Updates:

August 6, 2020 Letter from Special Education Director Mike Haberman to families of students receiving special education services

Letter from Special Education Director Mike Haberman to families of students receiving special education services, Spring 2020

Special Education Update for April 16 on IEP remote instruction (letter in Spanish)

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 “child find” – 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

Special Education in Bellingham

Our district determines the supports and services for each child’s unique needs through the IEP (Individualized Education Program) process. Each of the program outlines described below are flexible, dependent on the needs of the student, and may include related or supplementary aids and services. All students are meaningfully included in general education to the maximum extent possible.

  • Birth to 2: Bellingham Public Schools partners with community agencies to provide early intervention services through the Department of Early Learning (DEL) Early Supports for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program. Children ages birth through 2 who have delays in their development or have a physical or mental condition that is known to cause a delay in development may be eligible for early intervention services. These services are provided in a child’s natural environment, which may include their home or childcare program.
  • Preschool: Early childhood preschool programs provide a language-based curriculum to students ages 3-4 with developmental delays. Preschool programs are based in the following locations:

Alderwood Elementary

Birchwood Elementary

CordataElementary

Geneva Elementary

Happy Valley Elementary

Northern Heights Elementary

Sunnyland Elementary

Sehome High School

  • Resource: Students receiving resource supports are provided with specially designed instruction in the areas in which they qualify based upon their evaluation within their least restrictive environment. Access to resource services can be found in all elementary, middle and high schools.
  • Life Skills: Students receiving services from the Life Skills program are provided with specially designed instruction in the areas in which they qualify based upon their evaluation within their least restrictive environment. Areas of focus include functional reading, writing and math; adaptive skills; social skills; communication; and motor skills. Students receive inclusion opportunities with their peers to the greatest extent possible based on their current level of functioning. Access to Life Skills services can be found in the following schools:

Carl Cozier Elementary

Columbia Elementary

Cordata Elementary

Wade King Elementary

Fairhaven Middle

KulshanMiddle

Shuksan Middle

Bellingham High

Sehome High

Squalicum High

 

  • BRIDGES (Behavior Re-Education in Developing Growth and Emotional Strength): Students receiving services from a BRIDGES program are provided with specially designed instruction in the areas in which they qualify based upon their evaluation within their least restrictive environment. Services from BRIDGES include access to academic curriculum within a structured behavior management system. Students receive inclusion opportunities with their peers to the greatest extent possible based on their current level of functioning. Access to services from a BRIDGES program can be found in the following schools:

Parkview Elementary

Lowell Elementary

Whatcom Middle

Squalicum High

 

  • AIMS (Access in the Mainstream Setting): AIMS provides teacher training, consultation and trained paraprofessionals to selected elementary classrooms to support small groups of students with high functioning autism and related needs. AIMS support in selected general education classrooms is based in the following schools:

Northern Heights Elementary

Silver Beach Elementary

Sunnyland Elementary

Wade King Elementary

  • Community Transitions:Community Transitions is a post high school program that serves students 18-21 years of age who qualify through their evaluation to receive transition services.  Students often encounter a new set of adult challenges which require different responses as they leave the high school setting. CT provides a full continuum of services intended to prepare students for a successful transition to independent living, employment and/or post-secondary training. Supports are individualized based on the student’s need.  Staff, parents and the adult student work as a team to create and nurture partnerships with adult services, college staff and businesses in the local community to identify the best place to maximize each individual student’s potential for success.

State and Federal Resources

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

Resources

Continuing Education Opportunities

 

Special Education Office Staff

Director: Mike Haberman, (360) 676-6458

     Administrative Assistants: Deanna Bannerman (360) 676-6458

Assistant Directors: Bethany Verner and Analisa Ficklin (360) 676-6458

     Administrative Assistant: Joy Rawls (360) 676-6470 ext. 2042

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

Special Education Records Requests

Please fax requests to 360-676-2692 or email BPS.Spedrecords@BellinghamSchools.org