Special Education & Student Support Services

Contact us:

Wanda Rivera Rosado, Director of Student Support Services

Phone - 978-323-0800 x. 121/ Email – wrosado@lccps.org 

Natacha Ramirez-Estrella, Administrative Assistant for Student Support Services

Phone - 978-323-0800 x. 122/ Email- nestrella@lccps.org 

The following underlying assumptions guide the organization and provision of special education at LCCPS.

Special education is a service that should be brought to the students in the typical environments in which they would be educated if they did not have a disability.

Students with disabilities should have exposure to the rich curricular, instructional and social opportunities of the general education system.

Students with disabilities should be held to the rigorous academic standards.

Accountability for meaningful progress is a commitment that our staff take seriously.

Families are essential partners in making educational decisions for students.

Special Education:

Lowell Community Charter Public School (LCCPS) Special Education programs are committed to the educational success of students who have disabilities. We are fortunate to have on staff a licensed Psychologist, full time counseling staff, Speech and Language Pathologists, an Occupational and Physical Therapist in addition to Special Education Teachers and Paraprofessionals. The Department also uses a variety of consultants when necessary:  Board Certified Behavioral Analyst,  Assistive Technology Consultant, and a Social Learning Consultant. 

Our goal in Special Education is for the students to have as much exposure to the general curriculum as possible therefore we carefully coordinate with the general education program. Students receive a full range of appropriate services, both in the general education setting and in pull out small groups or individual instruction.  This system of inclusive education is dependent upon strong working relationships between general and special education and full support from all administrators. 

Inclusion is the belief that everyone belongs and everyone benefits. This educational model requires schools to meet the needs of all students by educating learners with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers.  It is based on the belief that all children can learn together in the same schools and classrooms with appropriate supports. The environment necessary to nurture and foster inclusion is built upon a shared belief system between general and special education, and a willingness to merge the talents and resources of teachers and support staff.

Related Services are defined as developmental, corrective and other support services required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from instruction. Based upon a student's Individualized Educational Program (IEP), related support services may be provided. Some examples of Related Services are;  Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision and/or Hearing Therapy.

A student's related services may change from pre-school to school-age, as children's needs change as they get older. Related services may be the only special education service given to a child, or they may be provided along with other special education services such as special class services. Related services are intended to assist the student to: meet the objectives of his or her instructional program; be involved in the general education curriculum; experience success in his or her classroom setting; and be educated with non-disabled peers.

Transition Services, as mandated under the Individuals with Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) 2004, include a coordinated set of activities for a child (age 14+) with a disability that:

  1. is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation;
  2. is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences and interests; and
  3. includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Students who demonstrate a documented disability that substantially limits one or more of life's major activities and requires reasonable accommodations may be eligible for a 504 Plan. A request for referral for a 504 evaluation to determine eligibility and/or documentation of an existing disability should be forwarded to your child's school teacher, counselor , child study team or student support services office.

Child Study Team: The LCCPS Child Study Team is a group of classroom teachers, special education staff, counselors, specials teachers and interventionists who come together on a weekly basis to discuss students in our school and how we can better support them.  Any staff member can initiate a CST referral which then goes through a series of meetings to get the students the support that they need.  The team uses a data driven approach to make decisions as to what interventions are needed for the student. Interventions are put into place and then follow up meetings are scheduled to discuss the success of the interventions.  Students may be referred for further testing based on the results of the interventions.

What is a Disability?  A disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.

Autism 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 engaging in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses

Deafness: A hearing impairment so severe that a child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Developmental Delay: For children from birth to age three and children from ages three through nine- the term developmental delay, means a delay in one or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication; social or emotional development; or adaptive [behavioral] development.

Emotional Disturbance: As defined under federal law at 34 CFR §300.7, the student exhibits one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects 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; or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The determination of disability shall not be made solely because the student's behavior violates the school's discipline code, because the student is involved with a state court or social service agency, or because the student is socially maladjusted, unless the Team determines that the student has a serious emotional disturbance.

Hearing Impairment: An impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of “deafness.”

Intellectual Disability Significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently [at the same time] with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Multiple Disabilities Concomitant [simultaneous] impairments (such as intellectual disability-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic Impairment A severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g.,cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).

Health Impairment Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a 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, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and

--adversely affects a child’s educational performance. 

Specific Learning Disability 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 the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions 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 intellectual disability; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. 

Speech or Language Impairment/ Communication A communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. 

Neurological Impairment The capacity of the nervous system is limited or impaired with difficulties exhibited in one or more of the following areas: the use of memory, the control and use of cognitive functioning, sensory and motor skills, speech, language, organizational skills, information processing, affect, social skills, or basic life functions. The term includes students who have received a traumatic brain injury.

Visual Impairment Including Blindness An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. 

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education:  http://fcsn.org/parents-guide

Federation for Children with Special Needs:  http://fcsn.org/

Special Education Parent Advisory Council:  http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/pac/default.html

Parent Information and Training Series:

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education:  http://fcsn.org/parents-guide

Federation for Children with Special Needs:  http://fcsn.org/

Special Education Parent Advisory Council:  http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/pac/default.html