Frequently Asked Questions

ESS is the section of ADE responsible for ensuring that public education agencies in Arizona have special education programs, policies, and procedures that comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations, and that eligible children and youth with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Every school district and charter school is assigned an ESS Education Program Specialist who is the primary contact for any special education matter. Education Program Specialists are located in the Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson offices.

To find out who is assigned as an Education Program Specialist for your district or charter school, please contact the following locations:

  1. Phoenix     (602) 542-4013
  2. Tucson        (520) 628-6330
  3. Flagstaff     (928) 679-8100

In addition, you can contact an Early Resolution Specialist for technical assistance and guidance on the Dispute Resolution options available under the IDEA by using the toll-free number 1-855-383-9801.

The ESS specialist provides technical assistance to the local schools regarding state and federal special education requirements. Specialists also monitor districts and charters to ensure the special education programs provided are in compliance with requirements.

Each child found eligible for special education has an IEP, which is a document that identifies the services that will be provided, the goals that the services will target, the setting in which the services will occur, and the amount of time the services will be provided

IDEA gives parents specific rights with regard to special education. These rights are outlined in the procedural safeguards notice that can be found at:

http://www.azed.gov/special-education/files/2011/09/procedural-safeguards-07-2013.pdf

IDEA and its implementing regulations require States to have in effect three processes to assist parents of a child with a disability and their schools in resolving special education–related issues. Specifically, States must offer:

  1. a mediation system;
  2. a due process hearing system; and
  3. a state administrative complaint system.

Information on each of these processes can be found on the Arizona Department of Education/Dispute Resolution Web site at:  http://www.azed.gov/special-education/dispute.

Or you can contact an Early Resolution Specialist for technical assistance and guidance on the dispute resolution options available under the IDEA by using the toll-free number 1-855-383-9801.

As part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04), ESS is required to report how well schools facilitate parent involvement in order to improve services and results for children with disabilities. This data is gathered from parents of children with disabilities through the Parent Involvement Survey and is published in Arizona’s Annual Performance Report (APR), which is posted with other public reports on the ESS website, www.azed.gov/special-education/resources. For more information about the survey, e-mail parentsurvey@azed.gov or call (928) 679-8106.

Students with disabilities who have been placed by their parents in a private school as a matter of choice have no individual entitlement to receive a FAPE, but may be entitled to some special education services provided by the local school district under the “proportionate share” requirement. If an IEP team determines that a private school is the most appropriate, least restrictive setting for a child with a disability, that placement is made at no cost to the parent.

The website for information about special education data in the Arizona Department of Education is: http://www.azed.gov/special-education/funding/data-management/.

The e-mail address for questions about special education data in the Arizona Department of Education is: ESSDataMgmt@azed.gov. District and charter level data can be found under “Public Reports” at:
http://www.azed.gov/special-education/resources/.

Contact the school district in which you live or, if your child is already in school, contact the school district or charter school the child attends. Children aged birth to 2 years 10½ months will be referred to the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) for eligibility determination. Children older than 2 years 10½ months are screened and, if necessary, evaluated by the school district or charter school. For more information about the referral process, e-mail AZFIND@azed.gov or call (928) 679-8106.