Supporting Our Students with Disabilities

Learn more about FCPS' Special Education Programs

FCPS is committed to fostering a responsive, caring, and inclusive culture where our students and staff feel seen, valued, and supported. As part of that commitment, we are continuously seeking ways to improve and to ensure the highest quality of special education and related services for students and families. 

FCPS Special Education Resources

Kathy MurphyAssistant Ombuds for Special Education

Kathy Murphy, the assistant ombuds for special education, serves as a confidential resource, providing information and support to parents and students regarding special education services. The assistant ombuds provides transparency and understanding to families of children with special needs so that they may receive all the services and supports required to equitably access public education. The assistant ombuds can be contacted by submitting a question, calling 571-423-4014, or emailing [email protected]

Meet Two Special Education Students 

Logan’s Story

The video below features one student's journey from autism diagnosis to graduation with a 4.0 GPA. You can also read this story about Logan's success.

Woodson HS deaf drummerStudent Who Is Deaf Shines in Marching Band

For one Woodson High School marching band member, additional equipment is needed to perform: a cochlear implant. Michael Gouin, a junior, is completely deaf, but you wouldn’t know by listening to him play his snare drum. 

With drumsticks in hand, Michael is on beat with the rest of the drumline. He keeps an eye on an erasable white board at the front of the group with written instructions. Michael has found a system that works, but not without challenges. Read more about Michael Gouin.

Special Education Review and Report

At the request of the School Board, FCPS engaged a consultant to conduct an independent, third-party review of FCPS’ special education program. The contract was awarded to the American Institutes for Research® (AIR) in October 2020. AIR's final report was presented during the School Board’s October 4 work session

Key Report Findings

Data-Driven IEP Development

FCPS needs standardized processes and guidance to help staff develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that are based in data, encourage the collaboration and input of families, and include meaningful methods of reporting progress.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

FCPS should ensure school-level fidelity of MTSS implementation in academics and behavior while clarifying relationships among MTSS, local screening, and special education.

Instructional Supports and Resources

FCPS should prioritize equity and consistency in school-level programming with a focus on high-quality instruction in inclusive settings.

Staff Supports and Resources

FCPS can improve personnel retention efforts by ensuring manageability of caseloads, class sizes, and workloads and improve personnel recruitment efforts by providing detailed information for prospective special education employees.

Professional Learning Systems

FCPS needs a comprehensive, division-wide professional development plan with differentiated offerings by staff role.

Communications and Stakeholder Engagement

FCPS needs to establish consistent procedures for communication at the division level and between schools, families, and staff, with a focus on ensuring equitable access to translation services and improved understanding of the process. 

Special Education Enhancement Plan

FCPS will develop a Special Education Enhancement Plan to help inform our work to increase outcomes for students with disabilities. On November 15, FCPS staff shared their proposed process for developing the plan at a School Board work session. This process includes many opportunities for community feedback and collaboration from a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders such as FCPS students, employees, parents/caregivers, and content experts. View the presentation on YouTube.