• The Special Education Department serves over 345 students from preschool to age twenty-one. The purpose is to identify, evaluate and appropriately instruct students with varying disabilities. For children with identified disabilities, a full range of educational support is available based on an Individual Education Plan (IEP). All services are in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

    Referrals and evaluations may be initiated by the Problem Solving Team (PST) classroom teacher, parent or other professionals. Eligibility is based on results of a battery of tests and is determined by an interdisciplinary committee. When eligible, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed and fully implemented in order to meet the individual needs of each student.

    The Russell County School District provides services for students identified with at least one of the following exceptionality areas:

    • Autism
    • Deaf – Blindness
    • Developmental Delay
    • Emotional Disturbance
    • Hearing Impairment
    • Mental Retardation
    • Multiple Disabilities
    • Orthopedic Impairment
    • Specific Learning Disability
    • Speech or Language Impairment
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Visual Impairment
    • Other Health Impairment

    A full range of related services is available to assist students with disabilities to benefit from special education and to receive a free and appropriate public education. 

    Special Services Child Find

    What Is Child Find?

    Child find is an effort by the Russell County School District to locate, identify and evaluate all children within its jurisdiction, 3 to 21 years of age, suspected of having a disability, to determine if he/she qualifies for special education services.  If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Dr. Vivian Relf, Director of Special Services at (334) 408-4970.


    Why Is Child Find important?

    Child Find helps the child, the family, and the provider to plan appropriate services and link families to services for students meeting eligibility requirements in the following disability areas:

    • Hearing Impairment
    • Deaf- Blindness
    • Intellectual Disability
    • Multiple Disabilities
    • Orthopedic Impairment
    • Other Health Impairment
    • Emotional Disability
    • Speech and Language Impairment
    • Visual Impairment
    • Specific Learning Disabilities
    • Autism
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Developmental Delay



    If you are transferring to another public education agency in the State of Alabama, your child’s special education records (IEP, etc.) will be electronically sent to that district through the state-wide student database coordinated by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).  Once you enroll your child in another district and they place them in their student database, that district will receive a notice that the student’s records are available to them through ALSDE. 

    If you are transferring to an out-of-state school, special education records do not transfer electronically and you will be responsible for sharing any important information with the receiving school.  The determination of your child’s placement and evaluation of his/her records will be determined based on the policies and procedures of the state in which you will be residing.  We will forward the student records to the new school when we receive a request for records from the school district. 

    The confidentiality of the records will be maintained according to federal regulations, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 34 CFR Part 99 and state regulations, the Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9(2)(e).


    Section 504

    The federal Government developed section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a way to address the many disabilities not covered under IDEA. Section 504 is a far-reaching law that extends protection to individuals with disabilities in most aspect of their lives.

    The Russell County School District serves many students that qualify under the section 504 definitions. This law defines an individual with disabilities as anyone who experiences a mental, psychological, or physiological disorder that substantially interferes with one or more major life activities. Major life activities include the following:

    • Walking
    • Seeing
    • Speaking
    • Hearing
    • Breathing
    • Learning

    Once a student has been identified as disabled under section 504 and an accommodation plan has been developed, the law requires that the school staff engage in good faith efforts to implement the plan.

    The school board has a process in place to comply with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of handicaps. The Local Education Agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit http://wdcrobcolp)1.edgov?CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm.

    For more information you may contact your child’s school or the special services office at (334) 408-4970.


    Gifted Education

    Gifted students are those who perform at or who have demonstrated the potential to perform at high levels in academic or creative fields when compared to others of their age, experience, or environment. These students require services not ordinarily provided by the regular school program. Students possessing these abilities can be found in all populations, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor. Teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, or guardians, peers, self, or any other individuals with knowledge of the student’s abilities may refer a student. Additionally, all second grade students will be observed as potential gifted referrals using a gifted behavior checklist.

    For each student referred, information is gathered in the areas of aptitude, characteristics, and performance. The information is entered on a matrix where points are assigned according to established criteria. The total number of points earned determines if the student qualifies for gifted services. To make a referral, contact the counselor at your child’s school. If you have questions or require additional information, please contact the special services department at (334) 408-4970.

    For more information on our Gifted Program, please read the Gifted Brochure