We’re Here for You
Indiana Gateway Digital Academy (INGDA) offers robust special education services to support students and meet their needs, empowering them to thrive in school and beyond. With high-quality, personalized learning and the help of teachers and support staff, students with special needs can achieve their academic goals, find their confidence, and pave a path to success.
English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinator
As part of the enrollment process, all parents enrolling their student in an Indiana school for the first time will be asked to complete Indiana’s Home Language Survey. The answers from this survey will allow the school to determine if the student should be screened to determine if the student qualifies to receive English language services and support.
Section 504 Coordinator
Participation and Removal of Barriers
Indiana Gateway Digital Academy (INGDA) has an obligation to remove barriers to enrollment and retention of the student experiencing homelessness. (See sections 721(2), 722(g)(1)(I)). A school selected on the basis of the student’s best interest must enroll the student immediately even if the student is unable to produce the records normally required for enrollment (such as previous academic records, records of immunization and other health-related records, proof of residency, proof of guardianship, birth certificates, or other documents), has missed application or enrollment deadlines during the period of homelessness, or has outstanding fees.
INGDA provides McKinney-Vento/Homeless assistance and support for eligible families as defined below:
(A) Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
- Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or
- Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
Children and youth are considered homeless if they fit both part A and any one of the subparts of part B of the definition above.
In determining the best interest of a homeless student, the school shall to the extent feasible, keep a homeless student in the school of origin, except when doing so is contrary to the wishes of the student’s parent or guardian (policy 5111.01).
- If the homeless student is sent to a school other than the school of origin or a school requested by the parent or guardian, the school will provide a written explanation, including a statement regarding the right to appeal, to the homeless student’s parent or guardian; and
- In the case of an unaccompanied youth, the liaison for homeless students shall assist in placement or enrollment decisions, considering the views of the unaccompanied youth, and providing notice to the student of the right to appeal.
Foster Care Coordinator
Under the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), INGDA shall identify all students in foster care, have a foster care plan developed, and collaborate with the Child Welfare Agency and Tribal Child Welfare Agencies (CWA). Please reach out to the school to obtain further information.
Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance Act Coordinator/Special Programs Manager
In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirement that all educational agencies provide parents of students with disabilities notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under the IDEA and U.S. Department of Education regulations, please review the notice below.
Annual Public Notice of Special Services and Programs
In accordance with federal and state regulations, INGDA will provide an annual public notice to families informing them of INGDA’s child find responsibilities, procedures involved in the identification of educational disabilities, and determination of students’ service and support needs.
Families are encouraged to review the following information that describes these regulations. Information regarding INGDA’s internal practices to comply with these will be available in the INGDA’s Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.
INGDA will provide written notice annually to parents of students currently in attendance, or students of legal age currently in attendance, of their rights regarding confidentiality of personally identifiable information, including the right to:
- Inspect and review the student’s educational record with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the student and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the student
- Seek amendment of the student’s educational record that the legal guardian or student of legal age believes to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights
- Consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational record, except to the extent that this rule authorizes disclosure without consent
- File a complaint concerning INGDA’s alleged failure to comply with the requirements of this rule
Request for Parent/Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations
INGDA uses Amira’s Dyslexia Screener tool to identify needs that students present around dyslexia. Of the seventy seven students that were screened the previous school year, three were flagged for dyslexia.
INGDA seeks to ensure that all students who are of school age (5 years old through the school year in which they turn 20) within its school and who are in need of special education and supportive assistance—including homeless children, state wards, state agency clients, highly mobile children (including migrant or homeless), and children who are suspected of being disabled and in need of special education and supportive assistance even though they are advancing from grade to grade—are identified, located, and evaluated in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Indiana’s Article 7.
INGDA’s child find responsibility shall be accomplished through a schoolwide process which, while not a definitive or final judgment of a student’s capabilities or disability, is a possible indicator of special education needs. Final identification of students with disabilities and programming for such students occurs only after an appropriate evaluation and a determination by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team.
The child find process shall include obtaining data on each child through multiple measures, direct assessment, and parent information regarding the child’s academic and functional performance, gross and fine motor skills, receptive and expressive language skills, vision, hearing, and cognitive skills.
Parent/Guardian permission and involvement is a vital piece in the process. Once a student has been identified as having a “suspected disability” or identified as having a disability, INGDA will ask the student or the student’s parent/guardian for information about the child such as:
- How has the suspected disability or identified disability hindered the student’s learning?
- What has been done, educationally, to intervene and correct the student’s emerging learning deficits?
- What educational or medical information relative to the suspected disability or identified disability is available to be shared with the school?
If the child find process indicates a student may require special education and supportive services in order to benefit from regular education, the student shall be referred to the IEP Team to determine the student’s eligibility for special education services. School staff, parents, or agency representatives or other individuals with knowledge of the child may refer children to the IEP team if they believe that the student, because of a disability, may need special education and supportive services in order to benefit from regular education. Such a referral should follow the school’s pre-referral and referral policy.
Once written parental/guardian consent is obtained, INGDA will proceed with the evaluation process. If the parent disagrees with the evaluation results, the parent can request an independent education evaluation at public expense.
The initial evaluation notification form and the reevaluation form created on Indiana IEP will be used as the Parental Consent for Evaluation form. This form must be signed, dated, and returned to the school before any piece of an evaluation can be conducted.
If signed consent for evaluation is not immediately obtained, the public agency will document attempts to obtain consent using at least three (3) different methods of communication (i.e., email, phone call, certified mail, home visit, etc.).
Special Education (IEP) or Service Agreements (504 Plans)
Once the evaluation process is completed, a team of qualified school personnel, parents/guardians, and other relevant service providers hold an evaluation determination meeting to come to agreement on whether the student meets eligibility for one of the disability categories under IDEA.
If the student is eligible and requires specially designed instruction, an IEP will be coordinated; during which the IEP team will review and finalize the proposed details of an appropriate educational program to meet the student’s documented needs.
For students confirmed to present with special education needs, once the IEP team agrees on the IEP and the student’s educational placement, a Prior Written Notice (PWN) will be sent to the parent/guardian for signature. This must be signed and returned to INGDA. INGDA can only proceed with implementing the student’s IEP (or 504 Plan) upon receipt of the signed PWN. Some students are found to present with one or more disability, but do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined under IDEA (special education); however, their disability may still require INGDA to develop a 504 Service Agreement (504 Plan) to outline the special provisions a student may require for adaptations and/or accommodations in school-based instruction, facilities, and/or activities.
Students may be eligible for certain accommodations or services if they have a mental or physical disability that substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the school program and otherwise qualify under the applicable laws. INGDA will ensure that qualified students with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in the school program and activities to the maximum extent appropriate for each individual student. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, INGDA will provide students with disabilities the necessary educational services and supports they require to access and benefit from their educational program. This is to be done without discrimination or out-of-pocket cost to the student or family for the essential supplementary aids, services, or accommodations determined to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities and to the extent required by the laws.
Parents/Guardians have the right to revoke consent for services after initial placement. Please note, a revocation of consent removes the student from ALL special services and supports outlined on the IEP or 504 Plan.
A student may receive a related service under special education as directed by an IEP or as part of a Section 504 Plan, if an educational need is identified. Within the school environment, all related services are provided as a support to enhance the student’s ability to access their educational program.
It is important to realize that if a student has an identifiable therapy need which does not prevent the student from accessing or progressing in their educational program, then school-based therapy is not needed. The priorities of educationally based and clinically based therapies are different. The therapists are equally trained and licensed, but the approach and goals for each setting is different. There are some students who have a medical need for therapy but do not have an educational need. Related services are provided only as needed to support the student in meeting their educational goals; therefore, the level of support is dependent upon the student’s educational goals. It is important to understand these differences and why the goals are specific for outcomes related to the setting for which the student/patient is present.
Special Education Grievances or Disputes
INGDA recognizes that despite best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the school-based team and INGDA families or students. Should this situation occur, the INGDA special education case manager will initiate an IEP team discussion where the specific details contributing to any educational concern are fully discussed and addressed as the entire team determines would be most appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the INGDA special education team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families by helping students maximize their educational success.
Dispute Resolution Options
IEP Facilitation—IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be used when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student’s IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often used when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.
Mediation—A voluntary process in which both parties seek to resolve the issues involved in the concern with an unbiased, third-party mediator from the Indiana Department of Education. The mediator will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference, the agreement is signed by both parties, and what the document states is then mandated to be implemented. This process is overall less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive to complete than a due process hearing.