Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences has a longstanding commitment to inclusion and to providing a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, cultural background, sexual orientation, exposure to trauma, or disability status. Across Oklahoma there are persistent gaps in the quality of educational opportunities available to students, and these gaps are a call to action. As the needs of our students become ever more diverse, the importance of fostering an inclusive, diverse learning community continues to grow. At TSAS, one of our guiding beliefs is that “diversity should be welcomed for the strength it brings to the education of all members of our community.”
All students need and deserve a quality education that includes high expectations, rigorous instruction, inclusive environments, and equitable access to opportunities. The Student Services Department at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences is committed to ensuring our exceptional students learn and thrive with their peers in the least restrictive environment possible and are provided the individualized supports and resources appropriate to create pathways for success in career, college, and life. Guided upon the principles of diversity, inclusion, and evidence-based research, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences practices a full-inclusion special education model for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), providing a continuum of services that assures optimal access to the general education curriculum and to all elements of our school community. In a full-inclusion model, students who receive special education or related services, receive all instruction within the general education classroom with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.
Prospective applicants: Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences is a public charter school. Housed in one building and spanning grades 6 through 12, TSAS operates as a small, independent school district. Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences does not have access to the special education programs, services, or resources available through its authorizer, Tulsa Public Schools, the third largest school district in the State of Oklahoma. In participating in school choice and selecting TSAS, families are electing to leave the neighborhood school within the Tulsa Public Schools district their student would otherwise attend. Making this school choice, families recognize the important differences in the TSAS special education mission, vision, programs, services, or resources available, and that the success of the TSAS special education model of full-inclusion of students in the general education classroom requires a commitment to a higher level of collaboration and communication among parents, students, teachers and student-support staff.
Special education services are available to students identified with a disability by a multidisciplinary team which may include but is not limited to: teachers, administrators, the parent/guardian, a school psychologist or psychometrist, therapists, and the student. TSAS follows the requirements of IDEA 2004 and corresponding Oklahoma laws. Documentation of the disability must be provided, such as medical records, prior educational records, and/or psychological evaluation.
For new referrals TSAS uses a Child-Study model to assist in the identification of educational needs and to document that a student is unable to learn adequately and participate fully in the general education setting with interventions. Should a General Education Teacher suspect a student has a disability which may require evaluation under IDEA, they will refer the student to Child Study.
Related services may include, but are not limited to, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physical therapy when it is necessary to the child’s ability to make adequate progress in the general curriculum. These services, placement, and goals are determined by the IEP team on an “as needed” basis. Options for related services should be discussed with the special education staff.
Communication between special education teachers and the parent will primarily be made via email, phone, or ZOOM conference. To ensure ongoing communication, please let the school know if there is a change in phone number, email or mailing address.
Special Education Process at TSAS
All public schools are mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) to identify, locate, and evaluate students who may demonstrate disabilities through the Child Find process. The intent of Child Find is that all children with disabilities, ages 3–21, are located, identified, and evaluated in order to receive needed supports and services.
As a public School, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences provides a Free Appropriate Public Education, including those children who qualify for special education services unless the parent refuses special education services. In order for a child to receive special education services, an evaluation must be conducted to confirm the presence of a delay or disability.
If through Child Find activities, a child is identified as possibly having a disability and needing special education services, TSAS will seek parent consent to evaluate the child. All such evaluations will be conducted in compliance with applicable federal and state law and regulations. Parents must report that their child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) during the enrollment process. Please contact the Student Services Department to report students who may be in need of specialized educational and/or related services.
When a student experiences significant challenges within the school setting that affect social-emotional or educational performance, TSAS can conduct a Child Study Team (CST) Meeting as a way to formalize the review process and monitor overall progress. This process is a general education function. Administrators, teachers, parents, students, and specialists, as appropriate, meet formally to discuss a student’s relevant histories (medical, academic, behavioral, social), academic records, current concerns, strengths, challenges and any implemented past strategies. This information is used to develop a remedial plan to address the student’s identified needs. The plan is implemented by the student’s teachers and support staff. Student progress is monitored regularly and follow-up reviews are conducted within set time frames to assess the student’s response to the implementation outlined within the general education support plan. If sufficient progress is made by the student, the proposed interventions may be continued or modified, as appropriate. If sufficient progress is not achieved, the CST may meet again and develop further modifications and access various support programs within the school. If the regular education resources have been exhausted and the corrective actions taken have not resulted in significant change for the student, a referral may be considered to the Special Education Department. TSAS implements federal and state mandated policies and procedures in ensuring timely identification and referral of students, who have, or may have, such exceptional needs, and who may be found eligible for Special Education Programs.
Special education referrals may be made for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to academic and/or behavioral concerns. Despite the best efforts of TSAS to remedy deficiencies through interventions in the general education classroom and Child Study process, some students may not be able to attain the skills needed to make adequate progress in the general curriculum. If through Child Find activities, a student is considered as possibly having a disability and needing special education services, parents may be asked for their consent to evaluate their child. An evaluation must occur before the provision of special education and related services.
Request for Initial Evaluation
The parent(s) of a student or TSAS faculty may request an evaluation to determine if the student is a child with a disability. A school-age student should participate in general education intervention(s) prior to the request for an initial evaluation. As a result of general education intervention(s), TSAS should have data-based documentation of repeated assessments, which may indicate a basis for a discontinuation of educational interventions, an increase in educational interventions, or a special education referral.
Special Education FAQ
What is Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)?
The least restrictive environment (LRE) is a legal term found within 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(5) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The LRE provision of the IDEA provides that: “To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”
What is inclusion?
With the LRE consideration as well as the rejection of exclusionary educational practices as our guiding principle, TSAS practices a full-inclusion special education model whereby special education students receive all instruction within the general education setting with their nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. When all students are learning together including those with the most extensive needs and are given the appropriate instruction and supports, all students can participate, learn and excel within grade-level general education curriculum, build meaningful social relationships, achieve positive behavioral outcomes and graduate from high school, college and beyond.
What is IDEA?
This is a federal statute with the purpose of ensuring a free appropriate public education (FAPE) services for children with disabilities, ages 3 to 21, who fall within one of the disability categories defined within the law:
- Emotional Disturbance
- Hearing Impairment, Including Deafness
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairments
- Other Health Impairments
- Specific Learning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment Including Blindness
What is an IEP?
The Individualized Education Plan is documentation created by the special education teacher, school, and parent that must include information about the child and the services the school will provide based on the documentation of the child’s disability. The IEP will also provide information on the child’s current performance, annual goals and objectives, necessary accommodations and any special education or related services to meet the needs of the child. Since each child’s needs are different, each IEP will be different.
How does a student get into Special Education?
Students who have an existing IEP from another school district must provide that documentation in order to continue receiving special education.
Students who are identified through Child Study and who do not respond to interventions may be referred for evaluation.
What is the process for testing for Special Education?
A psycho-educational evaluation may be completed by a qualified examiner if and when additional data is needed during the eligibility/placement process to determine eligibility for disability categories other than a Specific Learning Disability.
How many times is my child tested for their disability?
A reevaluation must be conducted at least every three years. If sufficient testing and data are in place to establish a disability and continued qualification for special education services under IDEA, it is often that a reevaluation with no new data is completed.
Are there accommodations given for the state standardized testing?
Yes, as determined by the IEP team.
How often are “IEP” meetings held?
Typically IEP meetings are held annually or at least once a year.
Does TSAS provide Speech Therapy? Occupational Therapy? Physical Therapy?
TSAS provides related services (speech, OT, and PT) through the virtual platform, TalkPath Live, for students who qualify to receive those services. These services are on an as-needed basis and determined within the IEP meeting.
Who works with my special needs child for postsecondary options?
The IEP must include secondary transition services that are in effect not later than the beginning of the student’s ninth grade year or upon turning 16 years of age, whichever comes first, or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP team and updated annually. These transition services will explore postsecondary options such as vocational or higher education, employment (either regular or supported), self-advocacy skills, and/or independent living skills. Transition service goals and supports will vary depending on the needs of the child.
Transition is movement or change for a student, without interruption, to future adult settings upon exit from high school. The Transition IEP meeting includes the student, family, school staff, agency staff, and others identified by the IEP team. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) emphasizes the importance of involving students in meaningful ways in this process and their involvement is deeply encouraged. Transition planning occurs over time beginning at age 14 and continuing through age 21.
Transition services are a coordinated set of activities that assist students in preparing for post- secondary school adult settings and life such as:
- Self-Determination: self-advocacy, goal setting, decision making, and participation in IEP meetings.
- Continuing and Adult Education: pursuit of personal interests, job skills training and job placement.
- Post-secondary education: college and university options
- Vocational Training: trade or technical college, on-the-job training programs, apprenticeships, job shadowing, job sampling.
- Integrated Employment: including supported employment.
- Adult Services (from various agencies): supervised settings for work, training, and learning for adults.
- Independent Living: includes training in handling money, financial literacy, independent community functioning, travel training, shopping for necessities, and managing free time.
- Community Participation: volunteering, recreation, and leisure activities, transportation.