The Los Alamos Public Schools is required to identify all children with disabilities from birth to age twenty-one who may be in need of special education and who reside within the jurisdiction of the district. This applies to all children whether they are in public school, private school, or in the custody of public institutions or agencies. Anyone who knows of a child with special needs, who is not presently being served by the public schools, should contact Karla Crane, Coordinator of Student Services at 663-2208. Children who are birth to three years old are referred to the Part C Early Intervention Service Provider, Las Cumbres, for assessment and possible services. Information will be kept confidential.
The Los Alamos Public Schools provides preschool programs for children ages 3-5 who are eligible for special education due to disabling conditions or severe developmental delays. To qualify for services, a severe delay must be identified in one or more areas of development (i.e. speech and language, motor, cognitive, social/behavior skills) through a complete evaluation. Parents who have concerns about possible developmental delays may contact Student Services at the Los Alamos Public Schools, 663-2208, to schedule an appointment for a screening.
Preschool age level peers who are typically developing in all areas are selected to participate on a tuition basis to serve as models of age-appropriate language, motor, and social skills. Parents desiring to have their children considered as peer models should contact the schools at the above number to be placed on a screening list. Peer models are selected in the beginning weeks of the school year.
The special education preschool programs are located at Barranca and Pinon Elementary Schools and are in session Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday during the school year. Morning programs for three-year-old children are held from 9:00-11:40 and afternoon programs for four-year-old children are from 12:55-3:35.
The IEP team may recommend one of more of the following related services necessary for a child with a disability to benefit from special education. These can include audiology, physical therapy, school counseling, psychological services, speech/language therapy, special transportation, orientation/mobility training, parent training, school social work, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, school health services, or interpretation services.
Work Study Program
A work study program is coordinated by licensed special education staff at the high school. The students receive instruction in job skills as necessary from their special education teachers, the work study coordinators, and job coaches. When students have mastered some basic job skills, they are placed according to individual needs at job sites in the community which are funded through a variety of supplemental sources including state and federal agencies and private employers.
Extended School Year Services
Special education and related services are provided to eligible students beyond the 180 school days at no cost to parents. Eligibility is determined on an individual basis by the IEP team based on demonstration of significant regression/recoupment relative to current IEP instructional goals and objectives.
In New Mexico, gifted programs are provided through special education and funded through the special education funding formula. For this reason, the federal and state regulations written primarily for students with disabilities also apply to students who fall under the gifted exceptionality. Specific eligibility criteria are mandated by state legislation. Students identified as gifted are those whose measured intelligence quotient is at least two standard deviations above the mean on an intelligence test and who meet at least one of the following criteria: superior performance on the total battery score of a standardized achievement test, outstanding creativity or divergent thinking, and/or outstanding critical thinking or problem-solving ability on a test. The district offers GATE (gifted and talented education) programs including both in-class and pull-out models in grades K-8. A program is available at the high school which offers support for gifted students whose needs are not met through the wide range of programs available to all students at the high school. The district has a GATE Advisory Committee composed of parents, staff, and students which meets to review current programs for gifted students.
A student transferring into Los Alamos Public Schools who has been served in a special education program in the previous district may be placed on an interim IEP in a special education program which appears to meet the student’s reported needs. Final placement in special education is contingent upon the receipt and acceptance of previous diagnostic data and the determination of need by the IEP team. If the records are not received or do not verify the student’s eligibility, the student may be referred for further evaluation by local diagnosticians.
Special education services are provided in home, hospital, or other settings as deemed necessary by the IEP team.