Deerfield Public Schools 109 provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students with disabilities, who may qualify under either Section 504 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under either provision, District 109 supports the federal and state mandate to meet student needs in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Our school community continues to embrace inclusive instructional practices, which are designed to provide accommodations and/or special education services within the context of the general education setting to the greatest extent possible.
The Division of Student Services provides unique services, tailored to the individual needs of students. All students, regardless of their academic, social or emotional abilities achieve their highest personal potential when provided with a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment that will allow them to become independent and self-directed learners in a changing world.
- Special Education: A continuum of services is available for students with disabilities, preschool through eighth grade, who are found eligible to receive special education. The steps to identifying a student as eligible for special education services is a carefully managed process guided by State and Federal regulations. Evaluations required to make this determination are completed only with parent permission. A multi-disciplinary team reviews assessment data to determine if the student has a disability that requires special education services. When a student is found eligible for special education services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed with the participation of the school staff, the parents and the student (when appropriate). An IEP is a statement of the special education and related services that will be provided to the student and is updated at least annually during a student's eligibility for special education.
- Section 504: Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States...shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." Although Section 504 does not require schools to develop an Individualized Education Program with annual goals, the school does provide written documentation for each student identified and provides accommodations and/or services under Section 504. A team knowledgeable about the student must evaluate a student to determine if he or she should be identified as a child with a disability, then the team might develop a Section 504 Plan. Section 504 is not a special education plan. The school staff and parents collaborate to help ensure that students are provided accommodations through general education.
Joint Advisory Committee
The Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) was created by the collective bargaining agreement between the Deerfield Education Association (teachers' union) and the District 109 Board of Education. Its purpose is to establish a procedure by which teachers and parents may raise concerns about how the District provides special education services and/or placement for qualifying students.
Members include six administrators, six DEA representatives and three parents of students who receive special education services. There are administrative and staff representatives from general education and special education. The JAC meets regularly to discuss matters including the establishment of special education caseloads, student groups, collaboration time for special education teams, and the appropriate use of resources periods for the delivery of special education services. Based on their discussions, the committee may choose to make recommendations to the Superintendent and the Board of Education for consideration.