management.
Social Interaction: appropriate body language, social communication, effective conversation patterns, cooperative skills, interactions with others, social etiquette, development of relationships and friendships, knowledge of self, interpretation and monitoring of social behavior.
Recreation and Leisure: development of interests and skills involved in physical and leisure activities.
Career Education: career awareness, career exploration, career preparation, career placement.
Self Determination: self knowledge, awareness of individual rights and responsibilities, capacity to make informed choices, problem solving and goal setting skills, ability to engage in self-regulated and self-directed behavior, self advocacy and empowerment, assertiveness skills.
Instruction for Students with Auditory Impairments
Two different services are provided:
Plano campuses – services provided to students who require interpreter services and an intensive level of support from deaf education certified teachers
Services provided at FISD campuses - itinerant teacher from RDSPD collaborates with FISD teaching staff to provide services to students whose hearing impairment does not require an intensive level of support