Special Programs Resources
Insight School of Wisconsin (ISWI) offers robust special education services to support students and meet their needs, empowering them to thrive in school and beyond. With high-quality, personalized learning and the help of teachers and support staff, students with special needs can achieve their academic goals, find their confidence, and pave a path to success.
Insight School of Wisconsin (ISWI) follows federal and state guidelines in providing a free and appropriate education (FAPE) to students eligible for special education services under the supervision of ISWI’s special education department. The state special education manual serves as a basis for policies and procedures for the special education department.
Becky Eberhardt | Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance Act Coordinator & Special Programs Manager
Miriam Mueller-Owens | English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinator
Andrea Schmidt | Section 504 Coordinator
Kerry Marren | Homeless Liaison & Foster Care/Family Resources Coordinator
We’re in this together
ISWI’s Special Education Department is led by the special education manager and supported by the K12 regional and national special programs managers.
Because ISWI is a virtual learning environment, special educational services and support are provided through:
- Online meeting rooms
- Phone meetings
- Electronic communications
For this online educational experience to succeed, continual communication among ISWI teachers and staff, parents/Learning Coaches, and students is key.
ISWI provides the supports needed to afford children with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, including:
- Counseling services
- Health services
- Recreational activities
- Special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the school district
- Referrals to agencies that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities
- Employment of students, including employment by the school district and assistance in making outside employment available
Request for Parent/Legal Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations
Annual Public Notice of Special Services and Programs
In accordance with federal and state regulations, ISWI will provide an annual public notice to families informing them of ISWI’s child find responsibilities, procedures involved in the identification of educational disabilities, and determination of students’ service and support needs. Information regarding ISWI’s internal practices to comply with these will be available in the ISWI Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.
ISWI strives to identify, locate, and evaluate all enrolled children who may have disabilities. Disability, as stated in IDEA, includes such conditions as hearing, visual, speech, or language impairment, specific learning disability, emotional disturbance, cognitive disability, other health or physical impairment, autism, and traumatic brain injury. The process of identifying, locating, and evaluating these children is referred to as Child Find.
As a public school, ISWI will respond vigorously to federal and state mandates requiring the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) regardless of a child’s disability or the severity of the disability. In order to comply with the Child Find requirements, ISWI will implement procedures to help ensure that all ISWI students with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, who are in need of special education and related services—are identified, located, and evaluated—including students with disabilities who are homeless or students who are wards of the state.
Parent/legal guardian permission and involvement is a vital piece in the process. Once a student has been identified as having a “suspected disability” or identified as having a disability, ISWI will ask the student or the student’s parent/legal guardian for information about the child such as:
- How has the suspected disability or identified disability hindered the student’s learning?
- What has been done educationally to intervene and correct the student’s emerging learning deficits?
- What educational or medical information relative to the suspected disability or identified disability is available to be shared with the school?
This information may be also be obtained from the student’s present or former teachers, therapists, doctors, or from other agencies that have information about the student.
All information collected will be held in strict confidence and released to others only with parental permission or as allowed by law. In keeping with this confidence, ISWI will keep a record of all persons who review confidential information. In accordance with state regulations, parents have the right to review their child’s records.
As part of the Child Find process, some services may include a complete evaluation, an individualized education program designed specifically for the child, and a referral to other agencies providing special services.
Special Education (IEP) or Service Agreements (504 Plans)
For students confirmed to present with special education needs, once the IEP team agrees on the IEP and the student’s educational placement, a Prior Written Notice (PWN) will be sent to the parent/legal guardian for signature. This must be signed and returned to ISWI. ISWI can only proceed with implementing the student’s IEP (or 504 Plan) upon receipt of the signed PWN. Some students are found to present with one or more disability but do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined under IDEA (special education); however, their disability may still require ISWI to develop a 504 Service Agreement (504 Plan) to outline the special provisions a student may require for adaptations and/or accommodations in school-based instruction, facilities, and/or activities.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Special Education Grievances or Disputes
ISWI recognizes that despite the best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the school-based team and ISWI families or students. Should this situation occur, the ISWI special education case manager will initiate an IEP team discussion where the specific details contributing to any educational concern are fully discussed and addressed as the entire team determines would consider most appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the ISWI Special Education Team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families to always serve its students in order to maximize their educational success.
Dispute Resolution Options
IEP Facilitation—IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be utilized when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student’s IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often utilized when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.
Mediation—A voluntary process in which both parties seek to resolve the issues involved in the concern with an unbiased, third party mediator from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The mediator who will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference, the agreement is signed by both parties, and thus what the document states is mandated to be implemented; This process is overall less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive to complete than a due process hearing (see below).