The Lincoln Public Schools has a notably strong commitment to quality education and opportunities for all students including children with disabilities. Maintaining a belief that all students should be included to the maximum extent appropriate in the general education classroom and the life of the school, the Lincoln Public Schools subscribe to the educational philosophy of inclusion. This is based on the principle that all children can learn together with appropriate supports.
The Massachusetts Special Education Regulations require that schools "ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with students who do not have disabilities, and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of students with special needs from the general education program occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in general education classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily."
Special education faculty and staff work in collaborative partnerships with general educators to effectively meet each child's needs. Through the development and implementation of individualized educational programs (IEPs), the Lincoln Public Schools makes a full range of special education services available to eligible students.
Special education services are delivered by highly qualified faculty who collectively possess a comprehensive repertoire of knowledge, experience and skills. The staff includes special education teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, social workers, school psychologists, and tutors. All are appropriately licensed and are trained in research-based, instructional strategies and specially designed curriculum.
Individualized, student-centered special education services are cooperatively developed by an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes parents, general education and special education teachers, administrators, and, when appropriate, other specialists. These teams make every effort to provide appropriate special education services to children in a setting as close to the general classroom as possible. When students require services beyond the capacities of the Lincoln school community and staff, the district hires consultants and experts to collaborate with the schools or seeks special education placement out of the district. The district offers a broad range of options, from consultation in the general education classroom to a residential school placement, progresses from inclusive to segregated and is commonly referred to as the "continuum of services" in the field of special education. The graphic on page 6 illustrates this concept in a visual manner.
A school-based team of professionals who examine formal, informal and curriculum-based assessment data determines eligibility for special education. Eligibility for special education is based on the presence of a disability that results in the student not making effective progress as well as need for specially designed instruction. The Massachusetts disability categories are included on page 37. Specially designed instruction may include content, methodology or performance assessment that is different from what is available through general education. Not all students who are referred to special education reach the rigorous eligibility criteria. When this occurs, the general education faculty monitors the students and supports are put in place through general education to meet their social, emotional and academic needs.
At other times, students who are not eligible for special education but otherwise have a disability that requires classroom accommodations. These children may fulfill the eligibility criteria for having a Section 504 Accommodation Plan. These children have an impairment that substantially limits one or more life activity (including learning). This plan is written to assure that the students will be provided with the appropriate adaptations to prevent discrimination on the basis of their disability. For example, a student with attention deficits may need frequent prompting to attend and breaks from classroom work. However, this student does not require specialized curriculum content, instruction that varies from what is provided by general educators, or alternative assessment.
On the occasion when the Lincoln schools cannot meet a student's needs within our programs, the child's IEP may be written for placement in a state-approved collaborative program or a Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (MAAPs) special education school outside of the district. A private school directory is available at the following website: http://www.spedschools.com/.
Sometimes, students with disabilities make such substantial gains that they are exited from special education. When this happens, the student no longer shows evidence of the disability, is making effective progress, and/or no longer requires specially designed instruction provided by a special educator. This determination is made by the IEP team in collaboration with the parents following a review of the student's current performance data.
Administrator for Student Services
Coordinator for Student Services
Lincoln School K-8
Coordinator for Student Services
HPS & HMS