No student may receive special education and related services without being determined eligible for services, and thus the evaluation process and IEP development precedes a special education placement. When a student has been evaluated and the evaluation team and parent have determined student eligibility and the need for special education and related services, programming decisions must occur. Placement decisions are made on the basis of information generated through the evaluation and IEP processes, with consideration of the student’s least restrictive environment (LRE), the consideration of placement options that provides a reasonably high probability of assisting the student to attain annual goals, and consideration of any potential harmful effect on the student or on the quality of the services which he or she requires.
When program decisions are addressed by the IEP team, proper consideration must be given to the LRE. Within the educational setting, the student should be placed with non-disabled students in the general educational setting to the maximum extent appropriate. Special classes, separate schools, or removal of students with disabilities from the general education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the general education classroom with use of supplementary aids and services cannot be satisfactorily achieved.
When determining a student’s least restrictive environment (LRE), team will consider:
- The educational benefits of full-time placement in a regular classroom;
- The non-academic benefits of such a placement;
- The effect the student will have on the teacher and other students in the regular classroom; and,
- The costs of placing the student in the regular classroom.
The district offers a continuum of alternative placements, including general education classes, resource room, self-contained, home-bound, and out-of-district options. A student will be educated in the school that he or she would attend if nondisabled, unless the IEP requires another arrangement. If the placement is in another building, the appropriate educational placement will be as close to the student's home as reasonably possible.
Students will be provided supplementary aides and services that are appropriate and necessary for participation in nonacademic and extracurricular activities with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate. Participation in nonacademic settings and any supplementary aids will be determined by the IEP team. Nonacademic settings may include counseling services, athletics, transportation, health services, special interest groups and clubs, etc.
The district will also make opportunities available for students eligible for special education to participate with non-disabled students in the district’s art, music, industrial arts, computer, family consumer science, and other general education elective classes.
*See the Special Education Terms & Definitions page for more information.