• Richmond High School

    Special Education Department - Department Chair Ms. Borg-Hillstead

    IEP Coach Ms. Self 

    ESN Teacher (formerly severely handicapped) Ms. Tutass

    The Special Education Department at Richmond High offers 3 types of academic programs.  We have:  ESN, MMSN, and Resource programs (RSP) to to meet the needs of all students.

    The Exceptional Special Needs community (ESN) students learn with real life experiences like;  job training, transportation, health, cooking, and independent living skills.  The ESN students earn a Certificate of Completion, walk the stage of graduation and then go on to receive educational support until the age of 22 at the Transition Learning Center.

    The Mild Moderate Special Needs (MMSN) students are working toward a Certificate of Completion.  These students take academic courses taught in our department, which has rooms sprinkled throughout the campus.  We encourage our MMSN students to take General Education courses in areas of interest and to participate in Academy field trips or productions whenever possible.  We have a vocational program where students are taught job skills.  The MMSN students will go from the graduation stage of RHS to the Transition Program for classes at CCC with support or job training until the age of 22.

    The Resource program provides academic support to students with learning differences to succeed in A-G courses offered at RHS.  A-G courses are college preparatory courses approved by the CSU/UC systems.  RSP students are enrolled in one of 4 Academies @ RHS. 

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    Student Support Programs

    At Richmond High we work with students and families to make sure that students have access to a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” (FAPE). Here are some of the different routes we take to help students succeed at RHS.

    Often teachers, parents, and even doctors ask for a student with no history of a 504 or SST to jump right into SPED. According to state law, we have to help create the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), meaning we have to start with an SST, possibly then to a 504, and then possibly testing for an IEP.  SPED is our final and most intensive accommodation, not the first option.

    504: A 504 relates to the law that lifts any barriers for students who may have medical concerns. These may include seizures, blindness, diabetes or mental disorders. The 504 team is made up of the family, student, admin, and teachers. A doctor’s note will activate the 504 process. We have a meeting annually regarding 504’s and even if there is no meeting, a 504 is active for 3 years. We place alerts for 504 in the student’s powerschool at the top so that their Teachers will be aware of the students' needs in their classroom.

    Academy Intervention: Each academy can run an intervention in their system. Typically this is a meeting with the teachers and the student including a follow up to the family on the outcome. This can be initiated by any teacher. Some academies use the Kid Talk Protocol to discuss the behavior they are seeing without the student and then selecting an adult who has a good relationship to meet and check in with the student. Often this is similar to a SST and can often lead to a formal SST, then a 504, and then possible testing for SPED. 

    Kid Talk Protocol Sample

    SST: Student Success Team is a meeting with family, admin, and teachers to check in on a student who is struggling in school but it may be more closely related to behavior or attendance. This can also be the first step towards an IEP process. The point of this meeting is to find out the issue the student is facing, design an action plan, and put it in place for 6 weeks. We will circle back and see if the issues are being resolved. Teachers may reach out to Mr. Hillyer to start this process. This is typically a meeting over zoom in the morning on Wednesdays and Fridays (and sometimes after school). 

    IEP: An Individualized Education Plan is not the same as a 504 or an SST.  The process begins with a parent requesting academic and psychological testing.  The District has 60 days from the day the written request is made to complete this testing and meet with the family and team to discuss the results.  If the student qualifies for Special Education based on their testing, an Individualized Education Plan(IEP) is created at that meeting.

    The team meets annually to discuss progress on goals and tweak accommodations as needed by the student.  Every 3 years the academic & psychological testing is done again to determine continued eligibility for Special Education Services.

    IEP meetings may be held throughout the day. The case manager can try to get coverage so teachers can quickly attend. Teachers may stop by and address the student’s progress and then leave - let the case manager know ahead of time if you cannot stay. 

    504 and SST meetings are over zoom in the morning and afternoon after school. Teachers can timecard for time spent outside of contractual hours to attend these meetings. 

    Modification vs. Accommodation Article