Brenda Carter
Director Special Education
Email

Ms. Carter serves as an Assistant 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.

Evelyn Klepper
Secretary
770-426-3309 | Email

Jessica Coleman
Director Special Education Compliance
Email

Jessica Coleman is the Assistant Director of Support and Services. 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.

Laurie Hickey
Secretary
770-426-3417 | Email

George Morgan
Assistant Director Special Education
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.

Holley Ashworth
Secretary
770-426-3328 | Email

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Assistant Director Special Education
Email

Holley Ashworth
Secretary
770-426-3328 | Email

Kelli Cox
Assistant Director Special Education Compliance
Email

Kelli Cox is a Special Education Supervisor for Support and Services.  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.”

Laura Hickey
Secretary
770-426-3417 | Email

Equitable Services for Parentally Place Private and Home Schooled Students

 Attention Private Schools:

The department of Special Education will be participating in the upcoming Equitable Services meeting for Private Schools at Rose Garden on November 26th at 10:00 AM.  We will be discussing the Timely and Meaningful Consultation process and Proportionate Share of IDEA funds.  Please contact Teresa.Vento@cobbk12 if a representative from your private school will be in attendance.  Rose Garden  is located at 1870 Teasley Drive, Smyrna, 30080.   A separate meeting for parents of parentally placed private and home school students with disabilities will be held at a later date.

 

Attention Parents of Private and Home School Students with Disabilities:

The department of Special Education is planning a meeting to discuss the Timely and Meaningful Consultation Process of  equitable services and Proportionate Share of IDEA funds for parentally placed private and home school students, per IDEA.   An announcement will be posted to the website once the time and location are confirmed.

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:

Who is my local school Special Education contact person? SSA-Support and Service Administrator

Each school is assigned a special education Support and Services Administrator also known as the SSA.  This person is your special education contact at your local school. See below for a list of SSAs for each school.

SSA Assignments by School

How can I obtain Special Education Records?

Where can I find information about special education eligibility categories?

The Georgia Department of Education, Special Education Services and Supports, recognizes 12 categories of eligibility for students with disabilities.  Click below for categories and information pertaining to them.

Ga. DOE Eligibility Categories

Where can I find more information about special education rules?

You can find information from the GA DOE here.

How do I find out about funds for special needs scholarships?

The state of Georgia has a Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship Program which is also referred to as SNSP or Senate Bill 10 funds (SB 10). For information about the Special Needs Scholarship Program, click here.

How can I have special education questions answered in my native language?

The International Welcome Center can assist you with obtaining information in your native language.

Click here

 

 

 

 

 

How do I get my student evaluated?

Contact the Support and Services Administrator that is assigned to your child’s school who will work with you to address your question(s) regarding an evaluation.

SSA List

Who do I contact with questions about Special Education Transportation?

The need for special education transportation is determined by your child’s IEP team. If special education transportation is indicated, it will be coordinated by the case manager. Please contact your child’s case manager or the Support & Services Administrator at your school with any transportation issues (i.e. moving, change in pick up/drop off location). Transportation changes may take up to 10 days to process.

If you have questions regarding your student’s special education transportation, Click HERE to access the special education transportation website.

What is a Facilitated IEP Team Meeting and how do I request one?

A Facilitated IEP Team Meeting (FIEP) is an optional process, not required by the IDEA, that state educational agencies (SEA) or school districts may provide to parents and schools.  A Facilitated IEP Team Meeting, lead by a facilitator, is designed to be a collaborative dispute prevention and resolution process used when members of an IEP team agree that the presence of a third party would help facilitate communication and problem solving.  IEP Facilitators can be useful in various ways, including when there is a history of communication challenges or a meeting is expected to be particularly complex or controversial.

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.

Facilitated IEP (FIEP) Request Form

IEP Facilitation Parent Guide

IEP Facilitation Parent Guide – Spanish

Facilitated IEP  Introductory Flyer

Facilitated IEP Introductory Flyer – Spanish

FIEP Promotional Flyer

FIEP Promotional Flyer – Spanish

What are the high schools graduation requirements for students with significant cognitive disabilities?

The graduation requirements have been established by the Cobb County Board of Education and can be found in Board Policy IHF-R: Graduation Requirements.   For the Board Policy, click here.

Records Room Clerks Assignments
514 Glover Street Marietta, Georgia 30060
Fax: 678.594.8570

Karen Mitchell – 770-426-3599

HAVEN 9-12
Kennesaw ES
Kennesaw Charter
Kincaid ES
King Springs ES (K-1)
King Springs ES (2-5)
Labelle ES
Lewis ES
Lindley 6th Grade Academy
Lindley (7-8)
Lost Mountain NS
Lovinggood MS
Mableton ES
Mabry MS
McCall ES
McCleskey MS
McClure MS
Milford ES
Mountain View ES
Murdock ES
Nicholson ES
Nickajack ES
North Cobb HS
Norton Park ES
Osborne HS
Palmer MS
Pebblebrook HS
Pickett’s Mill ES
Pine Mt MS
Pitner ES
Pope HS
Powder Springs ES
Powers Ferry ES
Riverside Primary
Riverside Intermediate
Rocky Mount ES
Russell ES
Sanders ES
Sedalia Park ES
Shallowford Falls ES
Simpson MS
Smitha MS
Smyrna ES
Sope Creek ES
South Cobb HS
Sprayberry HS
Still ES
Tapp MS
Teasley ES
Timber Ridge ES
Tritt ES
Varner ES
Vaughan ES
Walton HS
Wheeler HS

Pam Polk – 770-514-3874

Acworth ES
Addison ES
Allatoona HS
Argyle ES
Austell ES
Awtrey MS
Baker ES
Barber MS
Bells Ferry ES
Belmont Hills ES
Big Shanty ES
Birney ES
Blackwell ES
Brumby ES
Bryant ES
Bullard ES
Campbell MS
Campbell HS
Chalker ES
Cheatham Hill ES
Clarkdale ES
Clay ES
Compton ES
Cooper MS
Daniell ES
Davis ES
Devereaux
Dickerson MS
Dodgen MS
Dowell ES
Due West ES
Durham MS
East Cobb MS
East Side ES
East Valley ES
Fair Oaks ES
Floyd MS
Ford ES
Frey ES
Garrett MS
Garrison Mill ES
Green Acres ES
Griffin MS
Harmony Leland ES
Harrison HS
HAVEN (PreK-8)
Hayes ES
Hendricks ES
Hightower Trail MS
Hillgrove HS
Hollydale ES
Keheley ES
Kell HS
Kemp ES
Kennesaw Mt. HS
Lassiter HS
McEachern HS

PROGRAM STAFF

Dr. Nakia Cotton
Coordinator
770.426.3571 . |  Email

Nakia is an educator that values diverse learners and their unique needs.  She has been in education for over 20 years, where she has served as a teacher as well as a school and district administrator.  Nakia is passionate about providing services for students with special needs under special education and Section 504.  As the Coordinator for Support and Services for the district, she brings a unique perspective on Section 504, Homebased Instruction and Special Education Compliance procedures which can be used to enhance student learning. She attended Florida A&M University where she obtained her Bachelors in Elementary Education and Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Nakia has her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University.

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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.

B Ealy

Dr. Bobbie Ealy
Supervisor
Email

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.

Holley Ashworth
Secretary
770-426-3328 | Email

Dr. Steven Benson
Supervisor
Email

Steven Benson is the Special Education Supervisor who supports the Autism Program. He has 10 years’ experience as a teacher for students with special needs, 6 years as an Autism Trainer, and 5 years of leadership experience in the district. His certifications are in Educational Leadership, Special Education Adapted Curriculum, Special Education Behavior Disorders, Special Education General Curriculum,   Special Education Physical and Health Disabilities, Special Education Learning Disabilities, Math/Science/Social Studies and Language Arts Cognitive Level P-12.  Mr. Benson holds an Ed.S. in Special Education and is currently completing his doctorate degree.

Evelyn Klepper
Secretary
770-426-3309 | Email

Kristin Pewitt
Coordinator
678.581.6810  |  Email

Corporate Classroom website

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 Corporate Classroom is a program through the Cobb County School District (CCSD) that has been developed to give young men and women ages 18 to 22 the opportunity to develop marketable vocational skills through job immersion.

These young adults go through an application and interview process to be accepted into the program. The program operates as a supervised and unpaid internship where the goal is for the intern to learn important job skills as he/she builds a resume of work experience that will eventually lead to successful employment.

Corporate Classroom website

Debbi Hall
Secretary
678.581.6801  |  Email

Lori Taylor
Corporate Classroom Manager
Email

Katherine Stewart
Work Base Learning Coordinator
Email

Stephanie Smith
Supervisor
Email

Stephanie Smith is the Special Education Supervisor that supports the Emotional Behavioral Disorder program.  She has served as an educator in the classroom for 14 years. She has also supported the behavioral needs for students throughout the district as a behavior trainer. Stephanie Smith is dedicated to supporting teachers in meeting the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

Johnna Addison
Secretary
770-426-3497 Email

Dr. Doris Osborne
Supervisor
Email

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).

Occupational Therapy

  • 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.

Physical Therapy:

  • 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.

Debbi Hall
Secretary
678.581.6802  |  Email

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 below to visit their website.

Jeannie Watson
Supervisor
Email

Preschool Website

Jeannie Watson is the Special Education Supervisor supporting the Special Needs Preschool program for the Cobb County School District. Ms. Watson has an educational background in both Speech Pathology and Special Education and has 27 years of experience as a Speech Pathologist, Special Education Teacher, Lead Teacher and Special Education Supervisor. Ms. Watson and her team seek to provide focused, positive, and engaging preschool learning environments, quality differentiated instruction, and innovative instructional practices that will promote an early start for school success for our preschool students.

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.

Patricia Brown
Secretary
770.426.3331 | Fax 678-594-8068 | Email

Kathy Arnold_Prof

Kathy Arnold
Supervisor
Email

Ms. Arnold Johnson has worked in education for 27 years. She has taught general education, special education, and various adult education classes. Ms. Johnson has presented workshops and trainings on specialized instruction at the local district, university, state and national levels. Ms. Johnson is currently a supervisor of Specialized Teaching and Learning in Cobb County School District.  Ms. Johnson is working toward completing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.

Johnna Addison
Secretary
770.426.3497  |  Email

HelenUpshaw_ProfMEDIUM

Helen Upshaw
AT Coordinator

678-581-6821 / Email

Helen is entering her 10th year as the Coordinator for Assistive Technology in the Special Education Department.  Prior to accepting her current leadership role, Helen served the Cobb County School District as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  Helen is committed to collaborating with leaders, teachers, staff, parents and students in our goal 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 28 years serving in the CCSD, she has facilitated many professional learning sessions at the local and state level on the use of assistive technology in the classroom.

JaniceBarnard_ProfMEDIUM

Janice Barnard
Supervisor
Email

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.

Johnna Addison
Secretary
770.426.3497  |  Email

Dr. Shari McCrary
Supervisor
Email

Michelle Jarvis
Secretary
678.581.6801  |  Email

Transition Website

The Transition Academy 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.

Kristin Pewitt
Transition Coordinator
678.581.6810  |  Email

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.

Debbi Hall
Secretary
678.581.6801  |  Email

Transition Website

©2018 Cobb County School District, Academic Division

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