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Special Education

ISM believes that every child has the right to an equitable, free, and appropriate education, including the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme. All ISM students have the opportunity to receive inclusion of educational resources, differentiated instruction, guidance, and accommodations to provide opportunities to achieve their highest potential. ISM provides students with the opportunity to achieve academic success as they move through the IB continuum at ISM.

ISM recognizes that students have different educational needs and learning modalities that require varying teaching approaches and learning experiences. ISM believes that all students have the ability to “become conscientious, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world.” Students utilize the IB Learner Profile attributes to achieve their academic and personal potential in all areas. 

ISM believes in holistically meeting the special educational needs of students across the PYP and MYP from kindergarten to grade eight. ISM believes that inclusion is an ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning by identifying and removing barriers for all students. This can only be successfully achieved in a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support, and problem solving. All staff members work collaboratively to incorporate differentiation strategies that meet student learning styles and needs.

SELPA Change

Since opening in 2001 through the current 2020-2021 school year, ISM has operated as "a school of the district for special education purposes." That means that we have provided services essentially the same as any Monterey Peninsula Unified School District school based on the philosophies and standards of the district, while relying on the professional expertise of the MPUSD special education leadership and staff to guide and provide services to students. Please see the MPUSD Special Education section below for more detailed information from the district regarding our relationship and services.

Rather than operating as a school of their authorizing district, charter schools may become their own local education agency (LEA) for special education. This allows the same level of autonomy for special education as charter schools have for their general education programs. As independent LEAs, charters may join any SELPA (special education local plan area) that accepts charter schools.  

Recently, we have applied for membership in the El Dorado Charter SELPA, the state's largest and most experienced charter SELPA. If approved for membership, starting with the 2021-2022 school year, we will operate as our own local educational agency (LEA) for special education. That means we will hire and contract our individual service providers, and refine our special education services to reflect our International Baccalaureate framework and underlying commitments to universal design for learning (UDL), inquiry-based teaching and learning, and project-based learning. At the same time, we will rely on the professional expertise of the El Dorado Charter SELPA leadership and staff to guide us.

Though we have been generally pleased with the MPUSD-provided special education services, we see the move to become our own LEA and join the a Charter SELPA as an exciting opportunity to better integrate our special education program with our IB programs and philosophy, and, most importantly, to better connect special education students within the special school community that makes ISM so successful. 

Important EL Dorado Charter SELPA Documents

The following documents provide the details of the El Dorado local plan, which ISM will adopt if approved for membership in the SELPA. 

Local Plan: Governance and Administration (Section B)

Local Plan: Annual Budget Plan (Section D)

Local Plan: Annual Services Plan (Section E)

SELPA Policies and Administrative Regulations]

MPUSD Special Education Instruction and Services

Information for Parents of ISM Students

The International School of Monterey (ISM), a charter school authorized by the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (District), operates as a public school of the District for all special education purposes. Accordingly, students eligible for special education who are enrolled in ISM shall receive special education services in accordance with their individualized education programs (IEP) and in the same manner as any other student enrolled in the District. The District, as the local education agency for special education purposes, offers a full continuum of special education instruction and related services to ensure that all special education students receive a free appropriate public education. Not every service on the continuum of options is offered at the ISM school site. Accordingly, an ISM student requiring special education services may receive such services from the District at another site in the District or as otherwise arranged by the District in accordance with the student’s IEP and the policies of the District and special education local plan area (SELPA).

Special education placements and related services available on site at ISM may include general education inclusion, a resource specialist program, speech and language therapy, and other designated instructional services. Other special education placements and services are available off-site in the District as called for in a student’s IEP.

ISM shall not discriminate against any student with disabilities in the ISM admissions and enrollment process.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact the ISM Principal or Assistant Principal for School Culture & Community at 831-583-2165, or the MPUSD Senior Director, Special Education Services at 831-645-1293.