Exceptional Student Education (Special Education)
Compliance and Staffing
The Compliance and Staffing department assists the General Director of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) in the provision of services to students with disabilities and their families, and to school and district staff, to ensure that district processes, procedures and policies align with all federal laws and regulations, Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules.
What is Compliance?
The Compliance department offers information and support to parents and school/district staff regarding policies, procedures and laws that are applicable for students with disabilities who receive services and supports via an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). In addition, Compliance also offers support to parents in understanding the Part B Procedural Safeguards for Students with Disabilities, and in accessing the formal dispute resolution processes in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
What is Staffing?
The Staffing department is made up of Staffing Coordinators and Specialists who are responsible for scheduling and conducting eligibility staffings and IEP meetings, interpreting programs and placements to parents, assisting with District, State, and Federal record reviews, and monitoring the District’s compliance with rules and regulations that support students with disabilities and their families.
Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS)
The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services administers programs for students with disabilities.
Florida Statues and State Board of Education Rules
Florida Statues and State Board of Education rules pertaining to Exceptional Student Education.
Policies and Procedures (SP&P)
Hillsborough County Exceptional Student Education Policies and Procedures: Special Programs & Procedures (SP&P) approved by the Florida Department of Education.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is committed to improving results and outcomes for people with disabilities of all ages.
Office of Special Education Programs
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.
Office of Civil Rights
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.
Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
In Florida, children who have special learning needs because of a disability are called exceptional students and the support that they are given at school is called exceptional student education, or ESE. ESE services are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of each child and provide them with the assistance they need to progress in school and prepare them for a life after school.
Once a child has been found eligible to receive ESE services, an IEP team meeting is held and an individualized, written plan that describes the child and the services needed is developed. The child’s parents are part of the IEP team as well as other school personnel.
- What is Exceptional Student Education for Children with Disabilities?
- A Parent's Introduction to Exceptional Student Education in Florida
- Evaluations for Special Education Services: Information for Parents
- Getting Ready for Your Student’s Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Meeting
- Developing Quality Individual Educational Plans
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a Federal law that provides protection for children with disabilities. It requires schools to provide parents of a child with a disability a notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under Part B of the IDEA and the U.S. Department of Education Federal Regulations.
A copy of this notice, Part B Notice of Procedural Safeguards for Parents of Students with Disabilities, is given to parents at least one time per school year, and a copy also to parents:
- upon initial referral for evaluation or upon parent request for an evaluation;
- in accordance with the discipline procedures when a change in placement occurs;
- upon receipt of the first State complaint in a school year;
- upon receipt of the first request for a due process hearing in a school year;
- upon the school district superintendent's recommendation to the commissioner of education that an extraordinary exemption for a given state assessment administration window be granted or denied; and
- upon parent request to receive a copy.
Florida Statutes and State Board of Education defines a surrogate parent as an individual appointed to act in the place of a parent in safeguarding a student’s rights in the exceptional education decision-making process, when the student’s parent, after reasonable efforts, cannot be located by the school district, the student is a ward of the state under State law, or the student is an unaccompanied homeless youth.
NOTE: For students living in residential facilities, group homes or foster homes, district personnel must determine if the biological or adoptive parent (or guardian) is available, and if a court has not prohibited the biological or adoptive parent’s (or guardian’s) right to have contact with and make educational decisions for the child, then biological or adoptive parent (or guardian) continues to represent the child in educational decisions.
Rights of the Surrogate Parent
A person appointed as a surrogate parent is entitled to all of the procedural safeguards afforded to a parent with respect to the identification, evaluation, and placement of an exceptional student with a disability or a student who is suspected of being an exceptional student with a disability.
Family Educational Protection Rights (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, such as report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records and class schedules. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's educational records, but once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a school beyond the high school level, he or she becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA transfer to the student.