The SASSY Team is comprised of school support personnel who serve as child advocates and are qualified to diagnose exceptionalities and provide supplemental support services to students, parents and teachers. SASSY services are accessed through the SBLC at the schools, or for non-school aged children by parents directly contacting the SASSY Team.The SASSY team, referred to from the state as Pupil Appraisal Services, is an integral part of the Zachary Community School District’s total instructional program. Services includes child search activities; assistance to school personnel in the initial screening of children; prevention and intervention activities and if needed referral of children suspected of needing special education services; the education assessment program; evaluation; parent conferences; in-service training; consultation to students, parents and teachers; and the identification of those children qualifying for special education services.
A comprehensive multi-disciplinary evaluation is conducted by qualified examiners according to referral needs. These examiners include, but are not limited to educational diagnosticians, school psychologists, school social workers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and adapted physical education teachers, who are all certified by the State Department of Education.
The Special Education Advisory Committee (ZSEAC) is a state-mandated, district-level committee charged with providing input to the school district regarding special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) Bulletin 1706. This is a volunteer position for a 2-year term in accordance with the school district’s ZSEAC procedures.
School nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well being, academic success, and life-long achievement of students. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety; intervene with actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self-advocacy, and learning. Some specific duties of the school nurse include immunization checks, vision/hearing screenings at required grade levels, health care plans, and evaluation follow-up.
Hospital/Homebound placement is an option for students enrolled in regular education who are unable to attend regular classes due to physical or mental illness or injury which results in the student’s absence from school for at least 10 days. The inability to attend school must be verified by a licensed physician. Homebound instruction is intended to be temporary. The “temporary” requirement is based on the premise that instruction should take place in the school setting to the fullest extent possible. The goal of homebound services is to facilitate the student’s return to the current classroom setting. The student must be enrolled in public school and is expected to return to school. Hospital/homebound placement is also an alternative setting for the provision of special education services to students with disabilities who, due to the severity or medical condition of their disability, may be served in a hospital or home environment under parental or adult supervision. Request for homebound services begins at the school level through an SBLC or an IEP team meeting.
Zachary Community School District provides services to students who are English Language Learners through a content-based Program. This method integrates English as a second language instruction with subject matter instruction. The goal of this approach is the acquisition of English and grade level academics so that the LEP student can succeed in an English only classroom. Some features of our program are: instruction is done in English; when possible, the student’s primary language is used to clarify instruction; English is taught through reading, language arts, math, science and social studies. When students enroll in school, information is obtained from the parents, screenings are conducted and a meeting is held with the parents involved to determine eligibility for the LEP program.
Students identified as being at risk for dyslexia are provided services using multi-sensory structured language programming and/or recommended accommodations in the classroom. Services needed for a student identified as at risk for dyslexia are defined on their IAP (Individual Accommodation Plan). In order to be eligible, a student must be referred to the school counselor for assessment.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in any program receiving federal funds. Section 504 States that:
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
This law guarantees individuals with disabilities certain rights, including the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Appropriate services are those designed to level the playing field and meet the needs of the students with disabilities to the same extent that the needs of students without disabilities have been met so that students with disabilities may enjoy full participation in educational opportunities. This law is intended to provide individuals with disabilities equal to pursue employment, educational, and recreational goals without discrimination.
A student must meet the definition of a student with a disability as defined in the statute to be covered under Section 504 (i.e. have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such impairment, or be regarded as having such an impairment). (Note: A physical or mental disability only constitutes a disability for the purposes of Section 504 if its severity results in substantial limitation of the life activity in question. A student’s general weakness in a given area would not typically constitute a disability under Section 504.)
If there is reason to suspect that a student has a disability and accommodations may be needed in order for the student to adequately participate in educational programs, the school must conduct an evaluation.
Exceptional students refer to students identified with disabilities and students identified as Gifted or Talented. Child Search activities are conducted for locating students who are suspected of being exceptional. In order to be eligible to receive these services, the individual must first be evaluated by our multi-disciplinary team to determine which services the individual needs and is eligible to receive.
The Zachary Community School District offers a Gifted Program for students who are identified as academically gifted. This program provides a challenging and rigorous curriculum to engage, motivate, and inspire students to become lifelong scholars. It includes acceleration, compacting and enrichment while incorporating technology and the arts through all subject areas. Students are given opportunities to extend their classroom learning by visiting museums, science research centers, and historical sites, as well as interviewing and interacting with content experts who visit the classrooms. Students are active participants in the learning process as they construct meaning through hands-on and rich educational experiences. The goal of this program is to inspire, challenge and motivate students to become critical, creative thinkers and independent lifelong learners.
Students with Disabilities
The term, “a child with a disability,” is defined as a child who has been evaluated by a district’s pupil appraisal services (SASSY) and identified as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services. If it is determined that a child has one of the disabilities identified above but only needs a related service and not special education, the child is not a child with a disability. If the related service required by such a child is considered special education rather than a related service under state standards, the child would be determined to be a child with a disability.
A wide range of special education services are available to elementary and secondary school-aged children. These services are determined by the IEP team. The programs utilize various organizational structures, including regular classes with supplementary aide and services, self-contained classes, resource rooms, combination self-contained/resource room, inclusion settings, and itinerant services.There are several programs available to preschool children ages 3-5 in the Zachary Community School District. The kind of services are determined by the IEP team. They range from services provided in the child’s residence, itinerant services outside the home, services within a regular early childhood class and early childhood special education settings.
The Zachary Community School District offers a Talented Arts Program for kindergarten through 12th grade students who are identified as talented in music, theatre, and/or visual arts. This exemplary program challenges students as they are encouraged to use their imagination as they create original works of art through enriching and meaningful artistic endeavors. The students work with highly qualified instructors who have acquired their Masters in Fine Arts degree or Artists in Residence.