My child has never received special education
services, but I suspect a problem. What do I do?
In this case, simply contact your child’s
school and ask that they pursue an assessment. It is
necessary to be as specific as possible about the types
of problems you see your child experiencing. This is
needed so that it can be determined what professionals
need to be involved and the extent of the assessment
that will be needed. Some problems can be solved simply
by bringing them to the attention of everyone involved.
Others will require full evaluations. Either way, the
school is the best place to start.
If your child is not enrolled in a Shelby County school,
or you are not satisfied that the problems have been
dealt with at the local school level, contact the Division
of Special Education at (901-321-2710).
How often must my child be reevaluated?
Current law requires that a reevaluation occur at least
every three years. The extent of this reevaluation
is determined by the IEP team. In many cases, additional
testing will not be required.
What is an IEP-Team?
This simply refers to the group of individuals at the
school level who will meet to discuss your child’s
needs, develop and review plans, and decide what
placement will best meet his/her needs. Typically,
the IEP-Team will consist of the school principal
or his/her designee, your child’s teacher (or
teachers), a special education teacher, and the parent/guardian.
At times, others may be a part of the team. Other
individuals might include: speech pathologists; physical
therapists; occupational therapists; specialist teachers
like art, music, and physical education teachers;
and even the student. The parents/guardians may bring
anyone to the IEP-Team that they feel can assist
them in the process.
When should the IEP-Team meet?
The IEP-Team will meet when your child is initially
placed in a special education program at least annually
thereafter. However, any member of the IEP-Team, including
parent/guardian, may ask for the team to reconvene
at any time.
What is an IEP? Is it the same as an IFSP?
An IEP is an Individualized Education Program. It is
developed on an annual basis and provides the guidance
for the provision of special education services for
your student. Present levels of performance lead
to the development of appropriate goals and objectives
for the coming year. The IEP also spells out what,
if any, related services will be required for your
child to benefit from his/her special education program.
An IFSP is an Individualized Family Service Plan,
and it is developed for students below the age of 3.
Early intervention service providers work closely with
families to develop a plan for the types of services
that are needed to give the infant/toddler the early
intervention he/she requires. IFSPs or parts of them,
can sometimes be used in place of an IEP. In Shelby
County we have usually preferred to use the IFSP for
guidance but to develop a new IEP appropriate for the
What is a Transition Plan?
Transition plans are required by law to be included
as a part of the IEP for students age 16 and older.
They may be written for students at an even younger
age if the IEP-Team feels it is appropriate. The
Transition Plan is intended to provide guidance for
the IEP-Team and the family in seeking the appropriate
services and preparing for life after the student
exits the school system.
Moving to Shelby County with
a Special Needs Student?
Memphis and Shelby County are two separate school
districts. Geographical location will determine which
district will provide services for your child. Your
real estate agent can provide that information, or
you can call the main offices of either school system
with your exact address in the greater Memphis area.
This website also has a “School
Zone Locator” feature. Providing
a full copy of the student’s record of special
education services will be required. This can be accomplished
either by signing a release of information at your
present school and asking that the records be forwarded
to the above address or by securing a release form
from our offices for that purpose. Either way, your
signature will be required before records will be released.
School systems across the country handle records differently,
so you should allow plenty of time for records to be
copied and mailed to Shelby County Schools, Waiting
until you actually move to Shelby County before requesting
the records may slow down the process of records transfer.
If you have records sent ahead before your family
actually moves, please ask the sender to identify the
child and the proposed address in Shelby County. We
occasionally get records with no identification and
have no way of acting upon the records or contacting
the parent/guardian. Be sure to have copies of your
child’s birth certificate, social security card,
immunization record, proof of residence (Policy #6103)
and record of custody (if applicable). These will be
needed for enrollment into the public school system.
Will my child be able to start school right
You have the right to enroll your child in a public
school upon meeting the regular enrollment requirements
(proof of in-district residence, current immunizations,
birth certificate and social security numbers). However,
it is not possible to provide special education services
until eligibility is determined. This is done by a
review of records and/or additional testing followed
by a meeting of the IEP Team members.
We in Shelby County Schools pride ourselves on working
very hard to get students enrolled in the appropriate
special education programs as quickly as possible.
We assure you that we will make every effort to assist
you in this process.
What happens after I send the special education
An appropriate professional reviews the records and
makes a determination as to whether the previously
completed testing meets the standards set forth by
the State of Tennessee for identification of a disability.
A brief report is then compiled and the student’s
record is sent to the proposed school. The school then
contacts the family to arrange for an IEP Team meeting
to discuss the student’s needs, develop an Individualized
Education Program (IEP), and determine placement.
If the records review results in a determination that
the records are not current or not adequate for state
standards, the parent/guardian will be contacted to
arrange additional testing.
What is APEX?
APEX (Academic Program for the Exceptional) is a special
education service designed for students in the Shelby
County School System who meet the criteria for intellectually
gifted students in the state of Tennessee.
APEX emphasizes: critical and creative thinking; research
and study skills; problem-solving; decision making;
communication skills; leadership skills; and development
of students as self-motivated, life-long learners.
Students apply these processes in the development of
quality products within a curriculum rich in academic
IEP Team is a multidisciplinary team composed of parents,
teachers, administrators, and other professionals
who meet together to determine if the student is
eligible for special education services. The IEP
Team also develops the student's individualized education
IEP is the Individualized Education Plan designed
to meet the educational needs of the student. The IEP
Team meets to discuss and develop the IEP.
Curriculum Compacting involves modification of the
regular curriculum by replacing previously mastered
material with opportunities to extend learning through
A copy of the procedural rights under the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is sent to
parents with notification of the IEP Team meeting
and is provided at the IEP Team meeting. Rights include
such items as notification of parents concerning
IEP Team meetings, role of the IEP Team in development
of the IEP, evaluation procedures, and rights concerning
the review of information. Parents are encouraged
to become familiar with this document and ask questions
The initial IEP Team meeting is scheduled to discuss
the results and recommendations from the psychological
evaluation. The student's educational needs are discussed
and the IEP is completed to reflect these needs. Minutes
of the meeting are read, placement and permission forms
explained, and all documents are signed by members
of the IEP Team. IEP Team meetings are scheduled annually
to review the student's educational program and develop
an IEP. An IEP Team meeting may be scheduled prior
to the annual review, if necessary, by calling the
APEX classes begin in third grade for students who
are identified as intellectually gifted according to
the criteria for the state of Tennessee. Pull-out classes
meet weekly in third through fifth grades with curriculum
designed to address educational needs in the student's
IEP. Critical and creative thinking skills are emphasized
through experiences related to academic content and
products reflect learning at the student's intellectual
APEX students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades
may participate in selected Enriched classes daily
with "Seminar" classes offered by the APEX
teacher each nine weeks. Eighth grade students also
may participate in an "Introduction to Foreign
Language" class. . Recommendations for enrollment
in Enriched Classes are determined on an individual
APEX students in high school are encouraged to enroll
in Honors and Advanced Placement courses. An APEX consulting
teacher meets with students and parents to assist with
course selection and future planning and to guide the
development of the IEP.