Special Services

For Students with Disabilities
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .”Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Gavin School District #37 provides district-wide support to building staff and our community regarding the education of students with disabilities, who may qualify under either Section 504 or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Under either provision, Gavin supports the intent of the federal and state mandate to meet student needs in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) possible.

In meeting the requirements of LRE, our school community continues to embrace inclusive instructional practices, which are designed to provide accommodations and/or special education services within the context of the general education setting to the greatest extent possible.

While a continuum of services and programming is available within the district, membership in a student’s home school and classroom is highly valued.

Section 504 is a federal law and part of the American with Disabilities Act designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 provides: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .”

The school district must provide a free appropriate public education to district students who are eligible under Section 504. Instruction must be individually designed to meet the needs of those students as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities. An appropriate education under Section 504 requires that the services be effective and fair.

Although Section 504 does not require schools to develop an Individualized Education Program with annual goals, the school does provide written documentation for each student identified and provide accommodations and/or services under Section 504. If school staff suspects a need for accommodations, a referral should be made, evaluations conducted, and possible identification determined by a team knowledgeable about the student. If the student is identified, the team might develop a Section 504 Plan.

Section 504 is not a special education plan. The school staff and parents should collaborate to help ensure that students are provided accommodations through general education. The exception to this standard is a student who has been determined eligible as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Such a student could receive special education services and accommodations under an IEP.

If your child has a disability, which “substantially limits one or more major life activities”, please contact the Section 504 Coordinator for additional information regarding your child. The Section 504 District Coordinator is Jodeen Lord, Special Services Coordinator.

  • Procedural Safeguards/Rights under Section 504 (English)
  • Procedural Safeguards/Rights under Section 504 Spanish
The Illinois State Board of Education has published a comprehensive guide to Understanding Special Education in Illinois. This guide can be accessed in both English and Spanish on the state website.  District policies and procedures related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are also available under Gavin’s Policy and Procedures Manual
At Gavin School District #37, services are provided for children who qualify for an Individual Education Plan through the following eligibility categories. Specific definitions for each of these areas are available in the state guide:

Autism Cognitive Disability
Deaf-Blindness Deafness
Developmental Delay (ages 3-9) Emotional Disability
Hearing Impairment Multiple Disabilities
Orthopedic Impairment Other Health Impaired
Specific Learning Disability Speech and Language Impairment
Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Impairment

Child Find/Eligibility: Students are identified for special education through a child find process as required by federal and state guidelines. For students who are 3-5 years old, developmental screening and services are available through the Preschool Program.

Problem Solving (RtI):For students who are currently attending our K-12 buildings, the district uses a Problem Solving process to provide early interventions to supplement research based core instruction for academic or behavioral concerns. The building Problem Solving Team regularly reviews classroom performance and assists in connecting students to appropriate interventions. The data from this process then provides the foundation for a Response to Intervention (RtI) approach, which may result in a referral for screening and a possible determination of eligibility for special education services. (link to PS brochure in English and Spanish) Please note that an RtI process is specifically mandated by the State of Illinois in the determination of a Specific Learning Disability.

  • Problem Solving brochure (RtI) English

Programming continuum: While the vast majority of our students receive services in their home school, if a student’s needs cannot be met with support at his/her neighborhood school the educational team will determine an appropriate, least restrictive service delivery option that best addresses his/her current needs. If a student has sufficient need for a self-contained and intensive setting, specialized classrooms are available through the co-operation Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL)

Related Services: Each building is staffed with personnel who are qualified to provide the appropriate services and support, as determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Social work, speech/language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, and adaptive physical education are some of the related services provided as individual student needs deem necessary. The intent of these services is to support the participation of students in the general education classroom through all educators working as a collaborative team. Related service staff members are listed on building staff rosters, and can be contacted through the home school. Some staff, such as vision and hearing itinerant staff, occupational therapists, and speech language staff are assigned to buildings based on student needs.
Gavin Central Elementary