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Student Services

Assistant Superintendent/Director of Student Services

Donna McCance

Assistant Director:
Brenda Zeiders

Office Manager: Office Secretary: Office Manager:
Heather Bates   Leigh Gordon  Cindy Congrove


Lancaster City Schools uses an Intervention Model to help provide support in the classroom.  Our buildings continue to utilize Building Problem Solving Teams (BPST) to help teachers design and document the use of interventions in their classrooms.  Interventions can be designed and implemented to address academic, social-emotional and/or behavioral needs of students.  Parents who have concerns about their child’s educational progress should contact their child’s principal or classroom teacher to discuss those concerns. 


When the interventions designed by the Building Problem Solving Team (BPST) are not enough to meet the needs of an individual student, based upon the student’s response to the interventions or the student’s apparent need for specialized instruction, the student may be referred for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education.  When referred, the school psychologist will convene a team, including the student’s parents, to look at all relevant data available including the interventions tried and the results of those interventions.  The team will then determine if the student is suspected of having a disability under IDEA or Section 504. If a disability is suspected, parent permission is received and the process for a multi-factored evaluation is started.  

After completion of this evaluation, the team (including the parent) reconvenes to determine if the child meets IDEA or Section 504 eligibility criteria for a specific disability.  Disabilities recognized under IDEA are: Autism, Cognitive Disabilities, Multiple Disabilities, Specific Learning Disabilities, Other Health Impairment (Minor/Major), Orthopedic Handicapped, Severe Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Speech/Language Disability, Hearing Impaired, Deaf-Blind, Visually Impaired. Under section 504 a student must have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (Major life activities includes: performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, caring for oneself, walking, standing, communicating, speaking, eating, bending, lifting, working, concentrating, learning, reading, thinking, sleeping, or breathing.)


The Lancaster City Special Education Department provides services, evaluations, and support for students between the ages of 3 to 21 who qualified as a student with a disability under IDEA.

Special education services are provided in accordance with Ohio’s Operating Standards for Children with Disabilities and the Special Education Model Policies and Procedures.  Currently Lancaster City Schools serves approximately 1000 students identified as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. 


If the child meets eligibility criteria, the team (including the parent) will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with specific goals and objectives, specialized services, accommodations as needed, and a determination of where the services will be provided for the child.

An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is written for all students with a disability to address their identified needs and related services.  Related services provide developmental, corrective, and other supportive services that are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.  Related services could include: Adapted Physical Education, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Language, Audiological, Interpreter, Orientation & Mobility, School Psychological, Transportation, Job Skills, Nursing Services, and Assistants. 

Students with a disability should be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE); which means providing services in the regular classroom environment to the maximum extent possible. Lancaster provides a variety of settings for our students.  Our least restrictive models include co-teaching and mainstreaming.  Many of our students with a disability have identified needs which are best met by the classroom teacher who differentiates instruction for them with support from a special education teacher.  Our special education teachers work cooperatively with classroom teachers and other school personnel to facilitate services for our students with disabilities.  Students with a disability who are included in the general education classroom may have services delivered through co-teaching and/or mainstreaming.  Co- teaching benefits all students in the classroom by adding a second teacher.  Mainstreaming provides services through the general education teacher with consultation and/or collaboration with the special education teacher.  Both delivery models support differentiated instruction for students to help meet their individual needs.  

Some identified students with a disability may require more restrictive environments due to their intensive services or needs.  These services are provided in a resource-room setting.  Children with multiple areas of needs and personal/social behavior needs are served in specialized programs.  Through the Special Education Program, all eligible children receive special instruction specifically designed to meet their unique educational needs, in accordance with state and federal requirements.  All special education services are provided at no cost to the parent.

Preschool children with disabilities, beginning on their third birthday, are entitled to the same type of services as are school age students.  Questions concerning our preschool program should be addressed to Brian Lawson or Jennifer Houston-Woods at 740-687 - 7336.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against any person with a disability by school districts receiving federal financial assistance. 

Students may qualify for a 504 plan in order to provide access to our facilities and educational programs.  Plans typically provide services, accommodations and/or modifications needed to support students with access.