The North Central ESD offers a wide variety of services that include staff development training, technical assistance, and numerous resources for school districts and staff to assist with the educational program for students with special needs.  Many of these services are provided through a cooperative while others are fee for service.

What is special education?

Special Education serves approximately 130,000 eligible students in Washington state. We are here to fulfill the requirements of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which ensures that all children with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education http://www.k12.wa.us/SpecialEd/default.aspx.

What do you imagine when you think about special education? You might picture children with disabilities spending the day tucked away in a different kind of classroom, separated from most of the kids their age. This may have been the norm in the past. But as the field of special education has moved forward, much has changed.

Special education today is still focused on helping children with disabilities learn. But this no longer has to mean placing kids in a special classroom all day long. In fact, federal law requires that students who receive special education services be taught alongside their non-disabled peers as much as possible.

For example, some students with a reading disability may spend most of the day in a general education classroom. They may spend just an hour or two in a resource room working with a specialist on reading and other skills. Other students with a reading disability might need more support than that. And others might need to attend a different school that specializes in teaching kids with learning disabilities.

“Special education refers to a range of services that can be provided in different ways and in different settings.”

There is no “one size fits all” approach to special education. It’s tailored to meet each student’s needs. Special education refers to a range of services that can be provided in different ways and in different settings.

If your child qualifies for special education, he’ll receive individualized teaching and other key resources at no cost to you. The specialists who work with your child will focus on his strengths as well as his challenges. And you’ll be an important member of the team that decides what he needs to make progress in school.

How can we help?

The North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) Special Education Department provides high quality staff development to our region’s school personnel who serve students having disabilities or who are considered high-risk for learning problems.  NCESD offers program development, technical assistance on regulations, and instructional best practices for individuals 3 to 21 years old.  We are also a liaison between school districts and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and we collaborate with other community agencies that support children with special needs.