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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 What's New? (5/23/16)

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 Other Items of Interest (4/25/16)

  • 2015 Special Education Directors' Conference handouts available
  • SY 2015-2016 Special Education Medical Review Training for Registered Nurses PDF format (4/22/16) updated
    The last scheduled Medical Review Training for RNs is underway and there are no further Medical Review courses scheduled for this school year. Districts that still have need for an RN that does not hold state certification (PEL with school nurse endorsement) to obtain designation to perform the Special Education Medical Review are directed to the information outlined in this announcement for the test option that is available. ISBE will again offer the course during the 2016-17 school year on an as-needed basis for districts that meet the requirements outlined in this announcement: 1) the district has no already qualified RN for this work; and 2) the district can demonstrate inability to secure the services of a PEL endorsed RN.

    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.
  • 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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