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Special Education Policy

CWCS Board Approved October 15, 2018


The Board of Directors of Connecting Waters Charter Schools (“CWCS “the Charter Schools”) recognizes the need to identify, evaluate, and serve students with disabilities in order to provide them with a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.  Accordingly, this policy has been adopted consistent with Education Code section 56195.8.

Identification, Referral, and Evaluation for Special Education

CWCS shall follow applicable state and federal law and regulations and Special Education Local Plan Area (“SELPA”) policy with respect to the identification, referral, and assessments of students for special education and related services.

Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) Team Meetings

The Charter Schools shall convene IEP team meetings with the legally required composition within all legally applicable timelines, in accordance with state and federal law and regulations and SELPA policy.

CWCS shall also review, at the request of a student’s general or special education teacher, the assignment of an individual with exceptional needs to his/her class and a mandatory meeting of the IEP team shall be convened if the review indicates a change to the student’s placement, instruction, related services, or any combination thereof may be required.   The Special Education Administrator shall be responsible for completing the review within thirty (30) calendar days of the teacher’s request.


Procedural Safeguards

Parents/guardians shall receive written notice of their rights in accordance with state and federal law and regulation, and SELPA policy. Please see copy of your procedural safeguards below:



Nonpublic, Nonsectarian Services

CWCS may contract with state-certified nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies to provide special education services or facilities when an appropriate public education program at the Charter Schools is not available.  When entering into agreements with nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies, the Charter Schools shall consider the needs of the individual student and the recommendations of the IEP team. The IEP team shall remain accountable for monitoring the progress of students placed in nonpublic, nonsectarian programs towards the goals identified in each student's IEP. 

CWCS shall follow state and federal law and regulations and SELPA policy when contracting with nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies.


Resource Specialist Program

The Charter Schools shall employ or contract with certificated resource specialists to provide services for students with disabilities which shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Providing instruction and services to students whose needs have been identified in an IEP and who are assigned to regular classroom teachers for a majority of the school day.  Students shall not be enrolled in a resource specialist program for the majority of the school day without approval of the IEP team;
  2. Providing information and assistance to students with disabilities and their parents/guardians;
  3. Providing consultation, resource information, and material regarding students with disabilities to their parents/guardians and regular education staff members;
  4. Coordinating special education services with the regular school programs for each student with disabilities enrolled in the resource specialist program;
  5. Monitoring student progress on a regular basis, participating in the review and revision of IEPs as appropriate, and referring students who do not demonstrate sufficient progress to the IEP team;
  6. At the secondary school level, emphasizing academic achievement, career/college and vocational development, and preparation for adult life; and
  7. Resource specialists shall not simultaneously be assigned to serve as resource specialists and to teach regular classes.[1]


The Charter Schools’ resource specialist program shall be under the direction of a resource specialist who possesses:

  1. A special education credential or clinical services credential with a special class authorization;
  2. Three or more years of teaching experience, including both regular and special education teaching experience, as defined by rules and regulations of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing; and
  3. The demonstrated competencies required for a resource specialist as established by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.


The Executive Director shall ensure that caseloads for special education teachers are within the maximum caseloads established by law, collective bargaining agreement, and/or SELPA policy.

No resource specialist shall have a caseload which exceeds 28 students, unless a valid waiver is obtained through the State Board of Education, consistent with Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 3100.



CWCS shall ensure appropriate, no cost transportation services are provided for students with disabilities as specified in their IEP when required.  The specific needs of the student shall be the primary consideration when an IEP team is determining the student's transportation needs. Considerations may include, but are not limited to, the student's health needs, travel distances, physical accessibility and safety of streets and sidewalks, accessibility of public transportation systems, midday or other transportation needs, extended-year services, and, as necessary, implementation of a behavioral intervention plan.  Mobile seating devices, when used, shall be compatible with the securement systems required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 222 (49 C.F.R. 571.222).  The Charter Schools shall ensure school bus drivers are trained in the proper installation of mobile seating devices in the securement systems.


The Executive Director or designee shall arrange transportation schedules so that students with disabilities do not spend an excessive amount of time on buses compared to other students. Arrivals and departures shall not reduce the length of the school day for these students except as may be prescribed on an individual basis.


When contracting with a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency to provide special education services, the Executive Director or designee shall ensure that the contract includes general administrative and financial agreements related to the provision of transportation services if specified in the student's IEP.

Guide dogs, signal dogs and service dogs trained to provide assistance to disabled persons may be transported in a school bus when accompanied by disabled students, disabled teachers or persons training the dogs.


Information on the Number of Individuals with Exceptional Needs

Information regarding the number of individuals with exceptional needs who are being provided special education and related services shall be provided in accordance with state and federal law and regulation and SELPA policy.

[1] The law does not clearly address how this may apply to independent study schools.