• Special Education and Intervention Services

    Important notice for Parents and Caregivers of students with disabilities,
    The Ohio Department of Education has requested that we share this Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement with you as part of a proposed settlement of a lawsuit involving the Ohio Department of Education. Although CMSD is not named in the lawsuit, the goal of the Settlement Agreement is to improve the overall quality of special education and related services given to students with disabilities across the State, and, in particular, in 11 Districts of which CMSD is one, and to improve results for students with disabilities. It includes additional support by ODE so that school districts, particularly the 11 Districts identified, meet the requirements of federal law. Additional information about this lawsuit is available on DRO’s website. If you have any questions about this Notice or the proposed Settlement Agreement, you can contact Disability Rights Ohio at (614) 466-7264 or (800) 282- 9181.

    What is Special Education?

    Special Educationis a continuum of services and supports designed for children with disabilities. Our success as educators is measured against the achievement of all children entrusted to our care.  The mission of Special Education in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is to ensure the provision of appropriate services and supports to all children with special needs and their families, in every school, so that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, careers, and fulfilling independent lives.

    Research confirms that the most effective schools are those that design a system of integrated service delivery models that provide targeted interventions, access to rigorous curriculum, social-emotional learning, and positive behavioral supports for both general and special populations. Through teamwork, collaborative problem-solving, a focus on student learning, and a belief that all children have a right to quality education, we will ensure educational opportunity for all.

    What does Special Education look like in CMSD?

    All Students Receive specialized instruction in their Least Restrictive Environment.
    Every CMSD school provides special education and related services.
    CMSD provides programming for all students regardless of need.
    For students with mild to moderate learning or behavioral needs, all CMSD schools provide a full continuum of services. Depending on the child’s needs and his/her Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), he or she may receive services in the regular education classroom with accommodations and supports, or in a small-group resource room setting for some subjects, or in a single classroom environment for all core subjects. All CMSD schools have access to speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, audiology, and orientation & mobility services. CMSD also offers specialized classes within schools in every region of the city for specific and/or significant needs, including emotional/behavioral disorders, orthopedic impairments, autism, deafness/hearing impairment, visual impairment, and multiple disabilities.

    What is the purpose of my child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

    An IEP provides supports and accommodations so that students can access CMSD's core curriculum.
    An IEP provides for Specially Designed Instruction to address a student's areas of weakness.
    An IEP addresses the unique needs of your child and your goals for him/her.

    Special Education - What Families Should Know

    My child is enrolled in CMSD, and I believe he/she may have a disability. What do I do?
    First, write to your child’s principal expressing your concerns. Within 30 days of receiving this letter, the school will convene a meeting to review available data and information about your child. You will be invited to participate in this meeting.

    The team reviews all data and answers the following question: Is there evidence to suspect that a disability may exist that impacts the child’s academic performance?
     If YES, the School Psychologist will ask for your consent to conduct a multi-factored evaluation of your child. In 60 days, the team will meet again to review the Evaluation Team Report (ETR).
     If NO, you will be notified in writing of this determination. The school may make a plan for your child to receive interventions in the classroom. 
    My child has an IEP. I have a concern about his/her services. What do I do?
    You have the right to reconvene your child’s IEP team at any time if you do not feel that your child is receiving the appropriate supports and services to meet goals.

    Step 1: Speak with your child’s case manager or special education teacher.
    ➢ If you cannot resolve the concern through a conversation, try Step 2.

    Step 2: Ask the case manager for an IEP team meeting to address the concern.
    ➢ If there is no response, try Step 3.

    Step 3: Speak with your child’s Principal.
    ➢ If the concern is still not addressed, try Step 4.

    Step 4: Call the Special Education Department at (216) 838-7733. Your concern will be referred to one of our seven Special Education Partners who work directly with schools and families.

    What should I expect to happen in an IEP meeting? 
    • You should be invited to an annual IEP review each year, and more often if needed. It is best to attend in person, though you may participate by phone or video conference.
    • You should receive an invitation to your child’s meeting well in advance of the date. 
    • You should be asked to participate in the development of IEP goals. 
    • You should receive a draft of the IEP before the meeting takes place. 
    • At the meeting, you should be asked about your future plans for your child.
    • At the meeting, you should be able to review any data collected about your child. 
    • At the meeting, you should receive a copy of your Procedural Safeguards. 
    • After the meeting, you should receive a signed final copy of the IEP and a Prior Written Notice (PR-01) summarizing the meeting.

    Need help understanding the IEP process? Want to learn how to advocate for your child?
    Call a Parent Mentor!
    Saundra Jordan – East Side
    (216) 838-0344
    Raychelle Fair – West Side
    (216) 838-0345

    Documents to Keep

    • Signed Evaluation Team Reports (ETRs)
    • Signed IEPs
    • Prior Written Notices
    • IEP Progress Reports (8 per year)
    • Discipline Documentation
    • Work Samples
    • Notes from Teachers
    • Ohio Procedural Safeguards


    Welcome Center Appointment Scheduler

    To schedule an in-person appointment with the departments listed below, please click on this link

    • School Choice and Enrollment
    • Special Education Enrollment
    • Project ACT Enrollment
    • Welcome Center