Special Needs Policy

School Services Information (Special Education Needs Policy)
Union Academy Magnet School

Union Academy Magnet School has one guidance counselor who counsels students and parents in addition to participating in conferences between teachers, students and parents. As part of our implementation of the MYP the counselor frequently refers to the learner profile during these counseling sessions and meetings. Students who desire counseling obtain a pass from their teacher to speak with their counselor. It is also common for teachers and parents to refer students for counseling, particularly when students experience stress at home or when their work or behavior concerns a teacher. In addition to these responsibilities they also oversee testing administration and scheduling. 

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program
All of the ESOL students at Union Academy Magnet School are proficient in English and receive daily English language instruction from a regular education teacher. Even though these students are not part of a pull-out program, teachers are still required to implement the state-mandated ESOL strategies in classroom instruction.

Most students are already identified once they reach middle school. The exceptions are those students enrolling with us from out of state or private school; of course, these students can be referred for placement into ESOL at any time. Our guidance counselor monitors their academic progress throughout the year. If there are concerns, an ELL Committee meeting is held to determine further academic placement or additional accommodations. Students in the ESOL program must be tested yearly until the student tests out.  ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) test is used as the annual assessment. This test is administered between March and April. Union Academy’s ultimate goal is to meet the academic, social, and cultural needs of all our students.

504 Procedures at Union Academy Magnet School
The guidance counselor at Union Academy ensures that 504 plans are implemented and accommodations are being followed in the classroom and on standardized tests. Teachers are given copies of their students’ 504 plans at the beginning of each school year. When a student transitions from elementary to middle school, a parent meeting is held to discuss the plan and revise it as appropriate. Parents can request additional meetings at any time throughout the school year. Guidance counselors are required to monitor the plans by retaining copies of the interim progress reports and report cards. If a student is found to be struggling, additional accommodations will be implemented into their 504 plan. It is our goal to make sure that we are meeting the needs of all our students regardless of their disability.

Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Services
Exceptional Student Education services enhance the instructional program of our school by helping students who are encountering roadblocks to successful learning. These students come to us with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that is a legal document, individualized for each student, mandated by state and federal laws, and representing various exceptionalities. We implement the consultation service model, and all students are enrolled in regular education classes, being fully included in all aspects of the curriculum. Students are monitored by the ESE teacher to ensure their IEPs are being followed and accommodations are being implemented in the classroom and on standardized tests in order to give the students every opportunity to be successful.

The ESE teacher consults with the students on a monthly basis with regards to their progress and to develop interventions when needed. He works with the students to help them develop academic goals and strategies for success. These strategies include assistance and instruction in organization, study skills and agenda checks. Personal responsibility is encouraged as students are held accountable for their goals and overall progress. The ESE teacher also helps students with self-advocacy so they can take ownership of their school experience. Assistance is provided with assignments and projects as well as implementation of classroom and standardized test accommodations such as extra time, small group/individual setting, and oral presentation. Acting as a liaison between the school and home is another role of the ESE teacher, and IEP meetings, which include parents, student, and teachers, are scheduled regularly to ensure compliance. Most of all, the ESE services provided at Union Academy are designed to encourage struggling students to gain confidence to be the best they can be.

Gifted Education Services
The teacher of the gifted meets with the incoming students while they are still in the fifth grade, discussing each student with parents and current teachers. At this meeting they learn about the student’s personality, strengths, and needs, and they collaborate to identify appropriate gifted goals for the next three years. As teachers work with the students, the teacher of the gifted monitors each student’s progress related to these gifted goals, sending home quarterly progress reports and maintaining other documentation. In year three, students and parents meet together again with the teacher of the gifted from both the middle school and attending high school. At this meeting, students, parents, and teachers reflect on the experiences from the past years and discuss implications for the future. Goals for high school are also determined.