Bellingham Public Schools

Special Education

Department Owner: 

Welcome to Special Education

Bellingham Public Schools proudly serves students with disabilities birth through age 21. We strive to give ALL our students love, care and great teaching. We build skills that allow each student to discover and develop a passion, contribute to our community and live a fulfilling, productive life.

What is Special Education?

Special Education is specialized instruction for students age Birth to 21 who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by state and federal government. A student may qualify for services in one of the areas as identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The following definitions are from the U.S. Department of Education website. 


Getting Started

The district participates in "childfind" - awareness and screening activities for the purpose of locating, identifying and evaluating children who are suspected of having disabilities and who may be in need of special education services. A student may also be referred for a special education evaluation by any source, including parents. The referral is to be made in writing and submitted to the building principal or designee. 

The Special Education Process

  1. Referral and Identification
  2. Assessment
  3. Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  4. IEP Review

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Special Education Programs

Our district has a variety of programs to support families of students with special needs:

State and Federal Resources

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction - Special Education (OSPI)
Washington State Resources for Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities



Continuing Education Opportunities


Special Education Office

(360) 676-6458


Special Education Office Staff

Director: Mike Haberman, (360) 676-6458

     Secretary: Deanna Bannerman (360) 676-6548

Assistant Director: Bethany Verner (360) 676-6548

     Secretary: Donna Bunch (360) 676-6470 ext. 2042

Program Secretaries:
Julie Webster:  (360) 676-6517
Vickie Tapparo:  (360) 676-6470 ext. 6833
Coleen Aylen: (360) 676-6470 ext. 4408 (Records)