Special Programs

Special Programs

Special Programs support students with disabilities in gaining college and career readiness, and independent living skills through active engagement in grade level curriculum.


Special Education

Mission Statement

To provide students with disabilities the opportunity to excel academically, socially, and vocationally in order to meet their full potential as adults. Harmony Public Schools’ Special Education department focuses on a rigorous curriculum emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math in order to provide a challenging education individualized to meet the needs of each student with a disability.

We Value

  • Every individual as a unique human being deserving of respect
  • Diversity
  • High expectations

We Believe

  • All children can learn
  • All children have the right to be challenged in order to meet their full potential
  • Positive reinforcement and a positive learning environment lead to greater accomplishments than punishment and a negative environment
  • Educating children in the least restrictive environment leads to greater success in life

Harmony provides a continuum of special education services in order to optimize the educational experience of all students with disabilities. These services include, but are not limited to:

  1. General Education Classroom Placement in which the needs of the students with learning disabilities are met in a general education classroom. The special education teacher monitors the performance of the students periodically and supports the general education teacher outside the classroom.
  2. Resource Room Placement in which students spend a part of their day in general education classrooms and participate in resource room programs for the other part of the day. Resource room will include a small number of students working with a special education teacher (or teacher aid per ARDC decision) on reading, language, math and etc.
  3. Self-Contained Classroom in which students receive more than 60 percent of their instructional services in Resource room from special education staff.
  4. Special Education Inclusion in which students are taught in general education classroom with the collaboration of a special education teacher (or teacher aid per ARDC decision) and general education teacher for some part of the day.
Related Services

In addition to the services described above, Harmony Public Schools also ensures the provision of the following related support services according to the students’ IEPs:

  1. Speech and language therapy: Speech Language Pathologists work with the students who experience speech and language delays like articulation, language, fluency and pragmatics that affect their social interaction, literacy and learning. Students generally receive services based on their IEPs either in small groups or within the classroom setting.
  2. Occupational therapy: Occupational therapists work with the students to improve their cognitive, physical, and motor skills. Students generally receive services individually or in groups depending on their IEPs.
  3. Physical therapy: Physical therapists work with the students to improve their muscle control, balance and to promote sensory motor development and independence in functional mobility skills.
  4. Counseling services: Related services personnel work with students to develop appropriate behavior and social skills that allow them to benefit from their educational experience.
  5. Assistive technology: It is used by the students with disabilities in order to perform functions that are difficult or impossible for them. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software or other electronic devices.
Helpful Resources
Partners Resource Network
The Partners Resource Network (PRN) provides the parents with training, education, information, referral, emotional support, and individual assistance in obtaining appropriate services.
Texas Project First
Created by parents, for parents. This web site is a project of the Texas Education Agency and is committed to providing accurate and consistent information to parents & families of students with disabilities
Texas Transition/Employment Guide
Has helpful information on steps students and families can take to make sure they are able to find the right work or educational choices after high school.
Guía de transición y empleo de Texas
En Español.
Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process
Provides information on the ARD process
Procedural Safeguards
Provides Information on the rights of parents of children with disabilities
Aviso Sobre Procedimientos de Proteccion
En Español.

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a lifelong brain-based type of learning disability (language processing disorder) that can hinder reading, writing, spelling, and sometimes even speaking despite effective instruction, adequate intelligence and sociocultural opportunity. Students identified as having dyslexia typically experience primary difficulties in phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness and manipulation, single-word reading, reading fluency, and spelling. Consequences may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression.

The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia:

  • Difficulty reading words in isolation
  • Difficulty accurately decoding unfamiliar words
  • Difficulty with oral reading (slow, inaccurate, or labored)
  • Difficulty spelling

Formal Evaluation:

When signs and characteristics of dyslexia are clearly observed, a formal evaluation needs to be conducted by licensed dyslexia assessment personnel with the parent’s consent.

Eligibility

Based on the data collected and formal assessment results, the 504 committee makes the dyslexia and 504 eligibility decisions.

Programs and Services:

  • Classroom Accomodations
  • A multisensory, structured language instruction in decoding, comprehension, and fluency provided by a trained dyslexia instructor in a small group setting delivered weekly at scheduled times. The dyslexia programs used at Harmony Public Schools based on district are:

    • DIP: Houston, San Antonio, Lubbock, Odessa
      The Dyslexia Intervention Program is a multisensory curriculum based on the Orton-Gillingham approach which teaches phonics, and the structure of the English language. The program teaches reading, writing, spelling, and verbal and written expression by engaging the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities simultaneously whenever possible.
    • MTA: Dallas, Fort Worth
      Multisensory Teaching Approach is a program for the remediation of Dyslexia and other reading disabilities. It follows research begun at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in 1965 by Aylett R. Cox and Dr. Lucius Waites as they developed the Alphabetic Phonics program. This program is an Orton-Gillingham multisensory approach to teaching reading that combines Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic (or muscle) instruction. Titled Alphabetic Phonics because it is based on the alphabet symbol system, it teaches the science of the written language and addresses reading, handwriting, and spelling.
    • Wilson Reading System: Austin
      WRS is an intensive Tier 3 program for students in grades 2-12 and adults with word-level deficits who are not making sufficient progress through their current intervention; have been unable to learn with other teaching strategies and require multisensory language instruction; or who require more intensive structured literacy instruction due to a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia. As a structured literacy program based on phonological-coding research and Orton-Gillingham principles, WRS directly and systematically teaches the structure of the English language. Through the program, students learn fluent decoding and encoding skills to the level of mastery.
    • Take Flight (Scottish Rite Hospital): El Paso
      A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia is a two-year curriculum written by the staff of the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Take Flight builds on the success of the three previous dyslexia intervention programs developed by the staff of TSRHC: Alphabetic Phonics, the Dyslexia Training Program and TSRH Literacy Program.
Helpful Resources
The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity serves as a nexus for research on dyslexia, and is as well a leading source of advocacy and information to better the lives of people with dyslexia.
International Dyslexia Association
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is an international organization that supports education and research on behalf of people who learn differently.
Understood Organization
Understood's goal is to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3–20, are struggling with learning and attention issues. They want to empower them to understand their children’s issues and relate to their experiences. With this knowledge, parents can make effective choices that propel their children from simply coping to truly thriving.

Section 504

Harmony Public Schools provides students with disabilities appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of the students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under Section 504 regulations can consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or related services.

Definition

Section 504 is a civil rights law that protects eligible individuals from discrimination on the basis of their disabilities.

Evaluation

Once a referral has been made by school staff or the parent(s)/guardian(s), a 504 evaluation – which includes the review of data drawn from a variety of sources (health records, academic records, parent/teacher input etc.) – is conducted by the 504 committee.

Eligibility

To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to

  1. Have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (breathing, walking, concentrating, reading etc.)
  2. Potential Qualifying Disabilities may include, but are not limited to:
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Asthma
    • Bipolar Disorder
    • Cancer
    • Diabetes
    • Epilepsy
    • Dyslexia
    • HIV
    • OCD, ODD

Services

  • Accommodations: Extended time, reading aloud etc.
  • Service plans: Individual accommodation plan (IAP), emergency action/health plan, behavior intervention plan etc.
  • Related services: Counseling, assistive technology etc.
Helpful Resources
Special Education and Section 504 Comparison Chart
Center for Parent Information and Resources
The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and the Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities
Understanding the 504 Plans by Understood
If your child has learning and attention issues and is struggling in school, you may be curious about 504 plans. If your child doesn’t qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 plan may be a good alternative.

Find out more at the Understood website.

 

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