Mi Escuela Montessori and Students with Special Needs
Mi Escuela Montessori has a policy of nondiscrimination and provides equal opportunity for all students. We will enroll, on a space-available basis, any student eligible to attend a Polk County school who submits a timely application, including those with an existing IEP, EP or 504 Plan. Students with IEP's, 504 plans and gifted EP's in our K-8 school are served through either consultation, inclusion and/or pull out services. Students in our preschool program are served through an inclusion model. We contract with speech pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health professionals, and any other providers needed in order to provide an appropriate education for all students. We are committed to making accommodations within the classroom to ensure the success of all students.
Our student application does not ask parents for any information about IEPs or whether a student has any special learning needs. However, our application does have a statement that acceptance of students requiring exceptional student services is subject to an IEP review meeting to ensure that MEM is an appropriate placement based on the students educational plan. Only after the student has been admitted to MEM will student records be requested and processed. If, while reviewing the IEP, MEM is concerned about the levels of services required for a student, we will request an IEP meeting be held as soon as possible to discuss the students educational goals and needs and ensure that MEM is an appropriate placement for the student.
Benefits and Challenges of a Dual Language Montessori Education for Students with Special Needs
Trusting relationships with teacher over three year cycle
Freedom of movement in the classroom
Multi-aged classroom with peers at multiple academic levels
Hands-on, multi-sensory materials with clear control of error
Individualized lesson plans
Small group instruction
Explicit coaching in developing social emotional skills
Opportunities for peer mentoring
Difficulty for non-Spanish speaking students to learn in two languages
Larger number of students in the classroom
Blocks of unstructured time during which students are expected to independently complete work
Require some self-discipline to complete assignments
Distractions such as students moving around in the classroom
Noise level in the classroom may hinder focus and concentration
Education cannot be called effective unless it helps a child open up himself to life. -Maria Montessori
How are students with special needs identified at MEM?
If a student is suspected of needing special education or gifted services, the school and parents will first work together to address the student’s needs within the Montessori inclusive classroom. Mi Escuela Montessori will use the multi-tiered support system (MTSS) framework as the primary and initial step in identifying students who may need Special Education Services. Within the MTSS process, the school will provide intervention and educational support at increasing levels of intensity based on indicated student needs, with the goal of preventing problems and intervening early in order to secure student success. If these efforts are not successful, a parent/guardian, teacher or other school staff member may suggest a referral for evaluation for special education services. MEM will work together with Polk County Public Schools ESE Department to identify students requiring special education services and to develop an Individualized Education Plan or a Gifted Education Plan.