Special Education


Rochester School District provides a full range of services for students with disabilities. We serve students from Birth to age 21. Services are provided in the academic areas including reading, writing and math; social skills, speech (language and articulation); fine and gross motor therapy; and other qualifying areas. In order to meet the requirements for Special Education services, your child must be assessed and the determination made that a) the student has a disability, b) the disability has an adverse educational impact, and 3) specially designed instruction is needed. Once a student qualifies for Special Education, then an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written to address their needs. For questions about the Special Education process, please contact Rochester Special Services Department,
(360) 273-6522.

A student may be referred for a special education evaluation by parents, district staff, a public agency, or other persons knowledgeable about the student.  The referral is required to be in writing unless the person referring is unable to write. Once a referral occurs, the district referral team must determine within 25 school days whether or not to evaluate the student to determine if they qualify for special education services. The referral team includes the parent or guardian of the student. 

If the determination is made to evaluate for special education, the evaluation team has 35 school days to complete the evaluation once signed consent has been received from the parent or guardian.

Individual Education Program (IEP)
If the team determines the student qualifies for special education services, the IEP team, including the parent, will develop an IEP within 30 calendar days. Initial services will not begin until the team has written parent consent for the district to provide special education services. 

Programs and Services

Child Find: If you would like to learn how to refer a student for a Special Education screening or referral please contact the Special Services Department at 360-273-6522 or the School Counselor in your child’s school.

Birth-2 Program: Rochester School District contracts with South Sound Parent to Parent to serve Infants and Toddlers with disabilities. For information on either service for an Infant or Toddler already identified with a disability or for a developmental screening, please contact either South Sound Parent to Parent, 360-352-1126 or the Rochester School District Special Education Department at 360-273-6522.

Children ages birth to three may qualify for services in areas such as: vision, hearing, cognitive skills, expressive social/emotional skills, or adaptive skills.

Rochester Early Intervention Program (REIP): Rochester School District serves children ages 3-5 (prior to Kindergarten) who qualify for Special Education in our early learning program. REIP is located at Rochester Primary School. If you would like your child to have a developmental screening or you have transferred into the district and your child already has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), please contact Marci Nesary at 360-273-5161 ext. 3250. During the summer, contact Rochester Special Services Department at 360-273-6522.

K-12th grade Special Education Services: RSD provides a continuum of services for students in grades K-12. Many students with an Individual Education Plan are educated in the general education environment for the majority of the day. Students may receive specially designed instruction in the large or small group setting in their general education classroom, a small group setting in a special education “pull-out” classroom or another location as stated on the student’s IEP.

The amount of time spent in pull out instruction, the amount of additional support given in the classroom, and the ratio of adult-child support varies according to each student’s individual needs, as determined by the IEP team. Parents and general education teachers are included in the IEP decision-making process. 

Students who have more significant disabilities which impacts their ability to function within the general population may spend an IEP team determined portion of their day in the Functional Academics or Learning Center environment. Each Functional Academics and Learning Center program teaches basic academic skills as well as social skills, adaptive skills and other educationally related skills based on the student’s IEP.  

18-21 Transition Program: A student’s IEP team may determine that he or she should stay in school after the typical four year high school education as part of the Transition Program. This is available to students in special education until the end of the school year in which they turn 21 years of age. Students learn how to access their community resources, learn independent living skills, practice soft skills for a worksite, work supported or unsupported (based on need) in local businesses, and run a in district program called the Essentials Bank for families in need. For more information, please contact the Rochester High School Transition Department.


Procedural Safeguards - Family Rights
OSPI Guidance for Families
The ARC of Washington
The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington State
Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
PAVE (Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment)
College for Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Students, Families, and Educators