15480 Three Oaks Road, Three Oaks
Located within the Middle High School building.
General Program Information
Special education programs and services are in place at each of River Valley’s buildings in order to serve the needs of students with disabilities. We also coordinate with Berrien RESA and several other area school districts to provide programs and services to those having specific needs which cannot be addressed at the local buildings.
At the elementary schools, the majority of special education programming takes place in the resource room. In the resource room setting, students receive intensive intervention and instruction in a small group or one-on-one setting designed to best meet the student’s needs.
Within the middle high school, programming is a hybrid of resource room instruction and full inclusion classes. In an inclusion class, students with disabilities are educated alongside their general education peers by River Valley’s highly qualified content area teachers following the Michigan curriculum. Special education teachers co-teach in these classes, providing support and accommodations designed to promote academic success.
The State of Michigan has created a required high school curriculum (Michigan Merit Curriculum) which students must complete in order to receive a high school diploma. Students unable to complete the Michigan Merit Curriculum may have a Personal Curriculum, which still meets the graduation requirements. Not all personal curriculums will result in a diploma. Students not receiving a diploma may receive a certificate of completion. For further help with high school graduation requirements, contact the high school guidance counselor.
River Valley provides speech and language therapy services for all district residents, from age three through 12th grade. Speech services are provided at all district school buildings in a small group or one-on-one setting.
Parents who suspect their child may have a disability may submit a written request for evaluation. > Parent Request Form
Process for Determining LD Eligibility
For determining the existence of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) in Special Education our district will use a process of analyzing a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses. For more detailed information on this process please consult the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency website.
If you have specific questions regarding any of the special education programs and services, or for a print copy of the Special Education Procedural Safeguards, please contact the special education supervisor.
Resources for Parents/Families
Parents Advisory Committee—Parents of students with disabilities are invited to attend the Parents Advisory Committee (PAC). Monthly meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month during the school year, except December at the Berrien RESA building in Berrien Springs. Berrien RESA Special Education PAC provides many services to increase awareness about special education for parents. Information and training sessions help parents understand new programs and practices as well as learn about special education topics. Getting parents together gives them input into the special education process and helps build their resource network. All parents are welcome to attend, participate in discussions, and connect with other area families of special need students. If you are interested in serving as the River Valley representative on this committee, please contact Michelle Sykora.
Procedural Safeguards—Parents of a student with a disability have protection under procedural safeguards. Click here to view: Procedural Safeguards Notice
Michigan Alliance for Families (800-552-4821) — Michigan Alliance for Families provides information, support, and education for families who have children (birth through 26 years of age) who receive (or may be eligible to receive) special education services. Local mentors are available to assist you in understanding your rights or to provide an advocate.
Special Education Transition Plans
As students mature, it is appropriate to begin assisting them in preparing them for their futures. A transition plan will be added to students IEPs beginning at age 15 to assist students and families with developing goals and identifying skills that will need to be developed in order to be successful in the community as adults.
Federal law states:
- A transition plan must be written for your child by the time he/she turns 16.
- The plan must have measurable post-high school goals in education or training, employment, and adult/independent living.
- The plan must include the child’s course of study.
- The student must be informed, by age 17, that legal rights will transfer from the parent(s) to the student at age 18.
In order to determine areas of need, a transition assessment will be completed with your child prior to his/her annual IEP. At River Valley, we use the Enderle-Severson Transition Rating Scale (ESTR). It is a survey-style questionnaire which covers areas in the child’s life including Home Living, Employment, Community Involvement, and Post-School Education or Training.
Another tool used to assist all students in River Valley in developing their Educational Development Plan (EDP) and meeting post-high school goals is the Career Cruising web-based program. The Career Cruising program surveys students’ interests & abilities and guides them in choosing and planning for their future career. Students will engage with this program annually, which each year building on skills from the previous year. River Valley encourages families to engage with students in this process through the website careercruising.com. (River Valley students’ username is their student number and their password is their building password.) Families needing assistance or wanting more information about this program can contact Michelle Sykora.
Berrien RESA has developed several resources which may be of assistance to your family as your child moves through this process. These resources are available online at:
There are also several community organizations available to assist you family in planning for your child’s needs now and into the future. When a student has an open case file with an area agency, a representative may be invited to your child’s IEP.
- Michigan Rehabilitation Services (269-926-6168) is available to assist with community or employment needs. A vocational rehabilitation counselor is available in the Middle High School building monthly during the school year to meet with current or former students needing job training or assistance. http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-61256_25392—,00.html
- Michigan Works! (269-927-1799) can assist with job training and job placement. http://michiganworks.org/
- Community Connections of Southwest Michigan (269-925-6422) is available to assist with information, advocacy, or independent living needs.
- HELP4SWMI Advocacy Center (269-469-2559) offers assistance to local community members needing support. http://www.help4swmi.org/