Service Delivery Options

Updated 9/11/17

The continuum of service delivery options available in Contra Costa SELPA offers a range for consideration by Individualized Education Plan (IEP) teams to address the individual needs of students with disabilities.

It is the responsibility of education to provide eligible students with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment consisting of special education and related services with the use of supplementary aids and services based on the individual needs of the student. Options should include attending the neighborhood school, with age appropriate peers, with curriculum accommodations and modifications as appropriate.

Assignment to special classes, special schools or other removal of the individual from the general education environment shall occur only when the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in general classes, with the use of supplementary aids and services, cannot be achieved satisfactorily and justification for placement has been written. Students receiving special education will be educated with general education students to the maximum extent appropriate as determined by the IEP team.

Names for programs are used to communicate the structures present in a particular setting and are not intended to limit or restrict the flexibility that staff can provide to meet the needs of an individual student.

The labels contained in policy shall be used for purposes of reporting to CDE through the SELPA's Annual Service Delivery Plan, writing IEPs for students, recording student data for the special education pupil count and reporting for program certification. The Governance Council shall present the Annual Service Delivery Plan in a public hearing before reporting to the State. The purpose is to inform the public of the services available in Contra Costa SELPA.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)
When addressing service delivery for the student the IEP is designed by the IEP team so the student will:
  Benefit from the Instructional Program
  Be in the Least Restrictive Environment
  Make Adequate Yearly Progress

 

Service Delivery Options Available Include:
  General Education Classroom
  Resource Specialist Program
  Instructional Support Program
  Related Services
  Special Day Classes and Centers
  State Residential Schools
  Non-public, Nonsectarian Day School
  Home and Hospital
  Instruction in settings other than classrooms
  Combinations of support services to meet student needs

General Education Classroom
General education classrooms offer the best opportunity for disabled students to attend their home school with age appropriate peers and access to the core curriculum, as well as, extra curricular activities. The general education teacher provides primary instruction with accommodations and modifications including supplementary aids and services designed to meet the needs of the student. Special education instruction and related services may be provided within the general education setting.

The general education classroom offers non-academic benefit of social interaction for all students. General education classrooms, with the use of supplementary aids and services, provide the most contact with general education students.

Authorization for service is provided by general education credentials. Caseload guidelines should take into consideration the other duties assigned to the staff person. Other considerations for serving students in the general education classroom include the impact on general education students, as well as, the special education student being served.

The primary focus of instruction is in the core academic curriculum with expanded instructional methodologies beyond those offered in general education classrooms.

All of the following factors shall be considered by the IEP team in determining the appropriateness of placement in a general education classroom:

  • The educational benefits available to the student in a general education classroom, supplemented by appropriate aids and services, as compared with the educational benefits of a special education classroom.
  • The non-academic benefits of interaction with students who are not disabled.
  • The effect of the student's presence on the teacher and other students in the classroom.
  • The cost of mainstreaming the student in the general education classroom.

Resource Specialist Program
Students receive resource specialist services as determined by the IEP team. The majority of resource specialists are assigned instructional assistants to the program. Resource specialist services cover a range of disabilities and can be provided within the general education classroom and/or special education settings. Law to a maximum of twenty-eight (28) students limits resource specialists' caseloads. The service provider must have a Resource Specialist Certification or Mild to Moderate Credential.

The primary focus of instruction is in the core academic curriculum with expanded instructional methodologies to augment those offered in general education classrooms. Special education staff should be focused on accommodating the student in the general education setting and/or remedial activities that would prepare a student to have the skills necessary to be successful in the core academic curriculum in a general education setting.

Students receiving such services should be accessing the core academic curriculum in the general education setting in all areas in which they are receiving special education services. Special education services are not to be used to provide a parallel program but rather arranged to provide supplementary support to what is already being accessed in the general education program including intervention and categorical programs available to all students. Scheduling of all service needs is to be considered. It is particularly important to consider the delivery location of services in order to allow full participation in all core curriculum areas.

Instructional Support Program
Instructional Support Programs or Services serve students requiring special education during their school day. Instructional Support may be provided to students within their general education classroom or in a special education setting. Instructional support programs are designed to meet the needs of students based on IEP goals and objectives.

General Education teachers, Resource Specialists, Special Day Class teachers, Speech and Language Clinicians, Instructional Assistants, and/or other support staff may provide instructional support services. Authorization is provided through any credential, which authorizes the provision of instruction and the ability to deliver what is required as described in the IEP. Caseload guidelines should be a minimum ratio of one ISP and one Instructional Aide for the equivalent of twelve (12) full time students. Students receiving less than full time service would increase the caseload proportionately.

The primary focus of instruction is in the core academic curriculum with expanded instructional methodologies beyond those offered in general education classrooms. An example of this would be co-teaching to provide support to special needs and at risk students. Special education staff works in collaboration with all staff (especially general education teachers) in learning and implementing various assessment strategies and in the coordination of differentiated instruction, services, and supports. Through Instructional Support Program leadership the educational team should be focused on accommodating the student in the general education setting and/or in research-based strategies, interventions, and activities that would prepare a student to achieve the skills necessary to be successful in the core academic curriculum in a general education setting. There will be times when Instructional Support Program intervention is provided on a short-term basis.

Students receiving such services should be accessing the core academic curriculum in the general education setting in all areas in which they are receiving special education services. Special education services are not to be used to provide a parallel program but rather arranged to provide supplementary support to what is already being accessed in the general education program including intervention and categorical programs available to all students. The scheduling of all services must consider location for delivery of service to allow full participation in all core curriculum areas.

Related Services (Designated Instructional Service)
Related Services are designed to address specific, specialized intervention when required for a student to benefit from his or her instructional program. Related services can include but are not limited to:

  • Speech and Language Services
  • Audiological Services/Aural Habilitation
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Adaptive Physical Education
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Vision Services
  • Counseling and Guidance
  • Vocational Education and Career Development
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Assistive Technology
  • Physical Therapy

Services shall be provided by a credentialed or licensed specialist in general education classrooms or special education settings. Services may be provided in conjunction with general or special education services. Service may also be provided by a specifically trained instructional aide or other certificated staff under the direction of the specialist.

Special Day Classes and Schools
Special day classes and schools provide services to students who have more intensive needs. Students are assigned for a majority of the school day in special day classes and are grouped according to age and instructional needs. Special day class teachers work cooperatively with general education classroom teachers and IEP personnel, helping identify, assess, and plan programs for students with disabilities, and providing classroom instruction. Most often the restrictive nature of a Special Day Class does not allow access to the same instruction, standards, and expectations. Special education credentials meet the federal and state standards for "highly qualified" teachers for the delivery of special education. However, these credentials, in an of themselves, may not meet the "highly qualified" criteria for delivery of course content to meet the standards for completion of high school course credits or assure content areas will be covered for tests such as the high school exit exam. Attainment of a high school diploma from a Special Day Class placement is unusual and usually does not occur with only four years of high school.

The primary focus of instruction is not on the core academic curriculum rather on the age, disability, or severity of the disability as described in the student's IEP. Often the curriculum offers an alternate pathway because of the needs of a student. Special education continues to provide remedial instruction in life skills areas. Assistance is provided that leads to completion of an alternate program and a high school diploma are not received.

Authorization is provided through credentials that address service to students within the moderate to severe specialty area. Caseload guidelines vary based on the age of the students, type of disability or severity of the disability to be served in the class. Caseloads range from six (6) full time students to eighteen (18) partially mainstreamed students. Caseload guidelines should be a minimum ratio of one teacher and one Instructional Aide for the equivalent of twelve (12) full time students. Students receiving less than full time service would increase the caseload proportionately. Students requiring more intensive services would increase this basic standard and may include related service providers also being assigned to the Special Day Class.

State Special Schools
Special programs operated by the State of California for the deaf and blind students are available for:

  • Diagnostic evaluation
  • Serving the educational needs of students in day or residential programs

The IEP team will make a recommendation to the state school for determination of the appropriateness of possible placement in day or residential programs. The State Special Schools Division sets the curriculum and high school graduation standards.

Non-public/Nonsectarian Schools
Placements at non-public, nonsectarian schools are available to individuals with exceptional needs when the local school district determines that an appropriate education program which is the least restrictive environment is not available through the public school systems in the Contra Costa Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) or adjacent areas. Only state-certified non-public schools may be considered. The LEAs should contact the SELPA office to verify that a non-public school has a current state license, master contract and established rates. The SELPA is responsible for the master contract process. Each LEA is responsible for the Individual Service Agreement, which assigns IEP-authorized services.

Special Education administrators should carefully consider the credentials, staffing patterns, curriculum, instruction, and student patterns before making a selection of a Non-public School or Agency.

The primary focus of instruction is not on the core academic curriculum rather on the age, disability, or severity of the disability as described in the student's IEP. Often the curriculum offers an alternate pathway because of the needs of a student. Special education continues to provide remedial instruction in life skills areas. Assistance is provided that leads to completion of an alternate program and a high school diploma are not received in most cases.

Home and Hospital
Specialized services may be provided for students eligible for special education who have illnesses, disabling injuries, or acute health problems. Such services may include individual consultation, home or hospital instruction and other instructional methods including advanced communication technology. Students with or without IEPs who are hospitalized are the responsibility of the district where the hospital is geographically located.

The service may support progress toward completion of the requirements for the high school diploma; however, Home, Hospital and Community Based Instruction will not meet the standards completing for high school diploma.

California Code of Regulations 3042, 3051.4, 3051.17

Requirements For Changing Service Delivery
The development of pilot delivery models is encouraged, however, pilot programs should be offered on a one-year basis. The Local Plan and State law require a policy that includes procedures to change service delivery, adoption of the policy to change the type of service or program, and an Annual Service Plan that describes the services available within the SELPA. After a successful evaluation, districts operating pilot programs should submit the program description for policy adoption by individual district boards and the Governance Council. Each label should be described in a manner to define the service and provide support with guidelines for staff patterns, student patterns, curriculum, and/or instructional methodology to be provided within the structures of that class, program, or service label.

Before a change in service delivery options can be achieved, the following must be completed:
Site delivery planning must occur to determine what flexibility in service delivery is needed to improve services to all students. Planning must include parents, representatives of unions, and others to be impacted by the change.
Site delivery planning needs principal approval, staff allocation, and faculty and community acceptance. The school based plan must include a description of an Instructional Support Program or services to be provided.
Job descriptions must be in place and employees hired under those job descriptions to provide the new program or service.
School Based Plans must include descriptions of the new program or service.
IEPs must identify the program or services being provided.
The Governance Council must revise policy to include any modification of any service delivery in use after the "pilot" is evaluated and continues beyond the first year.

 

Job Description
A job description that reflects the services to be delivered must be reviewed by unions and staff. The district board must approve the job description, which is then used for hiring and reassignment of staff that will provide the services.

References
20 USC 1412(a)(14)
34 CFR 300.156
30 EC 56058


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