Special Education

Special Education and related services are provided to eligible students with disabilities from birth to age 21.These services are present within our schools and designed to meet each student’s unique educational needs as identified in their Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) / Individual Education Program (IEP). Special Education in Ƶ Public Ƶ is specially designed instruction enabling our students to make educational growth as engaged learners.

Ƶ Us

Dr. Terry Houlton
Director of Special Education
402.715.8219
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Dr. Amanda Hunt
Coordinator - Early Childhood Education
402.715.8307
alhunt@mpsomaha.org

Dr. Carrie Novotny-Buss
Coordinator - Elementary Special Education
Leader Administrator of MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports)
402.715.8308
cnovotny@mpsomaha.org

Dr. Ted Esser
Coordinator - Secondary Special Education
402.715.8224
tesser@mpsomaha.org

Dr. Kristy Feden
Coordinator - Young Adult Program
402.715.6330
klfeden@mpsomaha.org

Jean Savage
Secretary for Early Childhood & Elementary Special Education
402.715.8302
jasavage@mpsomaha.org

Courtney Heser
Secretary to the Psychologists, Young Adult Program & Special Education Transportation
402.715.8583
clheser@mpsomaha.org

Beth Pfeiffer
Secretary - Special Education Records
402.715.8416
bapfeiffer@mpsomaha.org

Kristen McKenney
Facilitator - Elementary Special Education
402.715.8568
klmckenney@mpsomaha.org

Anne Keith
Facilitator - Elementary Special Education
402.715.8286
ackeith@mpsomaha.org

Kaye Schweigert
Facilitator - Middle School Special Education
402.715.8558
kmschweig@mpsomah.org

Wendy Wight
Facilitator - High School Special Education
402.715.8763
wawight@mpsomaha.org

Tricia Gillett
Department Chair - B-21 Speech/Language
402.715.8585
tlgillett@mpsomaha.org

Kelli Krause
Facilitator - B-21 Autism
402.715.8600
kkrause@mpsomaha.org

Shelley Schmitz
Facilitator- K-12 MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports)
402.715.8813
slschmitz@mpsomaha.org

Parent Resources

These government agencies, links and organizationsoffer resources for families.

  • - Current Parents Rights information

  • - Nebraska Special Education Law

  • - Rules of Practice and Procedure for due Process Hearings in Special Education Contested Cases

  • - Regulations and Standards For The Provision of Early Intervention Services

Autism Resources

- Parent Training and Information - a statewide resource for families of children with disabilities and special health care needs

Programs and Services

Early Childhood

Child Find

If you, as a district resident in the Ƶ School District, know of infants, toddlers or school-age children you feel should be enrolled in special education because of a suspected disability, please contact the Special Education Department at the Don Stroh Administration Center, 5606 South 147th Street, Omaha, NE 68137 or call (402) 715-8302. Students attending nonpublic schools in Ƶ School District boundaries may be referred for an evaluation by Ƶ Public Ƶ or their resident district.

School Age

Special Education services are provided at each school. Ƶ Public Ƶ provides a full continuum of services for school aged students with disabilities.

Resource Services

Students with disabilities who are assigned to a general education classroom and spend most of their day in that setting can be provided services through the Resource Program. Supports and services are provided in identified areas on students’ IEPs and can be implemented by the special education teacher, the general education teacher, or a paraprofessional in either the general education classroom or a small group setting.

Structured Behavior Skills Program

Some students with challenges in the area of behavior may benefit from more intensive supports and services. The Structured Behavior Skills (SBS) program is available at various cluster sites within the District.

Key features of this placement include smaller class size with lower staff to student ratio in order to support their individualized behavior modification programs, social skills instruction and frequent opportunities to participate with general education peers at their assigned building. General education curriculum is initially provided in a small group setting provided by our SBS teachers and students continue to have access to other layers of support to support their instructional needs. IEP teams determine placement in this specialized setting based on a child’s individual needs and response to multi-tiered systems of supports within their home school.

Alternate Curriculum Programs

Student placement in an Alternate Curriculum Program (ACP) is considered by the IEP team when a child has a significant cognitive disability that impacts intellectual function and adaptive behavior. Their curriculum and instruction is aligned to the Nebraska Extended Indicatorsand the student requires extensive, direct instruction and substantial supports to achieve measurable gains on the Nebraska College and Career Academic Standards for the grades in which they are enrolled. Features of the Alternate Curriculum Program include an alternate curriculum aligned with Nebraska Extended Indicators that are individualized to each child’s instructional needs in a small group setting and an emphasis on inclusionary practices to the most appropriate extent possible as determined by the IEP team.

Young Adult Program

The Ƶ Young Adult Program provides transition services to young adults ages 18 to 21 who qualify for Special Education services. The goal of the Young Adult Program is to provide students with the skills and resources necessary to live and work as successfully and independently as possible within their community. Agency involvement is critical for the young adults. Representatives from different agencies may participate in Individual Educational Program meetings and Multidisciplinary Team meetings to provide more information about the services and options available for after graduation. For additional information contact Hayley Mentzer, Coordinator of Young Adult Program, at 402-715-6330.

Related Services

Related services are support services identified to assist students with disabilities in order to benefit from their special education program. In Ƶ Public Ƶ, these services can include speech/language services, physical and occupational therapy, adaptive physical education, vision services, audiological services, and assistive technology. IEP teams determine eligibility for related services based on individual student needs.

Autism Consultation

Ƶ Public Ƶ provides autism consultation to staff and families of identified students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This service supports students in various settings throughout the District. The consultation includes assistance with development and implementation of the IEP for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder based on Evidence Based Practices in the field.

Community Focus Group

The Special Education Community Focus Group consists of parent representatives and special education staff. An attempt is made to balance the group so that there is broad representation with individuals from each high school feeder area (North, South, West), disability areas, and grade levels (below-age-five, elementary school, middle school, high school, & young adult transition program).

The vision for the group is that by working collaboratively together we can inform the education of our students with disabilities so that they can maximize their potential.

The Special Education Community Focus Group holds four committee meetings and engages in two parent meetings/trainings each school year. The meetings focus on items which have district-wide implications. The focus group does not discuss issues related to an individual student. Those issues should be resolved through the IEP Team process and building administration.

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