Dear Parents:

    The ANN JERKINS-HARRIS ACADEMY OF EXCELLENCE (formerly the Academy of Educational Excellence) provides a variety of services and placement continuum options for students with learning disabilities. All services and placement decisions are determined by the Individual Education Program (IEP) team which includes parents and school personnel. According to federal guidelines, students are placed in the Least Restrictive Environment in which they can be successful.

   If you suspect that your child has a disability, contact our School Principal. You are entitled to a free educational evaluation for your child to determine if special education and/or related services are necessary for your child to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

     If you are moving to our school and your child is currently on an IEP, please contact the Office of Special Services. We want to assist you and your child in making the transition to our school.


Why is my child struggling in school?

When children are struggling in school, it’s important to find out why. It may be that a disability is affecting your child’s educational performance. If so, your child may be eligible for special education and related services that can help. To learn more about special education, keep reading so you can learn how you and the school can work together to help your child.

As a first step, the school may need to try sufficient interventions in the regular education classroom and modify instructional practices before referring your child for special education evaluation.


What is special education?

Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. Special education and related services are provided in public schools at no cost to the parents and can include special instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals or institutions, or in other settings. This definition of special education comes from IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law gives eligible children with disabilities the right to receive special services and assistance in school.

More than 6.8 million children ages 3 through 21 receive special education and related services each year in the United States. Each of these children receives instruction that is specially designed to meet his or her unique needs (that result from having a disability); and to help the child learn the information and skills that other children are learning in the general education curriculum.


Who is eligible for special education? 

Children with disabilities are eligible for special education and related services when they meet IDEA’s definition of a “child with a disability” in combination with state and local policies. IDEA’s definition of a “child with a disability” lists 13 different disability categories under which a child may be found eligible for special education and related services.

Autism      Deafness    Deaf-blindness     Hearing impairment   Intellectual disabilities    Multiple disabilities              Orthopedic impairment  Other health impairment             Serious emotional disturbance           

                              Traumatic brain injury                                                       SPeech / language impairment                    

Specific learning disability      

Visual impairment, including blindness


I look forward to serving you and your children at AJHAE.


Dr. Israel I. Koppisch

DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT                       Tel:  419-382-2280




 Special Education Referral Process


All students suspected of having a special educational need or condition will be assessed and provided specially designed instruction in accordance with procedures outlined in the State of Ohio.


Student Services consultation and intervention: The Student Services process is designed to ensure that appropriate interventions have been utilized to help the student overcome their learning problems before beginning a referral for special education services.  When parents, staff or community people have a concern about a student for any reason, they can ask for help by completing a Request for Student Services Form. The Student Services Team will review the available information and plan appropriate intervention services.  When intervention plans have failed to ameliorate the problems or when, based on the available information a disability is suspected, the SST will refer the student for an evaluation of a suspected disability.  The referral will be documented using the Student Services Feedback Form.

Referral for a suspected disability:  When parents, staff or community people suspect that a child may have a disability, a Referral for Special Education Form will be completed.


Prior Written Notice and Invitation to attend a pre-evaluation meeting: When the district receives a referral for a suspected disability, the parents are notified immediately in writing and are invited to a pre-evaluation meeting.


Pre-Evaluation parent meeting:  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the reasons for the referral, to explain the evaluation process and procedures, and to decide what areas need to be evaluated. A copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards for Special Education Students and Their Families is given to the parents and discussed with them to ensure their understanding of their parental rights as related to the referral process. The Pre-Evaluation form is completed indicating what areas need to be evaluated.


Parental Consent for Evaluation:  Parents must give their permission in writing before an evaluation can begin.  This is usually done at the pre-evaluation parent conference.


Individual Evaluations:  A multidisciplinary team evaluation approach is utilized. An individual evaluation is completed for each area needing an evaluation that was identified at the pre-evaluation parent meeting. All Evaluation team members are certified and have expertise in the area they will be evaluating.  Evaluation Team members will submit a written report of their findings to the team leader. The team leader will summarize the evaluation in a written document called the Evaluation Summary Report.

Prior Written Notice and Invitation to attend an evaluation results meeting: The parents are informed in writing when the evaluation is completed and are invited to attend a meeting to discuss the evaluation results. 


Evaluation Results Meeting:  Parents and the Evaluation Team meet to discuss the evaluation results and the implications regarding their child’s educational needs. The evaluation results meeting must be held within 30 school days of the parent’s permission for an evaluation. Members of the evaluation team will sign the Evaluation Summary Report indicating their approval or disapproval of the Evaluation Summary. If they disapprove of the Evaluation Summary Report, they must submit a written statement indicating their objections. The parents are sent a written notice indicating whether their child qualifies for special education services.


Invitation to attend an IEP Meeting:  If the child qualifies for special education services the parents are invited to attend a meeting to develop an individualized education plan (IEP) for their child. The IEP meeting must be held within 30 calendar days of the completion of the Evaluation Summary Report.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meeting:  The purpose of this meeting to discuss the child’s evaluation results and educational needs, and to develop a plan that individualizes the child’s educational program.  Placement and service delivery options are also discussed at this meeting.

Parental Consent for Placement Change: Parents must give permission in writing before an initial special education placement can be made.

Prior Written Notice of Placement Change:  A written notice is sent to the parents whenever a child is placed into or out of a special education program. 


Prior Written Notice and Invitation for Annual IEP review:  A student's IEP must be reviewed and updated annually. Parents are sent written notices and invitations to attend the annual IEP meeting.

Three Year Re-evaluation:  Student’s who receive special education services must be re-evaluated at least once every three years.  Parents are sent written notices of the upcoming need for re-evaluation and the same procedures are followed as for an initial evaluation.


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.

  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31): 

    • School officials with legitimate educational interest;

    • Other schools to which a student is transferring;

    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;

    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;

    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

    • Accrediting organizations;

    • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

    • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and

    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.