Chief Special Education Officer
Dr. Sharon Kight
SPECIAL EDUCATION Services
Special education services come in a variety of levels of need and intensity of services. The Franklin Township Community School Corporation (FTCSC) provides a free and appropriate public education or FAPE to all students found eligible under our State Special Education Regulations known as Article 7 (Reglamento de Educación Especial Título 511 Artículo 7). The FTCSC honors the unique learning needs of each student attending our various schools and strives to keep the student in the school she or he would attend if they did not have an identified disability. Our special education team of over 200 therapists, teachers, instructional assistants, specialists, and school psychologists work in collaboration with the general education staff to meet the needs for each identified student. General education with special education supports is our least restrictive placement, but additional supports and services along the special education continuum are available as warranted by the student’s individualized education program or IEP. Our goal is to ensure that all of our students, regardless of level of need, are fully prepared for life’s possibilities.
SPECIAL EDUCATION EARLY CHILDHOOD SERVICES
Preschool special education services are available to eligible students who are at least three (3) years old until they are of an age where they are eligible for enrollment in kindergarten. Developmental preschool services are provided at Wanamaker Early Learning Center. Initial education evaluations and First Step referrals are processed by our Director of Early Learning, Mrs. Meli Drier and her team includes a school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, as well as needed supports from occupational therapists, physical therapists, blind/low vision teachers, and deaf/hard of hearing teachers. Mrs. Drier may be contacted via eMail at Melissa.Drier@ftcsc.org or by calling 317/860-4500. At Wanamaker Early Learning Center (WELC), a full continuum of placement options is available for eligible students including inclusionary placements with typically developing peers and developmental preschool placements for students who require assistance in learning routines and other developmentally appropriate skills. Students enrolled at WELC for their special education services attend school two (2) to five (5) days per week for 2 hours and 30 minutes each day. The number of days attended each week is determined by the student’s level of need, the goal(s) being worked on, and his/her case conference committee. Each student’s daily routine at WELC includes instruction in the classroom, a snack time, and a play time on a developmentally appropriate playground.
 For Kindergarten “cut off ages” see: https://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/kindergarten/kindergarten-enrollment-guidance.pdf.
PRESCHOOL SPEECH ONLY SERVICES
At WELC there are also speech and language therapy services available for preschool-aged students whose sole disability area is either a speech and/or a language impairment. These services are provided on an outreach basis with the number of minutes per week or month determined by the student’s level of need, the goal(s) being worked on, and his/her case conference committee. Outreach Speech Services are provided at Wanamaker Early Learning Center by Mrs. Amy Steinhofer.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: NONPUBLIC SCHOOL SERVICES & HOME SCHOOL SERVICES
If a parent residing within the FTCSC boundaries chooses to enroll their son or daughter in a nonpublic school setting, the FTCSC provides services through an Individualized Service Plan (ISP). The FTCSC collaborates annually with Nativity Catholic School and Lutheran High School to ensure we meet the unique learning needs of eligible students enrolled with them. In addition, if a parent has registered their home as a homeschool with the Indiana Department of Education the FTCSC provides services through an ISP to eligible home-schooled students as well. The FTCSC provides a certified special education instructor and a licensed speech and language pathologist to work with the eligible students enrolled in our nonpublic schools as well as needed supports from occupational therapists, physical therapists, blind/low vision teachers, and deaf/hard of hearing teachers. For more information, contact Mrs. Katie Blair, the FTCSC NonPublic School Liaison at Katherine.Blair@ftcsc.org.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Behavioral Challenges
At the elementary level, students who require a full-time placement due to significant behavioral challenges are served at either Acton Elementary School or Arlington Elementary School. Students whose home school is either Adams Elementary School or South Creek Elementary School would need to be transferred to Acton Elementary School for these services. Students whose home school is either Bunker Hill Elementary School or Thompson Crossing Elementary School would need to be transferred to Arlington Elementary School for these services. As the student’s behaviors warrant, they are served educationally in general education classes with their typically developing peers to the greatest extent practicable. As student’s conclude their elementary career, if they are still receiving services from this program s/he resumes the feeder pattern of his/her home school elementary as they move on to 4th grade as both intermediate schools offer services for students with significant behavioral challenges.
A student may not be moved to this very restrictive educational placement until the student’s home school has tried to serve the student with their typically developing peers and has sufficient data to warrant the case conference committee to make a more restrictive placement recommendation. Ongoing communication with the parent/guardian is imperative so that a discussion of potentially moving the child does not come to them without their already knowing what has been attempted within the general education setting of their son or daughter’s home school. It is always the goal of this placement to get the student back into general education classrooms as that is there where the rigorous, high-quality core academic instruction takes place.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SCHOOL AGE SERVICES
School-age special education services are provided within each school within the FTCSC for students identified as needing special education services. The following disability areas are served by our teachers in our schools here in the FTCSC.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Blind or Low Vision
- Cognitive Disability (Mile, Moderate, and Severe)
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Emotional Disability
- Language or Speech Impairment
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Each school has a multidisciplinary assessment team which is used to evaluate a potential student who may need special education services. Referrals for possible special education services are made at the building where the student is currently enrolled. To the greatest extent possible, students who are eligible for special education services attend the school they would attend if they were not a student with an identified disability. If a student’s disability necessitates special transportation, that is arranged for the student through his/her case conference committee meeting.
In some circumstances, there are three (3) more intensive services which require us to move a student to a building other than his/her homeschool.
- The first more intensive service would be in our Essential Skills Program (often referred to as CIP – for Comprehensive Intervention Program). Students requiring services from the Essential Skills Program are educated at the school they would attend if they were not disabled, with two exceptions. Neither Acton Elementary School or Bunker Hill Elementary School currently have an Essential Skills Program. Students requiring services from the Essential Skills Program whose home school is one of those two elementary schools will be placed by their case conference committee at one of our other elementary schools.
- The second more intensive service would be our full-time emotional disability program at the elementary level. Elementary-aged students requiring the more structured and intensive behavior modification program, would be moved to either Acton Elementary School or Arlington Elementary School by their case conference committee. This placement would only occur when the homeschool elementary program has provided sufficient data to indicate that the student’s behavioral needs cannot be met in the homeschool elementary program.
- The third more intensive service would be the Franklin Township Learning Center (sometimes referred to as the Annex). The FTLC is a very restrictive placement on the continuum of placements within the least restrictive environment, as there are no non-disabled students placed at the FTLC as part of their special education services placement. It is rare that the schools within the FTCSC cannot serve a student with an identified disability but, when those occasions arise, the case conference committee has the option of exploring the FTLC for assistance.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: STUDENTS PROVIDING ACCESS TO RESOURCES IN THE COMMUNITY (SPARC)
SPARC is for students who are at least 18 years of age but not yet 22 years of age who are not going to receive a high school diploma. The students who are part of SPARC are nominated by his/her case conference committee meeting and a team of professionals review each student’s nomination and accept two (2) to three (3) students per year to become part of SPARC. Prior to entering SPARC, the student will go through the graduation ceremony at Franklin Central High School (FCHS) and receive a certificate of completion. The student’s first year at SPARC is a five (5) day per week placement for the same scheduled hours as students attending FCHS. Students work a variety of job placements both within the building and around the community, gaining a wide repertoire of skills and learning what it means to be a responsible employee. Students at SPARC plan their weekly menu, go grocery shopping for those items, and prepare their own lunch each day. During a student’s second year at SPARC, it is typically a three (3) to four (4) day per week placement. They may or may not be at SPARC for the same scheduled hours as students attending FCHS. This is because the goal of SPARC is to “step down” services from the K-12 setting and begin filling in services from the adult service provider domain. The number of days and hours per week students participate in SPARC are determined by the student, his/her guardian(s), and the adult service provider(s) working with the student. The ultimate goal for students exiting the SPARC program is for them to be in a community setting and/or vocational setting and not merely sitting at home when they age out at 22-years of age. Therefore, each student’s vocational and daily living skills are uniquely tailored to his/her goal for when s/he exits the SPARC program.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: ESSENTIAL SKILLS PROGRAM
The Essential Skills Program [often referred to as CIP (pronounced sip)] is a non-diploma track option for students with significant learning difficulties. The Essential Skills Program uses a more life-skills, functional based curriculum though it does still focus on the academic areas of math, reading, spelling, science, and social studies. Typically, students in the Essential Skills Program are receiving instruction three or more grade levels below their age-appropriate grade level, though this gap often widens as the students get older. Students who receive their special education services from the Essential Skills Program are still out in general education to the fullest extent possible. Students in the Essential Skills Program are with their typically developing peers for lunch, recess (elementary level only), and specials (i.e., music, physical education, art) and a few are with their typically developing peers for math and/or reading as well. The only schools within the FTCSC that do not have an Essential Skills Program available are Acton Elementary School and
Bunker Hill Elementary School. Students requiring services from the Essential Skills Program whose home school is one of these two will be placed by their case conference committee at one of our other elementary schools. When the student moves out of elementary school and on to intermediate school s/he will return to the school feeder pattern for whichever intermediate school their home school goes.
 During the 2020/2021 School Year, due to COVID-19, students only attended four (4) days per week.
GOOGLE READ & WRITE
The FTCSC provides a universal accommodation of Google Read & Write for anyone who has an FTCSC technology login. This is a great tool that will read any document or webpage to the student and highlight words as they are read. For more information on Google Read & Write, ask your child’s special education teacher of record, or go here.
Parent Rights: Notice of Procedural Safeguards
Although each principal within the FTCSC has been trained on providing parents with a copy and explanation of their Procedural Safeguards under Article 7, sometimes parents want time to read through them on their own. The Indiana Department of Education provides these excellent resources for families looking for more information regarding their rights as their son or daughter’s guardian. This document: Navigating the Course – is a parent-friendly overview of Article 7 and your Procedural Safeguards. The actual Procedural Safeguards are found here – and are also available in Spanish.