Special education means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. Services are available to meet the needs of all students with disabilities in district who are eligible and need special education and related services in order to benefit from their educational program.

Services are provided in the Least Restrictive Environment. Educating your child in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) means that your child will be educated with non-disabled peers, “ to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children who are not disabled, and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

ESS staff standing together and smiling in front of the new adaptive playground.

Itinerant Instruction

Students who require minimal services may benefit from Itinerant Instruction. This level of service provides the student with intermittent instruction, consultation, and/or materials provided by district-wide special education teachers. 


Emily Meschter Early Learning Center’s special needs program is for children three to five years old whom we have assessed to have a special education need.

During the preschool day, the children participate in a rich variety of activities where they experience many opportunities for learning. Each day the children participate in circle time, small group activities, independent activity time, movement activities, and snack.

Resource Instruction

Eligible students may receive resource instruction in a separate classroom for part of their school day. This level of service supplements or replaces regular class instruction depending on the student's needs. Resource teachers typically work with students on skill deficits in core subjects, and provide individual or small group instruction as determined by the IEP.

Intensive Resource Classrooms

Students with needs that cannot be met by resource level services receive instruction in a self-contained classroom for the majority of the school day. The class size and environment provide the support needed to ensure educational success.

Private Placement (Sierra School and Emotional Disabilities Public Program)

Students whose IEP needs exceed those of a self-contained program may need the support of private placement.

Extended School Year (ESY)

Extended School Year (ESY) is special education and/or related services that are provided beyond the normal school year. These services are distinct from enrichment programs, summer school programs, and compensatory services. 

ESY services are provided to a student when the educational benefits gained during the regular school year are significantly jeopardized by a break in services.

ESY is necessary to enable a student to benefit from instruction received during the regular school year when the lack of ESY services would thwart the goal of maintaining the meaningful progress maintained during the regular school year.

ESY services are a result of an individual determination of the IEP team and focus on critical skills and are not based upon category of disability.

While the need for ESY services is the exception rather than the rule, it is the responsibility of the IEP team to consider the need for ESY for every student.

The team must make their determination 45 calendar days before the end of the school year. The team must also plan what data will assist them in the determination and document it on the child’s IEP.

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