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Division of Special Education

  • Inclusion in LAUSD

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Internet icon Access for All: Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.

Students with disabilities often benefit from tools and strategies that are designed to increase access to curriculum, instruction, and assessments.

For many students with disabilities, learning success is predicated on having appropriate adaptations, accommodations and modifications made to classroom instruction and other learning activities.

Sometimes a student may need to have changes made in class work or routines because of his or her disability. Some adaptations are as simple as moving a distractible student to the front of the class or away from the pencil sharpener or the window.

An accommodation is a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. These changes are typically physical or environmental changes. Allowing a student who has trouble writing to give his answers orally is an example of an accommodation. This sort of accommodation extends across assignments and content areas.

Modifications may involve changing the way that material is presented or the way that students respond to show their learning.

Adaptations, accommodations, and modifications need to be individualized for students, based upon their needs and their personal learning styles and interests. It is not always obvious what adaptations, accommodations, or modifications would be beneficial for a particular student, or how changes to the curriculum, its presentation, the classroom setting, or student evaluation might be made.



 Accommodations and Modifications
          PDF icon Differentiated Instruction 
          PDF icon Accommodations Guide

Instructional Supports/Adaptations
          PDF icon Questioning Strategies

Outside Resources

The goal of special education services is to prepare students with disabilities to lead an independent life. Exiting from special education support is a critical step toward lifelong learning and independence.

Beginning with the first IEP, the ultimate goal is to teach students to utilize tools and internalize methods of learning so they no longer require special education supports and services. To be independent lifelong learners. For those students who require special education services until they complete high school, the process of exiting high school is one of the biggest life transitions students will face. Planning for their exit begins formally at age 14 in the Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) portion of the IEP, which the team writes in conjunction with the student to determine their plans for the first two years out of high school. Prior to students exiting high school and entering the post-secondary world, they are provided with linkages to appropriate outside agencies which could include the Department of Rehabilitation, Regional Center, Independent Living Center, and/or the services for students with disabilities office at the college they attend. Throughout high school, the transition teacher meets regularly with all students with disabilities and provides lessons and runs grant-funded student work programs. Seniors in high school meet at least quarterly with the transition teacher, who checks in with students regarding their post-secondary plans and assists them with pre-employment skills, self-determination skills, applying for community college or other training programs, and other needed transition skills.

Once students leave high school and enter the post-secondary world, the transition teacher touches base with them annually to see what they are doing and whether they need further assistance. Transition teachers are also available to assist students who have left school and need help figuring out their next steps. Students who are in our Transition Partnership Program (TPP) with the Department of Rehabilitation are also assisted with their job search for the first two years out of high school. Our DOTS website has links to a wide variety of agencies, colleges, and community services that anyone can access in the “Transition Resources” section. Our department is delighted to provide support to students during this challenging and exciting time in their lives.


Elementary K-5 Common Core Goal Stems

Foundational Skills

English Language Arts


Secondary 6-12 Common Core Goal Stems

English Language Arts

PDF icon Math Grade 6


Dyslexia Awareness

Dyslexia is a language-based disability that is characterized by difficulties in learning how to read fluently.

Students with disabilities have the same access to the current English Language Development (ELD) instruction and infrastructure at school sites as their nondisabled peers. The District provides services to ELs that are mandated by federal and state laws. These include, when necessary, ELD instruction and any necessary supports to provide ELs with access to the core curriculum.

All schools inform parents during initial enrollment and annually of the instructional program options that are available to students, as well as of their right to apply for a Parental Exception Waiver from the EL Program. EL Program options information is provided orally and in writing, using language and materials designed to be readily understandable to the parent. To inform parents of the instructional program options, schools provide parents a copy of the Initial Notification of Enrollment in Instructional Programs for English Learners, Annual Assessment Results and Program Placement for English Learners Letter, Instructional Programs for English Learners parent brochure and video, and the Parent Notification of Reclassification Criteria.

All ELs, including those with disabilities, are assessed each year on their progress toward meeting the California English Language Development Standards. EL students are assessed annually either with the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) or the Ventura County Comprehensive Alternate Language Assessment (VCCALPS). ELs with disabilities may be tested using the California Department of Education (CDE)-approved Testing Variations, Accommodations, and Modifications Matrix, which is updated annually. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team documents in the student’s IEP any accommodations or modifications used both for assessments and for classroom ELD instruction.

As with all English learners, ELs with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) are expected to make progress in English language proficiency and academic content mastery. To attain this, the instructional programs for ELs with IEPs will include ELD as a component of their core instruction, as well as access to core content using Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) and other research-based instructional methodologies appropriate for ELs with disabilities.


Internet icon MMED Website for Instructional Resources - Multingual and Multicultural Education Department
PDF icon CA ELD Standards  

PDF icon Presentation on IEP Goals for English Language Development in Welligent

PDF icon 2018 Master Plan for English Learners and Standard English Learners (English)

PDF icon 2018 Master Plan for English Learners and Standard English Learners (Spanish)

PDF icon English Learner Instructional Approaches

PDF icon English Learner Instructional Approaches: Modeling Metacognitive Strategies for English Learners 


 Extended School Year (ESY) 

Special Education Service Center-Operations works collaboratively with many divisions within our District in order to make ESY possible and to ensure that students have access to the instructional programs outlined on their Individualized Education Programs.



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When students struggle, learning in school is difficult. Using a multi-tiered system of instructional services, supports, and strategies, all students can learn regardless of their disability.


Pre-Referral Interventions
Pre-referral intervention processes are structured, organized methods that involve critical staff, typically an administrator, general education teacher, special education teacher, nurse, and at times, a school psychologist, and parents.


Text Kids

Pre-referral intervention processes are structured, organized methods that involve critical staff, typically an administrator, general education teacher, special education teacher, nurse, and at times, school support staff, including school psychologist, pupil services and attendance counselor (PSA), psychiatric social worker (PSW), academic counselor, and parents. These team members review existing student records and make recommendations regarding academic and/or behavioral interventions and strategies that will support increased student functioning. They are processes the District requires to be used prior to consideration for special education services.

Video Link  


Response to Intervention (RTI) Core concepts of RTI



National and LAUSD MTSS Initiatives

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized in 2004 to address the need to provide timely instructional intervention to students prior to referral for special education services. National and state organizations provide teachers and parents with valuable MTSS resources.

Many national, state, and local organizations have organized around Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) as a vehicle for early intervention and possible prevention of referral for special education services.


Outside Resources 

The United States Department of Education provides support to schools and families seeking information on RTI. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), reauthorized by Congress in 2004, outlines the intervention systems that must be in place in schools to prevent over-identification of students with learning disabilities. This Q&A document outlines key provisions of IDEA that pertain to RtI.

The National Center on Response to Intervention is an outstanding, comprehensive source for principals and teachers who are working to build an RtI framework in elementary, middle, or high school.

The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University is a federally funded professional learning site for educators and schools in preparing teachers to support and serve struggling learners and students with disabilities. The site contains interactive learning modules with animated videos and hands-on learning activities for use during professional development:

Noted scholars in the field of special education instruction, Douglas Fuchs and Lynn S. Fuchs of Vanderbilt University, have published widely on the use of RTI as an effective strategy to prevent over-identification of students with learning disabilities. This article provides a research-based overview of RTI.

The International Reading Association has produced a wealth of resources for educators and families aimed at preventing reading failure.

The RTI Action Network, a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, outlines the essential tools for implementing and evaluating RtI programs in place at schools.

Multi-Tiered Literacy Intervention K-12 



Early intervention in phonemic awareness, fluency and automaticity, reading comprehension, and the basics of written English is key to helping students meet or exceed grade level expectations in reading and writing.


LAUSD Resources and Weblinks (Tier 1)

PreK-12 Literacy/Language Arts website

Transitional Kindergarten resources

Elementary resources

Middle school resources

High school resources


Amplify mClass Login for DIBELS Next/Now What Tools


Strategic/Targeted Literacy Intervention Resources (Tier 2)

Reading A-Z & RazKids Teacher Login

Voyager Learning VPORT Teacher/Admin Login

Burst: Reading Homepage

Focused Reading Intervention (FRI)


Intensive Literacy Intervention Resources (Tier 3) 

Cambium Learning LANGUAGE! VPORT Teacher Login Page

Scholastic Read-180/System 44 Scholastic Achievement Manager Teacher Login Page

Multi-Tiered Math Intervention K-12


Early intervention in computation and problem solving is key to helping students meet or exceed grade level expectations in mathematics.


LAUSD Resources and Weblinks (Tier 1)

LAUSD Common Core Math website

Early Childhood Math website

Elementary Math website

Middle School Math website

High School Math website 


Strategic/Targeted Literacy Intervention Resources (Tier 2)

Voyager Learning VPORT Teacher/Admin Login

ALEKS Intervention Resources and Teacher Login Page

Focused Math Intervention (FMI)

Explorations in Core Math

Intensive Literacy Intervention Resources (Tier 3) 


Outside Resources

The University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching and Learning has engaged in an extended research project into early learning in mathematics in kindergarten classes.

Math fluency is a critical step in preparing students to be successful with the Common Core State Standards in mathematics. Intervention Central has compiled assessment resources for teachers to use in assessing and tracking individualized math goals.

This resource from Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) station WGBH-Boston helps teachers and parents identify the root causes of students struggling to learn mathematics.

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas at Austin has prepared an extensive array of Tier 2 math intervention modules for grades 3 and 4 math concepts.

Intensive Diagnostic Education Centers (IDEC) Overview

Mission Statement
IDEC will provide intensive, evidence-based reading interventions for students with disabilities to facilitate successful lifelong literacy.

History and Goals
IDEC classes were established by the Division of Special Education through-out the District, to implement innovative evidence-based approaches to reading and writing for students with disabilities who have not responded to previous interventions.

University partnerships have been established to encourage the sharing of best practice in the field of education. IDEC classrooms serve to be exemplars of literacy instruction for District and University personnel. 

Our Teachers...

Provide evidence-based intervention in reading and writing

Are selected based on their unique skills, knowledge, and experience

Use a structured literacy approach that is systematic, cumulative, and diagnostic

Collaborate with staff in partner schools to share effective strategies

Emphasize meta-cognitive strategies and differentiation of instruction for students

Monitor student progress regularly in order to target instruction

Participate in frequent training to enhance their instructional expertise and knowledge

Use interactive technology and web-based programs to support learning

Monitor student progress regularly in order to target instruction

Our Students...

Are struggling readers who demonstrate significant difficulty word level reading

Are in grades 2-8 working on the Common Core State Standards

Often return to a less restrictive environment as determined by student data and the IEP team after receiving intensive literacy intervention

Are identified for IDEC through an application process by a school referral

Receive a battery of diagnostic reading assessments to determine their areas of strength and academic need

Become engaged learners who develop effective study skills that support their ongoing success in school

Develop compensatory skills including the use of assistive technology to increase classroom engagement, improve study skills and enhance ongoing success

IDEC Frequently Asked Questions
IDEC Brochure: PDF icon » English    PDF icon » Spanish

What is IDEC?
IDEC services are intended to provide direct, targeted reading instruction to students who have not responded to previous reading interventions. The goal is for students to become more efficient readers in order to successfully access the general education curriculum.

Where is IDEC located?
IDEC is located at 23 school sites throughout the district from grades K-12. 

Telfair Elementary School, Cohasset Elementary School, Madison Middle School, Mount Gleason Middle School

Sutter Middle School, Napa Elementary School

Norwood Elementary, Burbank Middle School, Clinton Middle School

Belvedere Elementary School, Gates St Elementary, Hollenbeck Middle School, Nightingale Middle School

De La torre Elementary, 135th Street Elementary School, White Middle School
West- Marvin Elementary, Ramona Elementary School, Virginia Road Elementary, Johnnie Cochran Middle School, Mann Middle School

How long do students stay in IDEC?
Participation in IDEC is determined by student need. Generally, the service lasts for one semester to one year. Transition support is provided once services are discontinued to facilitate continuation of strategies learned.

Can parents visit the Center?
Yes. Once a student is accepted to the IDEC program, parents are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an IDEC instructional team member in order to visit the Center and observe the structure and methodology of the program.

What type of training does the IDEC staff have?
All teachers and staff are highly qualified and trained in evidence based literacy practices and strategies used by the centers.

How many teachers and students will there be?
At elementary centers, IDEC services will be provided to 8-12 students with one teacher and two paraeducators throughout specific classes during the school day. At middle school centers, 8-12 students attend IDEC classes with 1 teacher and 2 paraprofessionals. Co-teaching models (two teachers and one paraeducator) are also implemented in designated centers.

What programs will be used at the Center?
IDEC uses a toolbox approach with a variety of research based literacy practices and strategies.

Will the student continue to receive DIS services?
Yes, all of the student’s DIS/related services will continue, in accordance with their IEP. The DIS/related service providers may be different if the student is not at his/her home school.

Will transportation be available?
If the student is not at his/her home school, school to school transportation will be provided between the child’s current school of residence and the closest available IDEC Center. However, this is dependent on whether a bus route is available and ride time doesn’t exceed the maximum of 90 minutes each way.

How long will the student be in the Center?
Intensive literacy instruction will be provided to students in daily 45-120 minute blocks while attending general education and/or special education classes for the remainder of the day. Length of time can also be assessed according to each student’s instructional need (and evaluated on a case by case basis).

How will student’s progress be monitored?
Each student’s progress will be monitored weekly. In addition, an IEP meeting is held to discuss each student’s level of performance, goals and objectives and appropriate placement for the upcoming school semester or year.

For further information, please email Email icon  idec@lausd.net

Video icon  Videos

IDEC Video 1  IDEC Video

The Learning Center is a support for students with disabilities who participate in the general education program for most or all of the school day. Staff from the resource specialist program, in collaboration with general education teachers, can utilize the learning center to help students access the core curriculum.

A Learning Center is a designated classroom or set of classrooms where a diverse group of educators provides multi-leveled instructional support to students. Both general and special education teachers may provide instruction in the Learning Center. Students receiving special education services and students in general education may be served simultaneously in a Learning Center elective course when a general education teacher and a special education teacher co-teach the class and carry separate rosters.

The purpose of the secondary Learning Center is to provide students with disabilities with supplementary, direct instructional services in content, learning strategies, and progress monitoring in academics, transition, or social communication skills. Instruction in the Learning Center must be based on students’ needs in the general education program. It is not to supplant core instruction in the general education classroom.



LAUSD Common Core Math Website


The University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching and Learning has engaged in an extended research project into early learning in mathematics in kindergarten classes.


Math fluency is a critical step in preparing students to be successful with the Common Core State Standards in mathematics. Intervention Central has compiled assessment resources for teachers to use in assessing and tracking individualized math goals.


This resource from Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) station WGBH-Boston helps teachers and parents identify the root causes of students struggling to learn mathematics.


The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas at Austin has prepared an extensive array of Tier 2 math intervention modules for grades 3 and 4 math concepts.





  •  Los Angeles Unified School District ♦ Division of Special Education 

    333 South Beaudry Avenue, 17th Floor, Los Angeles, CA  90017