Parents whose children receive services from the Exceptional Children's Department of Rockingham County should know that IDEA 2004 [Title I B 612a12A(i) requires that school systems access Medicaid funds for funding services from state or local educational resources. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a parent's permission is required for the school district to release information about their child. This permission releases information needed in order to bill the North Carolina Medicaid program for services provided through the child's individualized education plan (IEP).
Whether or not a parent gives permission to release this information will not affect their child's special education programs. Effective March 18, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services determined that the frequency requirement for obtaining parental consent to bill Medicaid should be revised to request a one time written consent from a parent before accessing a student's Medicaid benefits. Parents are entitled to have a copy of any information that is released to the Medicaid program and can revoke their permission at any time.
Preschool Resources for Children with Disabilities
Children with Disabilities: Children with disabilities from birth to 3 years old are identified through the Children’s Developmental Services Agency. On their third birthday children with disabilities become the responsibility of the Rockingham County Schools. We work with a community collaborative committee to ensure a smooth transition to school programs. Children are served in home, child care,or center based programs based on an Individual Education Program (IEP) in order that they receive free, appropriate public education including special education services as well as any needed educational therapies. For more information this Q& A Form can be accessed. You can also go to the Office of Early Learning - North Carolina at http://www.earlylearning.nc.gov/index.asp
More at Four: Children who are at risk may be determined eligible for More at Four services through the Rockingham County Partnership for Children (336-342-9676). These students are served at identified day care sites throughout the county or are served in school preschool classrooms. Students receive a rich curriculum helping them to become good learners and to be ready for school.
For a better understanding of the Preschool Programs offered by Rockingham County Schools,you may click on this brochure: RCSPreschool Brochure
For more information,please call the school's Central Office at 336-627-2705 or the Partnership at 336 342-9676.
State Improvement Grants
Math: Through a grant awarded to Rockingham County Schools by the State Improvement Project, we pilot best practices in mathematics and implement and demonstrate these practices. We also provide math foundations to staff throughout the district. For more information,contact Amy Wilson at 336-627-2705.
Reading: Rockingham County Schools also has received a grant through the State Improvement Project to implement research proven reading programs. Our staff members have extensive training in reading foundations to serve all of the students in Rockingham County. Both the SRA Corrective and Wilson Reading programs are being implemented with success. In addition, staff from across the county have been trained in Reading Foundations. For more information, contact Amy Wilson at 336-627-2705.
LEA Self-Assessment-EC Department Strategic Planning
The LEA Self Assessment is a system of collecting and analyzing data concerning outcomes for students with disabilities for the purpose of improving results. The stated primary focus of these monitoring activities is on improving education results and functional outcomes for all students with disabilities.
Please look here for the EC Department Strategic Plan/LEA Self Assessment Goals.
For further information,questions or comments contact:
Stephanie Lowe Ellis, Ed.S., Director of Exceptional Children's Programs
Rockingham County Schools
511 Harrington Highway
Eden, North Carolina 27288
Director of Exceptional Children's Program
Stephanie Lowe Ellis, Ed.S.
Contact Information: 336-627-2705
The Rockingham County Schools (RCS) has extensive programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities. On Dec. 1, 2016, RCS was serving 2,066 students ages 3-21 who were identified as having special needs. About 12.5% of school age students are identified.Services for students with disabilities range from minor classroom and/or therapy supports to extensive full time programs. Services are based on Individualized Education Plans (IEP) which are developed jointly by parents and school staff at least annually and outline needed services as well as any accommodations and/or modifications required in the general education class and for testing. All students are expected to progress in the general curriculum and all students must be included in any state evaluations used for student or school accountability purposes. You may access at breakdown of this information per school Here and Here for a breakdown of the number of students identified within each disability category.
Services are provided by over 200 staff including special education teachers, special education teacher assistants, speech pathologists and assistants, psychologists, an audiologist, occupational and physical therapists and therapy assistants, an adapted physical education teacher, interpreter, as well as, curriculum coordinator, lead staff; hearing, vision, and autism consultants and secretaries.
Students receive services in a variety of settings. RCS has model inclusive practices and provides observation sites and training for North Carolina. Inclusion is based on the belief that all students belong to the same system and that all students benefit from a unified, team approach to education.
Although we have many inclusion programs, we also have traditional pullout and self-contained classes at some schools. A few students receive individualized alternative instruction or home bound services. Students are bused when necessary in order to receive an appropriate education program.
RCS has partnered with the state through a special federal school improvement grant to provide a model algebra and prealgebra program to students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms; all students in these classes will benefit from this model program,teacher training, special textbooks and materials, and regular in-class consultative services.
In addition, RCS has community based instructional services for specific high school students with disabilities where they can learn job skills directly in community sites and work towards a High School Certificate or a High School Diploma through the Occupational Course of Study.
All students in RCS who have identified disabilities receive free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Each student who qualifies for Exceptional Children’s services receives an Individualized Education Plan that is specifically tailored to their areas of need. This provides important information for individuals who work with and teach that student. Any person who has a concern about the education of a student with a disability can raise the issue in one of several ways. For example, it is always appropriate to discuss the matter with the student's teacher or principal at the local school, or it is also helpful to contact the Director of Exceptional Children Program in the central office of the school system. Your child is important to us and we want to make sure that we address your concerns. Please contact the EC Director, Stephanie Lowe Ellis at 336-627-2705 if you have a concern that was not addressed at the school level. To discuss or make a complaint about services rendered, a parent may also view the NCDPI Dispute Resolution webpage or the Parent Right and Responsibilities In Special Education Procedural Safeguards.
If parents suspect that their child may have a disability, they are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the child’s teacher(s). They may also request consideration for referral for evaluation from their principal or counselor or they may call the special education department at central office (336-627-2705). For preschool students, parents with concerns should call the special education department at central office directly.
Special Education Law requires that the first consideration for placement of students is the least restrictive environment (LRE). Thus the first consideration for any student with special needs is placement in the general education classroom or, for a preschool student, in a natural preschool setting. RCS’s commitment to inclusive practices means that we work hard to team with general education to provide the supports and instruction needed to maintain students in the general education or natural environments as much as possible.
Inclusion means students with and without disabilities working side by side. As opposed to mainstreaming where students are placed back into general education classes without support,inclusion involves the addition of special education and related services to the general program whereby students with and without disabilities benefit from the resultant team of educators.
Eligibility For Special Services
The Public Schools of North Carolina, Exceptional Children Division provides local units with detailed procedures for the delivery of special education services. These rules and regulations are detailed Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities Department of Public Instruction.
For more information about Discipline Procedures, Child Find Process, and Transfer of Students- please visit the EC Staff Information Page by clicking here.
Rockingham County Special Education Directory
Administrative Team and Specialized Assignments for Special Education Services
The main contact number for special education services is 336-627-2705. Feel free to call the main number for any questions or information. Following is a detailed listing of special education contacts.
“In the RCS EC Department, each and every student receives an exceptional education in an inspiring environment with caring educators.”
RCS EC Department Mission:
RCS Exceptional Children’s Program empowers students to reach their maximum academic and social-emotional potential through promotion of self-advocacy and collaboration with parents, staff, and community in order to build positive relationships and life success.
RCS EC Department Core Beliefs and Affirmations:
We believe each and every student matters and makes meaningful contributions to their learning community.
We believe each and every student deserves a safe and respectful environment in which they are appreciated, valued, and empowered to learn.
We believe each and every students is unique, exceptional, and defined by who they are- not their disability.
We believe each and every student deserves collaboration and open, effective communication between home and school.
We believe each and every student deserves appropriate EC services that are strengthened by engaging in a systematic problem-solving process to improve student outcomes.
Exceptional Children's Staff that Serve Our 25 Schools! They are Exceptional!
Welcome to Rockingham County Schools!
If you have a child who has been receiving special education services, contact the base school in your attendance area and provide them with documentation of your child's special needs (i.e., a copy of the student's Individualized Education Program). As a newcomer to the system, you need to register your child for school. You are not able to do anything else until your child is registered with Rockingham County Schools. If you have copies of your child's last IEP or any records, this is helpful to bring with you upon registration.
When school is not in session, you may contact the Department of Exceptional Children, 511 Harrington Hwy, Eden, NC 27288, or call 336-627-2705.
If you are concerned that your child might be in need of special education and/or related services, you should contact your school principal.
North Carolina's Policies Governing Services for Children With Disabilities (Revised edition - July 2014)
Parent Handbook on Rights
Procedural Safeguards: Handbook on Parents’ Rights September (English version)
Procedural Safeguards: Handbook on Parents' Rights Spanish Version
This Handbook outlines all rights for parents of students with special needs. Please feel free to call 336-627-2715 and ask for help interpreting or for clarifications.
Referring Your Child for Special Education Services
Parents of children ages three to twenty-one sometimes suspect delays in the development of speech-language, readiness, motor, social-behavior, academic and self-help skills. Concerned parents can contact the student's home school or Rockingham County Schools Exceptional Children Program to request evaluations (or re-evaluations) to be considered for Exceptional Children services.
There are North Carolina Department of instruction policies governing Services for Children with Disabilities which must be followed prior to a child's placement in an Exceptional Children Services program. If an parent is interested in learning more about this topic, the information is available at the http://www.ncpublicschools.org/ec/.
Concerned parents of a student enrolled in a Rockingham County School should contact their child's teacher.
Concerned parents of a school aged student enrolled in a parentally-placed private/home school should call the school to which the student would be assigned if enrolled in Rockingham County Schools. The parent may also contact the Rockingham County Schools Exceptional Children intake telephone number at 336-627-2705. Information will be gathered and then referred to the Amy Wilson, Coordinator of Home/Private School Services.
Concerned parents of preschool aged children should contact the Rockingham County Schools Exceptional Children intake telephone number at 336-627-2705. Information will be gathered and then referred to Amy Rose, PK Coordinator.
Child Find Efforts in North Carolina and the Department of Public Instruction
North Carolina has a continuing Child Find procedure in place to locate all children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services. This effort also includes highly mobile children with disabilities (such as migrant and homeless children) and children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade. The purpose of this procedure is to enhance public understanding of exceptional children and youth and with special needs, to identify and locate the children and youth, and to inform the public of available services. The collection and use of data to meet the requirements of Child Find are subject to the confidentiality requirements.
In each school of Rockingham County a poster and brochures are available to the public regarding NCDPI's efforts to provide information to parents, grandparents, and guardians about the Child Find Process. For more information regarding this effort, please select the following link: Child Find - NCDPI
Special Education Resources
Policies Governing Programs and Services for Children With Disabilities
The October 13 Edition of Procedures
Autism Society of America
North Carolina resource
Chapters and Support Groups
Family Support Network of North Carolina FSN
Evaluation, training, and educational resource
A Student's Guide to the IEP. For students to understand the IEP Process
Going to College
http://www.going-to-college.org - Going to College is a new website for students with disabilities interested in attending college. This is an interactive site designed for high school students to provide them with information about living college life with a disability. The site provides video clips, activities, and resources that can help them get a head start in planning for college. Video interviews with college students with disabilities offer a way to hear firsthand from students with disabilities who have been successful. Modules include activities that will help students explore more about themselves, learn what to expect from college, and equip them with important considerations and tasks to complete when planning for college. This website is funded by a grant with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
Help with Academics
http://www.spellingcity.com - Spellcity is an online interactive spelling program where students enter their spelling words and make choices about how to learn them. Activities include playing games and taking tests.
Council for Exceptional Children: Division for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities
Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice
National Dissemination Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
IDEAs That Work
Blueprints for Violence Prevention
Join Together for Kids
OSEP Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior Intervention and Support
National Crime Prevention Council
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
The ARC of the United States
Federation for Children with Special Needs
National Association of Down-Syndrome
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Additional Sites of Interest for Parents and Professionals
Exceptional Children Assistance Center - Parent Center
Parent advocacy center and information resource
US Office of Special Education Programs
Council of Exceptional Children
Accredited Online Colleges and Disability Education
Special Education Staff
501 Harrington Hwy
Eden, NC 27320
Director of Exceptional Children's Programs - Stephanie Lowe Ellis, Ed.S., 336-627- 2705, firstname.lastname@example.org
EC Program Coordinator/Transportation: Pam Watkins, 336-627-2669, email@example.com
Behavioral Specialist: Janet Winn, firstname.lastname@example.org
EC Student Support Services Lead/Behavior Liaison - Stephanie Moore, email@example.com
Pre-School Coordinator: Amy Rose, firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Specialist (Reidsville/Rockingham)/Compliance: Rhonda Brown, email@example.com
Program Specialist (Eden/Western)/Home School: Amy Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Transition Specialist/EC HS Program Specialist: William O'Neil, email@example.com
Lead School Psychologists: Holli Farr, firstname.lastname@example.org and Charity Bumpass, email@example.com
Office Support Staff
Data/Office Manager: Becky Garrison firstname.lastname@example.org
Budget Manager: Connie Cromer email@example.com
Administrative Assistant: Tracy Curtis firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessing Public Benefits and Releasing Personally Identifiable Information to the North Carolina Medicaid Program
The federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 (IDEA), specifies each State’s obligation to develop agreements with non-educational public agencies to ensure that all services necessary to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) are provided to children with disabilities at no cost to the parent. This includes the State Medicaid agency. School districts are permitted to seek payment from public insurance programs (Medicaid) for some services provided at school. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), your consent is required for the school system to release information about your child to the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance Medicaid program in order to access your or your child’s public benefits. You are entitled to have a copy of any information the school system releases to the state Medicaid program.
The funds collected from Medicaid in this school system will be used to help support the Exceptional Children’s program by securing resources, including supplies and materials necessary to assist children fully access their educational needs.
If you have previously given consent for Rockingham County Schools to access your or your child’s public insurance and to release information needed to access North Carolina Medicaid funding for services provided through your child’s individualized education program (IEP), the school district may release: Your child’s name; Your child’s date of birth; Your child’s IEP documentation including evaluations; The dates and times services are provided to your child at school; Reports of your child’s progress, including therapist notes and progress notes.
Your child will continue to receive all required IEP services at no cost to you. Reimbursed services provided by the Rockingham County Schools Exceptional Children Program do not limit coverage, change eligibility, affect benefits, or count against visit or funding limits in Medicaid programs in which your child is enrolled. You may revoke your consent at any time. Revoking your parental consent does not change the school district’s responsibility to provide all required IEP services at no cost. You may ask questions about this program or revoke your consent at any time by contacting Ronda Layman at (336) 627-2705.
Public Information Requests
Parentally-Placed Private/Home School Students
In accordance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, Rockingham County Schools has established the following guidelines related to providing services for parentally-placed private/home school students.
* The term parentally-placed private school includes those home schools which are recognized by North Carolina as meeting the requirements of a private school. Documentation of home school registration must be provided to Rockingham County Schools.
Consults with private school representatives to determine:
The child find process and how parentally placed private school children suspected of having a disability can participate equitably, including how parents, teachers, and private school officials will be informed of the process;
The determination of the proportionate share of Federal funds available to serve parentally placed private school children with disabilities, including the determination of how the proportionate share of those funds was calculated;
How the consultation process among representatives of the agency, the private schools, and the parents of parentally placed private school children will take place, including how the process will operate throughout the school year to ensure that parentally placed private school children with disabilities identified through the child find process can meaningfully participate in special education and related services;
How, where, and by whom special education and related services will be provided, including a discussion of types of services--including direct services and alternate service-delivery mechanisms, as well as how the services will be apportioned if funds are insufficient to serve all children--and how and when decisions regarding services will be made; and
If the LEA representatives disagree with the views of the private school officials on the provision of services or the types of services whether provided directly or through a contract, the LEA will provide to the private school officials a written explanation of the reasons why the LEA chose not to adopt the recommendations of the private school officials.
Provides services for eligible students qualifying with a disability under NC guidelines at a mutually agreed upon location during the instructional day. These services are provided by a qualified employee of the Rockingham County School System
*Please note: The regulations in 34 CFR §300.137(a) explicitly provide that children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services they would receive if enrolled in the public schools.
If a student with a disability is enrolled in a private/home school by the child’s parents and will receive special education, a meeting will be conducted to develop a Services Plan for the child. Rockingham County Schools will ensure that representatives from the private school will attend this meeting.
Concerned parents can contact Rockingham County Schools Exceptional Children Department at (336) 627-2709. Parents should complete the Evaluation Request Form or the Request for Services Form in order facilitate this process.
Day Treatment Program
The RCS Day Treatment Program, provides intensive mental health services in a public school setting. The program focuses on integrating students back into traditional school by assisting students in developing behavior management skills, social skills and strategies to help them achieve social, behavioral and academic success. The program offers a team approach to treatment and education by serving small numbers of students with Qualified Mental Health Professionals, Special Education teachers and paraprofessionals. Licensed mental health professional staff also serve students in this program.
Students are determined eligible for and need of this specialized program based on joint efforts by Mental Health professionals and school personnel. The program is located at the Booker T. Washington Learning Center; the school principal, Curtis Gore, and/or the program director, Terry Aiken, can give more information. For more information call the Day Treatment program at 336-634-3984. You may also gather information by clicking on to our brochure - Day Treatment Brochure.
Mission: The Rockingham County Schools' Day Treatment Program is committed to providing quality services to children, youth and families affected by mental illness/behavioral problems. These services are provided to enhance their potential to remain within the home community and function successfully within the mainstream educational setting.
Day Treatment serves adolescents and children who are not being successful in their regular school setting due to behavioral/emotional difficulties. It integrates individualized education with therapeutic treatment for youth. Youth Haven Services, a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency (CABHA), has partnered with Rockingham County Schools to provide clinical oversight and support to the program. This ensures that each youth is able to earn school credits while acquiring skills to successfully cope with his or her behavioral and emotional challenges.
Day Treatment provides individualized education integrated with intensive mental health treatment services based on individual treatment plans to improve functional skills including, but not limited to:
Social skills development
Adaptive skills training (personal care, leisure, etc.)
Enhancement of communication and problem solving skills
Positive behaviors support activities and reinforcements
Case Management services
Specialized instruction to address curricular and/ or special education needs
Who May Be Referred?
Youth between 5 and 20 years old who have significant problems being successful in a regular school setting due to behavioral/emotional difficulties. Youth who have symptoms related to their mental health diagnoses which inhibit them from successful functioning in an academic, social, vocational, community, and/or family domains. Youth at risk of being removed from home or school due to multiple suspensions, expulsions, impaired peer and or family relations, etc.
Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS)
Improving student academic and behavior outcomes is about ensuring all students have access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioral practices and interventions possible. PBIS provides an operational framework for achieving these outcomes. More importantly, PBIS is NOT a curriculum, intervention, or practice, but IS a decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students.
What Outcomes are Associated with Implementation of PBIS?
Schools that establish systems with the capacity to implement SWPBS with integrity and durability have teaching and learning environments that are:
Less reactive, aversive, dangerous, and exclusionary, and
More engaging, responsive, preventive, and productive
Address classroom management and disciplinary issues (e.g., attendance, tardies, antisocial behavior),
Improve supports for students whose behaviors require more specialized assistance (e.g., emotional and behavioral disorders, mental health), and
Most importantly, maximize academic engagement and achievement for all students.
What is a Continuum of SWPBS?
PBIS schools organize their evidence-based behavioral practices and systems into an integrated collection or continuum in which students experience supports based on their behavioral responsiveness to intervention. A three-tiered prevention logic requires that all students receive supports at the universal or primary tier. If the behavior of some students is not responsive, more intensive behavioral supports are provided, in the form of a group contingency (selected or secondary tier) or a highly individualized plan (intensive or tertiary tier).
To learn more about PBIS, go to the following site at the Department of Public Instruction: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/positivebehavior/