RSSU Student Support Services

Rutland South Supervisory Union acknowledges and supports the rights of all students to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that will enable them to develop their unique talents and abilities to participate in post secondary employment and education, thus preparing them to participate in and serve their community with dignity and pride. We offer a continuum of services and programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

The following services fall under Special Services in RSSU

        • Special Education as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004
        • Section 504 as defined within the Civil Rights Laws
        • Educational Support Systems as defined by Act 117 of Vermont
Special Education is defined as "Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability."

Special education is in place to provide additional services, support, programs, specialized placements or environments to ensure that all students' educational needs are provided for. Special education is provided to qualifying students at no cost to the parents. There are many students who have special learning needs and these needs are addressed through special education. The range of special education support will vary based on need. The governing federal law is:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Students qualifying for special education support have needs that will often require support that goes beyond what is normally offered or received in the regular school/classroom setting. The Rules and Regulations for Special Education in Vermont is contained in the Newly Adopted Special Education Rules of 2013. 

There are 13 categories  of disabilities under IDEA.  They include:

    Deaf or Blindness
    Developmental Delays
    Emotional Disturbance
    Hearing Impairments
    Intellectual Disability
    Multiple Disabilities
    Orthopedic Impairments
    Other Health Impairments
    Specific Learning Disabilities
    Speech and Language Impairments
    Traumatic Brain Injury
    Visual Impairments.

Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The Rehabilitation Act itself states the nondiscrimination standard:
“No otherwise qualified individual with a  disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The regulations adopted by the U.S. Department
of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to govern the enforcement of Section 504 elaborate on this standard by prohibiting certain “discriminatory actions.” Among the actions prohibited by the regulations are the following:
• Denying a qualified person with adisability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit or service provided by an entity covered by the Act;
• Affording a qualified person with a disability an opportunity to participate that is not equal to that afforded others;
• Providing a qualified person with a disability an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective as that provided to others;
• Providing different or separate benefits or services to qualified persons with disabilities or to any class of qualified persons with disabilities unless such action is necessary to
provide benefits or services that are as effective as those provided to others;
• Aiding or perpetuating discrimination against a qualified person with a disability by providing significant assistance to an agency, organization or person that discriminates on
the basis of disability in providing any aid benefit or services;

• Otherwise limiting a qualified person with a disability in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others.

For more information:
Education Support System refers to each school district's comprehensive system of educational services. Title 16 of the Vermont Statutes requires each public school to develop and maintain an educational support system (ESS) for children who require additional assistance in order to succeed in the general education environment. Support includes prevention, intervention, and pre-school services.  The educational support system is required to include an educational support team (EST) and a range of support and remedial services, including instructional and behavioral interventions and accommodations. Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions Systems (PBIS) are examples of multi-tiered systems of support designed to meet the needs of all students. Act 117 requires each school board to assign responsibility for developing and maintaining the ESS to the superintendent or principal. It also requires each superintendent to annually report on the status of the ESS in their schools including how funds, such as Medicaid, are used to support the ESS.