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Welcome to the DISD Special Education Instructional Services Page! 

Here you will find descriptions of the variety of instructional services we provide to our Gator Students who have the need for specialized instruction.

Instructional Services

Philosophy:   In accordance with federal and state guidelines, and in consideration that all students must take grade level assessments, DISD provides a continuum of services that focuses on maximizing time in the student’s grade level general education environment for students with mild to moderate disabilities.  Students with significant or profound disabilities may be provided a mixture of self-contained classes for core subjects and mainstream settings for electives. 

Goals: To provide an individualized educational plan (IEP) in the student’s least restrictive environment (LRE).

Process:   The student’s ARD committee determines all instructional and related services.

Locations:  As it is not financially feasible to offer all programs at all campuses, DISD has implemented a system to place various programs on different campuses, adhering to the following goals:
- equitable access amongst various geographical locations within the school district
- special transportation dynamics
- equitable distribution of special programs among campuses 

Inclusion Support

  • Philosophy: Inclusion Support provides students with accommodations/adaptations/modifications within the general education classroom.  The instruction centers on grade level TEKS, following DISD scope and sequence.  Students participate in discussions, instruction and routines of the general education classroom.
  • Goal: The goal of inclusion support is to provide supplemental, research-based interventions to students who have demonstrated  academic deficits in order to close learning gaps and accelerate learning to ensure the student’s ability to succeed in the grade level curriculum.
  • Description: Inclusion support is available on every campus to students in grades K-12 who have certain needs. 
    • Instructional Interventionists provide academic assistance within the general education classroom. Generally, this service is available to students the campus problem solving team deems necessary based on students who are experiencing difficulty. If the student has Special Education or Section 504 support, the instructional interventionist is aware of their specific needs and responsibilities regarding implementation of their plan.
    • Special Education Inclusion support is provided within the general education classroom by instructional interventionists or special education staff,as described in the student's ARD meeting.  Data and logs are maintained to document specific student needs.
  • Locations:   All elementary, middle and junior high campuses

DISD also offers partially or fully self contained classes for students needing more intensive specially designed instruction (SDI) with specialized educational services. Click on the tabs below for further explanation.

ECSE – Early Childhood Special Education (formerly known as PPCD) - ARD (age 3-5) Students, ages 3-5, who meet TEA eligibility criteria as a student with a disability, including non-categorical early childhood classifications and who require a structured approach. The ECSE program is provided ½ day, and is designed for young students with disabilities, which may or may not be accompanied by significant health needs, who require early intervention. The ECSE program has two components, depending on the needs of the student.  The SEAS component is a self-contained, highly supported setting where students receive their instruction, personal health and restroom assistance, and other self-care assistance. The SANDS component is an inclusive setting where students are integrated within the pre-K classroom. There are no STAAR assessments at this level.

SAILS - Structured Academics Integrated Life Skills -ARD (K-8th)

Students with, or suspecting, Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, and/or Other Health Impairments who require a significant level of support and whose needs are best met through a specialized instructional focus on prerequisite skills. SAILS provides small class sizes and direct, intensive, individualized instruction to assist students to acquire, maintain, and generalize skills.  Instruction is focused on functional academics, communication, self-help, social interaction, pre-vocational, and behavior skills.  The SAILS program typically takes place in a self-contained setting.  However, given the student’s needs, the student may access the SAILS classroom on an intermittent basis, which will be determined by the ARD committee.  Students typically take STAAR Alternative assessments.  ARD committees must assure that a student is not placed into the SAILS class unless the student meets the above criteria. 

TIDES - Teaching Independence, Developmental Experiences, & Skills - ARD (K-12th)

Students with, or suspecting, Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, and/or Other Health Impairments who require intense levels of instructional, behavioral, and personal care support to meet basic life functions.  TIDES is a self-contained classroom that uses a team approach to provide pre-requisite instruction, personal care and health and multiple related supports designed for students with significant cognitive and/or physical disabilities which may or may not be accompanied by significant health needs. Some students may have multiple impairments impeding their ability to receive information during instruction and thus may not be able to provide an authentic academic response. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is among the staff who provide assistance throughout the day in the TIDES classroom.  Students take STAAR Alternative assessments.

WAVE - Woven Academic & Vocational Education - ARD (9th-12th)

Students with intellectual disabilities, autism, or other health impairments that require a significant level of support and small class sizes. WAVE is a self-contained setting supporting learners with cognitive, developmental and/or physical disabilities whose needs are best met through an instructional focus on prerequisite skills that are often learned through real life application of the grade-level TEKS. Our goal is to weave together the required academic goals with a focus on practical vocational skills in order to provide the student with the opportunities to achieve as much independence as possible after high school. Students in the WAVE program will earn the academic credits required for state graduation.  Skills will be developed in the areas of socialization, employment, and daily living. Students will also learn how to use community resources to prepare them for successful independent and/or assisted adult living in our community.  Students take STAAR Alternative assessment.

ABCD - Adaptive Behavior Class Dickinson - ARD (K-12th)

Students with intense emotional disabilities or behavioral deficits who are experiencing significant difficulty demonstrating appropriate school / social behaviors. ABCD is a self-contained classroom for intensive behavioral needs. Specially trained teacher(s) and paraprofessionals provide daily instruction focused on behavior, pro-social skills and academics in small groups. Students’ progress on a highly structured acquisition system. All students who go to ABC-D must have academic goals for subjects for which they are removed from the general education setting. Students typically take STAAR assessments

SEALS (18 +) - Secondary Education and Life Skills - ARD (age 18 - 21 years)

Students with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, or Other Health Impairments who have completed the required high school credits but require a significant level of support to prepare them for successful independent and/or assisted adult living, in our community. Students in the SEALS program focus on functional and domestic skills, relationship development, health and fitness, and self-determination. Students will receive a continuum of services that include district resources and support to community or employment settings, based on their needs and abilities, which will enable the student to reach their maximum level of independence in self-help and advocacy. There are no state assessments at this level.

DEAR - Dickinson Education, Acceleration, Recovery - ARD (9th-12th)

For high school students who have mild or moderate learning, health or emotional disabilities who are at risk of dropping out, not graduating on time, or for whom the traditional school day is not appropriate.

DEAR is designed for students who must meet credit graduation requirements where tailored instruction is provided to students. It is a self-contained environment taught by a special education teacher who is also a vocational adjustment coordinator. Students work on individualized plans designed to address any transcript deficiencies and are expected to be actively engaged in the vocational/work process. Students take STAAR EOC exams.

RISE - The RISE classroom is designed for students in special education who will be taking the STAAR assessments but need a smaller, highly structured classroom with specially designed instruction provided by a special education teacher. The focus is on TEKS, and scaffolded modification may be used to address the student's critical area of need with the goal of remediation of skills.  ARDC placement is required.
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Speech Therapy Services

Philosophy:   In accordance with federal and state guidelines, DISD provides Speech and Language therapy as an instructional service so that the student may benefit from his/ her special education instruction and for implementation of a student’s IEP. Speech and Language therapy in the educational setting differs from the received from the traditional medical model of services (outpatient therapy). Educational need for therapy is determined by a student’s ability to perform in his/ her educational setting.

Goals:   Improve classroom participation, assist classroom teachers in students mastery of speech related TEKS, and provide support for classroom teachers and staff.
Process:   Speech and Language therapy evaluations can be a part of a student’s initial evaluation if problems in areas are identified at the time of initial referral through the districts PST process or child find. If the student is already enrolled in special education a speech and language evaluation may occur at any time an educational need is identified through the districts Campus RtI Team.

Description:   Services are delivered in a variety of models and/ or a combination of models such as: in class support, teacher consultation, and direct pull out from educational classroom. Services are centered around finding a way for each individual student to participate in their education to the best of their ability.


Click HERE to go to the Speech Therapy page.

Dickinson Behavior Teaching Continuum

This is a unique and innovative service that DISD began implementing first with the PASS program at KELE, BMS, MJHS and DHS during the 2004-05 school year, expanding it to ABCD at DMS in 2007-08 and with behavior coaches to the remaining elementary schools in 2008-09.  The Behavior Support Team consists of several behavior coaches (teachers who have demonstrated excellent classroom and behavior management skills).  The philosophy of this program centers on the belief that students need a safe and orderly classroom environment while realizing there will be some students who will need specific and direct instruction on appropriate classroom behaviors.  We offer a continuum of services for students who experience behavioral difficulties in the general and special education settings through the use of positive behavioral supports.

  • Goal:   The goal of the DISD comprehensive behavior intervention program is to implement a complete system of behavioral services for students who are experiencing moderate to severe behavioral challenges that disrupt the student’s learning and the classroom environment.
  • Description: The behavior intervention program is a multi-leveled system process which provides behavioral services for general or special education students who are in need of services.  Behavior coaches have extensive training in individual interventions to help students succeed in the least restrictive environment. Services are determined through a Campus RtI Team or ARD committee if the student is a special education student. 
  • Services can include working with individual students, groups of students, and teachers to provide behavioral strategies and techniques to minimize instructional interruptions and promote a positive classroom and school environment. Behavior coaches are to strive towards decreasing classroom disruptions and increasing student’s access to the general education setting.  All campuses have at least one Behavior Coach dedicated to supporting the behavior intervention program.

• Each campus has a behavior coach who is responsible for assisting the campus in identification of at-risk students, developing positive behavioral support interventions, and assisting teachers and staff in the implementation of these interventions. 
• If a student is not successful behaviorally on the home campus, a referral to special education may be necessary to determine if the student has a disability and in need of further specialized instruction, such as that which is offered through ABCD.

Click HERE to go to the Behavior Teaching Continuum

Click HERE to go to the Related Services Page

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