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    We are guided by the belief that every student in Seattle Public Schools deserves membership, challenge, support, and achievement.


    Seattle Public Schools’ charge is to effect positive change in the lives of young people by preparing them with skills, experiences, and knowledge necessary to afford them wide-ranging opportunities in the future. The goal of the special education department is to actualize this charge for all qualified students, regardless of disability.

    Guiding Principles

    • Students come first.
    • Quality instruction and support are the keys to student success.
    • A safe and welcoming learning environment supports all students.
    • Effective District leadership provides highly functional organizational structure, accountability, and community engagement.

    Read about our Guiding Principles in more detail.

    Strategic Planning Goals

    • We are working proactively to provide a continuum of services for students receiving special education services to enhance integration of the general education curriculum and each student’s individual education plan.
    • We are working across departments to provide the continuum of services equitably across district school sites and programs to guarantee all students fair participation in the District’s assignment process.
    • We are working to build effective partnerships and communication with families.
    • We are working to educate our whole community about the rights and needs of students with disabilities and to collaborate with school teams to improve teaching practice and outcomes for students.

    The Continuum Approach

    The Continuum Approach, a service delivery structure, plans for the following:

    • A flexible team delivery approach, lead by case managers, designed to provide a truly Individual Education Program (IEP) for each student.
    • Defined roles, experience and ongoing training for five specialized types of case managers. Paving the way for consistent, high quality services District-wide.
    • Guidelines for completing a network of service sites that, collectively, can serve almost all special education students, about 95%, in or near their home school. These changes will also enhance transparency and predictability around the assignment process for families.
    • Guidelines and a pathway for students with very unique assignment needs, about 5%, for whom proximity to home is not the first assignment priority.

    The Continuum Approach is not:

    • A series of one size fit all programs that teach a single curriculum to all assigned students.
    • Driven by specific diagnostic labels.
    • Intended to set artificial limits on any student’s access to the general education