Mission Statement

The mission of the Department is to identify and provide appropriate education to students with disabilities, in the least restrictive environment, to enable each student to reach their academic potential while acquiring life skills for the 21st century.

What is Special Education?

As defined by California Education Code (section 56031), special education is:

Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs, whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of the general instruction program; and Related Services that help individuals with special needs to benefit from specially designed instruction. Special Education is an integral part of the total public education system. Other features of Special Education are:

  • Services are provided in a way that promotes maximum interaction between students with and without disabilities in a manner which is appropriate to the needs of both;
  • Services are provided at no cost to parents;
  • Services include a full range of program options to meet the educational and service requirements of individuals with exceptional needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The LRE is generally the setting that is most similar to those attended by general education students.

Who is eligible for special education services?

Special Education is specialized instruction provided for children from birth to age 22 who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by the state and federal government. A student may qualify for special education services as an individual with special needs in one of thirteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). These are:

  1. Autism
  2. Deaf-blindness
  3. Deafness
  4. Hearing impairment,(Hard of Hearing)
  5. Intellectual Disability
  6. Multiple disabilities
  7. Orthopedic impairment
  8. Other health impairment
  9. Severe emotional disturbance
  10. Specific learning disability
  11. Speech or language impairment
  12. Traumatic brain injury
  13. Visual impairment

Novato Unified School District is part of the Marin County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), a collaborative of 19 school districts and public agencies in Marin. Through the District and SELPA, we offer a continuum of services for students with disabilities.

The department’s leadership team provides focus and direction for special education and related services. They also monitor the effectiveness and compliance of programs and services for students.