Special Services

We’re Here for You

Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) offers robust special education services to support students and meet their needs, empowering them to thrive in school and beyond. With high-quality, personalized learning and the help of teachers and support staff, students with special needs can achieve their academic goals, find their confidence, and pave a path to success.

Danielle Opitz

A Home Language Survey (HLS) is required to be on file for every student enrolled at WYVA. WYVA uses the home language survey responses to begin the identification process of English language learners. Identified English Language Learners are provided supplemental support through English Language support and instruction and, when applicable, supplemental curriculum. The tutor serves as an advocate and support system while helping the student gain proficiency in English. The person providing the English Language support and instruction will partner with the student, Learning Coach, and general education teachers.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA); English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act, also known as Title III, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (Title III)

If your student may need ELL services, please contact the ELL Coordinator below.

Jess Huhn

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately.

Lisa Williams and Jennifer Copeland

Parents and Children Rights

If your family lives in any of the following situations:

  • In a shelter
  • In a motel or campground due to the lack of an alternative adequate accommodation
  • In a car, park, abandoned building, or bus or train station
  • Doubled up with other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship

Your school-age children may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act.

Your eligible children have the right to:

  • Receive a free, appropriate public education
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents
  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference. If the school district believes the school you select is not in the best interest of your children, the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal its decision.
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if you request this
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to your children’s needs

It is the policy of the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to view children and youth as individuals. Therefore, we will not refer to children as homeless; we will instead use the term “children and youths in transition.”

Children and youths in transition have the right to:

  • Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there; 
  • Stay in the school that they were attending before being in transition, the school they last attended, or the local enrollment school if that is their choice and it is in the best interest of the child;
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if they do not have all the paperwork, such as school or medical records or any other documentation required by the school district to enroll;
  • Be accorded specific protections, including immediate enrollment in school without proof of guardianship for unaccompanied youths;
  • Be provided transportation to or from the child’s school of origin;
  • Access the same special programs and services that are provided to other children, including special education, migrant education and vocational education;
  • Receive the same public education that is provided to other children, including preschool where applicable (Your child cannot be separated from the mainstream school environment because they are in transition. They cannot be segregated in a separate school, separate programs within a school, or separate settings within a school.); and
  • Dispute (by parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youths) an eligibility, school selection, or enrollment decision.

WYVA provides McKinney-Vento/homeless assistance and support for eligible families as defined below:

(A) Means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and

(B) Includes:

  1. Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
  2. Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
  3. Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  4. Migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
  5. Children and youth are considered homeless if they fit both part A and any one of the subparts of part B of the definition above.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education (Title X of NCLB)
Dispute Resolution Procedure

This advisory is intended to provide school officials with guidance as they implement the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act requirement that State and local school districts develop “procedures for the prompt resolution of disputes regarding the educational placement of homeless children and youths.”

A dispute resolution procedure was first created in the State’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 State Plan. It has now been revised to reflect the duties and required responsibilities of the LEA Liaison (Liaison). Copies of this procedure should be available to local service providers, parents of students experiencing homelessness and unaccompanied youth. This procedure will be used for all dispute resolution issues regarding homeless children and youth including educational placement. The procedure flows through the following steps:

  1. A child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. The challenging school district must continue to provide transportation and other school services to the student until the dispute is resolved.
  2. The dispute resolution process begins at the time a school or school district challenges the right of a parent, guardian, or person in parental relationship to a homeless child, to enroll a child or to continue a child’s enrollment in school, or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the youth’s right to enroll or to continue enrollment in school.
  3. When a school or district challenges the enrollment of the child or unaccompanied youth, the school or school district must provide written notice of the challenge to the district Homeless Education Liaison (Liaison) and the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, through the Liaison. The written notice shall be provided within two (2) business days, and will be in clear, easy-to-understand language.
  4. The Liaison shall inform the representative of the homeless student or the unaccompanied youth of the student’s or youth’s rights to appeal the decision of the school or school district. This notice shall include a form to be completed by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth should he or she decide to appeal the school district’s enrollment decision.
  5. The Liaison shall assist the child or youth’s representative, or the unaccompanied homeless youth, to complete the appeal form within ten (10) business days of the school or school district’s challenge to the child or youth’s enrollment.
  6. During this time, if requested, WDE may provide technical assistance to the school district regarding its decision by notifying the school district as to the requirements of.
  7. McKinney-Vento and other applicable state and federal laws.
    Upon receipt of an appeal form, a school district will have five (5) business days to schedule an informal hearing. The hearing shall be convenient to the needs of the representative of the homeless student.
  8. During the hearing, the school district shall discuss the considerations that led to the enrollment decision.
  9. In cases where an agreement cannot be reached at the local level, the Liaison shall forward all written documentation and related paperwork to the WDE State Coordinator for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth within five (5) business days of the informal hearing.
  10. Upon review of the LEA and parent information, and within ten (10) business days of receipt of the materials, WDE will issue a decision. The decision of WDE will be final. A written decision will be distributed to all parties in the dispute.

Lisa Williams and Jennifer Copeland

Under the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), WYVA shall identify all students in foster care, have a foster care plan developed, and collaborate with the Child Welfare Agency and Tribal Child Welfare Agencies (CWA) to implement Title I educational stability provisions.

Kelly Bilbrey

Lisa Williams and Jennifer Copeland

Kelly Bilbrey

Families are encouraged to review the following information that describes these regulations. Information regarding WYVA’s internal practices to comply with these will be available in the WYVA’s Special Programs Manuals and Handbooks.

WYVA strives to identify, locate, and evaluate all enrolled children who may have disabilities. Disability, as stated in IDEA, includes such conditions as hearing, visual, speech, or language impairment, specific learning disability, emotional disturbance, cognitive disability, other health or physical impairment, autism, and traumatic brain injury. The process of identifying, locating, and evaluating these children is referred to as Child Find.

As a public school program, WYVA will respond vigorously to federal and state mandates requiring the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education regardless of a child’s disability or the severity of the disability. In order to comply with the Child Find requirements, WYVA will implement procedures to help ensure that all WYVA students with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, who are in need of special education and related services—are identified, located, and evaluated—including students with disabilities who are homeless or students who are wards of the state.

Parent or guardian permission and involvement is a vital piece in the process. Once a student has been identified as having a “suspected disability” or identified as having a disability, WYVA will ask the student or the student’s parent or guardian for information about the child such as:

  • How has the suspected disability or identified disability hindered the student’s learning?
  • What has been done educationally to intervene and correct the student’s emerging learning deficits?
  • What educational or medical information relative to the suspected disability or identified disability is available to be shared with the WYVA?

This information may also be obtained from the student’s present or former teachers, therapists, doctors, or from other agencies that have information about the student.

All information collected will be held in strict confidence and released to others only with parental permission or as allowed by law. In keeping with this confidence, WYVA will keep a record of all persons who review confidential information. In accordance with state regulations, parents have the right to review their child’s records.

As part of the Child Find process, some services may include a complete evaluation, an individualized education program designed specifically for the child, and a referral to other agencies providing special services.

For students confirmed to present with special education needs, once the IEP team agrees on the IEP and the student’s educational placement, a Prior Written Notice (PWN) will be sent to the parent or guardian for signature. This must be signed and returned to WYVA. WYVA can only proceed with implementing the student’s IEP (or 504 Plan) upon receipt of the signed PWN. Some students are found to present with one or more disability, but do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined under IDEA (special education); however, their disability may still require WYVA to develop a 504 Service Agreement (504 Plan) to outline the special provisions a student may require for adaptations and/or accommodations in WYVA-based instruction, facilities, and/or activities.

Students may be eligible to certain accommodations or services if they have a mental or physical disability that substantially limits or prohibits participation in or access to an aspect of the WYVA program and otherwise qualify under the applicable laws. WYVA will ensure that qualified students with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in the WYVA program and activities to the maximum extent appropriate for each individual student. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, WYVA will provide students with disabilities the necessary educational services and supports they require to access and benefit from their educational program. This is to be done without discrimination or out-of-pocket cost to the student or family for the essential supplementary aids, services, or accommodations determined to provide equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the WYVA program and extracurricular activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities and to the extent required by the laws.

Parents or guardians have the right to revoke consent for services after initial placement. Please note, a revocation of consent removes the student from ALL special services and supports outlined on the IEP or 504 Plan.

WYVA recognizes that despite best intentions of all parties, disagreements or miscommunications may arise between the WYVA-based team and WYVA families or students. Should this situation occur, the WYVA special education case manager will initiate an IEP team discussion where the specific details contributing to any educational concern are fully discussed and addressed as the entire team determines would consider most appropriate for the student. Collaboration is a primary focus for this type of meeting, and the WYVA Special Education Team seeks to establish and maintain the confidence of its families to always serve its students in order to maximize their educational success.

IEP Facilitation: IEP facilitation is a voluntary process that can be utilized when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help facilitate communication and the successful drafting of the student’s IEP. This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings. Rather, it is most often utilized when there is a sense from any of the participants that the issues at the IEP meeting are creating an impasse or acrimonious climate.

 A voluntary process in which both parties seek to resolve the issues involved in the concern with an unbiased, third party mediator from the Department of Education. The mediator will write up the details of the agreement that the parties come to through the mediation conference, the agreement is signed by both parties, and thus what the document states is mandated to be implemented. This process is overall less time-consuming, less stressful, and less expensive to complete than a due process hearing (see below).

Families are NOT obligated to pursue the above alternatives to due process should they feel their concerns can only be resolved through a formal due process hearing. All mediation, state complaint, and due process requests may be filed with WDE by mail or fax to: