Special Education

Welcome to the Special Education Department for West Aurora School District 129. We provide a wide continuum of quality programs which create optimal learning experiences to meet each child’s individualized needs. Our department serves not only our students, but their families and district staff.  

Diagnostic services to assist in educational planning are provided when specific individual evaluations are necessary. All services are coordinated with general education and parents.  Special Education Services are accessed through a problem-solving process conducted by our PPS building teams by request. The Pupil Personnel Team meets regularly to discuss concerns and make recommendations if further action is deemed appropriate. Each building has a PPS Team leader to assist in facilitating this process.

If a student is found eligible through the evaluation process, a variety of instructional programs are available. These include consultation with classroom staff, in-class support, resource room assistance, and specialized instructional classes. In addition, a range of related services may be included such as speech/language therapy, occupational or physical therapy, and counseling services.

West Aurora School District 129 is committed to providing an education that addresses the unique potential of each child we serve.  As a department, we strive to serve our school community and develop collaborative relationships with parents and staff.

Beliefs of Special Education

All students have strengths and challenges. The department believes it should assist students with disabilities to build upon their strengths and diminish the impact of challenges as it relates to the education of the individual child.

What the Department Believes

Early intervention* is crucial in addressing the needs of students with disabilities. The department also recognizes that early intervention should include support and resources provided both within the standard education program through MTSS as well as supports through the Special Education/PPS Department.

Strive to help students meet the demands of the adult world by establishing and working toward the accomplishment of appropriate educational goals, assisting students in setting realistic and meaningful transition (life) goals, fostering self-advocacy in students, and facilitating any necessary agency linkages.

Services should be provided in the least restrictive environment. While committed to a continuum of services, the department recognizes the advantages of interaction with non-disabled peers. Special education/PPS staff will strive to achieve the balance of providing sufficient services for meaningful progress while being vigilant in ensuring that these services are delivered in the least restrictive environment.

Provision of appropriate educational services is a team effort involving educators, parents, student and the community. To achieve success, the department must not only ensure high quality involvement of its staff, but also endeavor to encourage parent involvement and support and to encourage the commitment of the individual student to his or her own education.

* Early Intervention refers to the timely implementation of intervention strategies or programs and services. It is not intended to reference birth - 3 programs.

Referrals

The school district provides a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal mandates. In order to receive special education services, a group of educational professionals and the parent must determine that the child has a disability as defined in special education laws and must determine that the child needs special education and related services. 

If you believe your child may be eligible for special education services, please notify District personnel as follows:

  • For a child between the ages of 3-5, please contact Early Learning Academy to schedule a preschool screening appointment at (630)301-5016. If you have specific concerns with your child's development, please contact Darlyne Hedge (Early Childhood Special Education Coordinator) at (630)301-5460. 
  • For a student in kindergarten through 12th grade, parents should write a letter (or send an email) to the principal requesting a case study evaluation. Include (1) your child’s name; (2) the reasons you believe your child may have a disability; (3) the reasons you believe your child needs special education and related services; and (4) your child’s medical diagnoses (if any)..


Evaluation

If your child is referred for a case study evaluation, the School PPS Team will determine whether a case study evaluation is warranted. The School PPS Team will consider whether interventions have been attempted and other factors including educational progress, interaction skills, and functioning in the school environment. To make a decision, the School PPS Team may utilize screening data and may conduct preliminary procedures such as an observation of the child, assessment for instructional purposes, consultation with the teacher and a conference with the child. Parents will be notified if a case study evaluation is or is not warranted. 

If the School Team determines that a case study evaluation is warranted, the School Team and the parents will conduct a Domain Review Meeting (DRM) to determine the areas in which additional information, with parent consent, about the child is needed. After the School Team has gathered the additional information, a meeting will be held to review the results of the evaluation and determine whether the child is eligible for special education and related services.

What is an IEP?

The term IEP stands for an Individualized Education Program, and is a written document for a child with a disability. It is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with special education laws. The IEP describes what your child can already do and what he/she needs to learn for the next year. It lists the special help your child will receive in order to learn. The IEP Team revises the IEP when necessary and reviews it at least annually. 

The IEP must contain a statement of:

  • Present level of academic achievement and functional performance
  • Measurable annual goals and benchmarks or short term objectives
  • Description of how the child’s progress will be monitored and reported
  • Special education and related services and supplementary aids and services
  • Explanation of the extent the child will not participate with non-disabled children in the regular class
  • Participation in statewide or district-wide assessments or, if determined by the IEP Team, a statement of alternate assessment
  • Dates, frequency, location, and duration of services
  • A statement regarding eligibility for extended school year services, and, if appropriate, a description of the services, including their amount, duration and location;
  • Transition services (if applicable)
  • Transfer of rights (if applicable)
  • Programs 

Programs available within West Aurora School District 129 Boundaries:

Early Childhood (Ages 3-5)
District 129 in cooperation with District 131 provides special education services through the Hope D. Wall, Child Development Center Program (CDC). Classrooms are currently housed at Todd School, O’Donnell School, and Hope D. Wall School.

Resource/Instructional Programs 
There are resource/instructional level programs offered in all elementary, middle, and high schools in District 129. These programs provide support to  learners with various disabilities, in a regular school building, where they have opportunities to interact with their non-disabled peers.

Self-Contained Programs 
School District 129 has a variety of self-contained programs throughout The District. These programs provide intensive, instructional and/or behavioral supports for students requiring this type of programming.

Specialty School 
District 129 in cooperation with District 131 provides educational services for students ages 5 through 21 with moderate to severe cognitive impairments through the Hope D. Wall program.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Please click on the image below (in either English or Spanish) to view your Educational Rights and Responsibilities:

504's

Jennifer Herman

Jennifer Herman

Director
Administration, Special Education, Special Education Administrator, Administrators District
Darlyne Hedge

Darlyne Hedge

Teacher
Special Education Coordinator
Mark Siekierski

Mark Siekierski

Assistant Director
Administration, Special Education, Special Education Administrator
Janice Gont

Janice Gont

Curriculum Coordinator
Special Education, Administrators District
Rachel Naleway

Rachel Naleway

Assistant Director
Administration, Special Education, Special Education Administrator, Administrators District
Megan Mussano

Megan Mussano

Assistive Technology Coordinator
Teaching & Learning
Lisa Rausch

Lisa Rausch

Assistant Director
Administration, Special Education, Special Education Administrator, Administrators District
Jaclyn Waldvogel

Jaclyn Waldvogel

Curriculum Coordinator
Administration, Outplacement & Parochial K-12
Lara Delgado

Lara Delgado

Office Professional
Teaching & Learning
Debbie Glock

Debbie Glock

Office Professional
Administration, Special Education
Leticia Magana

Leticia Magana

Office Professional
Teaching & Learning