Director of Student Services: Rebecca Johnson
The Student Services Department manages all aspects of the Reading Community City School District's Special Education, Section 504, Gifted Education, English Learners, Early Childhood, Homeless Supports, Student Health Services, and Student Intervention.
The Reading Community City School District seeks to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with a disability, from infants to age 21, based upon IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) eligibility, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services. Students are identified, located, and evaluated in accordance with all federal regulations and state guidelines. This includes children attending private or parochial schools whose parents reside within the Reading Community City School District enrollment area.
For children, birth through age two, a disability means that a child has a deficit in one or more of the following areas: behavior, cognition, communication, physical development, sensory development, or social/emotional development. For children ages three through five years of age, a disability means the child has a documented deficit in one or more of the following areas: communication skills, hearing abilities, motor functioning, cognition, social-emotional/behavior functioning, or vision abilities.
For school-age students, a disability means a student having one or more disabilities such as autism, impairments related to hearing (deafness or hearing impaired), vision (blindess or visually impaired), orthopedic impairment, emotional/behavior impairment, specific learning disability, traumatic brain injury, or speech and language impairment.
Additionally, it is the intent of the district to ensure that students who are disabled within the definition of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are evaluated, identified, and served. Section 504 disabilities are mental or physical impairments, or a history of such impairments, that “substantially limit one or more major life activities.”
If you know of a child with a suspected disability, please contact the Director of Student Services at Reading Community City Schools, 1301 Bonnell Avenue, Reading Ohio, 45215, 513-842-5105.
Students with a Disability
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Public Law No. 94-142 (IDEA), is legislation that ensures students with a disability are provided a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that is tailored to their individual needs. The goal of IDEA is to provide children with disabilities the same opportunity for education as those students who do not have a disability.
Reading Community City Schools offers a continuum of services to students with a disability. Students are instructed in the educational setting that best meets their needs and in the least restrictive environment. Special education supports and services are implemented based on the needs identified in the Evaluation Team Report (ETR) and the goals, objectives, and specially designed instruction outlined in the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a component of the U.S. Department of Education, enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended (Section 504). Section 504 is a civil rights statute which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. OCR also enforces Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), which extends this prohibition against discrimination to the full range of state and local government services, programs, and activities (including public schools) regardless of whether they receive any Federal financial assistance.
Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Title II prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by state and local governments. Section 504 and the ADA are antidiscrimination laws and do not provide any type of funding.
To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment. Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (Office of Civil Rights)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a federal anti-discrimination law intended to create a level playing field in regular education. It was not created to give unfair advantage. Accommodations must apply only to the named impairment.
Major life activities include: Caring for one’s self, performing a manual task, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning are the nine major life activity areas.
A record of impairment may include a history of an impairment and/or a diagnosis of assessment of an impairment.
When the district’s perception of, response to, reaction or attitude toward the student results in treating the student as having an impairment, that the student will be considered handicapped and protected under Section 504.
The Reading Community City School District follows the Ohio Department of Education’s guidelines for the identification of gifted and talented students. Students are identified as gifted through assessments or referrals. For a complete list of the District’s assessments given at each grade level as well as criteria for service, please see the District’s Gifted and Talented Handbook. Students in grades that are not screened may be referred by self, parents or staff members. Referral forms are available in each school office. The District offers a continuum of services including enrichment options to meet the needs of gifted students.
The District’s English Language Program provides small group instruction to students who need supports in language acquisition.
It is the responsibility of Reading Community Schools to ensure homeless children and youths receive the services they need.
The Homeless Liason will ensure that
- homeless children and youths are identified by school personnel through outreach and coordination with other agencies;
- homeless children and youths are enrolled in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in, school;
- homeless families, children, and youths have access to and receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start programs, early intervention services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other preschool programs administered by the LEA;
- homeless families, children, and youths receive referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health and substance abuse services, housing services, and other appropriate services;
- the parents or guardians of homeless children and youths are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children;
- the parent or guardian of a homeless child or youth, and any unaccompanied homeless youth, is fully informed of all transportation services, including transportation to the school of origin;
- unaccompanied homeless youths are enrolled in school, have opportunities to meet the same challenging State academic standards established for other students, and are informed of their status as independent students and assisted to receive verification of their status for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Reading Community Schools offers two preschool options. The Reading Head Start program is located at Central Elementary, and the Reading Preschool Program is located at Hilltop Elementary.
The Reading Headstart program is for children 3 to 5 years old that live in the Reading School District. Head Start classes prepare children to enter Kindergarten ready to learn. The program has half-day classes taught by qualified early childhood teachers. Nutritious meals and snacks are provided as a component of this comprehensive program. The program is free to families who meet income guidelines. Call 513-674-4329 to see if your child qualifies for the free early childhood program. Head Start enrollment packets are available at the Reading Central Elementary school building.
The Reading Preschool Program at Hilltop Elementary is tuition based and designed to prepare children for kindergarten while supporting growth in all areas of development. The Reading Preschool Program has an enrollment process during the spring each year.
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
When a student is not responding to instruction provided in the regular education classroom the educational team implements a problem solving process (MTSS). Team members may include the classroom teacher(s), parent, intervention specialist, a speech/language pathologist, a school psychologist, a nurse, or a counselor. The purpose of MTSS is to remediate skills deficits in order to prevent the student from requiring intensive intervention and/or special education services.
The team will:
1. Define the skill deficit in terms that can be measured by observation, work samples, common assessments or other direct measures.
2. Develop a hypothesis that guides the team members in determining the intervention needed.
3. Implement interventions and/or adaptations to address the area of concern (these may or may not include Tier 2 interventions).
4. Define the progress monitoring tool to be used and the schedule for assessing student progress.
5. Document interventions and student progress and use the data to determine if sufficient progress is being made or if changes to the intervention are needed.