ACPS offers new details for special education in-person learning program

Albemarle County Public Schools offering new details about in-person special education program

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) will be inviting some students who meet a narrow criteria to come into the buildings and learn. That includes a small group in the special education program.

“This is a personal, deep decision and we want to convey that this is serious and it is a path. We want to know what parents want to do on that path,” ACPS Special Education and Student Services Executive Director Kevin Kirst said.

Kirst is focused on creating the best possible learning environment for students when they begin school on September 8.

“My goal as executive director is really to lay out for families and for kids with disabilities a path that they can choose,” Kirst said.

Select students with special needs, Kirst says, will be invited in the building in two different base groups. Special education students who are selected to come into the building will be with classmates in groups of eight students or fewer.

The two programs for students who fall into specific criteria to learn in-person include A-based programs and C-based programs.

“Those kids in A-base and C-base and programs like that work on Aligned Standards of Learning that can’t receive a meaningful educational benefit from a virtual environment,” Kirst said.

The A-base program will not be a self-contained learning environment: “It is a program structure that supports children with Autism, but also other disabling conditions that require intensive supports evidence-based practices,” Kirst said.

However, the C-base program will be a self-contained learning environment: “C-base is a self-contained program model, meaning the group of students that spend their instructional day, they go out for inclusive opportunities, but the students in this program are taught Aligned Standards of Learning,” Kirst said.

Prichard has a special needs child , and wants to be proactive as she prepares her daughter for what is to come.

“There are lots of pieces and parts that still needs to be worked out, but we desperately needed this starting point,” Jen Prichard said.

Prichard has a special needs child , and wants to be proactive as she prepares her daughter for what is to come.

“We’re already working on social distancing,” Prichard said. “These are skills that we need to work on just to be members of our community.”

Reinforcing the protocols now, Kirst says, can go a long way.

“Encourage mask wearing, even when you’re not in public, just to begin to make that the new norm, much like wearing socks or sneakers,” Kirst said.

Kirst also says that the students who do fit the criteria to enter the building should expect to receive a phone call from the school within the next few weeks.

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