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Special Education

Abstract art of children with special needs



Breckenridge Independent School District is ready, willing, and able to identify and serve all children with disabilities residing within its jurisdiction who are in need of special education and related services.


BISD is responsible for identifying, locating, and evaluating children from birth through age 21, with known or suspected disabilities who reside in and/or attend school within the school district’s boundaries to determine whether a need for special education and related services exists. Child Find includes children who reside in group or nursing homes and/or who attend private or home schools within the district’s boundaries regardless of place of residence.


Any one in the community who is concerned with the welfare of a child may participate in the Child Find process. Child Find accepts referrals on children who may have a disability. Parent involvement and agreement is obtained prior to any further action. Information is confidential and the privacy of the child and parents is protected. Should an assessment be required, it is provided at no cost to the parent.


For more information concerning eligibility criteria and the referral process, contact the campus or the Special Education Department at 254-212-3005.


Referral for a Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE) for Special Education Services

Once it has been determined that a student continues to experience difficulty in the general education classroom after appropriate interventions are provided, the student may be referred for an FIE to determine eligibility and the need for special education services. A referral for an FIE may be initiated by the parent or school personnel through the Student Intervention Team (SIT) process.  In BISD, evaluations are conducted by qualified personnel which may include:  an  educational diagnostician, licensed specialists in school psychology (LSSP), and/or speech-language pathologist.  Once the school receives written consent to evaluate, the District has 45 school days to conduct the FIE and an additional 30 days from the date of the FIE to convene an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee meeting to review the results of that evaluation. A child between the ages of three through twenty-one must meet the criteria for one or more of the disability categories listed below to be eligible for special education services:


Auditory Impairment*



Emotional Disturbance

Intellectual Disabilities

Non-Categorical Early Childhood (ages 3-5)

Orthopedic Impairment

Other Health Impairment

Specific Learning Disability

Speech or Language Impairment

Traumatic Brain Injury

Visual Impairment*


*These eligibilities have special considerations that may begin at birth. Parent consent for an evaluation is required.  Since parent consent is required for an initial evaluation, the parent may refuse to sign the consent for evaluation.  If a parent wishes to request an initial evaluation, the request must be made in writing to a District administrative staff member.  The District then has 15 school days to respond by either obtaining consent or providing a written response of refusal.



Eligibility for special education services is determined based on two criteria: (1) a student must have a disability listed above, and (2) as a result of the disability, the student must demonstrate an educational need and therefore requires specially designed instruction.  As part of considering eligibility, the evaluation must determine that the student has had appropriate instruction and that the academic or behavioral difficulties cannot be explained by other factors such as frequent absences, limited English proficiency, or other factors that could be the primary cause of the difficulties.



A re-evaluation must occur at least once every 3 years, unless the parent and the District agree that a reevaluation is not necessary.


ARD (Admission, Review, & Dismissal)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) is the federal law that governs the special education process. The term “special education” means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Under the IDEA, parents are ensured equal participation at every stage of the process. This resource guide is designed to give you, as the parent of a child who may be eligible for special education services, a better understanding of the special education process and of your procedural rights and responsibilities so that you will be able to fully participate in the decision-making process regarding your child’s education.


Dispute Resolution

The BISD Special Education Department makes every effort to reach consensus by the conclusion of each ARD meeting.  However, in the rare occasion that consensus does not occur, a Special Services Coordinator will attend the continuation ARD following a 10 day recess.  If consensus is still not achieved, the parent will then be offered a meeting using a district level ARD Facilitator to assist the committee in resolving the dispute.


Transition Services is a coordinated set of activities for a student designed within an outcome – oriented process, which promotes movement from school to post-secondary activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community preparation.


 The coordinated set of activities must (1) be based upon the individual student’s needs; (2) take into account student preferences and interests; and (3) include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post – school adult living objectives, and if appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.


 Individual transition planning shall begin on or before the student’s 14th birthday for each student receiving special education services.  On or before the student’s 14th birthday, parents/guardians of students in special education are provided information about transition planning. Transition information is provided to the parent at the first Annual ARD transition is discussed. Each year thereafter, the transition information is offered to the parent.


 When addressing transition service needs, the IEP must include activities in the areas of:


* Instruction

* Related services

* Community experiences

* Employment

* Other post-secondary adult living objectives, and

* If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and a functional vocational evaluation


Once transition planning/services begin, the student is a required member of the meeting. Every effort should be made to ensure that the student is present. The purpose of this requirement is to focus attention on how the student’s educational program will be planned to help the student make a successful transition to his/her goals for life after high school. If the student does not attend the meeting, the special education teacher should:


* Take steps to ensure that information reflecting the interests and preferences of the student is obtained and considered by the ARD Committee and


* Provide clear documentation to the ARD committee of the attempts to have the student present at the meeting and


* Provide to the ARD committee the reasons the student is not present


The transition information is revised yearly at the Annual ARD meeting taking into account the progress the student is making on goals and objectives contained in the IEP.


If the student is leaving the school setting, the transition plan must include, if appropriate, information about the adult service agencies that the student will be linked with and/or an explanation of the agency’s responsibilities towards providing services for the student.


For more information, please contact Elizabeth Tidwell, BISD Transition Specialist/TED; please see directory below.


Texas Transition and Employment Guide Website

Transition & Employment Guide: ENGLISH & SPANISH

Transitions Dashboard, Please find below numerous links

Please check out our special Transitions website that connects you to numerous helpful, online resources. Just click the logo above.






Additional Web Links

ESC-14 Service Center

Abilene, Texas


Texas Education Agency

Special Education in Texas

Parent Information Line: 1-800-252-9668


US Department of Education

Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS)


SpedTex Special Education Information Center

The Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex) provides resources and interactive features for increasing family awareness of disabilities and special education processes, with the goal of improving partnerships between schools and families. Click the SPEDTex logo above to go to their comprehensive website or click HERE.


Contact information:

Phone: 1-855-773-3839


Live Chat:


White board that says Click Here Parent Resources for Autism Spectrum Disorder


Catherine Schmidt, Ed.D.

Director, BISD Special Education

254-212-3005 EXT 7002


Barbara Collinsworth, Special Education Counselor


Susan Fergeson, Speech Pathologist


Tracy Gilman, Speech Pathologist


Amanda Perry, Diagnostician


Liz Tidwell, Diagnostician & TED


Sherry Wright, Special Education Department Secretary