our children, our priority
Welcome to the Department of Special Programs!
The Department of Special Programs is here to assist with the administration,
coordination and implementation of a variety of school district programs and
initiatives including instructional services and support for students in PK up to
eighth grade district wide. In order to effectively lead, support, and coordinate
the variety of programs, Special Programs staff work with district staff,
administrators, directors, principals, teachers, parents and students as
Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides
financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with
high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to
help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
Title II provides funds to LEAs in order to increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools and hold LEAs and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.
Tittle III provides funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions which may include remedial education and English language instruction.
In accordance with federal and state laws, SER-Niños Charter School System provides special education services to students who have been evaluated with a full, individual evaluation (FIE) and determined by an Admissions, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee to meet the Texas Education Agency (TEA) eligibility criteria as having a qualifying disability condition and to need specialized instruction to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE) in the student’s least restrictive environment (LRE).
Section 504 is a federal law that protects students with disabilities from being discriminated against at school. The SER-Niños 504 program is in place to give“qualified disabled persons” the same opportunities as students without disabilities who go to school. The school does this through a reasonable accommodation or modification. The law defines a “qualified disabled person” as having “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity” such as walking, learning, hearing, seeing, breathing, etc.
Providing Assistance to Students Who Have Learning Difficulties or Need Special Education Services.
If a student is experiencing learning difficulties, his or her parent may contact the person listed below to learn about the district’s overall general education referral or screening system for support services. This system links students to a variety of support options, including making a referral for a special education evaluation. For those students who are having difficulty in the regular classroom, schools must consider tutorial, compensatory, and other academic or behavior support services that are available to all students, including a process based on Response to Intervention (RtI). The implementation of RtI has the potential to have a positive impact on the ability of districts to meet the needs of all struggling students.
At any time, a parent is entitled to request an evaluation for special education services. Within 15 days, SER-Niños open enrollment charter school must respond to the parent’s request. If an evaluation if needed, SER-Niños must provide parent with consent forms. Once informed consent is received, SER-Niños must complete the evaluation and the report within 45 school days of the date the school receives the written consent. The district must give a copy of the evaluation report to the parent.
If the district determines that the evaluation is not needed, the district will provide the parent with prior written notice that explains why the child will not be evaluated. This written notice will include a statement that informs the parents their rights, if they disagree with the district. The district is required to give parents the Notice of Procedural Safeguards– Rights of Parents of Students with Disabilities. Additional information regarding special education is available from the school district in a companion document titled Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process.
The following websites provide information to those who are seeking information and resources specific to students with disabilities and their families.
Who to contact within the Department of Special Programs:
Regarding Title I, Title II, or Title III
Phone: (713) 592-6055
Regarding Special Education or 504
Dr. Sandra Hierholzer,
Special Education Director/504 Coordinator
Phone: (713) 592-6055