Special Education Department
Whitehall District Schools offers a wide range of programs and support services for students with disabilities, and ensures students have access to all educational opportunities.For students with identified disabilities, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is crafted. Programs and services are based on individual needs and may include, but are not limited to:
- Resource Programs
- Speech and Language Therapy
- School Social Work
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Personal Care Services
Whitehall District Schools also collaborates with the Muskegon Intermediate School District in order to meet all individual student needs. The Individual Educational Planning (IEP) process guides these decisions and parent involvement is an integral part of programming.
Specific Learning Disability Identification
Each local educational agency and public school academy in Michigan is required to publicly post the process used to determine the existence of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD).
Consistent with this requirement, Whitehall District Schools reports the following: Whitehall District Schools conducts evaluations that focus on obtaining information from a variety of sources to consider the presence of a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses. A critical piece of evidence is that a student’s scores fall substantially below national and state norms on a specific academic skill (basic reading, reading fluency, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, mathematics problem solving, written expression), while most other skills are shown to be developing adequately. The language skills of listening comprehension and oral expression are also included within the rules covering SLD*. Other important factors must also be considered, including an analysis of the student’s skills in other areas. This could include academic strengths, behavior, language or cognition.
This data will also be used to provide the assurance that the pattern of strengths and weaknesses used within the SLD eligibility determination is not primarily the result of: a visual, hearing, or motor disability; a cognitive impairment; an emotional impairment; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; lack of attendance; or limited English proficiency. Additionally, the district must ensure that the underachievement is not due to a lack of adequate instruction. An analysis of progress monitoring data over time and data from state and local assessments can be used to provide assurances of this.
*Please refer to the Michigan State Department of Education document; “Michigan Criteria for Determining the Existence of a Specific Learning Disability” released May 2010.