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Special Education

The Howard County Public School System 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, 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.

Special Education Handbook

Note: This handbook is currently being updated as part of the department’s new strategic plan. We thank you for your patience as we work to revise and reformat the handbook so that the information is current and accessible.

Special Education Handbook

MSDE Technical Assistance Bulletins

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services develops and disseminates Technical Assistance Bulletins to provide guidance to local school systems. The Bulletins include a range of topics that the HCPSS Department of Special Education uses to support, refine, and monitor our system practices for students receiving special education services from Birth through age 21. Staff and parents will find information contained within these publications helpful for participating in the IEP team process.

View documents on the MSDE site→

View our special education parent and guardian calendar →

Extended School Year (ESY)

The following are descriptions of Extended School Year options available in HCPSS:

In addition to the programs identified above, when the IEP team determines, based on data, that a student requires additional services beyond those provided during the typical ESY time period, a recommendation for customized options to supplement other summer services may be made by the team. These customized options are referred to as [bridge] services, as they “bridge” the time period between the end of our structured ESY summer options and the beginning of the school year (July 24 – August 18). The IEP team determines which goal(s) /objective(s) need to be addressed for these [bridge] services. Service hours are based on the unique, individualized needs of the student.

Learn more: ESY Parent Presentation (PDF)

Department of Special Education Strategic Action Plan

The Department of Special Education Strategic Action Plan is a document developed by the department based on input from various stakeholder groups including teachers, administrators, parents, and related service providers.

This plan will be updated to reflect the strategic plan development process in the weeks ahead. These updates will be reflected in the first several pages of the plan. Additional updates will be made to clarify measures and baseline as needed.

Would you like to participate in implementing the Special Education Strategic Plan?

We would like to know your preferences for volunteering your time to be involved in the implementation of the Special Education Strategic Plan.

Let us know you are interested

Stakeholder Groups

The DSE is forming multiple groups to work on various initiatives from the strategic plan. The documents below share information about the charge for each group, participants, meeting information and recommendations. The recommendations reflect stakeholder input and offer ideas for consideration. The DSE values all perspectives and embraces continuous improvement.

Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee (SECAC) Executive Board

  • Lori Scott, Chairperson
  • Michelle Im, Co-Chairperson
  • Beth Stolte, Secretary
  • Camille Cranson, Member at Large

SECAC Chair e-mail: secacchair@gmail.com

Budget Information

Information and Resources

District Management Council (DMC)

Additional Information

Howard County Transition Council

Transition Council Executive Order

Understanding the Evaluation, Eligibility and IEP Process in Maryland (PDF) – A Guide for Parents of Students with Disabilities

Parental Rights (PDF) – Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice

Maryland’s Differences among Assessments Chart for Students Receiving Special Education Services(PDF)