Do you know of a child who may have a disability and/or may be eligible for special education?

Massachusetts Special Education Law, formerly known as Chapter 766 and the federal special education laws, IDEA-2004, mandated identification programs that find and evaluate children requiring special education from age three through twenty-one up to his/her twenty-second birthday. If the child has a disability and requires specially-designed instruction known as special education in order to make effective progress in the general education curriculum, then the child may receive special education services.

In Massachusetts, a student with disabilities may be identified as a child in need of special education because of a disability in one of the following categories:

  • Autism
  • Communication
  • Developmental Delay (ages 3-9)
  • Emotional
  • Health
  • Intellectual
  • Neurological
  • Physical
  • Sensory Impairment due to hearing, vision, and/or deaf-blind
  • Specific Learning

The student must also be unable to make effective progress in general education curriculum without specially-designed instruction known as special education.

Identifying a student as disabled takes place only after the student is evaluated with written parental permission. The Spencer-East Brookfield Regional Schools’ special education evaluation Team may determine that the student is disabled. The Team may find that the child is not making effective progress in school as a result of a disability. Then the Team including the parent develops the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and agrees to a special education placement that meets the student's educational needs in the least restrictive environment.

For the past decade, the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional Schools have been including students with disabilities in the general education classroom to insure the students have increased access to the general education curriculum. The goal of the school system has been to include students with disabilities in their neighborhood Spencer-East Brookfield Regional Schools.

The research and literature on the best inclusionary practice compiled over the past twenty years overwhelmingly supports including students with disabilities with their non-disabled age-appropriate peers.

General education and special education teachers in the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District are co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing students' progress in the general education curriculum. In this process, the staff-student ratio is improved, and most importantly the Spencer-East Brookfield School District demonstrates its commitment to each student's educational needs and civil rights.

When a student with a disability is experiencing extreme difficulty in school and is not making effective progress in the general curriculum, the school system may find an appropriate placement in a collaborative program, day placement, and/or residential placement. The Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District works cooperatively with various community agencies toward the achievement of an appropriate placement for each student with a focus on the least restrictive environment.

If you suspect that a child may have a disability and may require special education in order to make effective progress in the general education, please have the child's parent and/or legal guardian contact the Director of Student Services or the team chairperson of his/her school.