Everyone has a unique set of strengths and preferred ways to learn.

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.

There are five (5) basic steps in the special education process:

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.

1

Referral for Assessment

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.

2

Determination of Assessment

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.

3

Assessment to Determine Eligibility

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.

  • Does the student meet the eligibility criteria as an individual with a disability?
  • Does the severity of the disability have a negative impact on the student’s academic performance?
  • Will receiving special education and services help the student achieve an equitable education?
  • Is the need not due to a lack of appropriate instruction or limited English proficiency?

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.

  • Autism (AUT)
  • Deafness
  • Deaf-Blindness (DB)
  • Emotional disturbance (ED)
  • Hard of Hearing (HH)
  • Intellectual disability
  • Multiple disabilities (MD)
  • Orthopedic Impairment (OI)
  • Other health impairment (OHI)
  • Specific learning disability (SLD)
  • Speech or Language Impairment (SLI)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Visual Impairment (VI)

4

Development and Implementation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), if eligible

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.

  • The child’s parent or guardian, and/or your representative
  • A school administrator or qualified representative who is knowledgeable about program options appropriate for your child
  • Your child’s present teacher. If a student does not presently have a teacher, a teacher with the most recent and complete knowledge of the student and who has observed the student’s educational performance will participate as an IEP team member. If a teacher with the most recent and complete knowledge of the student is not available, the teacher on the IEP team will be a special education teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age.
  • The person(s) who assessed your child or someone familiar with those assessment procedures.
  • Other persons, such as your child, whom you or the school wish to invite

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:

  • Annual goals focusing on your child’s current level of performance
  • The services that your child will receive
  • When services will begin, how often they will be provided, and for how long
  • The instructional program(s) where these services will be delivered
  • The amount of time your child will spend in general education. If your child is not educated completely in general education, it should state why
  • How the school will measure your child’s progress.

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.

5

IEP Review

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.

Related Services

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:

  • Speech Therapy
  • Adapted Physical Education
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Transition Services
  • Orientation and Mobility Instruction
  • Vision Services
  • Extended School year
  • Health and Nursing Services
  • Transportation Services

The Special Education Department

We work through the IEP Team to ensure that scholars are receiving Educational Benefit in the Least Restrictive Environmen. While our goal is to serve all scholars at Alpha, we understand that the needs of some scholars will require additional supports, programs, or placements. We work with the team to ensure that scholars have access to whatever services or placements he or she needs to make progress.
  • Education Specialists
  • School Psychologists
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Mental Health Counselor

Frequently asked questions.

At its root, Inclusion secures opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms. It ensures that general education and special education staff members are working together to provide the support necessary for each scholar to be successful in the general education setting. While full inclusion (e.g. no time outside of the general education classroom) may not be appropriate for every scholar, inclusive schools make every effort to provide scholars with disabilities as much access as possible to their non-disabled peers, and grade level content instruction.
Alpha schools belong to the El Dorado County Charter SELPA - this is a state-wide SELPA that works exclusively with Charter Schools. Even though their office is located in El Dorado County, they provide supports to schools all over the state.
Reach out to your child’s Case Manager (Special Education Teacher), who can answer any questions you have, and (if applicable) organize an IEP Meeting.
If you would like to speak to someone about your child’s needs or IEP, reach out to the school’s front office; the office will direct you to the Director of Special Education, who can answer any questions you have. If you are able, please bring in a copy of the most recent IEP.
The first step you should take is to reach out to your child’s Case Manager, and request an IEP Meeting - at this meeting, the team can discuss your concerns, and create an action plan. You can also reach out to Russell Michaud, Senior Director of Special Education, at rmichaud@alphaps.org or call (408) 497-7350

Where All Students Learn and Grow

Watch the full video and hear more of what Alpha parents are saying.

Get the knowledge & habits of leadership you need to get into college

Russ Michaud

Russ Michaud

Senior Director of Special Education