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Welcome to the Student Services Department
We are responsible for the provision of leadership in the following areas of student intervention and elementary education: English as a Second Language, Migrant Education Program, Homeless, Special Education, ADA 504, and Early Childhood. We also oversee student enrollment and Schools of Choice.
Special Services – Alternatives for Students With Special Needs
West Ottawa takes pride in being responsive to the needs of ALL children. We offer a full continuum of special education supports and services to eligible students. Eligibility is based on meeting the specific criteria for one or more disability(s) and a determination of whether or not special education is necessary for the student to have equal access to and receive an educational benefit from an educational program.
We are committed to providing supports and services in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate for each student. This means, that whenever possible, the student will be educated in the general education classroom with his or her peers and will attend a neighborhood school. Special education services and supports are provided in instructional areas directly impacted by the disability at no cost to parents. The classroom environment and curriculum may be accommodated and modified to meet individual needs. Placement of eligible students in specialized programs are made only after all available options are explored. A small number of our students may need more intensive, specially designed instructional programs throughout much or all of the school day. These programs are available at designated schools within our district and other schools in Ottawa County.
Teams of diagnostic, consultative, supportive and direct instruction professionals work with general education teachers to help each student maximize his/her potential and participate in the general education program as fully as possible. Special needs staff create an inclusive environment where ALL students are welcomed, accepted, and supported. We work to maximize student potential in a respectful and positive environment. We provide a wide range of programs, supports and services that empower ALL students to become career, college and life ready based on their individual strengths and abilities.
Section 504 is the section of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which applies to persons with disabilities. Basically, it is a civil rights act which protects the civil and constitutional rights of persons with disabilities. For a student to qualify for Section 504 services, they must have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such an impairment, or are regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include such things as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. If a student meets the criteria, a Section 504 is created and implemented by parents and school staff.
Special Needs - Psychologists
Special Education – Alternatives for Students With Special Needs - Psychologists
West Ottawa takes pride in being responsive to the needs of all children. Those who are identified as having a disability receive instruction with direct and indirect support in academic and/or social areas.
A broad range of special education instructional and support services were provided to 10.2% of the district’s total number of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
The decision to provide special education services is made by an Individualized Educational Planning Committee (IEPC) which minimally includes:
- diagnostic personnel
- school administrators
Success of a program is monitored by improvement in the child’s functioning in the areas identified within his/her IEP (individualized education plan).
Services are provided under federal and state guidelines such as IDEA, which was reauthorized in 2004, and the Mandatory Special Education Act (Public Act 198). If you suspect a student has a disability, please contact the Special Education Office at 616-786-2085.
Our services include:
- Speech therapists
- School psychologists
- School social workers
- Teacher consultants
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Assistive technology
- Audio enhancement
- Adaptive physical wellness
Since 1993, the State of Michigan has participated in a Federal program called Medicaid School-Based Services. The program assists school districts by providing partial reimbursement for medically-related services listed on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Although this partial reimbursement is available only for students who are Medicaid eligible, services are provided to all students with disabilities regardless of their Medicaid eligibility status.
The Michigan School-Based Services program is under the direction of the Michigan Department of Community Health.
In 2013, the regulations regarding Medicaid parental consent for School-Based Services changed. Prior to accessing a child’s public benefits or insurance for the first time, and annually thereafter, school districts must provide parents/guardians written notification.
Is there a cost to you for IEP services?
No – IEP services are provided to students while they are at school at NO cost to the parent/guardian.
Will School-Based Medicaid claiming impact your family’s Medicaid benefits?
The School-Based Services program does NOT impact a family’s Medicaid services, funds, or limits. Michigan operates the School-Based Services program differently than the family’s Medicaid program. The School-Based Services program does not affect your family’s Medicaid benefits in any way.
What type of services does the School-Based Services program cover?
- Speech & Language/Audiology
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Psychological/Social Work
- Orientation & Mobility
- Assistive Technology Services
- Case Management
- Personal Care
- Special Education Transportation
What type of information about your child will be shared?
In order to submit claims for School-Based Services reimbursement, the following types of records may be required: first name, last name, middle name, address, date of birth, student ID, Medicaid ID, disability, service dates and the type of services delivered.
Who will see this information?
Information about your child’s School-Based Services may be shared with the Michigan Medicaid agency and its affiliates for the purpose of verifying Medicaid eligibility and submitting claims.
What if you change your mind?
You have the right to withdraw consent to disclose your child’s personally identifiable information to the Michigan Medicaid agency and its affiliates at any time.
Will your consent or refusal affect your child’s services?
No – Regardless of whether you have Medicaid coverage or not (and whether you provide consent or not) the school district will still provide services to your child pursuant to their IEP.
What if you have questions?
If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this letter, please contact the Special Education Department at West Ottawa Public Schools at (616) 786-2058.