We're Here for You
Carolus Online Academy (COA) 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.
COA Special Services
Carolus Online Academy (COA) complies with all federal and state education laws. The following information and resources allow parents to know their legal rights and COA school policies and procedures.
For questions or further information, contact Nadine Trimble, Academic Administrator for Special Programming at, email@example.com.
English Language Learners (ELL) Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator
Academic Administrator for Special Programming
Homeless Liaison and Foster Care Coordinator
Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Compliance Act Coordinator/Special Programs Manager
Academic Administrator for Special Programming
Request for Legal Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations
Academic Administrator for Special Programming
Request for Parent/Guardian Interpreter Services or Disability Accommodations
Professional interpreter services may be requested at any time for parents/guardians of students by contacting Nadine Trimble, Academic Administrator for Special Programming, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if any parent/guardian has a disability or other limitation that would impact their ability to participate fully in their child's educational planning process, COA would be happy to discuss accommodations that may be available to maximize the parent/guardian's participation. Individuals seeking to discuss accommodations for this reason may contact Nadine Trimble, Academic Administrator for Special Programming, at email@example.com.
Per 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, see COA's procedures here: https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/special-education-services/.
Annual Public Notice of Special Services & Programs
In accordance with federal and state regulations, COA will provide an annual public notice to families informing them of COA's Child Find responsibilities, procedures involved in identifying educational disabilities, and determination of students' service and support needs. Families are encouraged to review the following information that describes these regulations.
Information regarding COA's internal practices to comply with these will be available in the COA's Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.
COA strives to identify, locate, and evaluate all enrolled children who may have disabilities. Disability, as stated in IDEA, includes such conditions as hearing, visual, speech, or language impairment, specific learning disability, emotional disturbance, cognitive disability, other health or physical impairment, autism, and traumatic brain injury. Identifying, locating, and evaluating these children is referred to as Child Find.
As a public school, we will respond vigorously to federal and state mandates requiring the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to each child regardless of a child's disability or the severity of the disability. To comply with the Child Find requirements, COA will implement procedures to help identify, locate, and evaluate students, including those who are homeless or wards of the state, in need of special education and related services.
Parent/Guardian permission and involvement are vital pieces in the process. Once a student has been identified as having a "suspected disability" or identified as having a disability, COA 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 can be shared with the school?
This information may also be obtained from the student's present or former teachers, the student's school records, as well as from doctors, therapists, or other agencies, pending the legal guardian's written consent.
As part of the Child Find process, some services may include a complete evaluation, an individualized education program designed specifically for the child, and a referral to other agencies providing special services.
COA cannot proceed with an evaluation, or with the initial provision of special education and related services, without the written consent of a student's parents/legal guardians. For additional information related to consent, please refer to the Procedural Safeguards Notice, which can be found at the SCDE website, https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/special-education-services/ or by accessing the link via the Child Find section of the COA website. Once written parental/guardian consent is obtained, COA 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.
Special Education (IEP) or Service Agreements (504 Plans)
Once the evaluation process is completed, a team of qualified COA personnel, parents/guardians, and other relevant service providers hold an evaluation determination meeting to agree on whether the student meets eligibility for one of the disability categories under IDEA, https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/special-education-services/ for information related to eligibility criteria associated with the disability categories defined under IDEA. If the student is eligible and requires specially designed instruction, an Individualized Education Plan (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 COA. COA 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 COA to develop a 504 Service Agreement (504 Plan) to outline the special provisions a student may require for adaptations and/or accommodations in COA-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 COA program and otherwise qualify under the applicable laws. COA will ensure that qualified students with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in the COA program and activities to the maximum extent appropriate for each individual student. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, COA will provide students with disabilities the necessary educational services and support they require to access and benefit from their academic 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 COA program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student's abilities and the extent required by law.
Parents/Guardians have the right to revoke consent for services after initial placement. Please note that a revocation of consent removes the student from ALL special services and support outlined on the IEP or 504 Plan, https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/special-education-services/.
Privacy & Confidentiality
To maintain the privacy of students' special education records, both within its central office and across COA systems and databases, COA follows protocols consistent with the federal regulations associated with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), https://ed.sc.gov/policy/education-laws-legislation/notification-of-confidentiality-rights-regarding-education-records-of-students-with-disabilities/.
Notice of these rights is available, upon request, on audiotape, in Braille, and languages other than English. Should you need further assistance or information regarding any of these accommodations, please contact Nadine Trimble, Academic Administrator for Special Programming at firstname.lastname@example.org or any member of your child's COA team for guidance.
Professional interpreter service may be requested at any time for legal guardians of students by contacting Nadine Trimble, Academic Administrator for Special Programming at email@example.com.
Grievances or Disputes
COA recognizes that despite the best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the COA-based team and COA families or students. Should this situation occur, the COA 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 what is most appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the COA Special Education Team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families to always serve its students to maximize their educational success.
Dispute Resolution Options
- IEP Facilitation – IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be utilized when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that 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 utilized 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 Department of Education. The mediator will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference. Both parties sign the agreement, and thus what the document states is mandated to be implemented. This process is less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive than a due process hearing.
- Formal Due Process – Families are NOT obligated to pursue the above alternatives to due process should they feel their concerns can only be resolved through a formal due process hearing; see https://ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/special-education-services/ for more information regarding due process.