Federal & State Programs
Striving to foster collaborative, instructional support systems using current best-practices to ensure compliance with Federal and State guidelines.
- Eligibility for Special Education Services
- Child Find
- Public Notice: Destruction of Special Education Records
- Special Olympics
- Texas Transition and Employment Guide
- Procedural Safeguards
- McKinney Vento
For a student to meet criteria for special education services, he or she must meet one of the following eligibilities set forth by the state of Texas:
A student who qualifies for special education services as a student with an auditory impairment may meet criteria for either deafness or for a hearing impairment. Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects the child’s educational performance. Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.
Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Students who are diagnosed with a pervasive developmental delay (PDD) may meet criteria for special education services under the eligibility of autism. The term does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.
Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Emotional disturbance describes a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
- An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
- Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
- A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.
Intellectual Disability means significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment, etc), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education based on one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.
Noncategorical Early Childhood
The disability category noncategorical early childhood (NCEC) may be used for children ages three through five who are suspected of meeting criteria for autism, emotional disturbance, learning disability, or mental retardation.
Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc), and impairments from other causes (e.g. cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
Other Health Impairment
Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:
- Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia, and
- Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Specific Learning Disability
Specific learning disability is defined as follows:
- The term means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia
- The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Visual impairment including blindness means impairment in vision that even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Special Education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings, and instruction in physical education. (20 U.S.C. 1401(25); 34 CFR 300.26 OVERVIEW OF SPECIAL EDUCATION INSTRUCTIONAL OPTIONS)
In the Stafford Municipal School District, numerous instructional options are available under the direction of the Federal Programs Department to meet the needs of students with disabilities.
Inclusion support is offered in designated academic areas. Inclusion support consists of a special education teacher and/or paraprofessional consulting with the general education teacher to assist in the implementation of individualized education programs and/or modifications within the general education classroom. Based on the needs of the student, this support may be indirect, through consultation with the general education teacher, and/or direct, with the teacher or paraprofessional working directly with the student in the classroom.
Often students who require inclusion support have demonstrated difficulty with organization, motivation, attention, and basic study skills. Inclusion support provides the ongoing support that these students require to be successful, while allowing them to benefit from participation in the general education curriculum. Supplementary aids and services or assistive technology devices or services may be made available for the special needs learner in the general setting, according to the IEP.
Content mastery assistance may be offered as deemed necessary by an ARD commitee. Content mastery is a service delivery model that supports students assigned to general education classes. In this program, students utilize the content mastery typically for test adaptations such as small group administration and oral administration.
Itinerant Teacher Services
An itinerant teacher provides both direct and/or indirect services for students with disabilities by providing consultation to school personnel, training for families, and direct instruction when required for teaching unique skills. Students with visual or auditory impairments may receive services of itinerant teachers who are specially trained.
Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD)
This program is for eligible students’ ages 3 through 5, who have been determined by the ARD/IEP committee to require early academic intervention. Students three and four years of age by September 1st are in a half-day program unless otherwise recommended by an individual student’s ARD/IEP committee. Students five years of age by September 1st are in a full-day program unless otherwise recommended by an individual student’s ARD/IEP committee.
Speech/language therapy is provided for the intervention or correction of communication disorders of articulation, language, fluency, and voice. It is provided for eligible students whose communication skills adversely affect their developmental and/or academic skills. The program is conducted in individual or group therapy sessions. Some services may be provided through consultation or collaboration with the student’s general and/or special education teacher(s).
Resource is a ‘pullout’ service delivery model offered in the student’s area of educational need. Students placed in resource classes are working on specific individualized and measurable educational goals and objectives developed by the ARD/IEP committee. Usually students in these classes are unable to successfully participate in general education curriculum at grade level due to severe learning difficulties. Resource classes allow these students to progress through the curriculum at their own level and pace with specialized instruction.
Behavior Support Services Program
The Behavior Support Services Program provides a continuum of services for students identified with emotional and behavioral difficulties. Students in need of these services are identified through a child-centered process and the appropriate services are determined by an ARD committee. An individual education plan (IEP) is developed by the ARD committee and appropriate behavioral and academic supports are identified that will enable the student to experience success.
Life Skills Classes
LIFE (Learning in Functional Environments) Skills classes are designed for those students who would benefit from instruction in functional academics in a structured, consistent, small group setting with emphasis on self-help, communication and motor development. LIFE Skills classes are designed to provide students with disabilities the concepts and skills necessary to perform meaningful activities in a variety of domestic, vocational, recreational, and community environments.
The Homebound Instructional Arrangement/Setting can be provided for any eligible General or Special Education student who is expected to be confined at home or hospital and unable to attend a classroom program for a minimum of four weeks due to a serious illness, injury, surgery, pregnancy complications, childbirth or certain other medical conditions as documented by a physician licensed to practice in the United States. The weeks need not be consecutive. In making eligibility and placement decisions the ARD committee must consider the physician’s information, but it is not the sole determining factor in the committee’s decision making process.
Regional Day School Program for the Deaf
In conjunction with other area school districts, Stafford MSD participates in a shared services arrangement (SSA) regional day school program for deaf and hearing-impaired children. The District is a member of the Brazoria-Fort Bend County Cooperative.
Dyslexia services are offered for student’s identified with dyslexia, either through special education or through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The dyslexia instructional program utilizes individualized, intensive, multisensory methods that contain reading, writing, and spelling components.
The purpose of Child Find is to locate, identify and evaluate children from birth to 21 years of age with disabilities and their possible need for special education and related services. Child Find is a free referral and information service available through local education agencies and Region 4.
Children learn at different rates but some children have significant difficulty in one or more of the following areas: social interaction, play, speech and language, vision, hearing, attention, behavior, or coordinating movements. We’re here to help you access services to meet the unique learning needs of your child. If you are concerned that your child may be learning, playing or interacting differently from others, please call or email Dr. Margaret Patton, Director of Federal & State Programs, at 281-261-9251 or email@example.com
In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 139 (SB 139), which requires Texas local education agencies (LEAs) to distribute the attached notice to parents:
This notice contains the following information:
Changes made from 2016 to 2017 in reporting requirements for LEAs regarding special education enrollment in the Performance Based Monitoring Analysis System,
The rights of a child regarding the provision of special education services under both state and federal law,
The process and procedures for initiating a referral for evaluation for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and TEC Sec. 29.004, and
- Where to find local policies and procedures related to initiating a referral for evaluation under IDEA.
In accordance with Federal and State regulations, Stafford MSD is giving notice of intent to destroy the special education records of students who graduated and/or ended services prior to the 2006-2007 school year. With proof of identity, the parent, guardian, or adult student may request student files between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at
Stafford MSD Federal and State Programs Office
Stafford Primary School
1625 Staffordshire Road
Stafford, TX 77479
These records may be needed for social security benefit applications or other purposes.
Five year old special education files not requested by November, will be destroyed in December of each year.
A notice will be published in the local newspaper in October of each year, making a public notice of this procedure.
SMSD has 10 business days to release records after the request has been submitted and/or the consent for records has been signed.
If you have any questions concerning this process, please call the Federal and State Programs Office at 281-261-9251.
Non-Profit Private Schools and Home Schoolers
In an effort to appropriately serve students residing in our district we are hosting a consultation meeting. Non-profit private schools and home schoolers who legally qualify as non-profit are invited to meet with district representatives to learn more about federally funded services available for eligible residents of our districts.
Eligibility for participation in Special Olympics is limited to persons who have an intellectual disability or who have related developmental disabilities that cause functional limitations both in general learning and in adaptive skills such as recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self-care. People with functional limitations based solely on a physical, behavioral, emotional, specific learning disability, or sensory disability are not eligible. Students ages 6 and older are eligible to participate in Special Olympics. However, only children who are ages 8 and older are eligible for competition. Students who are no longer eligible for special education services within the Stafford Municipal School District are no longer eligible for participation within the Stafford MSD Special Olympics program.
- Bowling: October - February
- Track & Field: February - May
The purpose of the procedural safeguards notice is to inform parents completely about the procedural safeguards available under IDEA. These represent their rights as parents and the protections they have—and their child as well—under the Individuals with Disabilities Act 2004 (IDEA) and its implementing regulations.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, recently reauthorized under Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and subsequently referred to as the McKinney-Vento Act, is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and education stability for homeless children and youth. The term “homeless children and youth” refers to individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason. However, because the circumstances of homelessness vary with each family or unaccompanied youth, determining the extent to which the family or youth fits the definition must occur on a case-by-case basis.
Stafford MSD offers services to homeless, unaccompanied, and foster students and their families in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act that best address students' educational needs and ensure their academic success.
The education provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act ensure Homeless Educational Rights and Protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. For those who are eligible these rights include the ability to continue to attend the last school you were enrolled, transportation to school of origin, enrollment in the breakfast/lunch program and contact with the district homeless liaison.
• Collaboration between students, families and community agencies
• Coordinated transportation for eligible students to school of origin
• Free breakfast and lunch
• Basic school supplies
If you or your student(s) meet eligibility requirements, please review and/or print the McKinney-Vento application. Printed blank applications are also available at each campus. An application must be completed and submitted each year by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.