- Wichita Public Schools
- Superintendent Kelly Bielefeld
Every Student Future Ready
Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on 9/29/2023
In our district, we want every student to become future ready…and when we say every, we mean EVERY. This week I have asked Dr. Vince Evans, our Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, to describe how we truly live this mission for every student in our district. - Kelly
When you think of the phrase “student with special education needs” what type of image comes to mind? I’m sure our responses would vary, and that makes sense given the plethora of characteristics that makes each of our students unique. Through a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), specialized supports and services are tailored to meet the diverse needs of that specific student.
Nationwide, approximately 15% of students have an IEP. Wichita Public Schools slightly exceeds that number (we’re closer to 17%) with approximately 8,000 students with IEPs. The needs of these students vary radically, as do the range of supports that we have to offer each of them. To meet the needs of our students requires numerous dedicated people, including (but certainly not limited to) special education teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, psychologists, social workers, speech language pathologists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, audiologists, interpreters, and many more. Another role that is crucial in meeting the needs of students with IEPs is that of the general education teacher (as well as all our general education colleagues). Most of our students with IEPs spend the majority of their school days in the general education classroom, and the support of general education teachers is critical in meeting their needs. Many educators start in general education before being drawn to a special education role. Our district’s forgivable loan program is a convenient way to provide free tuition for those who are interested in making this type of transition.
A student’s IEP can call for specialized transportation, gifted instruction, support for a visual impairment, assistive technology, orientation/mobility, and many, many other ways to help meet their unique needs. No matter the circumstances, we’re ready to help our students achieve life, college, and career readiness.
If you or someone you know would like to join us in this pursuit, please consider applying today!