Student Services

Special Education 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles eligible students with disabilities to a free appropriate public education designed to meet their unique needs. To receive special education services, students must be determined to have one of the following exceptionalities as defined by the Illinois State Board of Education: Autism (includes, but is not limited to, any Autism Spectrum Disorder); Deaf-Blindness; Deafness; Emotional Disability; Hearing Impairment; Intellectual Disability; Multiple Disabilities; Orthopedic Impairment; Other Health Impairment; Specific Learning Disability; Speech or Language Impairment; Traumatic Brain Injury; Visual Impairment.  

If eligibility for special education is determined, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed and reviewed annually. Eligibility for special education services is reevaluated every three years. 

The Special Education Department offers a continuum of placements where students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are educated with students without disabilities, to the greatest extent appropriate. A student’s educational placement is determined by an IEP team.  

The Placement Continuum  

General Education 



Public Day 

Private Day 




Section 504 

To qualify for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a student must have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, including but not limited to: learning, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, communicating, concentrating, reading, breathing, working, caring for one's self, thinking, performing manual tasks, lifting, and bending. Section 504 accommodations are provided to eligible students through a Section 504 Plan.  To learn more about Section 504, please visit: Civil Rights/Section 504. 


Notice Regarding Students with Disabilities 

Students with disabilities who do not qualify for an IEP may qualify for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if the child: (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (ii) has a record of a physical or mental impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment. To learn more about Section 504, please visit: Civil Rights/Section 504. 


Parent Resource Guide 

IEP-Educational Rights and Responsibilities: THE PARENT GUIDE  


Preschool Screening/Early Childhood Services 
Early childhood services are provided for children ages 3 to 5 years of age. Screenings are conducted periodically, and findings from the screenings determine entrance into District preschool programs or the need for further evaluation.  Early childhood professionals and related services personnel provide specialized educational services to children with disabilities in a variety of settings such as early childhood, preschool and pre-kindergarten/Preschool for All classrooms to meet their developmental learning needs.  The District’s programs are for children who are academically or developmentally at-risk.  In order to be eligible for screening, children must live within District 159 attendance boundaries and be at least 3 years of age at the time of screening.  For children who are 5 years of age, their date of birth must be after September 1.   

Please contact Tanya BranchDirector of Special Education, at [email protected] for additional information on scheduling a screening.   

Child Find 

Child Find is an ongoing process that identifies, locates, and evaluates children who may be eligible for early intervention or may need special education services. This process takes place from birth through age 21 (i.e., through the day before the student’s 22nd birthday). District 159 is responsible for actively locating, identifying, and evaluating all children who live within the district boundaries who may qualify to receive special education and/or related services.  


Notice of Procedural Safeguards 

Procedural Safeguards summarize and notify parents/guardians regarding rights to which they and their child are entitled by state and federal law. Notice of Procedural Safeguards must be made available at least annually, and upon request.  The Notice of Procedural Safeguards are available here:  

Procedural Safeguards for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) 



Availability of Related Service Logs 

Students with disabilities may receive related services as part of their IEPs. District 159 will maintain related service logs that record the type and number of minutes of the related service(s) administered to students. Copies of any related service logs will be available to parents/guardians at their child’s annual review IEP meeting. Parents/guardians of students with disabilities may also request copies of their child’s related service logs at any time.