Special Education Department
LEARNERS TODAY, LEADERS TOMORROW!
We believe the partnership of families, community members, students, and Fruitvale Independent School District employees is critical to every student's growth and success.
We believe in the value of instilling work ethic, integrity, perseverance, and motivation in future generations.
We believe in providing a 21st century education interwoven with real world applications.
We believe in modeling and guiding students toward becoming good citizens.
We believe in unlocking each individual student's potential.
We believe in a supportive and collaborative school culture for students, teachers, and families.
Special Education Staff
Mrs. Remica Bigham
Director of Special education & section 504
Hello, my name is Remica Bigham. I am the Director of Special Education & Section 504. The 2022-2023 school year will be my 18th year in Texas Public Education. I was a Special Education teacher for 14 years then moved into a Special Programs Specialist role for 3 years, and now as the Director at Fruitvale ISD. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and a Masters degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism Intervention from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. I will also be starting back to school in the spring to work towards my educational diagnosticians certification through Dallas Baptist University. My passion is special education and my goal is to see each student see their potential, meet their expectations, and thrive in their education. I hope to help build their confidence all while feeling safe and loved while having fun learning. My vision is to collaborate with students, teachers, and parents to best serve and meet each student's needs. I believe communication, advocacy, and teamwork are the most important factors when it comes to your students' successes. Please feel free to contact me at any time. I look forward to a great year and serving the students and community of Fruitvale. GO BOBCATS! Let's have a great year!!!!
Mrs. Audra Phillips
Howdy! I’m Audra Phillips, and I’ve lived my entire life in Fruitvale, Texas. I am married to my husband, Justin, of 15 years and we have three kids, Finlee, Rex, and Ryder. We enjoy being outdoors, camping, and watching the kids play sports. I have been teaching for 14 years and looking forward to many more years in the education field.
Special Education has always been my passion. I love working with students with exceptionalities and seeing them grow in areas they struggle with. My relevant qualifications include a Bachelors of Science in Speech Communications. I later gained my Texas Teaching Certificate when I fell in love with working with students. After teaching for 14 years I then furthered my education and received my Masters of Special Education with my Educational Diagnostician Certification from Lamar University.
Ms. dawn warren
Hello! My name is Dawn Warren. This is my eleventh year here at Fruitvale ISD and it is my fifth year teaching dyslexia classes. I have taught first and third grade. I have a Master's of Education in Reading and I currently hold an EC-6 generalist, ESL certification, Reading Specialist K-12 Certification, Master Reading Teacher Certification, and an Educational Diagnostician certification.
MrS. Misty Abshire
Special education teacher Halle Randall Elementary
Hi! My name is Mrs. Abshire and I grew up in Rio Vista, Texas. Graduated from Tarleton State University (GO Tarleton Texans!) with my Bachelors degree. This will be my 13th year teaching Special Education and second year at Fruitvale ISD. My husband of 14 years, is the Principal at Fruitvale Junior High. We have two amazing little boys that will be second graders this year.
I am pleased to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year. I'm looking forward to having your child as a student helping them grow and learn.
Mr. Justin Day
Special Education Teacher Fruitvale Middle School & Life SKills (K-18+)
My name is Justin Day and I am starting my 15th year in education. I am A graduate of Texas A&M Commerce. I have worked in many areas of special education on the secondary level but most of my years have been spent in a life skills classroom. My family has been in Fruitvale for 23 years. I have been married to my Wife Amanda for 10 years and we have 3 kids together. When I’m not at school you will find me spending time with them making memories.
MRS. Ashley tull
Special education Teacher Fruitvale High School
Hello! I’m Ashley Tull, and I grew up in Wills Point and attended WPISD from Pre-K through 12th grade graduating in 2005. I am married to my husband, Ronnie Tull, of 17 years and we have three daughters who attend Fruitvale ISD, Ronnye, Morghan, and Charlye. We spend most of our time at some type of sports event for our daughters, all 3 play softball, our 2 oldest play volleyball and our 2 youngest play basketball, so we are always on the go. I have been working at Fruitvale for 5 years as a Paraprofessional in the SPED department, after my first year I found my passion. I chose to go back to school and complete my degree as a special educational teacher, I graduated from Western Governs University June of 2022 with my bachelor’s degree in special education. I absolutely love when students finally understand what they have been struggling with and the light bulb goes off. I may have found my passion later in life, but I am so glad I was able to find it at Fruitvale ISD!
Fruitvale ISD contracts the following related service providers - Speech Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. The district also teams with the Regional Day School for the Deaf in Tyler, Texas, as well as, the Region 7 Educational Service Center in Kilgore, Texas.
Parent & student
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.
Live Chat: www.spedtex.org
SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Special Education Programs
Special Education is a term that describes the flexible individual service/programs designed by ARD committees to meet the needs of children with disabilities on the campus. Following are several of the options that may be utilized:
General Education Classroom with Accommodations/Modifications
Instructional and curricular accommodations/modifications recommended by the ARD committee are implemented in the general education classroom. This enables the student to be involved and progress in the general curriculum to the maximum extent possible.
Inclusion is designed to support special education students in the general education classroom accessing the general curriculum. The student receives direct instruction and special education support in the general education setting.
The resource classroom is for special education students who receive direct instruction in the areas of reading, math, and written language from the special education teacher. The special education teacher is responsible for planning instruction according to the student’s IEP.
Learning in Functional Environments (Life Skills) The Life Skills program is a setting for a student with a intellectual disability or physical impairment and whose disability interferes with his/her performance in the general education classroom.
Speech and language therapy is available to all eligible students ages three through twenty-one years of age residing in the district. Through assessment and intervention, the speech-language pathologist helps students with communication disorders in the areas of articulation, language, voice and fluency.
Home bound instruction is a service that is considered to be highly restrictive. Students on home bound are unable to interact with peers and may require to a reduced curriculum.
Home bound instruction may be extended to students who are eligible for special education instruction and, due to a medical condition, must be confined to their home for a minimum period of four weeks. In order to assist the ARD Committee in determining eligibility for the identified student for special education home bound services, information will be requested from the student’s attending physician.
Evaluations in the schools are provided for the following areas of suspected disability:
Visual Impairment, including blindness
Specific Learning Disability
Deaf / Hard of Hearing (formerly Auditory Impairment)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Other Health Impaired
Traumatic Brain Injury
Noncategorical Early Childhood
Special Education Referral and Child Find
The Fruitvale Independent School District has special services available for eligible infants, children and young adults identified with disabilities. Federal and state laws require that school districts maintain a CHILD FIND system for identifying, locating, and evaluating individuals with suspected disabilities (birth through age 21) within its jurisdiction who are in need of special education and related services.
Our CHILD FIND efforts include advertising the availability of services through media, public notices, staff training, and letters to private schools, physicians, nursing homes, group homes, and hospitals.
Birth to 36 months of age
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provides comprehensive early intervention services to families with infants and toddlers (birth through 36 months of age) who have a medical diagnosis, developmental delays or atypical development. Early intervention services are provided as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C as amended in 2004. ECI supports families to help their children reach their potential through developmental services. ECI provides evaluations and assessments to determine eligibility and need for services
3 through 21 years of age Test Preparation Tools
A referral for a suspected disability can be made by anyone. If you know of someone with a suspected delay or disability, please contact the Campus Special Education Office. Once a referral is made, the campus follows the Student Support Team (SST) procedures. A full individual evaluation (FIE) is conducted to determine the child’s eligibility and educational need for services.
Private/Home School Students
Referrals are accepted primarily from parents, private school administrators, or physicians, for students who reside in Fruitvale ISD or attend a private school located within Fruitvale ISD -boundaries. You may contact the Special Education Office at 903-896-4466 x 140. A Full Individual Evaluation will be completed and presented at an ARD meeting. If a student qualifies for services, the ARD committee will offer a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The parent may decline FAPE and choose an Individual Services Plan for their child. Every year, the district, with input from parents and private school representative, will determine the type of services to be offered for students with identified disabilities.
Related and support services are available for those students who meet special education eligibility requirements. These services may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.
If the need for a related service is suspected, the evaluation must be planned in an ARD. Related services include transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other support services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.
When the ARD/IEP committee needs to determine if a student needs a specialized communication device to benefit from the special education services, the ARD/IEP committee can request an evaluation from the Assistive Technology Team. The communication device may be needed to support oral or written communication and may include instructional software.
Assistive technology as a related service is when a member of the Assistive Technology Team (A- Team) integrates objectives into existing goals/objectives and an ARD/IEP committee agrees to provide direct services by an Assistive Technology Team member.
Audiology services available in Fruitvale ISD include conducting comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations, identifying hearing loss through the district-wide state mandated hearing screenings on each FISD campus, and making appropriate medical, educational, and community referrals for our hearing impaired students.
Fruitvale ISD works with Region 7 for audiological services. Region 7 assists in program placement and recommendations for hearing impaired students as a member of the educational team. They recommend amplification devices such as personal hearing aids, providing and monitoring of FM listening systems and other assistive listening devices.
The primary purpose of In-Home/Community Training is to assist students with generalization of skills to the home and/or community settings. Initially, the Home Trainer will be primarily responsible for implementation of the generalization activities. As generalization occurs, training should shift from the trainer to the parent for maintenance of target skills/behaviors. Focus for In-Home Training is on the needs of the child.
Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy
Educationally based occupational and/or physical therapy is provided, as a related service, to enhance the special education student's ability to adapt to and physically function within an educational environment.
The role of the occupational and/or physical therapist is to facilitate a student's functioning in the school setting. The goal of educationally relevant therapy is to minimize the effects of the student's disability on his or her ability to participate in the educational process.
The OT/PT therapist observes the student's functional skills and offers compensatory strategies to promote functional independence within the individualized educational program (IEP). In the school setting, educational objectives hold primary position while therapy objectives are considered secondary and are undertaken to support the educational objectives. Services are generally consultative in nature with implementation of the therapist's recommendations by the teacher, assistant, or parent.
OT and/or PT services will be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), which generally means the classroom. By providing services in the classroom the therapist offers strategies needed for the student's daily activities with active teacher/assistant involvement. These strategies may include handling techniques, classroom modifications, and/or adaptive equipment.
The purpose of parent training is to provide parents with the necessary skills and techniques to assist their child with ongoing development and maintenance of skills and behaviors. Through a variety of training opportunities, parents will receive information, strategies, techniques, and skills relative to the needs of their children. The focus of Parent Training is the needs/concerns of the parent(s) and is not objective driven.
Parent Training may be provided in a variety of ways. Parents may district wide meetings, may ask for books/articles, and may ask questions during In-Home Training. Separate Parent Training sessions scheduled in the home are intended to answer questions/needs the parent has about specific topics/issues. Examples are issues dealing with: siblings, sleeping, bathing and toileting. Parent Training sessions will generally be significantly fewer sessions than in - home training.
The primary functions of the Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) include conducting comprehensive psychological assessments of students referred for special education services; participating in the development of IEPs; consulting with teachers and parents; and staff training in managing students with special needs and students with learning and behavioral difficulties.
Transportation for Special Education students is available for students who need this as a related service according to the ARD. In order to receive transportation as a related service, the ARD/IEP committee shall document eligibility and need. Eligibility for special transportation must be re-established at every annual ARD and each time a student changes residence or campus.