Director of Special Services
Assistant Director of Special Services
Tricia Benish, PhD.
Director of Mental Health & Behavior Services
School Psychology Specialist
4 School Dr.
Greenbrier, AR 72058
The special services department promotes opportunities for students served under the mandates of Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 (IDEA/Special Education), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and alternative education programs to fully participate in all appropriate educational activities in order to become productive citizens. The department provides supportive leadership to parents, local school administrators and teachers in their efforts to ensure a free and appropriate public education to all Greenbrier students.
In addition to development and oversight of the Special Education programs, Section 504 services, and alternative education environments, special services also provides support toward the development and oversight of homebound services and school-based mental health services.
Please see each section of the department below for an overview of the services. For additional information regarding any of the programs offered through the special services department, please contact Rachel Atkinson.
Alternative education is an instructional approach under the control of a school committee that is offered to “at risk” students in a nontraditional setting. “At-risk” students, though intelligent and capable, have been unable to experience academic success.
Greenbrier Public Schools operates an alternative learning environment (ALE) within the school district. The overarching program goal for all students in an ALE setting is that they experience a positive program exit. Positive program exit may include returning to the student’s sending school, completion of high school with a diploma earned through the ALE program, or receiving credit through the credit recovery program which has allowed the student to continue toward graduation.
School With-In School
The School With-In School (SWIS) is available to students in grades 10-12 who are at risk for dropping out of school due to lack of credit. Students participating in SWIS recoup credit needed for graduation. SWIS students enjoy traditional teacher-student interaction and instruction as well as access to computer-assisted instruction. Depending on the number of credits needed to be recovered, students may also receive general education instruction concurrently while enrolled in SWIS classes.
Parents or school personnel may refer students to SWIS. Please contact Greenbrier High School to discuss SWIS or to initiate a SWIS referral.
Panthers Alternative Child Centered Environment (PACE)
The Greenbrier School District offers ALE services through its PACE program. This is an in district program that offers services to students in grades K-5 in the elementary classroom, and grades 6-12 in the secondary classroom. The elementary classroom is housed at the Wooster Elementary School campus, and the secondary classroom is housed at the High School campus. Students who meet the criteria of “at risk” are eligible to be considered for placement in PACE. At risk criteria may include those students who exhibit two or more of the following characteristics:
- Disruptive behavior
- Drop out from school
- Personal or family problems or situations
- Recurring absenteeism
- Transition to or from residential programs
- Ongoing, persistent lack of attaining proficiency levels in literacy and mathematics
- Abuse: physical, mental or sexual
- Frequent relocation or residency
- Inadequate emotional support
- Mental/physical health problems
- Single parenting
- Returning drop-out under age 21
- Students with frequent suspensions or expulsion
Please contact your child’s campus administrator to initiate a referral to PACE.
Students who are unable to attend school may apply for homebound services. Homebound services allow students to continue their school studies, for credit, when they are physically unable to attend school. Students who are under disciplinary action (suspension or expulsion) are not eligible for homebound instruction.
Contact Rachel Atkinson to discuss the information necessary for the school to consider providing homebound services.
School Based Mental Health (SBMH)
The Greenbrier School District is partnering with Counseling Associates of Arkansas to provide mental health services to students who have emotional or psychological problems which are adversely affecting the student’s school performance. Referrals for SBMH services may be initiated by school staff or by the student’s parent/guardian through the student’s school guidance counselor. The referrals are reviewed by the district’s SBMH coordinator (licensed school psychology specialist and licensed clinician). If criteria are met, the referral is forwarded to the Counseling Associates liaison who in turn contacts the student’s parent/guardian to arrange for an intake appointment. Please refer to the counselor at your child's school for more information.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 focuses on non-discrimination. The denial of public education participation or enjoying the benefits offered by the public school’s programs because of a student’s disability is prohibited.
Unlike special education, under Section 504, there is no list of “approved” disabling conditions. A “handicapped” person is one who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities,
- Has a record of such an impairment, or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment
35 C.F.R Sec. 104.3(j)(1)
Physical or Mental impairment means (A) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems, neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary’ hematic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine; or (B) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
34 C.F.R. Sec. 104.3(j)(2)(i)
Major Life Activities means “functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, and working.”
34 C.F.R. Sec 104.3(j)(2)(ii) &
42 U.S.C. Sec 12102(2)(A)
Each campus has a Section 504 building coordinator. To discuss the initiation of a referral for consideration of accommodations under Section 504 contact your child’s principal or assistant principal.
The Greenbrier School District strives to ensure that all students in the district are equipped and prepared for life after high school. In accordance with the district’s mission, the Special Services Department strives to “provide a challenging curriculum for each student that promotes higher level thinking skills and develops working skills in technology,” thus “empowering our students to become lifelong learners,” and “to develop skills necessary to be a responsible citizen in an ever-changing world.” This leads us to envision a school system where all students, families, schools, and community members share the motivation, knowledge, and skills to work together to ensure that all children with disabilities are learning, progressing, and meeting high expectations (IDEA Partnerships, 2000).
The Greenbrier School District offers a full range of program options along the continuum to serve and for meet the needs of students identified as eligible for and needing special education services, ages three (3) to twenty-one (21). Following a comprehensive assessment that may include a psychological evaluation, educational testing, speech-language assessment, audiological testing and other assessments, a student found eligible for and needing special education services in one or more of the following categories:
- Hearing Impairment
- Emotional Disturbance
- Intellectual Deficiency
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Leaning Disability
- Speech or Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
Classes serving students with disabilities are located in elementary, middle, junior and high schools. Delivery models for instruction include regular classroom, resource, self-contained, home-based settings and day school settings. All programs are not represented in every school. In these instances, students are assigned to a program nearest the home school and transportation is provided.
The Department of Special Education is required to provide free, appropriate public education to eligible children in cooperation with parents and other agencies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Each eligible student must have an Individual Education Program (IEP), which is developed by a team composed of teachers and other qualified school personnel, parents or guardians and the student, when appropriate. The IEP is revised when necessary and reviewed at least annually.
If you have any questions, please direct them to Rachel Atkinson (501-679-1057).
SPECIAL RECORDS TO BE DESTROYED
On July 24, 2024, the Greenbrier Public School District will destroy Special Education records of students who graduated, moved, or were dismissed from Special Education services in the district during the 2017-2018 school year. This process is carried out in compliance with federal and state laws. Students, parents and/or guardians may obtain any records by calling the Special Services office at 501-679-8210 to arrange pickup. You must have valid identification before records will be released.
ANNUAL CHILD FIND MEETING AND CONSULTATION FOR PARENTALLY-PLACED PRIVATE AND HOMESCHOOL PROVIDERS
Greenbrier Public Schools will offer the Annual Child Find Meeting and Consultation for parentally-placed private and homeschool providers in the school district.
The meeting will provide an opportunity for private and homeschool representatives to share the needs of students with disabilities enrolled in their programs. Evaluation and service specifics for parentally-placed and homeschool children in the 2023-2024 school year will be shared with providers.
Greenbrier’s Special Education Director, Rachel Atkinson, and Special Education Assistant Director, Sarah Catlett, will address the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). Areas of discussion will include:
The Child Find Process;
Determination of which, how, where, and by whom special education and related services will be provided;
How the services will be evaluated; and
Determination of the proportionate amount of Federal Funds available to serve parentally-placed private school children with disabilities.
The Child Find and Consultation Meeting will be held, virtually, through Zoom, on Thursday, September 14, 2023 at 3:00 pm. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive access to the Zoom link.
Child Find is a federal obligation for school districts to locate and evaluate children, ages 3-21, who are suspected of having a disability. Evaluation and services are provided to children free of charge in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
For More Information, please contact:
Director of Special Services
Greenbrier Public Schools