The Special Education Department of Ennis ISD serves students with special needs in a creative and caring manner.

This year is no different than previous ones, as we are emphasizing technology and inclusive support into our continuum of services and new programs that the EISD Special Education Department is proud to offer to meet the diverse needs of its students.

An ARD (Annual, Review Dismissal) committee is required to develop individual educational programs and plans (IEPs) to ensure student’s success.

For students whose IEP can best be implemented within the mainstream class, a wide variety of services is available, such as any number of individualized accommodations, modifications, highly specialized related services, content mastery, co-teaching, and inclusion classes.

Our mission of the department is to promote inclusion and new learning experiences for all students with disabilities needing specially designed instruction.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended in 2004, does not require inclusion. It requires that children with disabilities be educated in the “least restrictive environment appropriate” to meet their “unique needs.” And IDEA emphasizes that the “least restrictive environment” analysis will begin with placement the regular education classroom.

However, IDEA recognizes that it is not appropriate to place all children in the regular education classroom. Therefore, the law requires school districts to have a “continuum of placements” available, extending from the regular education classroom to residential settings, in order to accommodate the needs of all children with disabilities.

Using the continuum concept makes it more likely that each child would be placed appropriately in an environment that is specifically suited to meet his/her needs. The law allows for the degree of “inclusion” to be driven by the student’s needs as determined by the ARD committee, not by the convenience or wishes.

Starting with Crockett Early Childhood Center, the campus is continuing its success to include students with disabilities into the general education classroom while still maintaining consistent support by meeting each student’s unique needs.

Our Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) is designed to place emphasis on the acquisition of developmental skills for children with disabilities using various technologies, including smart boards, smart tables, and interactive computer programs.

The early intervention creates continued inclusive services at all four elementary campuses, two intermediate campuses, and the junior high and high school campuses at Ennis ISD.

Each district campus offers a continuum of special education settings to implement supports and services to provide for the unique needs of the individual student. Our content mastery program on all campuses continues to support and serve students in the general education classroom.

We have students which require specialized instruction in more restrictive settings such as a resource classroom part of the day or a life skills classroom most of the day. The individualized education plans for students with disabilities does not take a “one size fits all” approach.

Besides numerous services provided district-wide, the department is also progressing with the creative ways to provide services as inclusive as appropriate for the individual student. The appropriateness is determined by the student’s unique needs and ability to learn in what is called their least restrictive environment (LRE).

Yes, LRE is another acronym the ARD committee considers to determine the maximum extent appropriate child with disabilities are educated with children who are not disabled. Inclusion attempts to bring the supports and services to the student to make progress toward annual goals established by the ARD committee.

We believe the supports, services, and programs provided through the Department of Special Education of Ennis ISD are continuing to be conducive to the student’s various needs.  

Cliff Mathes serves as the director of special education for the Ennis Independent School District.