Frequently Asked Questions

What is Exceptional Student Services?
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).
Whom do I contact when I have questions or concerns about special education?
In order to provide more consistent, accurate and timely information and support, Exceptional Student Services in collaboration with Dispute Resolution is updating and expanding the ways in which schools and parents can contact us. Parents and schools may contact us through one of the following specialized areas by telephone, email, or a new Request Assistance Inbox, depending on their specific needs.

  • Raising Special Kids (RSK)
  • Early Resolution, offered through Dispute Resolution
  • Program Specialists from Program Support & Monitoring
  • ESS Program Specialist Caseload
  • For information go to ESS Request Assistance.

    What role does the ESS specialist play with regard to special education in the schools?
    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.
    What is an individualized education program (IEP)?
    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
    What are my legal rights as a parent of a child with a disability?
    IDEA gives parents specific rights with regard to special education. These rights are outlined in the procedural safeguards notice that can be found at:

  • Procedural Safeguards – Revised January 2015
  • Aviso de las Salvaguardias Procesales
  • How can I find information about resolving a special education problem I am having with my child’s school?
    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 website.

    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.

    What is the purpose of the Parent Involvement Survey?
    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). For more information about the survey, e-mail Parent Involvement Survey or call (928) 637-1871.
    Does the Arizona Department of Education provide for students with disabilities to attend private schools?
    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.
    Where can I find information about special education data?
    Visit the Data Management website for information about special education data in the Arizona Department of Education.

    Email Data Management for questions about special education data in the Arizona Department of Education. District and charter level data can be found at Public Reports.

    Whom do I contact if I have concerns about my child’s development and/or academic progress?
    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 [email protected] or call (928) 679-8106.