Vision Statement for Excel Academy’s Special Education Department
The primary goal of Excel Academy’s Special Education Department is to serve the unique needs of students with special needs so that each student successfully develops to their most appropriate potential. Services are provided in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and with Federal and State legal mandates. The Special Education Department uses research-based teaching methods guided by direct and frequent measures of student performance to best service our students. Excel Academy’s specialized education instructors work collaboratively with the General Educators and Education Specialists to share the responsibility for ensuring that students with identified disabilities achieve the goals stated in their individual education plans (IEPS). All students can learn when instruction is geared to their strengths and they are given sufficient tools and opportunities to learn.
Is Independent Study an appropriate placement for students with special needs?
Independent study programs are voluntary. The California Department of Education states, “The option to take courses via independent study must be continuously voluntary. EC Section 51747(c)(7); 5 CCR 11700(d)(2)(A).” Furthermore, students with IEPs cannot participate in independent study unless it is deemed an appropriate instructional placement. The CDE provides explicit rules regarding the admission of students with IEPs into independent study:
Independent study charter schools must enroll all students who meet the enrollment requirements set in their charter.
For a student who has an IEP and wants to participate in independent study, a determination as to whether independent study is appropriate must be made within thirty days and written into the IEP.
Ways Services Are Provided:
Students are provided with additional individualized academic instruction by
specialized education instructors in a virtual classroom. Elluminate is a communication tool that allows for live private and public chats in a chat box or the use of a microphone. Teachers use webcam interactions, file share documents, upload presentations and videos, and demonstrate concepts on a whiteboard or through web tours. Elluminate is a fun and interactive teaching tool.
One major difference between the traditional school setting and the virtual classroom is access to teachers by phone. Students with IEPs and 504 plans can call their specialized education instructor assigned to them during office hours and discuss issues and concerns or receive assistance with course assignments.
Email Electronic mail is another viable and expedient mode of communication in a virtual environment. It provides students and parents a means of cataloging and saving important information from all Excel Academy faculty and staff, including sending and/or receiving important documents.
The Majority of Special Education services are provided in person in public locations.
Excel Academy provides the following accommodations based on the needs of each individual student:
- Ability to access the recorded live sessions
- Simplified and additionally clarified instructions on assignments and tests
- Additional attempts to take a test or quiz with the highest grade being recorded
- Extended time for the completion of assignments, tests and quizzes
- Access to step by step breakdown of how to complete complex assignments
- Ability to re-submit assignments, tests and quizzes to receive full credit
- Shortening of assignments as long as content meets rubric guidelines
- Access to study guides for final exams
- Access to content or essay outlines, webbing strategies when appropriate
- Access to organizational and structural strategies when appropriate
- Concept Mapping
- Multi-media access (video, audio, text)