Specialized Instruction Nutrition and WellnessSpecial Education Services


The Illinois State Board of Education partners with school districts to provide programs and services for students with specialized educational needs.

Special Education Services assures that these programs and services meet state and federal requirements. This involves both compliance and technical assistance functions.

Compliance functions include monitoring least restrictive environment compliance, administering due process system, providing mediation services, conducting compliant investigations, approving policies and procedures, conducting focused and comprehensive reviews and approving nonpublic special education facilities.

Technical assistance functions involve providing information and guidance on promising practices in educating students with disabilities, including the operation of numerous statewide training and technical assistance initiatives, administering the comprehensive system of personnel development for special education and management of grant programs to schools for special education service delivery.

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 Other Items of Interest (Updated 11/25/14)

  • Special Education Medical Review Training for Registered Nurses
    ISBE is providing a free course as a service to school districts that do not have a sufficient number of RN’s who hold a professional educator license endorsed for school nursing (PEL/School Nurse). Public school districts or public school cooperatives may request enrollment for Registered Nurses who are currently employed by the district or co-op and whose duties include providing educational evaluation and instructional judgment for students being evaluated or re-evaluated for special education services.

    The goal of the course is to assure competence in special education medical review by those RN’s over the next two years while the gap in available ISBE-licensed school nurses is expected to narrow.

    This free, internet-delivered, instructor-facilitated, guided study course runs for six weeks. The course will continue as long as there is demand. Space is limited to 90 students each session.

    The course is designed to meet the training requirements of Rule 226.160, Special Education Medical Review, which requires that students being evaluated or re-evaluated for special education services be provided a complete medical review. Portions of the rule took effect October 2013 and portions will take effect on July 1, 2016.

    The rule change allows time for more nurses to obtain ISBE licensure / endorsement in school nursing while assuring the competence of currently employed registered nurses to conduct the student evaluation component of Medical Review and assist in planning, implementing and evaluating the Individualized Education Program that a student’s special education team may create, as required by ISBE rule.

    This course does not confer certification or Professional Educator License endorsed for school nursing or any rights and privileges of certified staff. RNs who successfully complete this course will be able to continue to provide such evaluation and services in special education through the course of their employment in any Illinois public school as long as RN licensure and professional development requirements are met.

    RNs who are required by their administration to take this course must meet the following requirements and send documents via email only, to No mailed or faxed documents will be accepted due to privacy concerns.

    1. Letter from a school district or co-op administrator indicating the RN is required to take this course in order to provide educational evaluation or instructional judgment of students through medical review as required by Rule 226.160subsection (a)(5) for students being evaluated or re-evaluated for special education services; and that the district currently has no or an insufficient number of licensed/endorsed RNs that would bring the district into full compliance with Rule 226.160. At this time, a district or co-op that employs such nursing services through contract with another public entity may submit an application for review.
    2. Cover letter of application with name, contact information (email and phone), nursing degree held (diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s) and statement that the RN does not, nor has previously held an ISBE Professional Educator License endorsement in school nursing (formerly called certification);
    3. Copy of current RN licensure (expiration date of May 2016);
    4. Proof of current employment in an Illinois public school or co-op (pay stub with SSN redacted). Applicants with promises of future employment will not be taken;
    5. Questions may be directed to Jessica Gerdes, 312-814-8252 or

  • Child Welfare Educational Resources:
  • Meeting the Educational Needs of Students in the Child Welfare System: A Tool for Teachers, School Administrators and Counseling Staff
  • What Is Child Welfare?: A Guide for Educator
  • American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law
  • The Residential Treatment Work Group of the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP) is pleased to announce that Residential Treatment for Youth with Mental Health Needs: A Guide for Parents and Guardians is now available for distribution. The ICMHP, which was created by the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003, is committed to improving the scope, quality and access of mental health programs, services, and supports for Illinois children.
  • Understanding PUNS: A Guide to Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services (3/15/12)
    The Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, provides person-first services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Possible services include in-home supports, respite care, training programs, job coaches, residential living arrangements, adaptive equipment, etc.
  • A 2011 memo from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that reinforces the fact that local education agencies may not delay or deny a special education evaluation on the basis of a student not having participated in a response to intervention (RtI) process. The memo’s message is consistent with 23 Illinois Administrative Code 226.130(b), which states “…When a district implements the use of a process of this type [RtI], the district shall not use any child’s participation in the process as the basis for denying a parent’s request for an evaluation.” The content of the memo is also consistent with information contained in the March 2010 Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) document titled “Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] about Special Education Eligibility and Entitlement within a Response to Intervention (RtI) Framework,” which is available at (3/11)
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America White Paper Update and Response Update from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
    In February 2010, the Learning Disabilities Association of America issued a white paper, The Learning Disabilities Association of America’s White Paper of Evaluation, Identification, and Eligibility Criteria for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities. NASDSE did not formally respond to the white paper, believing that researchers and practitioners across the country with far more knowledge and experience would provide a better response. Now that has happened. A paper, A Response to the Learning Disabilities of America (LDA) White Paper on Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) Identification was released in December 2010.  Please find attached the original Learning Disabilities Association of America white paper and the response by leading researchers and implementers.
  • Illinois Student Records Keeper for Parents of Students Who Receive Special Education Services
    This booklet is for parents to use to keep important information about their child and his/her special education and related services. It is a companion to Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois.

    Records play an important role as you plan your child’s education. Dates, people, meetings and reports are important throughout your child’s educational career. The records keeper was developed to assist parents in preparing for Individualized Education Program (IEP) and transition meetings; getting ready for evaluations and reevaluations; and keeping track of paperwork and other materials.

    This booklet cross-references the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) publication, Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois. At the bottom of each page, locate the page number(s) that references a section or pages in the guide. The guide offers information to increase your knowledge and understanding about the topic or issue.
  • ARRA VR Community College Initiative
    The Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is pleased to announce the creation of the Community College Initiative (CCI). The purpose of CCI is to encourage people with disabilities to pursue college training that will enhance skills and provide for greater employment opportunities. DRS believes that up to 1,500 individuals may benefit from the initiative through the end of the ARRA funding in September 2011. For further information, please visit the website at

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