The Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Department provides support and services to students with disabilities (SWD) who are eligible for special education services. Hillsborough County Public Schools serve over 30,000 students with disabilities, ages birth through 21, in over 250 schools. A continuum of services is provided in a variety of settings, which include general education classrooms, resource rooms, special classes, specialized day schools, and hospital homebound. Services for many SWD can be provided at their neighborhood school. Eligible students are provided supports and/or services per their Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is based on each child’s unique needs. Supplemental services are provided in collaboration with discretionary projects such as Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System, Florida Inclusion Network, and the Multiagency Network for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities (SEDNET).
The ESE Department is comprised of administrators, teachers, and other district level staff that provide professional learning opportunities and instructional programming to facilitate high quality instruction and supports for students with disabilities. The ESE Department supports the District in processes related to identification, evaluation, eligibility determination, educational placement and the provision of a free appropriate public education to SWD. Each of the Area Offices has an ESE Team which offers support and assistance to school staff and parents.
The ESE Department ensures that parents have the opportunity to be a partner in the educational decisions made regarding their child, and that they are afforded the procedural safeguards to which they are entitled. The ESE Department collaborates with the parents of SWD in addressing any issues or concerns they may have. Collaboration between school staff members, families and students is the key to success for our students with disabilities. When families and educators work together as partners, our students can accomplish so much and realize our vision of preparing students for life. One Team, One Goal, The Power of One!