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Special Education Advisory Committee- Brittany O'dell


Local special education advisory committees (SEACs) have a long history in Virginia. Every school division is required to have a SEAC as detailed in Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia, effective January 25, 2010.

The major purpose of SEACs is to provide an opportunity for parents and other school board appointees to have a voice in the way school divisions provide services to students with disabilities.

What is the Local Special Education Advisory Committee?

The Local Special Education Advisory Committee is appointed by the school board. Moreover, the committee advises the school board through the division superintendent concerning special education services.

Who comprises membership on the committee?

The majority of the committee shall be parents of children with disabilities or individuals with disabilities. The committee shall include one teacher. Additionally, local school division personnel shall serve as consultants to the committee.

What are the functions of the committee?

The committee a) advises the local school division of needs in the education of children with disabilities; b) participates in the development of priorities and strategies for meeting the needs of children with disabilities; c) submits reports/recommendations; d) assists in the local school division in interpreting plans to the community for meeting the special needs of children; e) reviews policies and procedures for the provision of special education prior to submission to the local school board; and f) participates in the review of the local school division’s annual plan.

When are the meetings and who can attend?

The meetings are held at least 4 times a year. These meetings are open to the public.

PCPS is currently accepting applications for SEAC Members. Please contact the Department of Special Education at (540) 994-2544

Parent's Guide to Special Education

Virginia Parent's Guide To Special Education

Regulations Governing Special Education

Child Find

What is Child Find?

In accordance with Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (2010), each local school division shall maintain an active and continuing child find program designed to identify, locate, and evaluate those children residing in the jurisdiction who are birth to age 21, inclusive, who are in need of special education and related services (34 FR 300.102 and 34 300.111).

 Who do I contact if I’m concerned about my child?

If you have questions or comments about Special Education in Pulaski County Pubic Schools or are concerned about your child, call Dr. Sarah S. Polcha, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, at (540) 994-2546.

 Tell me more about Child Find.

Virginia Law states that local school divisions must identify and evaluate
children and youth ages birth through 21 years who may be disabled and need related services. If eligible, disabled children ages 2 through 21 years must be provided a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). 

Children with disabilities may be classified as having: Autism, a Developmental Delay, a Hearing Impairment, Deaf/Blind, a Speech or Language Impairment, an Intellectual Disability, an Emotional Disability, a Specific Learning Disability, an Orthopedic Impairment, a Visual Impairment, an Other Health Impairment, and a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Pulaski County Public Schools have many programs available to meet the individual and varied needs of students with disabilities.

 How is it Determined that a Child May Need Special Education?

Before a student can receive special education services, a comprehensive evaluation must be conducted.
Whenever a child is having a school-related problem, and prior to any
individual testing, the parent is notified and written permission is obtained.

Information from the comprehensive evaluation is discussed at a special meeting with the school staff and the child’s parents to determine if the child has a disabling condition that adversely affects educational performance and requires specialized instruction.

Homebound Services

The Virginia Department of Education (2011) identifies homebound instruction as a service that “…shall be made available to students who are confined at home or in a health care facility for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist. For students eligible for special education or related services, the Individualized Education Program committee must revise the IEP, as appropriate, to direct off-site instruction.”

Students approved for homebound instruction work with a licensed teacher in their home for a set number of hours per week. The homebound teacher works with the classroom teacher to provide essential instruction in the core subjects to each student. A limited number of courses are provided to high school students on homebound instruction. To find out more information, please contact the Office of Special Education at 540-994-2544.

I'm Determined

The I’m Determined project is based on research that has proven that students with good self determination skills successfully complete high school and go on to be successful in higher education or on the job. To find out more information, please click on the above link.

Special Education Procedures

It is the policy of Pulaski County Public Schools to adhere to federal and state regulations as they have been promulgated by the United States Department of Education and the Virginia Board of Education to implement special education programs for children with disabilities. Specifically, these mandates are detailed in the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia. and any additional documents that the Virginia Department of Education publishes to address federal and state statutes and regulations for delivering special education and related services to children.

Questions related to Special Education should be directed to Dr. Sarah S. Polcha, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. She may be contacted by phone at (540) 994-2546 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. 

You may view a copy of the Special Education Procedural Safeguards by clicking on the following link: 

Hearing and Visually Impaired Students

The Code of Virginia (section 22.1-217.01) requires school boards to provide information to parents of those students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired. guidance documents and other resources are available at the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) website. To find more information, please click on the below links.

Requesting a Sign Language Interpreter

The following procedure is used to request a sign language interpreter as an accommodation for a Pulaski County Public Schools sponsored event. Please note that a sign language interpreter may be requested by faculty, staff, students, families, and members of the public.  This is to ensure that programs, services, and activities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Please contact the school administrator and provide date and time of event, location of event, type of event, and duration of event. Please provide your name, e-mail, and other contact information.  Upon receipt of this information, sign language services will be scheduled and confirmed. Sign language services are provided at no charge. Please provide at least a 1-week notice to ensure availability and allow for adequate preparation.

Special Education Disability Definitions

Services for Students Identified as Hearing or Visually Impaired

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind

The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI)








Virginia Law and School Board Policy provide for the removal of portions of student scholastic records when they are no longer educationally useful, or five years after the student graduates from secondary school, completes a program adopted by the Board of Education or leaves school. All information except for the last IEP and eligibility information from former students' scholastic records as stated above will be purged.  This includes portions of Special Education and Section 504 records. Former students or eligible parents have a right to be provided with a copy of any record being destroyed.  Scholastic records may be needed by the student or the parents for social security benefits or other purposes.  Requests should be directed to Student Services at 540-994-2544 prior to May 15.  Portions of student scholastic records will be purged as of June 15.