Dear Families and Parents of Students with Disabilities,
As you may be aware, the Cobb County School District will be open for face to face instruction for the 2020-2021 School Year. As a result of COVID-19 and changing student/family needs, parents/families will be able choose between a “Face to Face” or “Full Remote” learning model for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Remote learning is available for any student including those with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan.
If a family of a student with a disability chooses the remote learning model, a student distance learning plan will be developed, based on input from you and relevant District staff members that will address the student’s special education services. Should you choose the remote learning model, it should be noted that the District is working to ensure students’ access to the curriculum is comparable to all students based on individual needs. Additionally, the District maintains a commitment to providing appropriate support to students with disabilities in the remote learning model, although special education services may look different as some classes, programs, services, and/or accommodations may not be available through a remote learning classroom. The individual distance learning plan will be created in collaboration with you and considering your student’s unique needs to address their IEP through the remote learning option.
As we begin the 2020-2021 school year, we will continue to collaborate and communicate with you regarding services for students with disabilities in order to maintain the success of student learning. We hope that you and your family have remained safe and healthy during this time and hope that you have been able to enjoy the summer. If you have any questions related to Special Education, please feel free to email the Support and Services Administrator (SSA) for your child’s school or Assistant Director/Director of Special Education.
Brenda Carter and Jessica Coleman
Director of Special Education and Director of Special Education Compliance
SPANISH VERSION COMING!
Ms. Carter serves as Director of Special Education for the Cobb County School District. She has worked in education for 30 years with 20 years of experience in leadership. Ms. Carter was an Assistant Principal at McEachern High School, a Special Education Cluster Supervisor and a Special Education Lead Teacher. She has a vast amount of experience working with students with disabilities that ranges from Pre-K through 12th grade, including all categorical disabilities. Ms. Carter is passionate about her job and how she serves students, teachers, and parents.
Lisa Briley, Assistant Director
770-426-3328 | Email
Lisa Briley serves as an Assistant Director of Special Education for the Cobb County School District. Mrs. Briley has worked in the area of Special Education throughout her career. She has worked as a teacher for students with disabilities in a range of classroom settings from Special Needs Preschool through high school. In addition to her role as a classroom teacher for Cobb County Schools, Mrs. Briley has served as a Special Education Lead Teacher, Education Program Specialist, Cluster Supervisor, and Support and Service Administrator. With a student-centered focus, she is passionate about collaborating with all stakeholders to promote the success for all students.
George Morgan, Assistant Director
770-426-3328 | Email
Mr. Morgan serves as an Assistant Director of Special Education for the Cobb County School District. Mr. Morgan has worked in education for over a decade and has served in a variety of roles within the district. Mr. Morgan began his career as a middle school teacher at Haven Academy and has supported students with a variety of exceptionalities over the course of his career. In addition to serving as a middle school teacher, Mr. Morgan has served as an Administrator at Hillgrove High School, a Special Education Cluster Supervisor and an Education Program Specialist. Mr. Morgan continues to serve as a champion for students with disabilities within the district and is excited about the opportunity to serve the community in this capacity.
Jessica Coleman is the Director of Special Education Compliance. She supports all schools within the District in the IEP process. Jessica has 14 years of experience in the field of education. Her experience includes teaching in a small group classroom and providing support from a District level as an Autism Trainer, Education Program Specialist, Supervisor and now currently as an Assistant Director. Jessica earned a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and Special Education and also has a Masters and Specialists degree in Educational Leadership.
Kelli Cox, Assistant Director
Special Education Compliance
770-426-3417 | Email
Kelli Cox is the Assistant Director of Special Education Compliance. As an educator, she has over 15 years of classroom experience as a teacher for students with disabilities of all ages and grade levels. In addition, she has leadership experience with Cobb County School District at the school level as well as experience in leadership positions in other school systems. As a member of the Support and Services team, she supports teachers and schools in the Cobb County School District in their implementation of Special Education programs. She is passionate about working as a team in order to ensure success of all learners. Her philosophy as an educator follows a quote from Margaret Mead, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
Welcome to Cobb County Special Education
Welcome to the Cobb County School District Special Education website. It is our hope, on this page, you will find the information you are looking for concerning students with disabilities. If you are a parent of a student with a disability, please see the link below to our Parent Mentors’ page for additional information and resources.
Please use these helpful FAQs to find the information you are looking for:
If you have questions regarding your student’s special education transportation, Click HERE to access the special education transportation website.
A Facilitated IEP Team Meeting is the same as any other IEP team meeting, except that a facilitator from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) joins the meeting. The facilitator helps with communication among team members, and does not make decisions about the student’s IEP. The goal of a Facilitated IEP Team Meeting is to develop an IEP that is supported by team members and benefits the student.
In a facilitated IEP Team meeting:
- Families and schools agree to have a facilitator join an IEP Team meeting.
- Facilitators maintain open communication and ensure that everyone at the IEP Team meeting can participate fully.
- If disagreements arise during the meeting, a facilitator can help the Team clarify and resolve them.
- The facilitator typically does not address issues that are not related to the student’s IEP.
Who can request a Facilitated IEP Team Meeting?
- Any parent whose child is in a Georgia school district participating in the GaDOE’s FIEP Team Meeting program, which includes the Cobb County School District
How do I request a FIEP?
- Submit a completed request form to the GaDOE
- For a request form, CLICK HERE
Why would I request a FIEP?
- To have a trained facilitator from the Georgia DOE create an environment in which the IEP Team members can listen to each others’ point of view and work together to create a quality, student-focused IEP
Click below for additional information pertaining to the Facilitated IEP Team Meeting process.
What are the high schools graduation requirements for students with significant cognitive disabilities?
Special Education Records Room
514 Glover Street Marietta, Georgia 30060
Special Education Records Clerk
770-426-3599 | Email
Special Education Records Clerk
770-514-3874 | Email
As the Supervisor for Special Education Alternative Services, she brings a unique perspective on Section 504, supports special education for Alternative Programs (Devereaux, Ombudsman, and Horizon) and Special Education Hospital Homebound/Homebased Instruction procedures which can be used to enhance student learning.
A Section 504 Plan is an educational plan describing what accommodations or related aids and services will be provided to meet the individual educational needs of the eligible student as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met.
Students eligible under Section 504 may require a documented plan. “Appropriate Education” means comparable to the one provided to general education students. If the 504 Team determines that a plan is required then Section 504 requires that reasonable
accommodations be made for the child with a disability. Section 504 requires that the school provide reasonable accommodations, supports and auxiliary aides for the student. The school will also afford the opportunity to access the same as non-disabled peers allow the child to participate in the general curriculum.
Services under Section 504 require schools to eliminate barriers that would prevent the student from participating fully in the programs and services offered in the general curriculum.
The local school will evaluate a student to determine eligibility based on a parent referral or under child find.
The evaluation information needed is determined by the multi-disciplinary committee gathered to evaluate the student. The committee should include persons knowledgeable about the student, and should review the evaluation data to determine if they have enough information to make a knowledgeable decision as to whether or not the student has a disability. The Section 504 regulatory provision at 34 C.F.R. 104.35(c) requires that school districts draw from a variety of sources in the evaluation process so that the possibility of error is minimized.
The determination of substantial limitation must be made on a case-by-case basis with respect to each individual student.
An impairment in and of itself is not a disability. The impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities in order to be considered a disability under Section 504. A physician’s medical diagnosis may be considered among other sources in evaluating a student with an impairment or believed to have an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity. Other sources to be considered, along with the medical diagnosis, include aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, and adaptive behavior.
The 504 Coordinator varies at each school. It may be the Assistant Principal or the Professional School Counselor at the school. Please contact your school directly to identify the 504 Coordinator.
Dr. Bobbie Ealy has taught students with disabilities for over 25 years. She has experience in the classroom from Pre-K through 12th grade. She is passionate about providing access to the educational environment for students with hearing loss, vision loss, orthopedic impairments, and adaptive physical education needs. Dr. Ealy has also worked in early intervention and at the post-secondary level. She is currently the Supervisor for Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Vision Impaired, Orthopedically Impaired, Adaptive PE and Hospital-Homebound Medically Related services.
Dr. Steven Benson is one of the Special Education Supervisor who supports the Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Emotional Behavioral Disorder, and Transition programs. He has 10 years’ experience as a teacher for students with varied exceptionalities, 6 years as an Autism Trainer, and 7 years of leadership experience in the district. He has worked collaboratively with Georgia Department of Education conducting trainings and workshops on autism, has presented at the Georgia Council of Administrators for Special Education conferences, and has been published in the Journal of Safe Management of Assaultive and Disruptive Behavior as well as in the Journal of the National Association of Special Education Teachers. Dr. Benson has a passion for and interest in Social Emotional Supports for students as well as working collaboratively with teachers, administrators, and itinerate staff in providing an environment in which engagement is fostered.
Sandra Powell is a Special Education Program Supervisor that supports the Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Emotional Behavioral Disorder, and Transition programs. Sandra has experience in supporting students with disabilities at the school and district level. She has served the Cobb County School District in the roles of Classroom Teacher, Intellectual Disabilities Trainer, Support Specialist and Supervisor of Special Education Compliance. Sandra is passionate about supporting teams to create positive learning environments that foster student engagement, utilizing effective instructional strategies, and supporting the social and emotional development of all students.
Stephanie Smith is the Special Education Supervisor that supports the Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, Emotional Behavioral Disorder, and Transition Program. She has experience supporting students at a local school level and district level for 17 years as a General Education teacher, Special Education teacher, Behavior Specialists, and Special Education Program Supervisor. She also serves on the County’s Local Interagency Planning Team (LIPT). Stephanie Smith is dedicated to supporting teachers in meeting the cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of all students.
Special Education Nursing:
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes a provision for nursing services to students, with a recognized disability or disorder, to access and benefit from their special education program. Potential access to special education nursing begins with the assessment process that is initiated by the IEP team.
- The determination for nursing services must be addressed through the IEP team after a nursing assessment.
- The Special Education nurse consults with and provides training for students, parents, teachers and staff concerning various medical conditions and delegated medical procedures. The special education nurse develops individualized healthcare plans and provides treatment as ordered by a physician. Special education nursing services are identified and documented in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) include a provision for educationally relevant Occupational Therapy to assist students, with a recognized disability or disorder, to access and benefit from their special education program. Services are intended to support a student in achieving Individual Education Plan (IEP) based objectives and are not for medical or rehabilitative reasons. An educational need for therapy services must be identified through the IEP team and evaluation process. Students with a 504 Plan may also receive accommodative services of Occupational Therapy in order to create equal access to the general education curriculum and environment.
- Occupational Therapy in the educational environment focuses on functional outcomes and includes various intervention strategies and supports. Some of these are implemented by other school personnel with the collaboration of the school-based therapist.
- Potential access to Occupational Therapy begins with the evaluation process that is initiated by the IEP team, 504 Plan team, Response to Intervention team, or parent, when an educationally related concern is identified and documented in an IEP meeting, 504 meeting, Response to Intervention meeting, or Direct Parent Referral meeting. The parent or legal guardian of the student will be asked to sign a Consent to Evaluate to start the process.
- Occupational Therapy services in the school setting are educational in nature and are designed to support the child in their role of being a student. Areas for possible intervention include motor skills, self-care skills, adaptive skills, and social-emotional regulation. The occupational therapist may use a variety of approaches such as creating activities to promote learning, modifying activities or environments to improve access, and collaborating with and educating school staff, students, and parents.
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes a provision for educationally relevant Physical Therapy to assist students, with a recognized disability or disorder, to access and benefit from their special education program. Services are intended to support a student in achieving Individual Education Plan (IEP) based objectives and are not for medical or rehabilitative reasons. An educational need for therapy services must be identified through the IEP team and evaluation process. Students with a 504 Plan may also receive accommodative services of Physical Therapy in order to create equal access to the general education curriculum and environment.
- Physical Therapy in the educational environment focuses on functional outcomes and includes various intervention strategies and supports. Some of these are implemented by other school personnel with the collaboration of the school-based therapist.
- Potential access to Physical Therapy begins with the evaluation process that is initiated by the IEP team, 504 Plan team, Response to Intervention team, or parent, when an educationally related concern is identified and documented in an IEP meeting, 504 meeting, Response to Intervention meeting, or Direct Parent Referral meeting. The parent or legal guardian of the student will be asked to sign a Consent to Evaluate to start the process.
- Physical Therapy services in the school setting are educational in nature and are designed to support the student in physically accessing the school environment. Physical therapists require a prescription from a physician in order for services to be provided. The school-based physical therapist primarily focuses on supporting environmental access, functional mobility, motor skills training, monitoring and maintenance of therapeutic equipment, and collaboration and training of school staff, students, and parents.
Cobb’s Special Education Parent Mentors enhance communication between parents and educators, ultimately leading to greater success for students with disabilities. The goal of the Parent Mentors is to help parents understand their role in their children’s education and to provide guidance and resources to help them navigate the Special Education process.
As parents of students with disabilities, Cobb’s Special Education Parent Mentors provide resources to families of children with special needs while helping them navigate Special Education. As mentors, they are part of the broader Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership, whose mission is: “Building collaboration and communication between families and educators ultimately leads to greater success for children with disabilities.”
Our Parent Mentors are Stacy Greene and Antoinette Nichols. To find out more information about our Parent Mentors, click above to visit their website.
Early Childhood Special Education Identification and Services
Cobb County School District’s Special Needs Preschool (SNP) program provides specialized instruction and related services to all children ages 3 through 5, who qualify under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, Part B, Section 619). The SNP program ensures the provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment to all children who are found eligible. Services are based on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) which is developed in collaboration with SNP staff members and the parents of each child eligible for early childhood special education services. The SNP program provides a continuum of special education instructional services to eligible children. Speech-language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy may also be available to eligible preschoolers as recommended in the IEP.
Referral and Evaluation
The SNP program provides referred preschoolers with comprehensive evaluations in the areas of communication, cognitive, social-emotional, motor and adaptive skills. These evaluations are provided by a team of professionals which may include psychologists, educational diagnosticians and therapists. Children may be referred for an evaluation by parents, physicians and community agencies.
Early Childhood Special Education Services
Preschoolers who qualify for special education services may be served through the community based, facility-based or home-based models or unique combinations of the three models.
The community-based option provides specialized instructional activities to children in community preschool and daycare settings, dependent on the child’s specific needs, as outlined by the IEP team. Services generally consist of direct teaching from a Special Education teacher through a combination of individual and group activities, as well as consultation with community professionals. Cobb County School District (CCSD) SNP teachers collaborate with parents, caregivers, and community professionals to incorporate skill-building strategies into the child’s daily activities.
Facility-based services provide instruction in classroom settings located in many elementary schools within the CCSD. The curriculum is language rich and emphasizes skill development in the areas of communication and early literacy, social development, self-help, cognition and other skills as designated in each student’s IEP. Facility-based services are provided by a Special Education teacher with paraprofessional support. Integrated therapy services are provided.
Home-based services may be deemed appropriate when the fragility of a child’s health would prohibit the child’s participation in another service delivery option or when home-based services are the recommended service delivery for the child.
Dr. Kathy Johnson has worked in education for 27 years. She has taught general education, special education, and various adult education classes. Dr. Johnson has presented workshops and trainings on specialized instruction at the local district, university, state and national levels. Dr. Johnson is currently a supervisor of Specialized Teaching and Learning and Assistive Technology in Cobb County School District.
Janice is a lifelong learner and speech-language pathologist who is passionate about providing high quality speech and language services to students who have speech and language disorders. As speech-language pathologist she has been practicing for over 25 years. Additionally, as the program supervisor for speech pathology and educational diagnosticians, she is excited about providing top quality evaluations and services to students of the Cobb County School District.
For the last 12 years, Helen served CCSD as the Coordinator for Assistive Technology in the Special Education Department. Helen is returning to the Speech-Language Department as the Speech-Language Coordinator, with an emphasis on supporting staff, students, and families in Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC). Helen is an ASHA certified, licensed speech-language pathologist. She is committed to collaborating with leaders, teachers, staff, parents and students to support student success. She is passionate and contagious with her belief that ALL students can be independent, lifelong learners when provided with the right tools for their tool belt. During her 30 years serving in the CCSD, she has facilitated professional learning sessions at the local and state level on the topics of augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technology in the classroom.
Kristin Pewitt is the Transition Coordinator for the Cobb County School District. She coordinates the Transition Services Programs for students with disabilities who are 18-22 years old. Kristin also works with the Transition Services staff that support classroom teachers, students, and families. She has 10 years of classroom experience as a teacher for students with disabilities and an additional 10 years of experience working with students with disabilities who are transitioning from school to the post-secondary world. Ms. Pewitt is dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities achieve their post-secondary goals and become valued members of the community.
The Transition Program and the SETS program are Transition Services programs for students who are at least 18 years old, have participated in GAA, and have completed the academic and graduation requirements for graduation. Students must apply to participate in either program.