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Special Education

Our mission is to provide quality instruction resulting in student success!

Over 370 students receive services at Jefferson in one or more of the following areas:  

Cross Categorical classroom: 

Students are placed in a Cross Categorical classroom when modifications and accommodations in the general education classroom are not enough to ensure academic success.  Typically students receive grade-level instruction in a smaller classroom with support from a specially trained teacher to reach their academic goals.  At Jefferson, we offer Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Study Skills in this environment.  District approved programs are used in Mathematics and Language Arts. 

Inclusion classrooms for 6, 7, and 8th grade Language Arts and 8th-grade Mathematics: 

Students are placed in a regular education classroom with 2 teachers, one regular and one special education.  Students are not identified as special needs and both teachers work with all students.  This is usually one of the first steps in a regular education placement. 

Visually Impaired classroom: 

The teacher of the Visually Impaired provides support to students and staff by ensuring students are appropriately placed in the classroom with the technology required to be successful.  When needed students participate in a study skills class which includes Braille Literacy.  Navigational skills are maintained and developed by working with the Orientation and Mobility teachers. 

Gifted Education:

Gifted Language Arts for grades 6, 7, and 8

This is a program designed to encourage and foster critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills through Mock Trials, Debates, Seminars and other small group activities

At the same time, students will enhance and further develop their research, written language, and leadership abilities.

Gifted Math for 6th and 7th grades

Enrichment or Acceleration?  We try to offer both in our programs.  Exposure to a wide variety of challenging mixed problem-solving activities in addition to sharing solutions and creative problem-solving techniques ensures that students have a rich mathematical foundation when they move onto high school.

Honors Algebra 1 is offered in 8th grade. 

This is a regular education program open to all qualifying students.

Gifted Science in grades 7 and 8

These are challenging replacement courses for Life Science in 7th grade and Physical Science in 8th grade.  Students are exposed to advanced curriculum using resources in the community such as the University of New Mexico and Sandia Labs, individual research projects and laboratory activities.  Students considering Gifted Science should have a passion for the subject and participate in no less than the Accelerated Math program at Jefferson.

The Individualized Education Plan or IEP

Each year every child who participates in Special Education will have an annual IEP meeting with staff, parents, and student. We use the IEP as a tool to help us document needs and appropriate placement.  We ask for parent and student input on goals, needs, and strengths. Teachers report on current progress in class.  Placement for students is often fluid, dependent upon educational need.  Meetings are scheduled in advance with notifications sent home with the student.  If you are unable to attend your child's meeting, we can reschedule or attempt to hold a telephone conference if that is easier for the parents.

Reevaluations are held every 3 years for students with a disability.  Reevaluations can be performance-based (without additional formal testing) or with formal testing.  The decision should be based upon the need for more information regarding the student and his/her eligibility. Your child will participate in several assessments throughout the year which will help document his/her academic progress. 

  Suzan Dunnum (505) 255-8691 ex: 20556 8th Grade Science/Gifted Resource Teacher

Student Assistance Team or SAT

If you believe your student is struggling with academics or requires additional challenge beyond the scope of the regular education classroom, you should discuss your concerns with your child’s teachers or counselors first.   

When needed your child may be referred to the Student Assistance Team or SAT.  Once a student has been referred to SAT for a disability or giftedness, then the team meets, discusses and implements appropriate Tier II interventions.  When enough data and documentation have been collected, a student may be referred for additional academic testing. 

For more information about our Student Assistance Team contact Katy Bates.

Related Services

Some students require additional services to reach their academic potential.  Related services include:

  • Speech and Language Therapy School Social Work
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Adaptive Physical Education

If you believe your student would benefit from these services, the first step is to speak with your child's sponsor teacher or the head teacher.  These services are not automatically provided to all students, only those who demonstrate an academic need.