Special Education Services


District 401 provides a full range of special education services under the supervision of Director for Student Services Dr. Kari Smith and Special Education Coordinators Ms. Pamela Stutzman (grades PK-6) and Ms. Sara Barrick (grades 7-12).


Referral for Special Education Services


A student may be referred to the Student Services educational team — which may include a special education teacher, social worker, speech-language pathologist, school psychologist, special education coordinator and/or building administrator — when a student is not progressing within the general education environment.

The educational staff will schedule a meeting with the parent/guardian in order to review the referral information, including student data, and to determine whether or not an evaluation for special education services is appropriate.


Services Provided


For students eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the District shall follow procedures for identification, evaluation, placement and delivery of services to children with disabilities provided in the Illinois State Board of Education's Special Education rules.

A continuum of  special education and related services is offered at all schools within District 401 for children who meet specific eligibility requirements for ages 3-21.

Each school provides a variety of services to address the diverse needs of our students. All schools are committed to providing services in the least restrictive environment. The student services offered allow our students to participate in and benefit from the general education curriculum as much as possible.


Individualized Education Programs


An individualized education program (IEP) is developed for each student who is eligible for special education services. The IEP must be reviewed at least annually at an IEP meeting.

An IEP details the disability, present levels of performance, parent/guardian input and the impact of the disability on the student's ability to participate within the general education environment.

It also details the supports needed, measurable goals for the student, accommodations and student placement based on data collected throughout the IEP year and/or evaluation.

For any students who are 14½ years old or older, transition goals and a transition plan will be included as part of the IEP. 


Transition Program


District 401's Transition Program provides a skill-building, classroom- and community-based program to support participants, aged 18-21, in the attainment of independent/daily living skills, vocational/employment skills, post-secondary education and training, and self-advocacy/self-awareness. The program is located at Elmwood Park High School.

The focus of the D401 Transition Program is on achieving the following goals:

► To increase independence in adult-living situations
► To improve self-advocacy and awareness skills
► To improve social and communication skills
► To increase leisure, recreation and life-skills opportunities
► To experience work-based learning and volunteer work
► To prepare for community living and participation

Transition programming is determined by each participant's individualized education plan goals and objectives, and instructional activities are driven by individual participant outcomes.

The program is not for credit. Participant success is measured by progress toward individualized goals and objectives.

Transition does not operate on a bell schedule. Participant schedules are based on real time, and therefore each participant comes and goes based on his or her individualized schedule.

To visit the Transition Program's website, please click here.


Health Services


Please visit the Health Services page on the District's website.


Related Services


Each school offers a variety of related services to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students. Examples of related services include:

► School-based occupational therapy
► School-based physical therapy
► School-based social work services
► School-based speech-language therapy


District 401's Policy on Special Education


Procedures and practices in this area are governed by District 401's policy on children with disabilities, which can be found in Section 6:120 of the Board of Education's District Policy Manual. The policy includes the following provisions:

The School District shall provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and necessary related services to all children with disabilities enrolled in the District, as required by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and implementing provisions of the School Code, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The term "children with disabilities," as used in this policy, means children between ages 3 and 15 (inclusive) for whom it is determined, through definitions and procedures described in the Illinois State Board of Education's Special Education rules, that special education services are needed. […]

For students eligible for services under IDEA, the District shall follow procedures for identification, evaluation, placement and delivery of services to children with disabilities provided in the Illinois State Board of Education's Special Education rules. For those students who are not eligible for services under IDEA, but, because of disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, need or are believed to need special instruction or related services, the District shall establish and implement a system of procedural safeguards. […]

The District may maintain membership in one or more cooperative associations of school districts that shall assist the District in fulfilling its obligations to the District's disabled students.

If necessary, students may also be placed in nonpublic special education programs or education facilities.

A searchable online version of the Board of Education's Policy Manual can be found here.