Special Education » Continuum of Special Education Services in ZCS

Continuum of Special Education Services in ZCS


ZCS makes special education and related services available to students from age 3 through 22 and offers a full continuum of placement options for students with special needs as deemed appropriate by the CCC.


For students with disabilities from age 3 until the student is age-eligible for kindergarten, ZCS offers a continuum of preschool services. The student’s developmental, educational and behavioral needs are considered by the case conference committee when determining the appropriate placement in the least restrictive environment.


For students who are age-eligible for kindergarten through age 22, ZCS offers a continuum of placement options that includes, but is not limited to:


  • Special education services and supports being provided in the general education classroom (sometimes referred to as “inclusion”)
  • General education classroom placement supported by services and assistance that are provided outside the general education classroom (often called “resource services”), along with the supports included in the general education classroom
  • Separate classrooms that provide instruction in functional academics, life skills and basic skills, or address behavioral challenges (this placement may or may not be in addition to the student’s participation in one or more general education settings or classes)

Continuum of Service at Zionsville Community Schools

Zionsville Community Schools believes in the power of diversity and all students learning together. Children learn from one another and have individual strengths. We believe in the importance of offering a continuum of services for students with exceptional needs.


Special Education Preschool

The ZCS special education preschool program is for children 3 – 5 years of age who have qualified for early intervention services through a multidisciplinary educational evaluation. The services provided for each child will vary depending on their individual needs. The continuum of services provided may include walk-in services for speech and/or language therapy, to integrated resource support in general education preschool, to a more intensive programming in one of our special education preschool programs which include developmental preschool, foundational preschool, and transitional preschool. Speech, language, physical and occupational therapies are integrated within the program by the therapists and the classroom teacher.  The special education preschool services are offered at Pleasant View Elementary.


Resource Support:

Resource services are designed to support the students within the general education curriculum and environment. Students identified with special needs are supported by special education staff in the general education classroom. Inclusion services are provided in all buildings. In addition, services might be provided within the special education setting when specific instruction is needed to remediate and/or provide a “double dose” of academic instruction and/or behavior and social skills instruction, that is driven by the student’s IEP goals. Students should receive resource services at times outside of the direct instruction in English/language arts and math. Resource services are

provided in all buildings.


Essential Skills:

Students who have an intellectual disability and are not experiencing success through the resource program despite the supports and additional services being provided, may be appropriate for the Essential Skills program.  There is a continuum of service within the Essential Sills program.  One piece of Essential skills is Functional Academics.  Functional Academics is designed for students to receive specific instruction in the core academic areas as well as social skills training and behavior management.  Students are integrated into the general education environment where appropriate.  Students who have more significant needs in the areas of academics, communication, and self-help needs are also programmed for within the Essential Skills Life Skills program.  Academic skills taught are those vital to being able to be as independent as possible later in life.  The opportunities to integrate with general education peers is determined on an individual basis based on student need.  Finally, ZCS offers an Essential Skills Autism classroom at the elementary level.  This classroom is designed for students with autism who experience significant behavioral challenges based on limited to no verbal communication.  The Autism classroom focuses on developing a communication system to decrease behaviors and increase time spent on academic instruction.  There are opportunities for engagement within the general education setting, if appropriate.  Horizontal movement between the different Essential Skills classrooms is possible and determined by the case conference committee.  Essential Skills classrooms are located at PVE, ZWest, ZMS, and ZCHS.


Intense Intervention:

Students identified within special education that demonstrate significant emotional and/or behavioral concerns, and are not able to be successful in the resource program despite the supports and services provided may be appropriate for the Intense Intervention program.  This program is unique in that it services students with a wide range of needs and operates on a levels system.  The Intense Intervention program is focused on addressing academic state standards as well as intense skill instruction for social and emotional needs.  Students participating in Intense Intervention can receive instruction within the general education classroom, intense intervention classroom, and/or a combination of both.  Intense Intervention classrooms are located at EE, ZWest, and ZCHS.  


SOARS (Student Opportunities to Achieve Real-Life Success):

The ZCS SOARS program is designed for high school aged students to experience success in an employment or volunteer work position.  There are many different pathways under SOARS.  Students who participate in SOARS are often placed in our Essential Skills or Intense Intervention programs.  During the freshman and sophomore years, the case conference committee may deem it appropriate to incorporate an in-school job into the student's schedule.  As student moves through their junior and senior year, thee case conference may recommend exploration for volunteer or paid positions off campus.  Students in special education are able to attend public school through the age of 22.  During those post-senior years, students in SOARS will receive more off-campus work experiences to prepare for their adult life.