We advocate for all scholars in our community, including scholars with disabilities. We will work as an IEP team to ensure that you have all the support you need to be successful in your academic, social/emotional, communication, and behavioral endeavors. We support scholars across a wide range of disabilities, and can help you to reach your potential.
Alpha believes in Inclusion, and structures services and supports in a way that maximizes a scholar’s time in General Education to the greatest extent possible, depending on their individual needs. Our special education programs are tailored to the specific needs of each school site. Some examples of our services and supports across the network are: co-teaching, inclusion push-in, pull out academic support, Academic Support Class, Academic Intervention Class, Resource Classes, and Therapeutic Learning Class.
Referrals for assessment for special education services can come from a variety of sources. Parents or guardians may refer their child for assessment for special education services. Teachers, other school personnel, and community members may also refer a child for assessment. Additionally, the Special Education team at your student’s school site may refer your child for assessment for special education services.
If you’d like to make a special education referral for your choice, send a letter to the main office that includes your child’s name, date, and your concerns. Our Special Education department will then follow up with 15 days to set up a time to meet with you and discuss your concerns.
Alpha Public Schools will respond to any referral for an assessment within fifteen (15) days, not counting school vacations greater than five (5) days (i.e. summer and winter recess), of the receipt of the referral for assessment.
Alpha personnel review all of the available evidence for a student upon receipt of the referral for assessment which includes student grades, attendance, academic performance as measured by statewide and district-wide assessments, and other information as appropriate. A school psychologist determines whether or not an assessment is appropriate after an analysis of student information.
If the Alpha Special Education department determines that an assessment of your child is not appropriate, you will receive a written notice of this decision within the fifteen (15) day time period. If the team determines that an assessment is appropriate, you will receive a plan that describes the types and purposes of the assessments which may be used to determine your child’s eligibility for special education services and hold an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting.
An assessment involves gathering information about your child to determine whether your child has a disability and if, as a result of the disability, your child requires specialized academic instruction. Assessments may include individual testing, observation of the child at school, interviews with the parent(s), child and school personnel who work with the child, and review of school records, reports and work samples.
Eligibility for special education services is the result of following a systematic process that carefully evaluates and identifies one or more learning impairments that interfere with a student receiving educational benefit. Our Special Education department determines eligibility through a process that aims to answer the following questions.
Children who have a disability and meet specific eligibility criteria according to the laws and regulations outlined by the California Education Code and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may qualify for special education under one of thirteen (13) areas.
After your child has been assessed, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting will be held. The IEP meeting must be held at a time and place convenient for both you and the school’s representatives. The school must provide you with written notice of the IEP meeting within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. This notice will include: the date, time, and place of the meeting; the reason for the meeting; who will be at the meeting; and a statement of the right of participants to electronically record the meeting. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may call the school to reschedule.
At this meeting, the IEP team will discuss the assessment results and determine if your child is eligible for special education services. If your child is eligible, an IEP will also be developed during the meeting.
An IEP is the written plan that describes a child’s abilities and needs, and the goals, accommodations/modifications, and services designed to meet the child’s unique needs. Your child’s IEP must be reviewed and, if necessary, revised once a year or more often upon request. If your child is found to be eligible for special education services, the IEP will contain:
You will receive a copy of the IEP at or shortly after the IEP meeting. If you do not attend the IEP meeting, a copy will be mailed to you. You have the right to agree or disagree with any part of the IEP but a signature from the parent/guardian is required in order for a student to receive special education services.
After your child qualifies for and begins receiving special education services, his or her IEP will be reviewed in an IEP meeting at least once a year to determine how well it is meeting his or her needs. In addition, every three years, your child will be reassessed and his or her IEP reviewed as part of an overall comprehensive reevaluation of your child’s progress.
It is important for parents to maintain regular contact with the educational professionals who work with their child. Also, in preparation for an annual review or reevaluation, parents should prepare by reviewing past IEPs and student records. The case manager should send home any assessment results as well as a draft IEP for you to review prior to the meeting. As the parent is typically the only team member who sees the child at home, your input is critical in assessing student progress and achievement.
If there are concerns that your child’s educational needs are not being met, either you or school personnel may request a reassessment or an IEP meeting to review the IEP at any time during the year. You may request an IEP meeting by sending a written request to the school. Once your request is received, the meeting must be held within thirty (30) days, not counting school vacations greater than five (5). You may request a reassessment by sending a written request to the school. The school must get your permission before it reassesses your child.
Alpha also provides any related service that is listed on the IEP; eligibility for these services are determined through the Initial Evaluation, a Triennial Review, or as a singular assessment for the specific area. If you believe your child requires any of these related services, you should bring this concern to your child’s Special Education Teacher. Examples of related services are:
"A few months after entering his first year at Cornerstone in 4th grade, our son was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Our family was devastated. However, with the help of the teacher and principal, we were able to help him cope with his symptoms such as vocal and motor tics that affect his learning and focus. We received so much support from his teachers, who were updating us on his progress and new symptoms. They created an environment that was accepting of his conditions. As a result, our son felt a sense of belonging, which in turn reduced his tics symptoms. Thanks to this nurturing environment, he is able to recognize his potential and not let Tourette’s Syndrome define him."
“My daughter is a special needs student. They diagnosed her with impulsive conduct and learning disability in reading and mathematics. But through the efforts of all the IEP team and doctors and the passions of the teachers of Cornerstone, my daughter has growth so much. I cannot imagine how much losing Cornerstone would hurt the progress she has made in the last few years. If you renew our charter, you will continue to provide my daughter and many like her an amazing opportunity for their future.”
“My twin daughters have attended Cornerstone since Kindergarten. My daughters were 8 weeks premature and spent weeks in the NICU. During that time I made them a promise – never to let them down. When searching for schools we walked into the Cornerstone office and were so impressed by the office staff and signed up for the waitlist right away and we were so happy when we were selected through the lottery. Every single one of my daughters teachers has helped my daughters become the amazing young ladies and wonderful 6th grade scholars they are today.”
Watch the full video and hear more of what Alpha parents are saying.
Senior Director of Special Education