|Georgia Special Needs Scholarship|
Under a state law passed by the Georgia State Legislature in 2007, parents of students who receive special education services may request to transfer their child to another public or private school in Georgia provided that their child has an IEP and has been enrolled for a full academic year in a Georgia public school.
Parents who are interested in transferring their child to a private school in Georgia may be able to take advantage of a Georgia Special Needs Scholarship. These scholarships provide funding that can be used to offset tuition costs at participating private schools in the state of Georgia. In order to be eligible to receive the scholarship, a student must be in attendance at an authorized private school for the Fall. There are no exceptions to this deadline. For more information on the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship and the application process, please visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website.
Parents may request a transfer to a school in another school district if there is available space and the system/school has the program with the services in the student’s existing individualized education program (IEP). However, the school district must agree to accept the student. If the parent chooses this option and the school district accepts the child, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation to a school in that district. If you are interested in your child attending a school in another system, please contact that system directly.
A parent may also request a transfer to one of the state schools for the deaf and/or blind operated by the State Board of Education. Acceptance into a state school will depend on whether the setting is appropriate for the student’s needs. If the parent chooses this option, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation to the state school. The Georgia Department of Education can be contacted for more information about transferring to a State School.
A parent can request for their child to transfer to another public school within their school district as long as there is available space at that school and the school has a program with the services that are in the student’s existing individualized education program (IEP). In addition, the specific program within the school must also have available space. If the parent chooses this option, then the parent shall be responsible for transportation. Parents who wish to consider this option must submit a request to the Gwinnett County Department of Special Education by the deadline.
Click the links below for more information.
Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Letter - April 2013
GSNS Intra-School Transfer Request Form - 2013
The Parent Mentor Program is a joint venture between GCPS and the Georgia Department of Education, which creates effective home-school partnerships that help students reach their full potential. The goal is to build a bridge between families and schools by developing understanding, respect, support, and the communication skills necessary to support a collaboration that focuses on student achievement.
All parents of students receiving special education services are invited to attend monthly “Balanced Lunch Bunch” parent support meetings. These gatherings provide the opportunity to receive information about different topics concerning students with disabilities such as Coping Strategies and Effective Communication with Educators, as well as getting acquainted with administrators and other parents.
To contact our parent mentors or find out more about the Balanced Lunch Bunch meetings, please call 678-301-7110.
The term “child find” refers to the obligation of the district, under IDEA, to ensure that all children between the ages of three and 22 are identified, located and evaluated. The term includes early intervention services for children from birth to age three (these children are actually served by Babies Can’t Wait until they reach the age of three.)
Child Find extends to current students in our district as well as pre-school children in private pre-schools and day-care centers; private school and home school students (see below); migrant and homeless children; and any other children living in our district who are suspected of having disabilities.
Private School Child Find
Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004, GCPS has developed and initiated a system of locating and identifying every disabled private school student in Gwinnett County. After the identification of such students, we develop an individualized service plan (ISP) for each disabled private school student, and spend a portion of our total proportionate share of federal funds on each such student for appropriate special education or related services. Home schooled children are considered in the same category and are also eligible for services under this provision of the law. Parentally-placed disabled children in private schools or home schooled disabled students are not entitled to a free appropriate public education; however, the district will offer, at its expense, services which are appropriate for each such student on an individual basis. Although in most instances speech services will be provided, the ISP team, including the parent, will determine the exact service to be provided. Services may be offered at the student’s private school or at one of our site-based facilities.
Gwinnett County schools host an informational meeting each spring, wherein this subject is discussed and presented in detail. However, we invite the parents of any home-schooled or privately schooled disabled student between the ages of three and twenty one to contact our department at 678-301-7110 if you would like further information on this initiative.
Special Education Citizens Advisory Council
In an effort to ensure continuous improvement, GCPS’ special education program periodically asks students, parents, and teachers how the program is meeting student needs. The result is Gwinnett’s Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Council, of which 51 percent of the membership is made up of individuals with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities. Of note is that federal law requires each state to have an advisory panel and, although not required, GCPS has brought this same concept to the local system level.
The primary function of the Citizen’s Advisory Council is to provide input on procedures, rules, and regulations, as well as ways to increase communication and parental involvement.
Special Education Curriculum and Research
In the area of curriculum research and development, the Department of Special Education and Psychological Services provides information and resources on best practices—methods, materials, interventions, and teaching strategies that make a difference for students.
Implemented during the 2004-05 school year, this Intranet-based application program helps special education staff members write Individual Education Programs (IEPs). IEP.Online is a communication tool that allows immediate access to important student information for the people involved in a student’s educational program. Built-in compliance verifications guide users on federal and state due-process requirements. In addition, the program imports data from the school system’s student information systems to offer real-time and accurate student demographic information. IEP.Online helps teachers construct timely and appropriate IEPs for Gwinnett County students.