The Department of Exceptional Education meets the individual needs of students ages three through twenty-one who are eligible for special education and related services according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The department assists in the assessment process for determining special education eligibility.
A full continuum of services is available, ranging from the least restrictive to more restrictive environments, depending on the specific needs of the student. The department also supports schools in ensuring students with disabilities appropriately access the Georgia Performance Standards and provides specialized instruction as determined necessary by the individualized education plan (IEP).
In collaboration with students, schools, families, and the community, the Department of Exceptional Education assists students with disabilities in increasing academic performance and enhancing post-secondary options.
wdt_ID School Name School Ph 2019-2020 LTSE Coordinator Coordinator Ph 1 Allgood 6-676-5102 Johnson, Stephanie Ms. Peggy Williams 678-676-1809 2 Arabia Mtn HS 6-875-3602 Walker, Starlin Dr. Linda Buck 678-676-1920 3 Ashford Park ES 6-676-6702 Gaudet, Joan Ms. Peggy Williams 678-676-1809 4 Austin ES 6-874-8102 Meade, Sarah Dr. Prudencia Jacobs 678-676-1809 5 Avondale ES 6-676-5202 Dixon, Denice Dr. Erin Baptiste 678-676-2069 6 Barack Obama ES 6-874-4402 Days, Sherron Ms. Peggy Williams 678-676-1809 7 Bethune MS 6-875-0302 Atkins, Meshalette Ms. Deborah Mitchell 678-676-1894 8 Bob Mathis ES 6-874-5802 Easley, Yolanda Dr. Prudencia Jacobs 678-676-1809 9 Bouie ES Theme 6-676-8202 Easley, Yolanda Dr. Prudencia Jacobs 678-676-1809 10 Briar Vista ES 6-874-5902 Bedard, Kim Ms. Rolanda Johnson 678-676-1896 School Name School Ph 2019-2020 LTSE Coordinator Coordinator Ph
Georgia Special Needs Scholarship ProgramSenate Bill 10, as signed into law on May 18, 2007, created the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program. It allows parents of students who receive special education services to choose to transfer their child to another school, public school system, state school, or authorized participating private school. As long as it is authorized in State law and funded by the Georgia General Assembly, the GSNS Program will be available.
Parents/guardians can find out more about the program by visiting the GSNS webpage at http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Policy/Pages/Special-Needs-Scholarship-Program.aspx. Scholarship amounts for the 2018-2019 school year will be available on the Georgia Department of Education web page by mid-July 2018.A student must meet the following eligibility requirements to participate in the GSNS Program during the 2018 – 2019 school year:
If a student meets the eligibility criteria for the GSNS Program, the parent(s)/guardian(s) has the right to request a transfer from a student’s current public school to:
- Student Eligibility Criteria 1: A student must have a parent/guardian who currently lives in Georgia and has been a resident for at least one calendar year.
- Student Eligibility Criteria 2: A student was enrolled and completed the 2017-18 school year in a Georgia public school in grades kindergarten through twelfth.
- Student Eligibility Criteria 3: A student was reported attending a Georgia public school by a school district(s) during mandatory student counts conducted in October 2017 and March 2018.
- Student Eligibility Criteria 4: A student does not need to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the entire school year to qualify for the GSNS Program. A student must have received special education services at some point during the 2017-2019 school year through an IEP. A student must be reported by a school district(s) in either the October 2017 OR March 2018 student counts OR in final student record as a student receiving special education services by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
Yes, students who meet the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship eligibility criteria in law, now have greater public choice options available to them. Parent(s)/guardian(s) may request a public school within or outside their local school system.
- Another public school within their school system; or
- Another public school outside their school system; or
- One of the three State schools for the blind or deaf; or
- A private school authorized to participate in the GSNS Program.
The authority to allow or deny transfer requests belongs to a school system. School systems can create their own forms and set deadlines for transfer requests. Parents/guardians must contact a school system directly regarding the process the school system uses for public school transfer requests available through the GSNS Program. Many school systems have policies in place not to accept students from outside its system which is allowable through state law.Parent LetterIDEA is a federal law that requires public schools to provide all children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). If you choose to remove your child from the public school—even if the state is providing some funds for the private school— then you are refusing parental consent to services under IDEA. Therefore, a private school is not required to provide the same services required of public schools. If you decide to return your child to a public school, your child would again be entitled to all rights and services pursuant to IDEA as long as the child remains eligible to receive services through an IEP.
Alexandra Wright, Parent Mentor
Demetra Williams, Parent Mentor
(678) 676-2106Dear DeKalb County Families:
As the Interim Executive Director of Exceptional Education, I want to welcome you to the DeKalb County School District. Please know that the Exceptional Education Department is committed to providing the most appropriate educational programs for your child.
We have a dedicated team of professionals to assist you. As part of this dedicated team, I am pleased to introduce you to our Parent Mentors: Alexandra Wright and Demetra Williams. Their contact information is found on the this website and on the Parent Mentor website at http://www.parentmentors.org. Select Our Mentors, Find a Mentor and choose DeKalb County.
Parent mentors work to build effective family, school, and community partnerships that lead to greater achievement for students, especially those with disabilities. At the school, district and state levels, these partnerships are essential to the success of parent mentors and ultimately to the enhanced outcomes for students and their families.
Parent mentors partner with parents to support them in becoming more engaged in their children’s educational programs. They share information, encourage participation in IEP meetings, and help identify needed resources and services. In schools, parent mentors partner with teachers, administrators, and other school staff to integrate family engagement into school and district. They are here to help and encourage you to reach out.
Thank you in advance for your continued support and interest.
Mrs. Michele Summerlin
Interim Executive DirectorThe mission of parent mentors is to provide information, support, and encouragement to the families of children who receive special education services and to the professionals who serve them.
Who are Parents Mentors?Parents of children with disabilities, who are employed on a part-time basis by the school system.
What do Parent Mentors do?
- assist families and educators in locating information and resources
- provide workshops for parents and educators
- provide confidential support for parental concerns and questions
- provide a parent’s perspective to educators
Special Education Services and Supports: The GaDOE Division for Special Education Services and Supports includes programs and services that support local school districts in their efforts to provide special education and related services to students with disabilities.
Parents’ Rights: GaDOE webpage containing Parents’ Rights, Parents’ Rights videos (in English and Spanish), and Parent Information Fact Sheets.
Parent Information Fact Sheets: GaDOE webpage containing fact sheets on a variety of topics, from assistive technology and discipline to making sure your preschooler starts on a path towards high school graduation. These fact sheets are also available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish Vietnamese.
Parent to Parent of Georgia: Parent to Parent of Georgia offers a variety of services to Georgia families impacted by disabilities or special healthcare needs.
Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership: The Parent Mentor Partnership was founded in 2002 when six school districts partnered with the Georgia Department of Education Division for Special Education Services and Supports to hire parent mentors to infuse family engagement into school and district activities. Mentors provide information to parents of students with disabilities to assist them in navigating the special education system and in identifying activities that could help improve outcomes for their children.
Student Success: Imagine the Possibilities: The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has required that each State Educational Agency (SEA) develop a State Systemic Improvement Plan that includes a comprehensive, multi-year focus on improving results for Students with Disabilities! Each state must develop a plan that will outline the development of strategies to increase state capacity to structure and lead meaningful change in Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). While the primary focus of the plan is on improvement for Students with Disabilities, the State must also address in its SSIP how the State will use its general supervision systems to improve implementation of the requirements of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Georgia will implement a systemic plan, “Student Success,” in FY16 to improve graduation outcomes for Students with Disabilities.
Dispute Resolution: There are several ways to come to a resolution in a dispute with the district over the rights and services afforded to students with disabilities and their families. The quickest and most efficient method is to contact the Executive Director for Special Education. The Executive Director can often assist a family to work out the differences with minimal time and conflict. When a resolution cannot be worked out locally, there are processes guaranteed to families of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These include (1) formal complaints, (2) mediation and/or (3) a due process hearing.Parents RightsIEP Team Meeting Facilitation is an optional process, not required by the IDEA that state educational agencies (SEA) or school districts may provide to parents and schools. A facilitated IEP Team meeting is the same as any other IEP Team meeting, except that a facilitator joins the meeting.
What is IEP Team Meeting Facilitation?
IEP Team Meeting Facilitation is a collaborative dispute prevention and resolution process used when members of an IEP Team agree that the presence of a third party would help facilitate communication and problem solving. IEP Team Meeting Facilitation can be especially useful when there is a history of communication challenges or a meeting is expected to be particularly complex or controversial.
In a facilitated IEP Team meeting, an impartial facilitator helps to keep members of the IEP Team focused on the development of the IEP while addressing conflicts and disagreements that may arise during the meeting. At the meeting, the facilitator will use communication skills that create an environment in which the IEP Team members can listen to each member’s point of view and work together to complete the development of a high quality IEP.
To receive a copy of the student’s record, a written request with the signature of the parent(s), legal guardian(s), or student (if eighteen years or older) is needed to release records. A trained surrogate parent assigned by the special education department may also sign the request. The request should include the address and phone number of the person requesting the record. The request should be forwarded to the special education records office by mail or fax.
Special Education Records Office
East DeKalb Campus
5839 Memorial Drive
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Parent/guardian consent is not required prior to disclosing student records/information to the following:
- parent(s)/guardian(s), or eligible students
- other school officials, including teachers within the Local School System (LSS) or legally constituted cooperating agencies (e.g., psycho educational programs, regional education service agencies (RESAs), or shared services) when access has legitimate educational purposes
- in connection with a student’s application for or receipt of financial aid
- to organizations, with the written approval of the Superintendent, conducting a study on behalf of an education agency to develop, validate, or administer predictive tests, to administer student aid, or to improve instruction (information will only be available to those conducting the study with all personally-identifiable data destroyed when they are no longer needed for the purpose of the study)
- to accreditation agencies
- in compliance with a judicial order
- to authorized state or federal representatives evaluating or auditing federally supported educational programs
- to the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights
- to officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or is eligible to enroll, upon condition that the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) (1) be notified of the transfer, (2) receive a copy of the record if desired, and (3) have an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the record
- to a department of human resources (DHR), department of corrections (DOC), department of juvenile justice (DJJ), or department of labor (DOL) for the purpose of making appropriate education decisions
- for any use or purpose other than meeting a requirement under this part
Questions and AnswersParent(s), legal guardian(s), the student (if eighteen years or older), or a trained surrogate parent assigned by the special education department may obtain a copy of the student’s record at no cost.Parent(s), legal guardian(s), the student (if eighteen years or older), or a trained surrogate parent assigned by the special education department may sign the “Authorization to Release” form.Any and all records collected, maintained, and/or used in providing a free appropriate public education. This typically includes the individualized education plan (IEP), eligibility report(s), and assessment information if applicable.Special education records are maintained until the records are no longer needed for educational planning purposes (i.e., student graduates with a high school diploma, reaches maximum age, etc.) and are destroyed in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) procedures.Requests for records are usually processed within a week.
Child Find Requirements
Do you know a child who may have a disability? Can The Child Find help?
Have you heard of the Child Find mandate? It’s a legal requirement for our District to find children who have disabilities, or who may be suspected of having disabilities, and are in need of special education services.
Child Find is a federally established, comprehensive system designed to ensure that all children with a disability receive a free appropriate public education.
The DeKalb County School District maintains an active and continuing Child Find program designed to identify, locate and evaluate those children residing within the District’s boundaries who may be in need of special education and related services.Children with disabilities from birth through age 21 are covered by Child Find. These children may be enrolled in a DeKalb County school, attend a preschool, Head Start or day care center, or attend a private or parochial school located within the District’s boundaries. Children who are home schooled, highly mobile, migrant, or homeless are also covered by Child Find.The DeKalb County School District offers comprehensive special education services to eligible students ages three through 21 years. Children from birth to age three with developmental delays or disabilities will be referred to Babies Can’t Wait, Georgia’s early intervention program for infants and toddlers.A referral can be made by anyone who has a concern about a child’s development. All referrals are considered confidential and the parent retains the right to refuse to provide consent for an evaluation.
Public school services include screening in the area of suspected disabilities, such as hearing, motor skills, communication, and general development. Evaluations target the “whole child,” including learning disabilities, speech and language development, physical impairments, vision or hearing problems, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, autism/pervasive developmental disorders, traumatic brain injuries or other health problems.
We offer a full continuum of services for all eligible students enrolled in the DeKalb County School District and for those students who are home schooled or enrolled in a private or parochial school located within the District’s boundaries. Services are provided at no cost to the family.If you know of a child you suspect may have a disability, please urge his or her parents to contact:
The local school for school-aged children,
The Preschool Diagnostics Team at 678-874-6024 for three- and four-year-old children, or
The Special Education Department at 678-676-1809.
Directory Office/Programs Phone Number Mrs. Michele Summerlin
Interim, Executive Director
Exceptional Education Department
678.676.1892 Budget & Human Capital Management 678.676.1879 Dr. Karen Manahan
Coordinator III, Compliance
678.676.1817 Mrs. Kiana King
Coordinator III, Professional Learning & Specialized Instruction
678.676.2378 Dr. Darnell Logan
Coordinator III, Behavior Support
678.676.2378 Dr. Linda Buck
Coordinator II, High Schools
678.676.1920 Ms. Deborah Mitchell
Coordinator II, Middle Schools
678.676.1894 Dr. Prudencia Jacobs
Ms. Peggy Williams
Coordinator II, Elementary Schools
678.676.1809 Intellectual Disabilities 678.676.1893 Mrs. Betty Nelson
Coordinator II, Speech-Language & Related Services
678.676.2030 Dr. Erin Broyard-Baptiste
Coordinator II, Low Incidence Programs
678.676.2069 Ms. Rolanda Johnson
Coordinator II, Preschool Programs
678.676.1896 Ms. Kimberly Jones
Coordinator II, Student Records