• Getting Started

    Special Education is specifically designed instruction that addresses the unique needs of a student eligible to receive Special Education Services. These personalized supports are provided at no cost to parents and may include the related services a student needs to access their educational program.

    This comes from the IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Act. This law ensures that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. 

    If you have any questions about eligibility for specially designed instruction or would like more information, please contact your child’s school and teacher. You can also contact Student Supports directly (865-594-1535) any time to be connected with someone who can assist with questions specific to your child.



    A parent, teacher, school counselor or others involved in a student’s education, who believe that a student may require services can make a referral to the School Support Team (S-Team). Referral to the S-Team will not necessarily result in referral to special education. The school district is required to seek ways to meet the unique educational needs of all children within the general education program prior to referring a child to special education. The S-Team develops a plan of instructional interventions and accommodations to meet the student’s needs within the general program. The S-Team may determine that a student will be formally referred to determine eligibility for special education service.

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    When a student is formally referred, the IEP Team is formed and develops the evaluation plan and determines eligibility. The required members of the IEP Team include: a parent(s), a general education teacher, a special education teacher, an assessment specialist, often a school psychologist, and an LEA (local education authority), often a school administrator. Parental permission is required for all initial evaluations and placements.The school district has sixty (60) calendar days from the time permission is obtained to complete the evaluation and determine eligibility.


    The determination of eligibility for special education services is two-pronged. After the completion of the evaluation, the IEP team meets to determine whether the evaluation results indicate that the student has one or more disabilities and whether, due to the disability, the student requires special education services to make progress in the general education program. Disability categories and criteria are set by state and federal special education law. Students must be reevaluated for eligibility every three years.

    Additional information regarding special education in the Knox County Schools can be obtained from Student Support Services (865-594-1535).


    Preschool Aged Children


    High-quality early learning opportunities can help prepare students to enter kindergarten at age 5 socially, emotionally and academically prepared for success. Early intervention with high-quality services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and result in later success in school, work, and the community. Our goal is to lead and support the education of our youngest children, in partnership with families, and to provide each child with exceptional needs a rich and challenging educational experience.

    Parents of children aged 3-5 who suspect a need for special services should contact Knox County Schools Child Find (865-594-1530) which is located at the Fort Sanders Educational Development Center. Child Find evaluates children between the ages of 3 and 5 to determine eligibility and the need for special educational services.

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