• Exceptional Education



    According to the Alabama Administrative Code, 290-8-9.08(2)(h), an education agency must retain a copy of education records for five (5) years after the termination of the special education program for which they were used. At the end of five (5) years retention period, the education agency will provide written notice to parents to inform them that the special education records are no longer needed and will be destroyed. This serves as notice that special education records for students who were terminated (graduated, transferred, not eligible, etc.) at Tarrant City Schools prior to June 30, 2008 are no longer needed by the school system and will be destroyed.  

    Exceptional Education (Special Education) Program

    The Exceptional Education Department promotes opportunities for disabled students to participate in educational activities designed to help each student achieve maximum potential.  A full range of services, meeting the needs of all identified and placed disabled students, is offered in the Tarrant City School System.   The Role of the Special Education Department is to provide supportive leadership to parents, local school and administrators and teachers in their efforts to ensure a free and appropriate public education to all students.  Special programs for children are provided in accordance with the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Amendments of 2004 and Alabama Act 106.  


    Child Find Information and Procedures:  Help Us Locate Children with Disabilities!

    What is Child Find?  Child Find is a statewide effort by the State Department and the Department of Rehabilitation Services to locate, identify, and evaluate child with disabilities from birth to age 21.

    How Does the Child Find Work?  Early Intervention and Special Education Services work closely with community service agencies, parents, and local school systems to locate children with disabilities.  Contact Tarrant City School System, Special Education Coordinator, Holly Lney at 205-849-3700 to learn more about the referral process for a child from birth to age 21.

    Why is Child Find Important?  It helps the child, the family, and the provider to plan appropriate services and link families to services for students meeting eligibility requirements in the following disability areas:

    • Autism - is a developmental disability that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction evident before age three that adversely affects educational performance.

    • Deaf-Blind - is a concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they can not be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.

    • Developmentally Delayed - a child becomes eligible for this area of disability on his/her third birthday if there is a significant delay in one or more of the following areas:  1. Adaptive development, 2. Cognitive development, 3. Communication development, 4. Social or emotional development, and/or 5. Physical development; and if the child needs special education services.

    •  Emotional Disability - means a disability characterized by behavioral or emotional responses so different from appropriate age, cultural, environmental, or ethnic norms that the educational performance is adversely affected.  Characteristics must be exhibited over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects educational performance.

    • Hearing Impairment - means impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.  This term includes both deaf and hard-of hearing.

    • Intellectual Disability - is composed of two area; mental functioning and individuals functioning skills.  Mental functioning looks at a student's cognitive ability; how they perform academically in comparison to their peers.  An individuals functioning skills refer to how well an individual performs in their environment; social abilities and independence compared to their peers.   Individuals who are diagnosed Intellectual Disability are divided into three categories based on their individual IQ: Mild, Moderate and Severe/profound.

    • Multiple Disability - means concomitant impairments (such as intellectual disability and blindness or intellectual disability and orthopedic impairment) the combination of which causes such severe education needs they can not be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.  Multiple Disabilities does not include deaf/blindness.

    • Orthopedic Impairment - means 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 of burns that caused contractures).  If a medical diagnosis is presented the medical diagnosis along is NOT enough to justify being identified in the area of orthopedic impairments.  The impairment must adversely affect the educational performance of the child.

    • Other Health Impairment - means 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 heal 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.  If a medical diagnosis is present, the medical diagnosis alone is not enough to justify being identified in the area of other health impairment.  The impairment must adversely affect the education performance of the child.

    • Specific Learning Disability - 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 the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do to mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.  Specific learning disability does not including learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities of intellectual disability, of emotional disability or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

    • Speech or Language Impairment - is characterized by a communication disorder in the area of articulation, voice, fluency, or language that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

    • Traumatic Brain Injury - means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychological impairment of both that adversely affects education performance.  The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more ares such as cognition, language memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgement, 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 brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

    • Visual Impairment - means a visual impairment that even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance.  The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

    Referral Process:  Does Your Child Need One? 

    All children are different.  They learn differently and they act differently.  Sometimes they struggle more than others in school both academically and/or socially.  It is our job as parents and teachers to determine if these differences require further investigation and/or intervention.  Anyone can make a referral!  The parent, the teacher, the counselor or anyone else who has adequate knowledge of the student.  It is important that as much information be collected on the student prior to making a referral for testing.  This data can be collected through the Problem Solving Team (PST).  The Problem Solving Team (PST) is in place at each school.  If a child is experiencing difficulty in either academics or behavior he/she is referred to the team.  The main purpose of the team is to assist the child with the skills that he/she is having difficulty with in the classroom.  There are programs in place to assist in collecting data to see if interventions are working.  The team meets regularly to review progress.    If the child is not making progress, the team will refer him/her for additional testing.  Poor grades does not always mean the child needs special education services.   

    How do we investigate a student that is struggling more than the others in school?

    • Talk to the parent/guardian

    • Talk to all the student's teachers and discuss the issues

      • Is it behavior

      • Is it lack of understanding

      • Is the child/student doing his/her part

        • Homework

        • Participation in class, asking for help

      • Review Standardized Test Scores and other school data from previous years

      • Involve PST


    Who is able to make a referral?    A referral can be made by any person who has knowledge of or interest in a student; this includes parents, public agency, or school personnel. 

    What information must be included with referral?   

    • Date of referral
    • Student information
    • Information regarding the concerns regarding student
    • Documentation of pre-referral interventions and results (date to support referral)
    • completion of environmental, economic and cultural concerns checklists
    • IEP team member's signatures
    • Documentation that the child was provided appropriate instruction in regular education setting and
    • Documentation that instruction was delivered by qualified personnel

    How long does it take to complete the referral process?  The referral process begins the date that the parent signs the Consent for Evaluation form.  The school system has ninety (30) calendar days to complete the referral move to IEP development regardless of any interruption in the school year or summer vacation.  All evaluations must be completed with sixty (60) calendar days from the date the Consent for Evaluation form was signed.  An Eligibility Determination meeting must be held no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the completion date of all evaluations.  If the student is found Eligible for Special Education services, an IEP must be developed and implemented within thirty (30) calendar days of being found eligible.

    How is eligibility for Special Education services determined?  Eligibility is determined by a group of qualified individuals who have working knowledge of student.  This team may include, but is not limited to the following:

    • At least one general education teacher of the student

    • At least one special education teacher

    • A parent, guardian, or surrogate parent of the student

    • Someone who can interpret the evaluation results

    • Others persons who have working knowledge of the student (i.e. therapist, doctors, public agency representatives)

    • The student, if appropriate

    The team will review all the data collected and determine if the child qualifies and requires specially designed instruction.  A copy of the Evaluation Report will be provided to the parent.  Children who receive services through special education must need direct instruction from a special education teacher.