Student Services and Exceptional Children
The Mooresville Graded School District realizes that our success is a direct product of reaching every child, every day by providing support and interventions to all students.
- Student Support Services are available to all children within the district through our counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, behavior support team and our special programs staff.
- Students with disabilities who are found eligible for specially designed instruction and related services through the eligibility process, will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) developed based on each child's unique needs, as related to present levels of academic achievement and functional performance.
- Students with disabilities, who do not need specialized instruction, may be found eligible for accommodations through a 504 plan.
- MGSD State Mental Health/SEL Plan
- Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)
- School Counseling Services
- School Health Services
- School Mental Health Services
- School Psychology Services
- School Social Work
- Section 504 Services
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. This Act protects all students who do not have a fixed, regular and adequate residence, such as students living in the following situations:
- doubled-up housing with other families or friends due to hardship;
- runaway/homeless youth shelters (even if parents invite the youth home);
- hotels or motels;
- shelters, including domestic violence shelters;
- transitional housing shelters;
- cars, abandoned buildings parks, the streets or other public spaces;
- campgrounds or inadequate trailer homes and/or
- abandoned in a hospital.
The McKinney-Vento Act addresses educational barriers and challenges created by homelessness by guaranteeing students experiencing homelessness the right to enroll in and attend school, and providing supports needed for school success. The law places the responsibility for ensuring the rights of homeless students on states and school districts. McKinney-Vento eligible students have the right to:
- receive a free, appropriate public education;
- enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment, or having missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness;
- enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents;
- continue attending the school of origin, or enroll in the local attendance area school if attending the school of origin is not in the best interest of the student or is contrary to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth;
- receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent or guardian, or by the local liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth; and
- receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to each student’s need.
For more information about McKinney-Vento in MGSD, please follow this link: Homeless Children & Youth (McKinney-Vento Act).
Our vision for social-emotional learning and school mental health improvement is to build teacher and staff competencies around core social-emotional behavior, cultural awareness, diversity, equity and inclusion, responsive teaching practices, and mental wellness that create a community where all students and staff thrive. To view the MGSD plan, see the document below or click this link: MGSD State Mental Health/SEL Plan.
A general education intervention process for children in kindergarten through grade 12 is provided at each school site through student assistance teams or Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). These teams work on behalf of children who are experiencing academic, behavior/emotional, functional, or medical concerns that may be significantly impacting their access to the general curriculum or school activities. These teams work with families and school staff to develop plans that support students' needs so that they can be successful in the general education curriculum and school setting. While working with students, the teams collect data, which is then used to determine if a student may need to be referred for a comprehensive evaluation. Parents must be provided with notice of their child's referral to the intervention assistance teams. To learn more about MTSS, visit our website at the following link: MTSS in MGSD.
MGSD has school counselors located at each of our schools in the district. They are highly educated, professionally certified individuals who help students succeed in school and plan their careers. An integral part of the total education system, school counselors help students form healthy goals, mindsets, and behaviors. With the aid of a school counselor, students learn to develop effective collaboration and cooperative skills, to practice perseverance, to develop time management and study skills, and to learn self-motivation and self-direction habits.
School counselors help all students:
- Apply academic achievement strategies
- Manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills
- Plan for postsecondary options
- School counselors are trained to provide the following services:
- Individual student academic planning and goal setting
- School counseling classroom lessons based on student success standards
- Short-term counseling to students
- Referrals for long-term support
- Collaboration with families/teachers/administrators/community for student success
- Advocacy for students at individual education plan meetings and other student-focused meetings
- Data analysis to identify student issues, needs, and challenges
- School counselors play an essential role in creating an equitable, inclusive school culture promoting success for all.
* Information has been obtained from the American School Counselor Association.
**Individual School Counselor information can be found on the school websites.
MGSD is fortunate to employ school nurses at all of our campuses. They provide an array of services for all students and can be contacted at your child's school. For additional information, please visit our Health Services page by clicking this link: MGSD Health Services.
School-Based Therapy is a continuum of services available to students in the Mooresville Graded School District through several programs throughout the district. The services are a collaborative effort between MGSD and private mental health agencies working to increase the availability of evidence-based mental health services for the purpose of improving student’s emotional well-being and enhancing their ability to access and benefit from instruction. These programs are supplemental interventions and supports available to students who require additional accommodations identified through a problem solving team approach. Services are offered when the student demonstrates or displays significant need that affect their ability to be successful in the learning environment through our Multi-tiered System of Support and is only available with Parent Permission. Details are available through the counseling office at each school site.
School Psychologists are members of school teams that support students' abilities to learn and teachers' abilities to teach. With their expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, School Psychologists provide support for children and young adults in succeeding academically, socially, and emotionally. Furthermore, they collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create a safe, healthy, and supportive learning environment for all students that strengthens connections between the home, school, and community. (NASP)
School psychologists knowledge and skills
Data collection & analysis
School-wide practices to promote learning
Resilience & risk factors
Consultation & collaboration
Mental health interventions
Prevention & intervention services
Child find services
Special education services
Crisis preparedness, response, and recovery
Diversity in development and learning
Research & program evaluation
Professional ethics, school law, & systems
School psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, school social workers) to improve support strategies, work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. They help schools successfully: improve academic achievement; promote positive behavior and mental health; support diverse learners; create safe, positive school climates; strengthen family-school partnerships, and improve school-wide assessment and accountability.
Why Do Children Need School Psychologists?
All children and youth can face problems from time to time-related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both long-term, chronic problems, and short-term issues that students may face. They are a highly skilled and ready resource in the effort to ensure that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life.
Source: National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
MGSD Employs the following psychologists; Michelle Honsa, Tracy Lawson, Dana Roy, Megan Foran
School social workers employed by Mooresville Graded School District serve as liaisons between school, home and community. We consult with classroom teachers, school counselors, attendance personnel and school administrators to help eliminate barriers and to promote academic success for all students. They conduct home visits in order to gather pertinent information and to foster strong relationships between students, families and school personnel. Finally, in order to further assist students and families, school social workers often collaborate with community agencies to access appropriate services not traditionally offered by the school system.
Functions of a school social worker
Increase academic success
- Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Improve attendance
- Build self-esteem
- Resolve conflicts without violence
- Strengthen interpersonal and intrapersonal skills
- Improve communication skills
- Remain in school and graduate
School social workers support families to:
- Participate more fully in their children's education, through parent conferences and school visits
- Strengthen parenting skills
- Access school and community resources
- Develop realistic expectations and ways of caring for their children which are age and developmentally appropriate
- Seek solutions to barriers that inhibit familial involvement
- Identify and meet their children's social and emotional needs
- Monitor their children's homework and attendance
- Promote trust and understanding to build partnerships among school, home and community
School social workers assist educators to:
- Have a better understanding how factors such as family, culture, socioeconomic status, and physical and mental health can affect students' performance
- Discover new resources
- Respond to crisis situations
- Identify and report child abuse, neglect and dependency
- Obtain community resources to meet the needs of students
- Work with parents effectively
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a national law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. The nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive financial assistance from any Federal department or agency. It is a civil rights legislation for persons with disabilities, designed to prevent any form of discrimination based on disabilities, who are otherwise qualified or protected.
A Section 504 Plan is a legal document falling under the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is designed to plan a program of instructional services to assist students with special needs who are in a regular education setting. A 504 Plan is not an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as is required for exceptional students. However, a student moving from an exceptional children's program to a regular education placement could be placed under a 504 Plan.
What criteria are used to determine Section 504 eligibility?
Like other students, those students with disabilities as defined by Section 504, are entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). An appropriate education for a Section 504 disabled student may require the provision of specific accommodation/s and/or related service/s in order to meet the needs of the student. Section 504 focuses on ensuring a level of access to educational services and the learning process for qualified students with disabilities that is equal to that provided for students without disabilities.
Students eligible for Section 504 protection must meet all of the following three criteria:
- Has a physical or mental impairment (or history of an impairment, or regarded by a recipient of federal funding as having such an impairment)
- which substantially limits
- one or more major life activities.
It is necessary for all three criteria to be present for a student to be eligible for a Section 504 protection under the law. Equally important, the effect/s of the disability on a major life activity must be why the student cannot access equally or benefit from the school’s programs, services, and activities (without accommodation).
How is a Section 504 student review request made?
A parent, guardian, teacher-student study team, counselor, related service provider, other school staff and administration, and/or community agencies can initiate a Section 504 request. It is a good idea to discuss appropriateness of a 504 Plan with your child’s teacher, counselor, building 504 Coordinator, Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Team or principal before making a review request, as there are a number of intervention strategies used with students. By discussing your concerns with one of these individuals or groups, it can be determined if a 504 Plan (accommodations) will best support the student’s needs.
What is the process to determine if a student is eligible for Section 504?
Each school in MGSD regularly convenes a group known as the Multi-tiered System of Supports Team (MTSS), whose purpose is to investigate the needs of students when they demonstrate a pattern of academic failure or other significant needs. A Parent Notification of Screening Procedures form is sent to the parent to obtain permission for the MTSS Team to conduct individual screenings on the student. The MTSS conducts a preliminary review to determine the nature of the student’s presenting problem and implement interventions to address the student’s needs. After four to six weeks, effectiveness of the intervention(s) is reviewed, along with all assessments and evaluations on the child, to determine if he or she has a disability that might indicate eligibility as a disabled student within Section 504.
A 504 Committee knowledgeable about the student convenes to determine eligibility. As mentioned previously, a student is eligible for Section 504 protection when it is determined that he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and this impairment is impacting student equal access to and benefit from the school program/s and/or service/s.
The team’s first responsibility is to review the nature of the impairment and determine how it affects the student’s education. Section 504 eligibility meetings are not intended to be as comprehensive as a special education evaluation. However, the 504 Committee needs to investigate the specific concern that triggered the student review request. Information to consider includes (but is not limited to) grades, attendance reports, behavior plans, cumulative file information, psychological evaluations, medical information, observations, and standardized testing information. As needed, the eligibility team may administer and use other formal and informal measures that help them determine 504 eligibility. A 504 Eligibility Determination form is completed to summarize and document information reviewed. If the 504 Committee determines the student meets 504 eligibility requirements and a written accommodation plan is needed, the Section 504 Accommodation Plan form will be completed by the team.
Our Exceptional Children's Department strives to accomplish the goal of supporting every child, every day by providing specialized instruction and related services to all eligible students; furthermore, we recognize that students and families may need additional services to succeed in their educational endeavors.
- MGSD's Exceptional Children's Department (EC) offers a free and appropriate public education in compliance with the federally mandated Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) through a continuum of services and programs to meet the individual needs of students requiring special education, ages 3-21.
- Special education services are provided at all of our schools, with the exception of very specialized low-incidence programs, so that students can attend a school within the geographical zone of residence, when possible.
- Child Find Overview
- Continuum of EC Services & Instructional Pathways
- EC Preschool Services
- Eligibility Areas for EC Services
- Information for Parents
- Medicaid in Education
- NC Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities
- Parent Rights & Responsibilities
- Parent & Public Notifications
Mooresville Graded School District’s Exceptional Children’s department is responsible for conducting Child Find for those students suspected of having a disability and providing appropriate educational opportunities to all children with disabilities who reside in Mooresville. The purpose is to ensure that all eligible children with disabilities, ages three through 21, have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living.
In order to meet the goals and address the purpose, the department provides comprehensive evaluation services to determine eligibility through Child Find. Once determined eligible by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, the student’s needs are addressed through the development of an individualized education program that may address the cognitive, educational, physical, behavioral, communication, motor, and adaptive needs of the student. Special education and related services designed to meet the students’ unique needs are administered through our programs within the various schools in our system.
What is Project Child Find?
An effort coordinated by your local school system and the Exceptional Children Division, State Department of Public Instruction, to:
Locate and identify children and youth ages birth through 21 with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services.
Inform parents and/or guardians of the services available from their local school system and other state and community agencies.
Who Are the Children?
Children and youth who have been diagnosed or are suspected to have intellectual, physical, or emotional disabilities and are unable to benefit from a regular school program without special assistance.
How can I access special education services?
If a parent suspects delays in the development of their child, ages 3-21, in the areas of speech/language, motor skills, social-emotional skills, academic and/or self help skills, they may contact the student’s home school or the Exceptional Children’s Department to request an evaluation for eligibility for EC services.
For children who are of preschool age, please contact our preschool coordinator, Claire Watts at 704-658-2628.
For children who are enrolled in a parentally placed private/homeschool please contact the EC department at 704-658-2602.
What happens after I make contact with the school?
In the event the district is notified that a child is a student with a suspected disability, the district is obligated to respond within 30 days. An IEP team needs to convene to review the request and make a determination with regard to whether an evaluation is warranted based on a review of existing data. If the team determines an evaluation is needed, written permission for testing is obtained. The team obtains any already completed test reports and conducts a comprehensive assessment that follows federal and state guidelines. The IEP team schedules a final conference with the student’s parents to discuss the evaluation results and decides whether or not special education and support services are needed.
Who to Contact
For further information regarding Child Find or if you suspect your student may have a disability and are in need of special education and/or related services, please contact: Dr Sandra Albert, Chief Student Services Officer at email@example.com or 704-658-2602.
Mooresville Graded School District strives to serve all students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. IEP teams are responsible for making decisions regarding the eligibility of EC services and service delivery. Many students with disabilities can have their needs met in the regular education setting/program with accommodations and/or supplementary aids and services. However, there will be some students who require more intensive services to address their unique personal and educational needs.
Regular Setting: Students with disabilities who receive the majority of their education program, 80% or more of the day, with non-disabled peers.
Resource Setting: Students with disabilities who spend 40% -79% of the day with non-disabled peers.
Separate Setting: Students with disabilities who spend 39% or less of the day with non-disabled peers.
Hospital/Homebound Services: Students with disabilities have the opportunity to receive short-term educational services in the home or a designated location. Home/Hospital education services are temporary with the goal of providing support until the student can successfully return to school. Home/Hospital instruction does NOT duplicate classroom instruction. Home/Hospital service delivery is determined by the IEP team on the basis of:
- Documented medical issues;
- Documented behavioral issues;
- As a result of a long-term suspension.
General Curriculum vs Adapted Curriculum
The majority of students with disabilities are instructed in the general curriculum with their non-disabled peers. Students in the general curriculum follow the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.
Students following the Occupational Course of Study (OCS), or Occupational Pathway, are considered to be following the general curriculum. The Occupational Pathway is available for those students who are functioning significantly below age and grade level expectations. It includes requirements that are intended to build work ready and community college ready skills. Students completing the OCS program earn a diploma.
A very small percentage of students have significant cognitive disabilities and participate in the North Carolina Extended Content Standards. This course of study was developed based on the grade level standards of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, with additional emphasis on functional skills and objectives. Students following this course of study are assessed using the NC EXTEND1 alternate assessment. To determine participation in any of the NCEXTEND1 alternate assessments, the following eligibility requirements must be met:
- The student must have a current IEP.
- The student is enrolled in grades 3–8, 10, or 11, according to PowerSchool. Note: Only those students enrolled in 11th grade for the first time are required to take the NCEXTEND1 alternate assessment at grade 11.
- The student is instructed using the North Carolina Extended Content Standards in all assessed content areas (i.e., English Language Arts/Reading, Mathematics, and Science).
- The student has a significant cognitive disability.
- The student’s disability significantly impacts adaptive behaviors, defined as those skills which are essential for someone to live and function independently.
- The student requires extensive and repeated individualized instruction and support to make meaningful gains.
- The student uses substantially adapted materials and individualized methods of accessing information in alternative ways.
Students following this course of study receive a Graduation Certificate rather than a high school diploma at the time of high school exit.
Related services are supportive services that an eligible student with a disability requires to benefit from special education. The IEP team determines the need for related services in the educational setting. Eligibility for special education services does not automatically entitle a student to related services. Common related services include, but are not limited to:
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Speech-Language Therapy
Preschool classes are taught by Birth-Kindergarten certified teachers along with 1 or 2 teacher assistants. The Individual Education Program (IEP) teams determine the placement, frequency, and duration of services based on goals designed to meet each child’s unique needs.
Speech/Language Therapy Services
For preschool children who are eligible for the Exceptional Children’s Program under the category of Speech Impaired, drive-in speech therapy is provided at three sites:
- Park View Elementary
- Rocky River Elementary
- South Elementary
To view the 2022 - 2023 Preschool Handbook, click the following link: S.T.A.R.S. Parent Handbook (Developmental Day).
Referral for an Evaluation for a Preschool Child
If you are a parent, physician, or childcare teacher and have concerns about the speech and/or overall development of a preschool-aged child and would like to make a referral for an exceptional children's evaluation, please call Claire Watts at 704-658-2628 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to provide information on the child's physical, motor, educational, communication, behavioral, and daily living skills in a phone interview. An observation and/or referral meeting will be scheduled shortly after the phone interview.
If you are a parent of a preschool-aged child with an IEP who has recently moved into Mooresville, please call Claire Watts at 704-658-2628 or email at email@example.com to schedule a meeting to determine comparable services and review the IEP. You will need to provide a copy of your child's IEP prior to the meeting.
Referral and Assessment Process
Referral and Intake Meeting
At this meeting, the parent(s) and the child meet with a team of professionals (assessment team) from the EC PreK program. This team may consist of an LEA representative, a special and regular education preschool teacher(s), a school psychologist, a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist. Referral paperwork will be completed which includes the strengths and needs of the child and the reason for the referral. Team members may conduct observations and possible screenings as well as review any previous evaluation results to decide if further evaluations are needed to determine eligibility. Evaluation information may be required in five areas of development in order to determine eligibility: cognitive, social, motor, adaptive, and communication. The assessment team must also have a hearing and vision screening that has been passed within one year of the referral. Hearing and vision screenings may be conducted during this meeting. If the team decides that more testing information is needed, a decision will be made as to what type of assessment is necessary and how it will be conducted (traditional testing or play-based assessment). Appointments will be scheduled with parents to complete any recommended testing. If the team decides no additional testing is needed, the team will either complete the final work at that time or schedule an eligibility meeting prior to the child’s third birthday. The child is required to attend this meeting, which will last about one (1) hour. A copy of the child’s birth certificate and immunization records is required. Parents must also provide 2 proofs of residence at the initial referral meeting. This documentation must show the parent’s name and current home address (driver’s license, utility bill, rental agreement, etc).
Multidisciplinary Assessments for Preschoolers
Multidisciplinary teams typically consist of a preschool teacher, a speech-language pathologist, a psychologist, and, when needed, an occupational therapist and/or physical therapist. Parents will be asked to fill out background medical and developmental information on their child as well as provide information on adaptive and social skills. There are two different types of assessments that can be conducted with preschoolers. One type is a “traditional” or “standardized” assessment where one of the assessment team professionals will work with the child in a structured setting. The other type of assessment is called a “play-based” assessment or Transdisciplinary Play-Based Assessment (TPBA). This is conducted by the assessment team by observing the child playing in an environment that is set up like a small preschool classroom. There will be a play facilitator who will encourage and elicit certain play and pre-academic skills from the child while the observers record and interpret information. Assessments typically take about 1.5 hours with the parents present. The child is required to attend all testing appointments.
After assessments/evaluations are completed, an eligibility meeting will be scheduled to discuss the results, and determine eligibility for services and possible placement opportunities for intervention services. If a child is eligible for services with the EC PreK program, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be developed. The type and frequency of intervention services recommended are dependent upon the goals developed on the IEP and the needs of the child. This meeting will last 1-2 hours. The child is not required to attend this meeting.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, along with the State Board of Education, provides public school units with information regarding policies to maintain compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). This includes the fourteen areas recognized by North Carolina for eligibility for EC services. Students who receive EC services have a disability recognized within one or more of these fourteen areas of eligibility.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (AU)
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. This impairment may include: Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (Atypical Autism), Asperger’s Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or all Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Autism does not apply if a child’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disability.
Deaf-blindness is hearing and visual impairments that occur together, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Deafness is a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects the child’s educational performance
Developmental Delayed (DD)
Developmentally delayed is when a child is aged three through seven, whose developmental and/or behavior is delayed or atypical, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development, and who, by reason of the delay, needs special education and related services.
Emotional Disability (ED)
Serious emotional disability is a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
- An inability to make educational progress that cannot be explained by intellectual sensory or health factors.
- An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
- Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances.
- A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
- A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
Serious emotional disability includes schizophrenia. The terms do not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance related to the bulleted points above.
Hearing impairment is an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance, but that is not included under the definition of deafness. The term “hard of hearing” may be used in this capacity.
Intellectual Disability (ID)
Intellectual disability is a significant sub-average general intellectual functioning that adversely affects a child’s educational performance, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.
Multiple Disability (MU)
Multiple disabilities means two or more disabilities occurring together (such as intellectual disability and blindness, intellectual disability and orthopedic impairment, etc.) the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.
Orthopedic Impairment is a severe physical 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, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures, etc.).
Other Health Impaired (OHI)
Other health impairment is 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 health 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’s Syndrome, etc.; and
- Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
Specific learning disability is 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 impaired ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of serious emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability recognized in this area of eligibility. Dyslexia is defined as a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Speech or Language Impairment
Speech language impairment is:
- A communication disorder, such as an impairment in fluency, articulation, language, or voice/resonance that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
- Language may include the function of language (pragmatic), the content of the language (semantic), and the form of the language (phonological, morphologic and syntactic systems).
- A speech or language impairment may result in a primary disability or it may be secondary to other disabilities.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury is an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory; perceptual; and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Visual impairment is an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. A visual impairment is the result of a diagnosed ocular or cortical pathology.
For many families, navigating the EC process is new. The tabs below are designed to help answer some of the initial questions many families have regarding EC initial processes. Please feel free to reach out to your child's school should you have any additional questions regarding the EC process.
Once an EC referral is made, school-based EC personnel will request an Initial Referral Meeting. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will meet to discuss the referral. Parents/guardians are required members of the IEP team.
Initial Referral Meeting Overview
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will:
- Identify the referral source and date of referral.
- Review and record your child’s strengths in academics (reading, writing, and math) and functional skills (daily living, social/behavioral, and communication skills).
- Discuss the reasons for the referral, including concerns related to academic, behavioral, and/or functional needs.
- Review and summarize existing data including past and current grades, interventions/data collected from the MTSS process, parent-provided formal evaluation results, home information, observation data, screening data, local and state assessment data, etc.
- Discuss and decide if it is necessary to conduct an evaluation due to a suspected disability.
- Obtain parent consent or refusal for formal evaluations should the IEP decide to move forward.
Parents will be asked to share student strengths:
- What are your child’s academic strengths in reading, math, and written language?
- What are your child’s strengths in daily living skills at home and in the community?
- What are your child’s behavioral/social skill strengths?
- What are your child’s study/work habits? What can they do independently?
- Does your child communicate effectively with adults and other children?
- What are your child’s motor skill strengths (gross/fine motor)? Does your child play sports? Enjoy art?
The IEP Team will discuss reasons for the referral and areas of concerns:
- What are your child’s areas of need? What are your concerns?
- Is your child having problems with reading, writing, or spelling?
- Is your child having trouble with basic math concepts or problem-solving?
- Is your child having trouble with behavior/social skills?
- Is your child having health/medical problems that are affecting school performance?
- Is your child having trouble communicating?
- Is your child having trouble with motor skills?
- Is your child unable to take care of basic needs for daily living - feeding, toileting, dressing?
Share Results of outside/previous evaluations, if applicable:
Any information you have from previous or outside evaluations that would help the IEP team more fully understand your child’s strengths and needs can be shared with the team, including documented medical and/or mental health diagnoses from a licensed medical professional. Please provide in advance of the meeting if at all possible.
If you are new to Mooresville Graded School District and have questions about special education, please review the information on our webpage or contact the school to which your student will be assigned. In order to make your student's transition into Mooresville Graded School District go smoothly, it is very important to provide your student's new school copies of the following information during registration:
- Most recent psychoeducational report, eligibility, evaluation, and/or reevaluation report;
- Current individualized education plan (IEP); and
- Contact information for your student's previous school and school district.
- These items will support a successful transition between your student's old and new school and will ensure that appropriate services and supports are made available.
What to Expect
For out-of-state students new to Mooresville Graded School District:
Once you have shared your student's special education records, school staff will invite you to a meeting to discuss comparable services, or services similar to or the same as, those provided on your student's most recent IEP. During the meeting, school staff will also describe the initial eligibility process that occurs when students move from out of state and the timeline in which an initial North Carolina (NC) IEP will be developed.
For in-state students new to Mooresville Graded School District:
School staff will begin implementing your student's current NC IEP on their first day of school. An invitation to review and revise your student's IEP may be scheduled. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss your student's transition to a new school and to determine if any adjustments to the services and supports currently provided are needed.
Private/Home school families seeking possible special education eligibility for their child:
The parent/guardian will need to contact the MGSD school to which the student would be assigned based on their home address or the address of the private school.
Many parents/guardians may find the following resources valuable when researching information for their student.
NC DPI Exceptional Children's Division: https://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/
NC DPI Exceptional Children's Division - Parent Resources: https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/classroom-resources/exceptional-children/parent-resources
Autism Society: https://www.autismsociety-nc.org/
Disability Rights NC: https://www.disabilityrightsnc.org/
Exceptional Children Assistance Center (ECAC): https://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/
Heading to High School: Choosing a Course of Study: https://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Heading-to-High-School-Choosing-a-Course-of-Study.pdf
Life's a Journey - Learn More! Do More! Be More!: https://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Lifes-a-Journey-Learn-More-Do-More-Be-More.pdf
NC High School Graduation Requirements: https://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/NC-High-School-Graduation-Requirements.pdf
Secondary Transition in North Carolina: https://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Secondary-Transition-in-North-Carolina.pdf
Ways to Support Your Adult Child: https://www.ecac-parentcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Ways-to-Support-Your-Adult-Child-1.pdf
Public schools may receive Medicaid funds for some health services provided to students at school. The services must be medically necessary and the student must be enrolled in N.C. Medicaid. In North Carolina, the following services may be reimbursed in schools:
- Nursing services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological/counseling services
- Speech-language pathology services
For more information regarding Medicaid funds and schools, please visit the NCDPI website at the following link: https://www.dpi.nc.gov/districts-schools/classroom-resources/exceptional-children/program-and-fiscal-monitoring/medicaid-education.
The NC State Board of Education and NCDPI have several resources available on their Parent Resources webpage that can be accessed at this link: NCDPI Exceptional Children Division - Parent Resources.
Included on this site is the Parent Rights & Responsibilities in Special Education: NC Notice of Procedural Safeguards Handbook. This handbook is designed to support families with an understanding of the rights and responsibilities specific to the special education process. Acronyms and terms often used in special education and resources can be found in the appendices.
If, at any time, you suspect your student may have a disability and is in need of special education and/or related services, you may request an evaluation, in writing, to your student's school principal, teacher, or local EC Department.
Click the appropriate link below to access the Handbook:
- Parent Rights & Responsibilities Handbook in English
- Parent Rights & Responsibilities Handbook in Spanish
From time to time, disagreements between families and schools may occur regarding the development and implementation of a student's individualized education program (IEP). It is highly recommended that the following steps be considered in order to resolve differences quickly.