Academic Mastery Center (AMC): 
The AMC teacher provides support for students and teachers in the following ways: small group instruction within the general education classroom, consultation with the general education teacher and/or assistance with modification in the regular curriculum. Interventions are designed to implement the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Strategies, techniques and materials that make learning easier and help students share what they know without changing the basic curriculum

Achievement Tests: 
Tests (like the STARR or Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, the TAKS) that measure acquired knowledge in certain skills, such as reading and math

Adapted Physical Education (APE)
: Adapted Physical Education is a diversified and systematic program of developmental activities, exercises, games, sports, aquatics and rhythms that are designed in the psychomotor domain. The program is organized and presented in a sequential and developmental manner that is geared to the needs, limitations and abilities of each individual student.

Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee: 
A knowledgeable group of professionals, including the parents (or guardians) of a student with a disability that annually determines by consensus whether the student qualifies for special education services, has or continues to have an educational need for those services, and sets measurable goals for those services through an IEP. The IEP must be designed to help the student progress in an appropriate educational setting. When appropriate, the student must be a member of the ARD Committee.

The act of responsibly communicating the needs, interests and rights of students

Applied Learning Environment (ALE): 
The ALE program is designed to meet the needs of moderately to severely disabled students. This refers to our commitment to teach students with moderate to severe disabilities in real, rather than simulated environments.BMI is committed to providing these students with an educational program that will enable them to achieve their highest levels of independence as adults. We believe they should receive every opportunity for maximal participation in the community now and in the future.

ALE curriculum has 2 areas of concentration at the Elementary level: 1) Academics, 2) Independence. The ALE program offers these same two areas of concentration at the Secondary level, with the addition of Employability. All academic concepts taught in ALE are pulled from grade level TEKS through the pre-requisite skills.

This is a formal process used to learn about the strengths and needs of a group of students for the purpose of educational planning.

Assistive Technology (AT): 
Any item a student needs to increase, maintain or improve how the student does in school. AT includes simple (e.g. a pencil grip) and advanced (e.g. a voice output computer) technological or manual devices that allow students with or without disabilities to carry out easy or complex educational tasks.

Assistive Technology Program (ATP)
: The Assistive Technology Program uses technology, both sophisticated and simple to help students be more independent.

Auditory Impairment (AI)
AI is a disability of severe hearing loss as determined by a licensed otologist or an audiologist (specialist who determines the degree of hearing loss). Public schools serve students with auditory impairments from birth to age 22.

Autism (AU)
Autism is a brain disorder that typically affects a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment.

Autism Program
The Autism Program recognizes the unique needs of students with autism and related disorders. Educational services are based on current research and documented effective teaching practices.


BASE (Behavior Assistance through Support and Education)
: This is a proactive intervention strategy for special education students experiencing emotional/behavioral difficulties.

Bedside Hospital Program for Children with Medical Disabilities: 
Bedside provides instruction to hospitalized students by certified Special Education teachers. An individual plan in core subject areas is developed for each student.

Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP): 
The ARD Committee makes a plan to help prevent problem behaviors. The plan helps a child learn new appropriate behaviors. A positive behavior plan is not a list of punishments. The plan uses information from a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA).

Behavior Mastery Classroom (BMC): 
The BMC classroom is transitional in nature and is designed to meet the needs of students in crisis, students entering or returning to mainstream campuses from alternative programs or hospital settings, and students with emotional or behavioral stressors who are not succeeding in a less restrictive environment.

Behavior Specialists: 
Behavior Specialists provide support to the BMC teachers in several different ways such as: monthly support group meetings, monthly newsletter, visits to the classroom to provide ideas to deal with behavioral concerns, academic concerns, and social skills instruction. The Behavior Specialists also provide similar types of support to general education teachers.


Career and Technology Education (CTE): 
A general education program providing training and instruction designed to prepare students to work in certain trades or professions. These services may also be called Vocational Training or Vocational Education.

CHILD Process (Consultative Help for Individual Learning Decisions): This is the Response to Intervention (RtI) problem solving process used in NISD to provide appropriate educational suggestions to classroom teachers for a specific student’s having learning concerns or needs so that there can be educational interventions well before there is any need for a referral to special education.

Case Worker
: The Case Worker consults with personnel staffing Admission, Review, Dismissal (ARD) meetings to review possible community resources which may enhance the student’s quality of life. Examples of support include: getting on appropriate waiting lists for funding and service programs, alternate home placement, post graduation transition planning, crisis intervention, etc.

Case Manager: 
As a student with disabilities eligible for special education services moves through the educational process, a case manager or contact teacher is assigned each year to monitor progress and keep in touch with parents.

Child Find: A coordinated set of activities designed to help find student with disabilities aged 3-21 who may be in need of special education services. This includes student with sensory impairments (blind, deaf, visual or auditory impaired) who are birth to three years old.

Child Guidance Center (CGC): 
NISD contracts with the Child Guidance Center (CGC) to provide a small, therapeutic, counseling environment to students and families as approved by an ARD Committee.

Code of Student ConductThe rights and responsibilities of each member of the school community in establishing and maintaining good discipline at district schools is called Code of Student Conduct. A copy of the code of conduct is sent home at the beginning of each year in your child’s Student Handbook.

Community Based Instruction (CBI): 
This is a service beginning as early as elementary school when students go into the community or around their school to learn functional life skills. It may also be called Community Based Vocational Training (CBVT) as students move into secondary schools.

Community-Based Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities: 
The Community-Based Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities serves students, ages 3 to 4 , with disabilities in private daycare settings with students who are non-disabled. BMI staff supports students in community-based settings.

Community-Based Vocational Training (CBVT)
: Training sites in the community are used to implement Individualized Education Program (IEP) objectives relating to independence and employment skills.

Consent (also known as Informed Consent): 
A written agreement stating that parents have been informed about and understand the purpose and intent of special education, special education evaluation and the types of services available through the program. The form says the parent understands consent is voluntary, and the parent can take it back at any time before the school does what it plans to do. Parents can revoke the consent for evaluation, but it does not cancel what the NISD has already done.

Content Mastery Center (CMC)
: CMC is a model that advocates uniting the expertise of general and special educators to provide the best education possible for students with mild learning differences and at-risk students. The CMC model is proactive, not reactive. The program is about helping students with mild disabilities succeed in general education.


Due Process
: This is a formal legal process (much like a court case) for resolving disputes between parents and school districts in the area of eligibility, services, and placement of students with disabilities. The filing of a request for sue process hearing to be heard by an independent hearing officer is used as a last resort by parents who believe that the district is not doing the right thing for their child.


Early Childhood Intervention (ECI): 
ECI is a program run by the Texas Department of Health for children with a disability under the age of three.

The determination of whether or not a student has a disability and an educational need that qualifies him or her for special education services.

Emotional Disturbance (ED): 
ED is a certain psychological or behavior conditions which significantly affect a student’s educational performance as determined by a licensed specialist in school psychology or a licensed or certified psychologist or psychiatrist.

Employment Placement Specialists
: A high school teacher charged with the task of helping students with disabilities find and maintain high school employment and teach employment related skills.

This is a formal process using appropriate instruments used to learn about the strengths and needs of an individual student for the purpose of educational planning. A licensed professional gathers information about a student to decide if they qualify for special education, related services and/or the kind and amount of services the child needs. Evaluation can be testing, observing, or talking to people who work with the child. This may also be called a Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE)

Evaluation Report
: The ARD Committee gathers all evaluation information about a student who is being evaluated. They work together to write a final report about the evaluation. The report includes whether the student qualifies or continues to qualify for special education.

Extended School Year (ESY): ESY provides classes to students during vacation breaks so that they can continue working on Individualized Education Program goals and objectives when they are likely to not recoup those skills within a short time of returning to school. ESY services are dtermined by an individual student’s ARD Committee.

Extracurricular or Nonacademic Activities
: Those school activities outside the educational coursework including activities such as meals, recess, clubs, athletics, and special interest groups usually led or supervised by faculty members.


Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): 
This is the federal law that governs the privacy of a student’s school records.

Family Resource Library: 
An information center serving special education families and professionals is located at 4711 Sid Katz Drive in the Nellie Reddix Center. Phone: 210- 397-2412. Resources include current literature and referrals. The NISD Parent Liaison is located at this center.

Flexible Homebound: 
This program is for special education students with chronic illnesses that cause them to miss twenty or more days of school each year. A physician (M.D.) must complete the NISD Homebound Physical/Psychiatric form to begin the admission process.

The student must have been out of school at least 15 days, with documented medical illnesses relating to this chronic illness, before any paperwork is completed by a physician. The physician should state that the student has a history of chronic problems and will probably be absent twenty or more days this school year, but is able to attend school most of the time. This service is reviewed every 90-120 days by the student’s ARD Committee.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): 
The entitlement that students with disabilities have to specially designed instruction and related services to meet their unique and individual needs which is free of charge to their parents is called FAPE.

Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE)
: Please see the term “Evaluation” listed above.

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA): 
The ARD Committee finds out what makes the student keep doing problem behaviors and how to help the student learn how to behave differently.


General Education Curriculum: 
The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) students without disabilities learn in their general education classrooms.


High School Special Education Counseling
: High School Special Education Counseling provides a comprehensive guidance and counseling program for Special Education students in grades 9-12.

Holmgreen Center: The John C. Holmgreen Center is a comprehensive special education secondary school for students with emotional disabilities. This program emphasizes short term therapeutic intervention with return to the home school as soon as possible.

Homebound Services
: Homebound special education services are for medically determined illnesses (form completed by an MD licensed to practice in the U.S.) Homebound provides certified teachers for one-to-one instruction in the student’s home. Lessons and exams are provided by the student’s classroom teacher(s) to ensure that similar content is provided. If a student will be on homebound for the entire semester, the homebound teacher will provide the lessons.

: Parents choose to teach their child with a home school curriculum in their home instead of in the public school to learn basic subjects. A home school is considered a private school in Texas .


An ARD Committee determination which states that a special education student is educated in classes or the community with his or her non-disabled peers for some or all of his or her school day with appropriate modifications and/or accommodations is called inclusion.

Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE): 
A separate evaluation done by a qualified person who does not work for the school district is an IEE. Many psychologists or other professionals meeting the same guidelines as NISD staff who are in private practice perform these evaluations. This may be helpful if parents disagree with an evaluation which has already been performed by the District.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): 
IDEA is the federal law that requires school districts to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities who have an educational need for those services.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): 
This is a plan that is set within an ARD that outlines specific education goals with strategies and services a student needs to help meet the student’s annual goals.

Initial Placement: 
The first setting in which a student receives special education services is the initial placement. Parents must sign an approval form for this first-time setting.

Instructional Assistant (IA): 
At nearly every campus there is a trained person who assists both teachers and students with educational plans in and out of the classroom setting.

Itinerant Instruction: 
Instruction that is provided by staff traveling to multiple schools or school districts and offer services in such areas as Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Orientation and Mobility, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc.


Learning Disability (LD): 
A student who is not learning or achieving like his or her peers as determined by an evaluation team and based on very specific testing is LD. These problems may be due to perceptual disabilities, brain injury, dyslexia or aphasia, but are not due to visual, hearing or motor disabilities or mental retardation, emotional disturbance, lack of schooling or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): 
LRE is a concept referring to the extent of removal of a student from education with students who do not have disabilities as little as possible. The goal of special education is attempting to teach students with disabilities in settings that allow as much interaction as possible or as appropriate between disabled students, their non-disabled peers and the community.

Local Curriculum Classes: 
These classes have modified grade level content for special education students who also require prerequisite skills. These classes are offered in either general or special education settings.


This is often confused with Inclusion or the term LRE. Placement of students with disabilities in a classroom with non-disabled peers is an accurate definition.

This is a formal meeting between parents and school personnel to settle, compromise, or reconcile serious differences in opinion regarding evaluation, an IEP or placement of a special education student. There is usually an outside mediator invited to help resolve these differences.

Mental Retardation (MR): 
This is a condition of low intellectual (cognitive) ability and adaptive behavior that is determined by a licensed specialist in school psychology which severely affects a child’s educational performance.

A change in the course content or instructional level which changes the standard for a student with disabilities is known as a modification.

Music Therapy: 
MT is a related service that uses techniques and strategies as a means to enhance and support educational programming for students. Services are ARD determined and provided by a certified music therapy professional to help students participate in school and make progress toward their IEP.


Northside Alternative High School (NAHS): Northside Alternative High School is a discipline Alternative Education Program (AEP) which provides a positive but disciplined educational setting for those Northside high school students whose disruptive and/or unacceptable behavior at their regular school warrants removal from the home campus.

Northside Alternative Middle School (NAMS):Northside Alternative Middle School (NAMS) (a middle school AEP) provides a positive yet disciplined educational setting for middle school students whose disruptive and/or unacceptable behavior at their regular school warrants removal from the home campus.

Northside Children’s Center (NCC): Northside Children’s Center (NCC) is an educational program for elementary-age students with the most severe emotional disturbances. The therapeutic education provided at NCC is an alternative to residential placement.

Northside Habilitation Program (NHP): Northside Habilitation Programs (NHP) provides educational programming for students with multiple disabilities who are medically fragile.

Northside Vocational Transition Program (NVTP):Northside Vocational Transition Program (NVTP) emphasizes real work and transition to adulthood. Students 18-22 who have not graduated to a post-secondary program are served through NVTP. At the secondary level, NVTP also serves as a therapeutic setting for cognitively-challenged students with serious behavior concerns that may be at risk of residential placement.


Occupational Therapy (OT): 
OT is a related service that addresses participating in functional activities that may be difficult to perform due to cognitive, sensory, motor, or emotional/behavioral concerns. Services are ARD determined and provided by a licensed professional. These services address academic needs and daily living skills that may be impaired due to the above mentioned difficulties to help students participate in school and make progress toward their IEP.

Orthopedic Impairment (OI): 
A bone or muscle disability, as diagnosed by a physician, severe enough to affect a child’s educational performance makes a student eligible as OI.

Other Health Impairment (OHI/OH): 
This is a medical condition diagnosed by a physician and not covered by other eligible disabilities that severely affects a child’s educational performance. Examples include heart conditions, diabetes, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourette’s, cystic fibrosis (CF) or leukemia.

Orientation and Mobility Training (O & M): 
Orientation and Mobility Training is for students with visual impairments who need to safely move around the school and community.


Parent Advisory Committee (PAC): The PAC is comprised of parents of students in special education programs. Some activities organized and supervised by the PAC include: sponsoring a parent conference or workshop on current parent-oriented topics, writing a parent handbook, (click here), lobbying various legislative or political bodies, acting as liaisons to community agencies or other parents, and performs other tasks to support the Special Education Program which may be determined by the current committee.

Parent Liaison: 
The Parent Liaison (a parent of a student with a disability) provides a single point of contact for families of children with disabilities who need help or information. 210 397 2412

Parent Partners: 
Parent Partners are trained professionals who provide in-home support to parents who need assistance in managing their children’s behaviors positively. These services are ARD determined.

Parent Power:Parent Power is a four-session course for parents of students who are at-risk. The four components are: Why children misbehave; Tools to increase positive behaviors; Tools to decrease negative behaviors; putting it all into play in the home setting.

Physical Therapy (PT): 
PT is a related service that serves students with physical disabilities who have needs in the areas of mobility, positioning and/or accessibility in the school setting. Services are ARD determined and provided by a licensed professional to help students participate in school and make progress toward their IEP.

The educational setting in which a student with a disability receives special education services, either in a school or in the community

Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD): 
The Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities provides early childhood education for students with disabilities, ages 3-5, in neighborhood schools, in employee collaborative classrooms and in some community-based day care centers.

Procedural Safeguards: 
These are the legal requirements outlined in a formal handout given to parents annually which is designed to ensure that students with disabilities are treated equally and fairly throughout the special education decision-making process


Reddix Center: 
The Center is home to both NHP and NVTP .

Referral (Referral Process): 
A written request for an evaluation to see if a student may be eligible for and in need of special education services

Region 20 Education Service Center of Texas: A state funded regional organization in San Antonio that provides high quality and cost effective educational programs for teachers, professionals, nonprofessionals and parents. The center offers information on special education as well as in general education and can be reached at 210-370-5460.

Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD)
A wide range of service options are available to RDSPD students. Options include itinerant services at the student’s home attendance campus, RDSPD classrooms clustered on one campus, and fully inclusive classrooms with RDSPD teachers co-teaching in general education. Audiological services, interpreting services, speech and specialized counseling services are also available as related services

Related Services: 
These are additional services that a student with a disability may receive in order to benefit from special education and progress on their IEP. They are included in the IEP.

Response to Intervention (RtI): 
High-quality instruction or tiered intervention strategies matched to individual student needs that have been demonstrated through scientific research and practice to result in high learning rates for most students such that they can progress in the general education classroom without referral to special education


School-Age Parenting Program: Official voluntary program for all pregnant and parenting students enrolled in a Northside ISD school.

South Texas Academy: 
The South Texas Academy is an academic school for students who reside at the Emergency Shelter within the South Texas Academy . Instruction in the regular core courses as well as Physical Education and electives are offered in grades Pre-Kindergarten through twelve.

Special Education: This is defined by law as specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. The services are provided at no cost to the parents. The services can be provided in many different settings.

Special Education Night School (SENS): 
Milieu therapy via intensive real world, adult expectations, job training coupled with brief (four hours per week) intense classroom academics (about four students per adult) geared to the student’s ability and current mastery levels. Behavioral goals are adult. Truancy is dealt with in Justice of the Peace Court. Misdemeanor or felony behavior is dealt with by campus police.

Special Olympics: The program currently serves over 1,000 students, ages 6-22. These students are located on different campuses. 6-7 year olds participate in a program called “athletes in training” while students 8-22 participate in the regular Special Olympics program. In addition to the Special Olympics program, NISD offers a program called “Motor Activities” which provides activities for severely disabled students.

Speech-Language Program (SLP): 
This program helps students improve their speech and/or language skills and assists students in becoming more successful in school by improving their listening and speaking skills.

Supplementary Aids and Services:
 Services and supports provided in general education classes, special education classes and other community settings to help a student with a disability be educated with students or adults who do not have disabilities as much as is appropriate.


Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS): 
NISD Testing and Evaluation

Texas Education Agency (TEA): The state agency that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that every student in Texas receives a free appropriate public education.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS): The standards of knowledge and skills (the curriculum) that a student must complete to earn credit for a course K-12 as determined by the State Board of Education (SBOE) are called the TEKS.

Transition planning is required for every student moving from Birth to Three Programs to a school’s Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) or Kindergarten. Sometimes transition planning happens when a student moves from one grade to the next, or one school to the next. Transition sometimes means moving from one class to the next class in school. Transition is also a term used in IDEA for preparing a child for life after high school. A Transition Plan is a required part of every student’s IEP starting at age 16 (or younger if needed).

Transition Plan: 
To assist students in making a successful transition from public school to adult living, the ARD must address post-secondary goals. This must occur no later than age 16. A coordinated set of activities and IEP objectives must be determined to help student reach these adult goals.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): 
TBI is an injury occurring after birth which impairs a person’s normal cognition, memory, language or motor functioning and/or development.

Triennial Review (also called the Re-evaluation): 
A special ARD (Admissions, Review and Dismissal) is held every three years. This includes an evaluation whereby parents and staff review previous and current information about a student with disabilities in an effort to determine if the disability continues to be present and if there is still a need for special education services. Additional or new testing may be requested or required at this time.


Visual Impairment (VI): 
A serious visual disability, even with correction, as determined by a licensed ophthalmologist that affects educational performance. The Program for Students with Visual Impairments provides services for students in Northside who have a serious visual impairment from birth to age 22. This program works to prepare students with visual impairments for their roles as independently functioning, productive members of society.

Vocational Education: 
Training and instruction designed to prepare students to work in a certain trade or profession. These services may

also be called Vocational Training or Career and Technology Education.

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